Top DPRK leader guides strike drill of defense units, says KCNA

PYONGYANG, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), guided the strike drill of defense units in the East Sea of Korea on Saturday, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Sunday.

The report said the drill was aimed "to estimate and inspect the operating ability and the accuracy of striking duty performance of large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons by defense units based in the frontline area and on the eastern front."

"After setting the sequences and methods of strike, the Supreme Leader gave an order of firing," the report said.

Kim praised the People's Army for its excellent operation of modern large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons, and spoke highly of the successful striking drill though it was organized without an advance notice, it said.

Kim also stressed the need for the army to keep high alert posture and more dynamically wage the drive to increase the combat ability so as to defend the political sovereignty and economic self-sustenance of the country.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Saturday that the DPRK fired unidentified short-range projectiles off its east coast Saturday morning.

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Kim Hopes Putin Talks Will Settle Korean Peninsula Dispute

Kim stated to Russia’s state-owned Rossiya-24 that he was hoping for a “successful and useful” visit with Putin.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un met with Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday during his first trip to Russia since becoming Supreme Leader of the Asian nation.

RELATED: North Korean Leader Enters Russia To Meet With Putin

“We welcome your efforts to develop an inter-Korean dialogue and normalize North Korea’s relations with the United States,” Putin said to Kim, who noted that with the world’s attention concentrated on the Korean Peninsula, “I think we will have a very meaningful dialogue on sharing our opinions on this matter while also jointly apprising and studying it.”

The summit, which is aimed at helping to resolve the North Korea-United States standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear program, was held at a university in the city of Vladivostok.

The North Korean leader’s visit to Russia, according to Putin, will “help better understand what should be done to settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula, what we can do together, what Russia can do to support the positive processes going on now.”

Kim arrived in Vladivostok Wednesday aboard an armored train.

“I have heard a lot of good things about your country and wanted to visit it for a long time. Seven years have passed since I took charge of the country, but I did not have a chance to visit Russia until now.”

Kim stated to Russia’s state-owned Rossiya-24 that he was hoping for a “successful and useful” visit and would like to discuss the “settlement of the situation in the Korean Peninsula” as well as bilateral ties with Putin.

In February, U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim failed after a disagreement over sanctions on North Korea during the second meeting between the two leaders in Vietnam.

 

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‘Some sort of fantasy’: Mysterious group declares itself N. Korean ‘government-in-exile’

A shadowy group known as the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) has declared itself North Korea’s “government-in-exile” while decrying the government of Kim Jong-un as an “immoral and illegitimate regime.”

CCD released a statement Friday, declaring their government, which they have dubbed ‘Free Joseon,’ as “the sole legitimate representative of the Korean people of the north.” A video of a woman dressed in a traditional black and white hanbok with her face blurred out reading out the group’s manifesto was also released.

자유 조선을 위한 선언문 - DECLARATION FOR A FREE JOSEON

Joseon is an old name for Korea. The term is sometimes used by North Koreans and Koreans living in China based on a kingdom on the peninsula which lasted from 1392 – 1897. The group, named after a winged mythical horse, is believed to be harboring and protecting Kim Han-sol, the son of Kim Jong-un's assassinated brother, Kim Jong-nam, who was killed with VX nerve agent in Malaysia on February 7 2017.

An expert on the region told RT.com that he is highly skeptical of the group and suspects it is backed by South Korea or the USA.

Also on rt.com Man claiming to be Kim Jong-nam’s son records video address https://cdni.rt.com/files/2017.03/thumbnail/58c1402ec36188de158b4603.jpg");">

The CCD organization, which has assisted people defecting from the North in the past, is now attempting to revive a sense of peninsular pride on the 100th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement launched in 1919 which sought Korean liberation from Japanese occupation.

Little is known about the shadowy group, though there is speculation that it is tied to South Korea's intelligence services. Some of the text on the group's website appears as though it has been translated directly from English, adding further questions as to its authenticity and origin.

Also on rt.com 'No agreement was reached' at Trump, Kim summit - White House...

The announcement comes just one day after the Hanoi peace summit between the US and North Korea failed. Tim Beal, author, researcher and Asia specialist told RT that he doesn’t give much credence to the group’s claim to power and questioned who actually supports them.

“[It is] some sort of fantasy constructed by South Koreans, Americans what have you,” Beal told RT.com.

“There's no reason to suppose that this is anything more than some sort of fantasy. No reason to think they have any support.”

 

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North Korea Warns US Sanctions Could Derail Denuclearization

The United States Department of Treasury's sanctions on North Korean figureheads could 'block' denuclearization efforts, says Pyongyang. 

The United States has recently imposed sanctions on senior North Korean regime figures which have prompted the Asian country to decry a “deliberate provocation” which could block denuclearization efforts.

RELATED: Seoul Train Crosses DMZ With Experts to Update North's Rail

During the last six months, North Korea and the United States have been holding talks with the purpose of achieving the denuclearization of the Korean nation.

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, have had a rocky relationship ever since the U.S. leader assumed office in 2016. They have both attacked each other and exchanged pleasantries in the public realm, at different times.

The decision to impose sanctions on the three North Korean figureheads came from the US treasury department.

Pyongyang manifested its reproach to this action saying it could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever.”

Moreover, the regime stated that if relations are to improve between both nations, then each needs to take gradual measures to promote this process, “We have been proposing that the DPRK-US relations be improved on a step-by-step approach.”

However, there is concern that the opposite is taking place after the department of treasury’s actions, which have been interpreted as “bent on bringing DPRK-US relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire,” the policy research director of the North Korean foreign ministry, stated.

