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CIA shuts down N. Korea Mission Center amid focus on China: report

All News 01:08 October 08, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is shutting down its mission center dedicated to gathering intelligence about North Korea, a report said Thursday.

The U.S. spy agency, on the other hand, is creating a new mission center on China, according to the report by the Washington Post.

The CIA created its North Korea Mission Center in 2017 amid growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea that staged its sixth and latest nuclear test that year, along with several intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

The Korea Mission Center, along with the CIA's Iran Mission Center "would now be absorbed by larger components focused on whole regions," said the report, quoting an unidentified senior official at the spy agency.

"The senior CIA official said that in countering Iran and North Korea, the CIA thought it was crucial to work with allies across their respective regions and not isolate efforts in separate centers," added the report.

North Korea conducted a series of short-range missile tests since the Biden administration took office in January.

The U.S. administration has repeatedly emphasized its focus on seeking a "calibrated" approach toward North Korea with its allies, including South Korea.

"The United States will continue to remain in close consultation and coordination with our South Korean allies on issues of mutual concern, especially the DPRK situation," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kin Moy said last week, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

While shutting down its mission centers on North Korea and Iran, the CIA is creating a new center on China.

The move comes amid America's growing rivalry with Beijing that it believes is engaged in a wide range of illicit cyber activities that target the U.S. government, as well as American companies.

The China Mission Center is part of an effort to "further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government," CIA Director William Burns said Wednesday, according to the Washington Post report.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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