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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 November 27, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

Resumption of humanitarian aid may send 'good' message to N. Korea: Kurt Campbell

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- Resuming humanitarian assistance for North Korea may send a good message to the communist state to be patient while it may also enhance joint efforts by South Korea and the United States to denuclearize the North, a former U.S. diplomat said Friday.

The remarks from Kurt Campbell, former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, were made in a meeting with three visiting South Korean lawmakers.

"Sending a message to North Korea to be patient through humanitarian assistance is a good idea," Campbell was quoted as telling the South Korean lawmakers, led by Rep. Song Young-gil of the ruling Democratic Party.

U.S. security advisor says Korea-U.S. ties will remain strong 'whoever the president is'

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said Monday that the decadeslong relationship between Seoul and Washington will remain strong "whoever" is inaugurated as president in January.

In a telephone conference with reporters during his visit to Manila, O'Brien also voiced hope that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will eventually live up to his denuclearization commitment, amid worries Pyongyang could undertake provocations to test the incoming Joe Biden administration.

"Whatever happens on January 20, whoever the president is ... I'm convinced that the relationship, which has endured for 70 years, will continue to endure and will be a strong partnership," O'Brien said.

Biden names Antony Blinken as new secretary of state

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday tapped former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken to be his first secretary of state in a pre-inauguration nomination of five other top security officials that included national security adviser.

Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was tapped the new national security adviser, while Alejandro Mayorkas, former deputy secretary of homeland security, was named the new head of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Biden's transition team.

"Under the Biden-Harris administration, American national security and foreign policy will be led by experienced professional

S. Korea may need to consider nuclear armament if North sticks to nukes: opposition head

SEOUL, Nov. 24 (Yonhap) -- The head of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) said Tuesday that South Korea may need to consider arming itself with nuclear weapons if North Korea ends up holding on to its nuclear weapons for good.

"If the North holds on to its nukes to the end without giving them up, I believe there is the need for us to reconsider nuclear armament," Kim Chong-in, PPP's interim chief, said during a press conference hosted by the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Seoul.

The comments were made as Kim laid out potential means of dealing with nuclear threats from the North -- either receiving protection under the U.S. nuclear umbrella or allowing the stationing of American nuclear arms on the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. to provide up to US$3 mln in grants for human rights, democratic reforms in N. Korea

SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department has offered to provide up to $3 million in grants for organizations working for human rights protection and democratic reforms in North Korea, its website showed Wednesday.

According to a notice posted on the website of the department's Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, the grants will be provided to two to 15 organizations with the amount ranging from $50,000 to $3 million each.

"Projects should aim to have impact that leads to democratic reforms and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources," the notice said.

N. Korea faces serious humanitarian crisis: report

SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea faces a serious humanitarian crisis due to shortages of food, clean water and medical services aggravated by poor governance and repressive internal political measures, a Swiss international nongovernmental organization has said.

According to the annual "Inform Severity Index" report compiled by the Geneva-based Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), North Korea faces a "very high" level of humanitarian crisis severity.

This represented the highest level of a six-tier crisis evaluation scale. The North was among 13 countries with that same level of around 60 countries analyzed. The report also ranked North Korea among the countries with "very high constraints" in humanitarian access.

Wang touts 'robustness' and 'vitality' of S. Korea-China ties

SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday touted the "robustness" and "vitality" of his country's relations with South Korea, stressing his trip here, despite COVID-19, illustrates how much Beijing values the bilateral partnership.

Wang made the remarks at the start of his talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, amid speculation that Beijing will use his trip to try to bring Seoul to its side as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden envisions tightening America's alliance networks to reassert its leadership.

"My visit to South Korea, when the COVID-19 situation has yet to end, is intended to show the importance we attach to China-South Korea relations through actual action and to show confidence that South Korea can prevail in its fight over COVID-19," Wang said through an interpreter at the talks that lasted for 90 minutes.

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