North Korean Leader Meets South Korean Government Officials

According to North Korea’s Official news agency, its leader Kim Jong Un has met with senior South Korean government officials for the first time and said it is his “firm will to vigorously advance” inter-Korean ties and pursue reunification.

The National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong lead the 10-member South Korean delegation to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, on Monday in hopes of encouraging North Korea and the U. S. to talk to one another.

Washington and Pyongyang have been at loggerheads for months over the North’s nuclear and missile programs, with U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un trading insults and threatening war.

Tensions between the two Koreas eased during the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea, where President Moon Jae-In hosted a high-level North Korean delegation. Kim Jong Un invited Moon to North Korea for a summit, which Moon said the two sides should work towards.

“Hearing the intention of President Moon Jae In for a summit from the special envoy of the south side, (Kim Jong Un) exchanged views and made a satisfactory agreement,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said of the meeting.

The agency did not provide details on what that agreement was but an official from the presidential Blue House in Seoul said it partially addressed the summit offer made by the North.

North Korea has been developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the U. S. but Pyongyang and Washington both say they want a diplomatic solution.

Seoul’s delegation met Kim Jong Un, his sister Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s wife and other officials on Monday, said Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for the South’s presidential office. Kim Yo Jong attended the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in February.

The delegation will wrap up a two-day trip to Pyongyang later on Tuesday after another meeting with North Korean officials, the spokesman said.

Blue House officials could not confirm whether Kim Jong Un would be present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Chung said in Seoul before leaving on Monday his team would deliver the South Korean president’s wish to bring about denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and permanent peace.

Kim Jong Un gave orders for “practical steps” regarding the letter from Moon that was delivered to him by the delegation, KCNA said without elaborating.

“He also made an exchange of in-depth views on the issues for easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange,” the report said.

Both North Korea and the United States have said they are open to talks but the U.S. position has been that dialogue must be aimed at North Korea’s denuclearisation, something Pyongyang has rejected.

Moon has also remained vigilant against North Korea’s weapons ambitions, saying on Tuesday South Korea should bolster its defenses in tandem with talks with Pyongyang.

The Pentagon has nevertheless said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the North-South talks, which resumed in January for the first time in two years.

North Korea has vowed never to give up what it calls an essential deterrent against U.S. hostility. Pyongyang has not carried out any nuclear or missile tests since November.

Although the North is carrying out annual winter military exercises, it has not engaged in unusual behavior, according to South Korea’s defence ministry.

The Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, 38 North, said satellite images indicated North Korea’s main nuclear reactor may be operating, meaning that it had resumed production of plutonium, presumably for its nuclear weapons program.

Steam plumes were observed from the reactor in images from Feb. 17 and Feb. 25 and such vapor plumes had “generally been a useful indicator of reactor operations”, 38 North said in a report on Monday.

However, the report said no cooling water discharges had been observed.

That could mean the plumes were unrelated to reactor operations, or that the discharge pipeline had been extended into a nearby river in an attempt to disguise activity.

“The presence of ice melt on the river supports the conclusion that the reactor is indeed operating and that the outfall pipeline has been extended,” it said.


North Korea To Send Athletes To Paralympic Games In South Korea

Following North Korea’s first visit to South Korea during the Winter Olympics, it seems that the tension between the two countries might have reduced as it is been reported that North Korea plans to send athletes to compete in next month’s Paralympic Games in South Korea.

Now, officials from North and South Korea met on Tuesday at a village along the heavily-fortified border to discuss logistics for the Paralympics, which begin on March 8.

The Winter Games was held in PyeongChang in South Korea from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25 with North Korea participating for the first time.

South Korean leaders see Pyongyang’s participation in the Games as key to lowering tensions on the peninsula and possibly leading to diplomatic negotiations over the North’s nuclear programme.

The 2018 Winter Paralympics, officially known as the XII Paralympic Winter Games, and commonly known as the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics, is an international winter multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities.


North Korea Request US Dismantles Nuclear Arsenal

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK’s official media has revealed its intentions that the U. S. should dismantle its nuclear arsenal first if it truly desires a nuclear weapons-free world, calling the US a “nuclear criminal.”

The official Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary that the U. S. was the first country in the world to make a nuclear weapon and the only one to ever to use it.

Recall that U.S. President Donald Trump recently said that his country needed to expand nuclear arsenal and modernize nuclear weapons because other countries were doing so.

“It is the U. S. that must abandon its nuclear ambitions before others,” said the official daily of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

During a meeting with American governors and mayors at the White House recently, Trump said if other countries abandon their nuclear development, the U. S. would do so “in two minutes,” according to media reports.

Accusing Washington of cherishing a “wild ambition to dominate the world with an absolute nuclear upper-hand,” the daily said that “if the U. S. opts for nuclear dismantlement, the denuclearisation issue of the world will be easily settled.”


Kim Jong’s Sister Lands In South Korea Ahead Of Winter Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister has landed in South Korea ahead of the Olympics.

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of Pyongyang’s ruling dynasty to set foot in its rival since the Korean War.

