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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 August 14, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 14 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

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N.K. artillery attack on S. Korea could cause more than 200,000 casualties: U.S. think tank

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean artillery attack on South Korea could cause more than 200,000 casualties in an hour, a U.S. think tank report showed Friday.

According to the RAND Corporation, North Korea maintains nearly 6,000 artillery systems within range of large South Korean population centers, enabling it to carry out massive attacks without using chemical or nuclear weapons.

The report estimated casualty numbers under five attack scenarios, factoring in the approximate number of North Korean artillery systems, population densities in potential target areas, and assumptions about whether people are outdoors, indoors or below ground at the time of attack.

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Pentagon hesitated to give Trump military options for N.K. in 2017: book

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- The Pentagon hesitated to give military options for North Korea to U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017 because of concerns he might order a major military attack, according to an upcoming book by a CNN reporter.

Jim Sciutto, the network's chief national security correspondent, said in a Thursday article on his book, "The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World," that the account was relayed to him by Joseph Yun, who served as special representative for North Korea policy until 2018.

The book is set for release Tuesday.

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Around 10 countries yet to submit final report on N.K. workers to U.N.: document

NEW YORK, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- Around 10 countries have yet to submit their final report to the United Nations on progress on repatriating North Korean workers in line with U.N. sanctions, a document obtained by Yonhap News Agency showed Friday.

According to a summary of a report by a panel of experts for the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, only about 40 of the 50 countries that submitted interim reports at the end of last year submitted their final reports by the March 22 deadline.

Under a U.N. Security Council resolution, all U.N. member states were required to send back North Korean workers by Dec. 22, 2019.

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Trump says he will make deals with N.K. very quickly if reelected

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he will make deals with North Korea "very quickly" if reelected in November.

Trump was referring to his administration's stalled efforts to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions.

"If and when we win, we will make deals with Iran very quickly. We'll make deals with North Korea very quickly," he said during a press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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Trump suggests N.K. leader expected war with U.S.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had expected to go to war with the United States before the two engaged in nuclear diplomacy.

Trump, speaking to radio show host Hugh Hewitt, was talking about China when he suddenly turned to Iran and North Korea and repeated the familiar claim that the U.S. would be at war with the North had he not been elected president.

"Millions of people would have died," he said. "You would have had a war with North Korea. He expected to have a war."

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U.S. homeland missile defense 'very effective' against N.K. ICBM's: top general

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- The United States has a strong and "very effective" homeland defense system against North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Pentagon's No. 2 officer has said.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten made the remark during a discussion with the Hudson Institute think tank, which was prerecorded and aired on Wednesday.

"I think our homeland missile defense with respect to Korea is strong, with respect to North Korea," he said. "The interceptors we have, mostly in Alaska, but also at Vandenberg, are very effective against that threat." He was referring to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

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About 60 pct of N. Koreans face food insecurity: U.S. Department of Agriculture

SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- About 60 percent of North Korea's population are facing food insecurity as the global coronavirus pandemic appears to be taking a toll on the country's food supplies, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed Thursday.

According to the report by the department's Economic Research Service, 59.8 percent of North Korea's population or some 15.30 million people in the country remain "food-insecure."

"An estimated 59.2 percent of North Korea's population is food-insecure in 2020, rising slightly to 59.8 percent when the effects of the COVID-19 macro shock are taken into account," the report said.

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Facilities at N.K. nuclear complex may be damaged by flood: U.S. think tank

SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- Significant flooding has happened along a river near North Korean's Yongbyon nuclear complex, and facilities at the complex could have been damaged, a U.S. monitoring website said Thursday.

The website 38 North, a think tank monitoring North Korea, made the analysis based on satellite imagery from Aug. 6, saying that "water had reached the two pump houses that service the reactors" at Yongbyon nuclear complex.

"The August 6 imagery, when compared to imagery from July 22, shows a dramatic rise in the water level of the Kuryong River that flows alongside the Yongbyon complex," the think tank said. It said the flooding appears to the worst in recent years.
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