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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 June 12, 2020

SEOUL, June 12 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

U.S. supports inter-Korean cooperation together with progress on denuclearization: State Dept.

WASHINGTON, June 8 (Yonhap) -- The United States supports inter-Korean cooperation and works with South Korea to ensure cooperation proceeds together with progress in North Korea's denuclearization, the State Department said Monday amid Pyongyang's threats to abolish a joint liaison office with Seoul.

North Korea threatened last week to shut down the office in the border city of Kaesong unless Seoul stops North Korean defectors and activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North.

"The United States supports inter-Korean cooperation and coordinates with our ROK ally to ensure inter-Korean cooperation proceeds in lockstep with progress on denuclearization," a State Department spokesperson said in response to a Yonhap query, referring to South Korea by the acronym for its official name, the Republic of Korea.

U.S. disappointed in N. Korea's recent actions to sever ties with S. Korea: State Dept.

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Yonhap) -- The United States is disappointed in North Korea's recent actions to sever ties with South Korea, the State Department said Tuesday, urging the communist nation to return to diplomacy and cooperation.

The comments came in response to a series of actions North Korea has taken in anger over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent by defectors into the North.

Earlier Tuesday, the North vowed to cut off all inter-Korean communication lines and refused to answer South Korea's phone calls via liaison and military hotlines.

Construction on Pyongyang hospital makes rapid progress: U.S. monitor

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Yonhap) -- Construction on a new hospital in Pyongyang has made rapid progress in the past month, a U.S. monitor said Tuesday, citing new commercial satellite imagery.

Work on the Pyongyang General Hospital began in March after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended its groundbreaking ceremony.

He ordered that the hospital be completed by Oct. 10, the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party.

U.S. says full normalization of ties with N. Korea requires improving human rights

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Yonhap) -- The United States has made clear to North Korea that an improvement in human rights conditions, including religious freedom, will be required for a full normalization of bilateral ties, a State Department report said Wednesday.

According to the annual International Religious Freedom Report, the North Korean government continued to deny its people the right to religious freedom and committed violations that constituted crimes against humanity.

The report covered the period between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019, and mostly summarized observations made by nongovernmental organizations and news media.

U.S. willing to be 'flexible' to implement Singapore agreement on 2nd anniversary of summit

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Yonhap) -- The United States remains committed to implementing the Singapore summit agreement reached between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and is willing to take a flexible approach, the State Department said Thursday ahead of the second anniversary of the historic meeting.

Trump and Kim met in Singapore on June 12, 2018, to negotiate the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief and other concessions.

At the end of the meeting, the first between sitting leaders of the two countries, Trump and Kim produced a joint statement committing the North to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in return for U.S. security guarantees.

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