Yo Jong was also part of a high-level diplomatic delegation led by the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam — its highest-level official ever to go to the South — as the Winter Olympics trigger a diplomatic rapprochement between the rivals.

Their white Ilyushin-62 jet, marked in Korean script “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, the North’s official name, and its tailfin emblazoned with a Northern emblem, touched down at Incheon airport near Seoul.

The last member of the Kim family to set foot in Seoul was Yo Jong’s grandfather Kim Il Sung, the North’s founder, after his forces invaded in 1950 and the capital fell.

Three years later the conflict ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula divided by the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, and the two sides technically in a state of war.

Now the North is subject to multiple rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, while the democratic South has risen to become the world’s 11th-largest economy.

Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong, both of them in dark coats with fur collars, were met by the South’s unification minister and other officials, exchanging pleasantries about the cold weather.

The leader’s sister looked relaxed, smiling calmly as she talked with them, before making her way through the terminal, with four bodyguards surrounding her closely, to take a high-speed train to the Winter Olympics host Pyeongchang.

The delegation’s trip is the diplomatic high point of a Games-driven rapprochement between the two Koreas, with dovish South Korean President Moon Jae-in pushing a “peace Olympics” that will open a door for dialogue to alleviate tensions and seek to persuade Pyongyang to give up its atomic ambitions.

Kim Yong Nam was due to attend a leaders’ reception on Friday ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony along with US Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, both of whose countries the North regularly threatens.

And Moon is scheduled to have lunch with the Pyongyang delegation on Saturday.

But all eyes are on Yo Jong — a key member of the Kim dynasty that has ruled the impoverished, isolated nation with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult over three generations.

The family are revered in the North as the “Paektu bloodline”, named after the country’s highest mountain and supposed birthplace of the late leader Kim Jong Il.

Many analysts suggest Yo Jong may be carrying a personal message to Moon from her brother.


North Korea Agrees To Join Winter Olympics In South Korea

North Korea has formally agreed to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. It further revealed that it will send a delegation of high-ranking officials, athletes and a cheering squad to the The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018 international multi-sport event is scheduled to take place from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25 in PyeongchangCounty, South Korea.

South Korea’s vice unification minister Chun Hae-sung said Seoul proposed inter-Korean military talks to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula and a reunion of family members in time for February’s Lunar New Year holiday.

South Korea also proposed that athletes from the two Koreas march together at the Games’ opening ceremony and other joint activities between the two nations during the Winter Olympics, Chun told reporters outside the first formal talks between North and South Korea in more than two years.

The talks are being closely watched by world leaders eager for any sign of a reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula amid rising fears over North Korea’s missile launches and development of nuclear weapons in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

The meeting was to continue on Tuesday afternoon after the two sides broke up for separate lunches.

It began at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) in the three-storey Peace House just across the demilitarised zone on the South Korean side of Panmunjom truce village.

“North Korea said that they are determined to make today’s talks fruitful, and make it a groundbreaking opportunity,” Chun said.

Chun also said the South Koreans proposed resuming negotiations over the North’s nuclear programme but there was no specific response from the North Koreans.

According to Chun, North Korean officials said during the meeting they were open to promoting reconciliation between the two countries through dialogue and negotiation.


North Korean Leader Begins The New Year With Threats

Kim Jong in his 2018 New Year address has threatened to blow up the United States.

Kim Jong Un has warned the United States that the nuclear button is always on his desk but he says he won’t use nuclear weapons if there’s no aggression against his country.

“The entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality,” said Kim during his annual New Year’s Day address.

He also declared that his country is “a responsible nuclear nation that loves peace” and said that as long as there’s no aggression directed at it, “we do not intend to use nuclear powers.”

Kim called on his country to accelerate production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

“As for the areas of nuclear weapons research and rocket engineering, we need to accelerate the mass production of nuclear warheads, whose power and reliability have already been secured, and ballistic missiles,” Kim said, adding that the country also needed to be ready “to retaliate against the enemy’s move for a nuclear war.”


Kim Jong-un Executes Two Senior Officials Over Failed Nuclear Test

Two top officials of North Korean government has been executed by the country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un over mishaps at the country’s test missile site.

The latest unnamed executive was killed after he allegedly took responsibility for setbacks at the Punggye-ri nuclear base, which led to the date of a rocket launch being pushed back.

Five days ago, a high-ranking official once described as the ‘second most powerful man in North Korea’ disappeared from public life, sparking speculation he too may have been executed by death squads.

General Hwang Pyong-so once held the most senior military position in the hermit state as a Vice-Marshall after the supreme leader.

The most recent victim was said to be the director of Bureau 131, in charge of construction at Kim’s missile and nuclear bases.

Back in September, at least 200 workers were reportedly killed when a tunnel collapsed shortly after the detonation of an H-bomb.

It has been claimed the nuclear base, situated in the North Korean mountains, is falling into disrepair after being struck by earthquakes and landslides due to repeated nuke blasts.

A source told Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun: “It seems he took the blame as the prolonged mining of the nuclear facility pushed back the test date to September when it was initially set for spring.”

