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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 November 06, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 6 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

U.N. panel says N. Korean mortar apparently used in terrorist attack in Somalia

SEOUL, Oct. 31 (Yonhap) -- The al-Shabab Islamic extremist group used what appears to be a North Korean mortar in an apparent attack against the United Nations compound in Somalia earlier this year, a U.N. panel has said, in a sign of possible arms deals between the two sides.

The al-Qaida-linked group carried out six separate mortar attacks on the international airport in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu, between February and May.

One of the attacks involved four 60-mm mortar rounds that were fired in the direction of the U.N. compound within Aden Adde International Airport on Feb. 17, the U.N. Panel of Experts on Somalia said in a final report dated Sept. 28.

S. Korea, U.S. closely monitoring activity at N. Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex: officials

SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States are closely watching movements at North Korea's main Yongbyon nuclear complex, military authorities said Monday, amid a report on signs of brisk activities there.

Last week, 38 North, a U.S. website monitoring North Korea, reported that activity has picked up throughout the Yongbyon site, citing commercial satellite imagery showing "smoke or vapor" emanated from a building just south of its uranium enrichment plant.

"Historically, this building was used to recover and purify uranium from yellowcake and, in some cases, from leaching solutions from uranium milling facilities," the article read. "However, what is taking place now is unclear."

N.K. leader has no health symptoms despite being overweight: spy agency

SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has gained a substantial amount of weight each year since taking power in the country in late 2011 but remains free from any serious health symptoms, according to the South's spy agency Tuesday.

In a regular parliamentary audit, the South's National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported that Kim's state of health "had no irregular symptoms despite being a little overweight," main opposition People Power Party's Rep. Ha Tae-keung, who attended the closed-door audit at the National Assembly, told reporters.

"Kim currently weighs in the 140 kilogram range after having gained an average of 6 to 7 kilograms per year over the past eight years since weighing 90 kilograms in August of 2012," Ha quoted the spy agency as reporting.

N. Korea lays landmines in border areas to fend off coronavirus: NIS

SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has taken extreme measures to fend off the coronavirus, including laying landmines in border areas with China, Seoul's National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers Tuesday.

During a closed-door session at the Intelligence Committee of the National Assembly, the spy agency said North Korea fears the spread of COVID-19 could bring catastrophic results to the country due to its poor medical infrastructure, according to Rep. Ha Tae-keung of the main opposition People Power Party.

"Since there is no physical or technical means to deal with the coronavirus, there is something like coronavirus trauma in North Korea," Ha quoted the NIS as saying.

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