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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 July 10, 2020

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N. Korea says it feels no need to 'sit face to face with U.S.'

SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea feels no need to meet with the United States for talks, a top diplomat of the communist nation said Saturday, accusing Washington of taking advantage of dialogue between the two countries only as "a tool for grappling its political crisis."

First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui made the remark as talk of another summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gained traction recently after President Moon Jae-in said he would push for such a meeting to happen before November's U.S. presidential election.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton also said Trump could meet with Kim if he believes a summit would help his reelection chances. Such a meeting could happen as an "October surprise" just before the election, he said.

N. Korean state media refrain from criticizing S. Korea for nearly 2 weeks

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state media outlets have refrained from criticizing South Korea for nearly two weeks, after leader Kim Jong-un put military action plans against the South on hold in a surprise about-face after weeks of harsh threats and rhetoric.

For the past 12 days, North Korean media have carried few articles and commentaries blasting Seoul, with the main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, and its state television network, Korean Central Television, recording a zero tally in negative reports about the South in the same period.

Propaganda outlets still carried some reports denouncing the South, but many of them are directed at specific groups, such as the South's military or political parties, citing what civic groups in the South have said.

N.K. paper calls for following through with Kim's order for 'maximum alert' against virus

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main newspaper called Sunday for carrying out leader Kim Jong-un's order that the country exercise "maximum alert" against the coronavirus pandemic.

Kim issued the order during a politburo meeting Thursday, warning that premature easing of anti-virus measures will lead to an "unimaginable and irretrievable crisis."

The appeal was seen as a sign that the North's COVID-19 situation could be serious, though Pyongyang claims there has not been a single case. It was the second time in three months that the North has convened a politburo meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.

N. Korea's paper says border control tightened to fight virus

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is beefing up its border control to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus, the country's state newspaper said Tuesday, after leader Kim Jong-un called for "maximum alert" against the highly contagious disease.

Last week, Kim held a politburo meeting and urged people not to lower their guard against COVID-19, saying that premature easing of anti-virus measures will lead to an "unimaginable and irretrievable crisis."

North Korea has "completely shut down its border, territorial air and sea and continues to strengthen its work to completely prevent the flow of the new coronavirus," the Minju Joson, the official paper of the North's cabinet, said in an article.

N.K. again rejects possibility of talks with U.S. as Biegun set to arrive in Seoul

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea reiterated Tuesday it has no intention to hold talks with the United States, just hours before Washington's top nuclear envoy is set to arrive in Seoul to discuss how to break the impasse in nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.

Kwon Jong-gun, the North Korean foreign ministry's director-general handling U.S. affairs, made the remark in a statement, saying there are still people talking about brokering a meeting between the U.S. and the North even after First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui made clear that the North won't hold talks with the U.S.

"Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with U.S.," Kwon said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

N.K. leader visits mausoleum to mark late grandfather's death anniversary

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited a mausoleum for his late grandfather and national founder Kim Il-sung to mark the anniversary of his death, state media reported Wednesday.

Kim paid tribute at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where Kim Il-sung's body lies in state, according to the Korean Central News Agency. Also enshrined at the mausoleum is the body of late leader Kim Jong-il, father of the current leader and a son of the national founder.

The visit was to mark the 26th anniversary of the death of Kim Il-sung who passed away in 1994. It is not known when the visit was made, but the KCNA usually reports the leader's activity a day later.

Another summit with U.S. 'not needed,' 'not beneficial': Kim's sister

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- Another summit with the United States is "not needed" and "not beneficial" for North Korea as long as there is no change in Washington's negotiating position, the sister of leader Kim Jong-un said Friday.

Kim Yo-jong made the remark in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency after U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this week that he would hold another summit with the North's leader "if I thought it was going to be helpful."

"I doubt that things like the DPRK-U.S. summit talks would happen this year," Kim Yo-jong said, though she added that "a surprise thing may still happen, depending upon the judgement and decision between the two top leaders."

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