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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 December 04, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

N. Korean leader Kim given coronavirus vaccine from China: U.S. expert

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been vaccinated for the new coronavirus with a vaccine developed by China, a U.S. security expert said Monday, quoting Japanese intelligence sources.

The expert also said Kim was given the vaccine only a short time earlier.

"North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and 'multiple other high-ranking officials within the Kim family and leadership network' have been vaccinated for Coronavirus 'within the last two to three weeks' thanks to a vaccine candidate supplied by the Chinese government," Harry Kazianias wrote in an article published by an online magazine, 19FortyFive.

Ex-CIA official suggests Biden administration propose working-level talks with N. Korea

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- A proposal by the incoming U.S. administration of President-elect Joe Biden to hold working-level talks with North Korea can be a "good starting point" to resume the long-stalled nuclear negotiations, a former U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday.

Andrew Kim, who retired as the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's Korea Mission Center in 2018, made the remark during a webinar on the South Korea-U.S. alliance, saying the North appears to be waiting to see what the Biden camp will say while staying silent on the U.S. election result.

"I personally believe, knowing a little bit about them, dealing with them for the last couple of years, if somebody from Biden's camp comes out and says, we are willing to sit down with North Korea in a working level, expert level conversation as a starting point, I think that will definitely give good vibes to North Korea," he said. "I think that can be a good starting point."

U.N. to allow longer period of sanctions exemption for humanitarian aid to N. Korea

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- A U.N. Security Council panel has approved a proposal to extend the exemption period for sanctions on humanitarian assistance to North Korea and streamline procedures to allow easier delivery of aid to the impoverished country, its website showed Tuesday.

The North Korea sanctions committee on Monday (U.S. time) adopted a revision to its "Implementation Assistance Notice No. 7" with regard to sanctions on Pyongyang, extending the exemption period from the current six months to nine months.

The "Implementation Assistance Notice No. 7," issued in August 2018, provides the guidelines for obtaining exemptions to deliver humanitarian aid to North Korea, under which aid groups have received an exemption of six months when approved.

U.S. says China's failure to enforce sanctions delaying N. Korea denuclearization

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- China's failure, if not refusal, to implement U.N. sanctions aimed at denuclearizing North Korea may be delaying the process, a senior U.S. diplomat said Tuesday.

Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of state for North Korea, insisted China often "chooses" not to implement the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council, of which it is a permanent member.

"It (China) has the resources to implement its UN sanctions obligations. But again, it chooses not to," Wong told an online seminar hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Biden needs to make 'early' decision about N. Korea: U.S. expert

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- The incoming U.S. administration will need to quickly make a decision about how it will deal with North Korea to have a better chance of engagement, a former U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.

Kurt Campbell, former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, also insisted the new administration under Joe Biden would have to send an "early signal" to the North.

"There are always areas of unpredictabilities and, generally speaking, at the top of that list of unpredictable qualities and characteristics of Asia is North Korea," he told a webinar hosted by the Atlantic Council and sponsored by the Korea Foundation.

N. Korea advancing nuclear, missile capabilities: Milley

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea continues to develop its nuclear and long-range missile capabilities, but so are South Korea and the United States to deter provocations, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, also noted the communist state may stage military provocations but said the allies are fully ready and capable to deal with any provocation.

"It is also true that North Korea has advanced their nuclear weapon and missile delivery capabilities. But the deterrence capabilities of not only the Republic of Korea, but also in combination with Japan and most importantly with the United States is very, very significant," the top U.S. military leader said in a webinar hosted by the Washington-based Brookings Institution think tank.

Last remaining Int'l Red Cross staff pull out of Pyongyang: ICRC

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday that the last remaining staff members at its Pyongyang office have left the country after finishing up their assignments.

But it is unclear when the Geneva-based organization will be able to get their replacements into North Korea as the regime maintains tight border controls in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The ICRC had maintained six international staff members at its Pyongyang office, but it scaled down the number to two early this year as it could not bring in new workers. On Wednesday, the remaining two left Pyongyang as their assignments were completed, according to the ICRC.

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