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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 October 23, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

Esper says U.S. continues to face threats from N. Korea, other rogue states

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- The United States continues to face ongoing threats from rogue states such as North Korea, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Tuesday, highlighting the need to further enhance his country's alliances and defense capabilities.

"Since my confirmation as secretary of defense well over a year ago, my No. 1 priority has been implementing the national defense strategy (NDS). The NDS tells us that we are now in an era of great power competition, with our primary competitors being China and Russia," the U.S. defense chief said in a webinar hosted by a Washington-based think tank, the Atlantic Council.

Biden likely to seek step-by-step approach toward N. Korea: ex-U.S. official

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would likely pursue a step-by-step approach toward North Korea with reciprocal benefits for both sides if elected, a former U.S. State Department adviser on nonproliferation and arms controls said Tuesday.

Robert Einhorn, now serving as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, declared U.S. President Donald Trump's maximum pressure campaign has failed.

"A Biden administration won't give up the ultimate goal of complete denuclearization of North Korea, but it may be prepared to approach that long-term goal step by step with reciprocal benefits to each party at every stage of the process," he said in a webinar hosted by the Washington-based think tank.

U.N. grants sanctions exemptions to aid programs in N.K.

SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) -- A U.N. Security Council panel has approved sanctions exemptions to an aid agency allowing humanitarian assistance to North Korea, its website showed Wednesday.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) received the sanctions waiver on medical equipment necessary to help with measures against COVID-19, including surgical masks, protective clothing and face shields.

The aid agency was also granted exemption on supplementary food to tackle the chronic malnutrition issue, as well as supplies necessary for its tuberculosis and multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) program in North Hamgyong Province.

N. Korea's pursuit of money makes it 'unique' state actor of cyber attacks: U.S. official

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is one of a few nations that pose a threat to cyber security but stands out as an "unique" country that steals money, a senior official from the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, also noted the communist state may be getting support for its illicit cyber activities from China, in terms of know-how and protection.

"A lot of it is getting money, getting cash. So on the cyber side very, you know, prominent theft from the bank of Bangladesh through a cyber bank robbery, basically," Demers said.

Biden says will meet N.K. leader if he agrees to draw down nuclear capacity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un only on the condition that the latter agrees to reduce his country's nuclear capabilities.

"On the condition that (Kim) would agree that he would be drawing down his nuclear capacity. To get that," Biden said when asked on what preconditions that he would agree to meet the North Korean leader.

"The Korean Peninsula should be a nuclear-free zone," he added while speaking in the second and last presidential TV debate with his Republican rival, President Donald Trump.

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