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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 August 07, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

N.K. continues to pursue nuclear weapons, missile systems: U.S. commander

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and missile systems, posing a threat to the region and the U.S. homeland, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said Tuesday.

Navy Adm. Charles Richard made the remark during the virtual Space and Missile Defense Symposium as he discussed the military threats posed by China and Russia.

"North Korea continues its illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons and are advancing their missile systems," the commander said. "These capabilities threaten our forces and allies in the region ... Their ICBM tests in the last few years can even pose a threat to our homeland."

Top U.S. defense official refers to N.K., Iran as 'rogue nations'

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- The director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on Tuesday called North Korea and Iran "rogue nations," a term that often angers Pyongyang.

Navy Vice Adm. Jon Hill made the reference during the virtual Space and Missile Defense Symposium while discussing the various missile threats posed to the United States.

"The rogue nations of North Korea and Iran, and then the near-peer threats of China and Russia, develop very fast and so this is a very, very complex and tough environment to live in," Hill said.

Trump says N.K. would seek talks if election was not near

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that North Korea would want to sit down for nuclear talks with the United States if the presidential election were not months away.

Trump was apparently referring to the reluctance of foreign nations to have serious negotiations with an administration ahead of its possible replacement in the November polls.

"If we didn't have an election right now, two things would happen," he said in an interview with Fox News. "Number one, our stock market would be even higher and it's already setting some records. And the other thing is Iran, China, everybody, will be at the table the first day, within 24 hours, wanting to make a deal, including North Korea, where, by the way, if Hillary Clinton got in, you would have been in a war right now with -- a long time, maybe it would be over and maybe it wouldn't, but you'd be in a war with North Korea."

U.S. is ready to negotiate N. Korea's denuclearization: U.S. envoy

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- The United States is ready to negotiate the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program while continuing to apply pressure on the regime, the No. 2 U.S. envoy for North Korea said Wednesday.

Alex Wong, deputy special representative for North Korea, made the remark during a confirmation hearing on his nomination as U.S. alternate representative for special political affairs in the United Nations.

"The U.S. is ready," he said during the virtual hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We have a strong team here, an interagency team ready to negotiate. But we need to continue on the strategy, continue on the pressure, continue to galvanize the world behind the consensus strategy of using pressure again to channel North Korea to productive negotiations."

U.S. says N.K. must stop provocations, return to nuclear talks

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- The United States has emphasized the need for North Korea to halt provocations and return to denuclearization talks, the State Department said Wednesday.

The issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program was discussed during Tuesday's 33rd U.S.-ASEAN Dialogue, co-chaired by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell and Laotian Deputy Foreign Minister Thongphane Savanphet, the department said in a press release.

"The United States ... stressed that the DPRK must halt provocations, abide by its obligations under the UNSCRs, and engage in sustained negotiations with the United States to achieve complete denuclearization, and urged ASEAN countries to continue implementing and enforcing U.N. sanctions," it said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

N. Korea pursues long-range nuclear missiles through 'deliberate testing program': Pentagon official

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea continues to push aggressively to develop long-range nuclear missiles capable of striking the U.S. homeland through a "very deliberate testing program" for systems improvement, a senior Pentagon official has said.

Victorino G. Mercado, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, made the remarks during the 2020 Space and Missile Defense Symposium held online on Tuesday (Washington time), according to the transcript posted on the Pentagon website on Thursday.

"North Korea has worked aggressively to develop nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missiles able to threaten the homeland, allies and partners," Mercado said. "Despite our ongoing diplomatic efforts, North Korea continues to expand its ballistic missile capabilities and conduct test launches despite international restrictions."

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