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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 July 10, 2020

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

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U.S. nuke envoy visits S. Korea after N.K. spurns possibility of talks

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun arrived in South Korea on Tuesday for talks about denuclearizing North Korea, as the communist nation again rejected the possibility of resuming negotiations with the United States.

Biegun, who doubles as Washington's chief nuclear envoy, landed at the U.S. Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, sources said. Alex Wong, deputy special representative for the North, is believed to have traveled with him.

Biegun and his delegation underwent COVID-19 testing upon arrival, leading to a delay in their departure for Seoul. That has reportedly led to the cancellation of a dinner that U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris had planned to host for Biegun. The test results were negative.

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Biegun says U.S. 'strongly' supports inter-Korean cooperation

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- The United States "strongly" supports cooperation between South and North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said Wednesday, calling it an "important component" in creating a more stable environment on the Korean Peninsula.

Biegun, who doubles as Washington's top nuclear envoy, made the remarks as South Korea has been seeking U.S. cooperation in its push for cross-border cooperation projects stalled by international sanctions.

"The United States strongly supports inter-Korean cooperation, and we believe this plays an important component in creating a more stable environment on the Korean Peninsula," he told reporters soon after talks with Seoul's chief nuclear envoy, Lee Do-hoon.

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Trump says he is open to another summit with N.K. leader: reports

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he is open to holding another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, despite Pyongyang's repeated claims that it has no intention to hold talks with the U.S., according to news reports.

"I understand they want to meet and we would certainly do that," Trump said in an interview with Gray Television's Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday (Washington time), according to Voice of America and other news reports.

"I would do it if I thought it was going to be helpful," Trump was quoted as saying.

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U.S., Australia, Japan urge N.K. to stop increasing tensions, return to talks

WASHINGTON, July 8 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministers of the United States, Australia and Japan have urged North Korea to refrain from actions that increase tensions and return to negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.

In a virtual trilateral meeting on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and his counterparts, Linda Reynolds of Australia and Taro Kono of Japan, shared their "strong concern" that North Korea's ballistic missile launches pose a serious threat to international security, according to a joint statement released by the Pentagon.

They also condemned North Korea's repeated violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions and expressed concern about Pyongyang's announcement that it no longer feels bound by its moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

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Esper again says N. Korea and Iran are 'rogue states'

WASHINGTON, July 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper again described North Korea and Iran as "rogue states" that conduct aggressive activities.

In a video message released Tuesday to thank members of the force for their contribution to implementing the National Defense Strategy, Esper listed achievements such as removing terrorists and preserving the freedom of navigation in contested waters.

The Department of Defense has also "deterred aggressive activities perpetrated by rogue states such as North Korea and Iran, as well as near-peers such as Russia and China," he said.

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Biegun, Moon's top security adviser discuss N. Korea issues

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun and Suh Hoon, South Korea's new director of national security at the presidential office, discussed North Korea issues here on Thursday in their first meeting since the latter's appointment, according to the presidential office.

The two met for 70 minutes at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in the morning, on the last day of Biegun's three-day visit to South Korea, aimed at reviving stalled diplomacy with Pyongyang.

It was the two officials' first face-to-face meeting since Suh, who played a key role in arranging the first summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018, assumed office as the national security office director in early July.

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Pompeo doesn't rule out another U.S.-N. Korea summit

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States is "very hopeful" about continuing dialogue with North Korea, including another summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if appropriate.

Pompeo made the remark shortly after his deputy and top U.S. envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, departed Seoul following meetings with South Korean officials on the nuclear impasse with the North.

"We continue to work to establish dialogue and have substantive conversations about how we might deliver this really good outcome, this outcome of delivering peace and stability to the entire peninsula," Pompeo said in a teleconference with reporters in response to a question posed by Yonhap News Agency.
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