Kim has executed more than 340 people since he came to power – and that doesn’t include untold numbers sent to gulags or labour camps.

The so-called tubby tyrant is said to have been reshaping North Korea’s ruling elite in recent months as he fears the military is becoming too powerful.

He has also launched dozens of missiles this year, as well as detonating the hydrogen bomb on September 3.
Earlier this month Kim was pictured on top of a mountain he previously ‘climbed’ before executing top officials – sparking fears he was about to do the same again.

The tyrant visited the significant Mount Paektu, seen as mystical and situated not far from North Korea’s nuclear testing facilities, where Kim goes to make important decisions.

In 2016 he was pictured on the mountain before carrying out a huge nuclear test.

In April 2015 he visited the mountain then executed former defence chief Hyon Yong-chol.

In November 2013 he visited the mountain before killing uncle and political guardian Jang Song-thaek.


North Korea Agent Charged With Crime

A “loyal agent of North Korea” has been charged with trying to sell missile parts and technology on the black market to raise money for Pyongyang in breach of international sanctions, Australian police said Sunday.

The 59-year-old naturalised Australian citizen of Korean descent was attempting to broker illicit deals that could have generated “tens of millions of dollars” for North Korea, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said.

The man was involved in discussions to set up a ballistic missile production facility and the supply of missile construction plans in addition to components, software and the transfer of technical expertise from Pyongyang, police alleged.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters the case was “like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil”, alleging that the man was in contact with high-ranking North Korean officials.

“This man is a loyal agent of North Korea, believing he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose.”

The alleged agent’s plans did not involve other governments or officials, police said. Authorities did not reveal which individuals or entities the man was allegedly trying to trade with.

North Korea is under tough United Nations sanctions aimed at choking off revenue to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

“This is a very important arrest, the charges laid are the greatest nature,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.

“It is vitally important that all nations … enforce those sanctions.”

The man, who has lived in Australia for three decades, allegedly used encrypted communication services to facilitate the attempted trades, which included the transfer of coal from North Korea to entities in Indonesia and Vietnam.

He is in custody and faces a total of six charges, with maximum penalties of up to 10 years in jail.

Investigators would not rule out further charges, and are probing other attempted commodity trades involving oil and gemstones.

This is the first time charges have been laid for breaches under Canberra’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and for violating UN sanctions against North Korea in Australia.

Global anxiety about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s authoritarian government has steadily risen this year, with Washington calling on other UN members to cut ties with Pyongyang in order to squeeze the secretive regime.

North Korea Launches New Ballistic Missile, To Reach United States

North Korea says it has successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach the whole of continental United States.

State television said Pyongyang had achieved its mission of becoming a nuclear state.

The Hwasong-15 missile, described as its “most powerful”, was launched in darkness early on Wednesday.

It landed in Japanese waters but flew higher than any other missile the North had previously tested.

The test, which defied international sanctions imposed over the North’s weapons programme, drew swift international condemnation, with the UN Security Council due to convene an emergency session.

South Korea responded by carrying out live-fire exercises, launching one of its own ballistic missiles.

News of the launch was announced on state television in a special broadcast at midday, as well as in a report released by state news agency KCNA.

Pyongyang says the missile reached an altitude of 4,475km (2,780 miles) and flew 950km in 53 minutes, close to independent estimates made by South Korea’s military.

The projectile, fired at a steep incline, did not fly over Japan as some have done in the past, and landed about 250km short of its northern coast, according to Japanese officials.

Trump, Abe Agreed To Increase Pressure On North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister  agreed to work together to raise pressure on North Korea, Yasutoshi Nishimura, a deputy chief cabinet secretary, said on Monday.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump and spoke by telephone after the Japanese premier’s ruling coalition scored a big win in an election on Sunday.

Nishimura told reporters that Abe and Trump were planning to play golf together on Nov. 5, when Trump makes his first visit to Japan.


Update: Two Women Accused Of Kim Jong-nam’s Murder Plead Not Guilty

The two women accused of the assassinating the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have pleaded not guilty at the start of the high-profile murder trial in a Malaysian court on Monday.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, a Vietnamese, are charged with killing Kim Jong-nam by smearing his face with VX, a chemical poison at the Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on 13 February.

The late estranged half-brother of North Korean leader was on his way back to his home in the Chinese territory of Macau when he was attacked with VX, a banned chemical poison under the 1993 chemical weapons convention.

The two women who are charged with murder under section 302 of the Malaysian criminal code, which carries a mandatory death sentence arrived at court Monday wearing bullet proof vests with their eyes downcast, surrounded by heavy police presence.

After two interpreters read the charges to the women in the Shah Alam court, the interpreters told the court that the women pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution said their actions showed “intent to kill the victim” by smearing his face and eyes with VX nerve agent, which a post-mortem confirmed had killed Kim. They also told the court that four North Koreans who are at large helped the accused women carry out several practice runs in Kuala Lumpur shopping malls.

The women, however, told their lawyers they did not know they were participating in a deadly attack and believed they were carrying out a prank for a reality TV show.

If found guilty, the accused women will face a mandatory death sentence.