By exchanges of fire, the spokesman refers not to actual direct confrontation but to the series of missile tests conducted by North Korea and the verbal exchanges which took place between both leaders, in the recent past.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was supposed to meet his counterpart Yong-chol to further discuss relations between both countries in November. The meeting did not take place and it has not been rescheduled thus far.

The sanctions on North Korea come at a time when the United States government is holding negotiations with China to end the tariff-war which has been ongoing for several months. The process was put in suspense as the U.S. government orchestrated the detention of Huawei’s CFO on grounds of violating sanctions against Iran through the company’s business dealings.

 
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Cuban President confirms new North Korean ambassador in Havana ceremony

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Wednesday accepted the credentials of incoming North Korean ambassador Ma Chol Su in a ceremony in Havana, local state news outlet Prensa Latina reported.

Ma, who was appointed to the position of ambassador to Cuba by the DPRK’s Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly last month, replaces Pak Chang Yul.

The new ambassador begins work just weeks after a landmark summit between the two countries earlier in the month – the first of its kind in over 30 years.

That meeting saw the Cuban President and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un reaffirm the two countries’ “special friendship” and agree to expand scientific and economic cooperation.

Ma has extensive experience in working with North Korea’s longtime allies and as a liaison between Pyongyang and other sympathetic nations and individuals.

2017 saw Ma visit Cambodia in his capacity as a Workers’ Party official responsible for international affairs, where he met with Prince Norodom Ranariddh and discussed building ties between their two political parties.

An ambassador to Vietnam from 2006-10, he most recently served as Secretary-General of the DPRK-Japan Friendship Association, overseeing sports exchanges between the two countries and a visit in 2014 by former professional wrestler and current member of Japan’s House of Councillors Antonio Inoki.

His appointment as ambassador sees him take over responsibility for one of North Korea’s most important diplomatic relationships, with the embassy in Havana reportedly critical in conducting arms deals and other illicit transactions between the two, including in the now-notorious Chong Chon Gang incident.

It also comes as Pyongyang seeks to improve ties in the region, with the country’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam set to visit the region this week.

North Korean state media on Sunday reported that Kim, who serves as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, would soon pay an official visit to Cuba and to Venezuela, as well as attend the inauguration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Saturday.

Kim was spotted by South Korean press at Beijing Capital Airport on Tuesday, presumed to en route to Latin America.

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North Korea Conducts New Weapon Test, South Destroys Guard Post

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon reassured that Seoul would not pursue economic cooperation with Pyongyang until “significant progress” has been made on denuclearization. 

North Korean President Kim Jong-un inspected and successfully tested a newly developed tactical weapon, the country’s state media said. The Korean Central News Agency did not specify the exact type of weapon or when the test occurred.

RELATED: Cuba’s Diaz-Canel Meets North Korean Kim Jong-un

"This result today is a justification of the party's policy focused on defence, science and technology, another display of our rapidly growing defence capabilities to the whole region, and a ground-breaking change in strengthening our military's combat capabilities," the KCNA report said.

“After seeing the power of the tactical weapon, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was so excited to say that another great work was done by the defence scientists and munitions industrial workers to increase the defence capability of the country." 

An analyst from Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Shin Beomchul, noted that “it’s a North Korea-style coercive diplomacy. North Korea is saying ‘if you don’t listen to us, you will face political burdens,” said analyst.

Recently, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon reassured that Seoul would not pursue economic cooperation with Pyongyang until “significant progress” has been made on denuclearization. Cho made the remark Thursday during a visit to Washington, also adding that improving inter-Korean relation would help, not hinder the process.

However, on Thursday, South Korea advanced the hope for a unified peninsula by destroying guard posts near the border with North Korea, in accordance with an agreement made by the two states. Smoke billowed into the sky signaling that a contained explosion, by the South, had initiated the pledge to destroy guard posts.

Seoul invited journalists to observe the action which fulfilled a pledge made when the neighbors signed a unification pact, in September. The Koreas agreed to dismantle or disarm nearly one dozen guard posts, each.

Last week, the two Koreas withdrew troops and firearms from some of the guard posts - which are located in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) - along the shared border, prior to conducting the demolition.

According to reports, South Korea had about 60 posts inside the DMZ, while The North was an estimated 160. There are an estimated 2 million landmines planted in and near the zone.

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Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez Visits Kumsusan Palace of Sun

Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on Monday.

The members of the Cuban delegation were accompanied by Choe Ryong Hae, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee, Ri Yong Ho, member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and foreign minister, accompanied the Cuban president and his entourage.

A floral basket in name of the Republic of Cuba was laid before the statues of President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il.

Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez paid respects to the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

At the halls of immortality where the great leaders lie in state, he paid homage to them.

He and the members of the delegation were guided to the halls where the orders the great leaders received are on display and the halls that house cars, electric car, boat and train coaches used by them during their field guidance and foreign tours till the last moments of their lives.

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Both Koreas with More Consensus to Improve Bilateral Relations

South Korea and the People''s Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK) achieved today new consensus to put to work joint projects and improve links in sectors such as infrastructure, sports, health and the military.

During the meeting at the border village of Panmunjom, delegations of both countries agreed to start by the end of November or beginning of December this year, the works that will reconnect the border roads and railways.

They also decided to soon hold military dialogues at the level of generals, to hold a meeting of the Red Cross next month centered on the issue of families separated by the war (1950-53) and return to the negotiating table at the end of October to discuss joint organization of the Olympic Games of 2032.

In the talks held this Monday, each country was represented by five-member teams that explored ways to materialize the pacts reached by the leaders of both Koreas in their third Summit of the year, celebratesd by the middle of September in Pyongyang.

Such meeting closed with the signing of a declaration that includes as most outstanding aspect the decision of the North to permanently dismantle its most important nuclear facilities in the presence of foreign experts.

Just at the beginning of this year, the PDRK opened the road to understanding, peace and denuclearization of the península and since them sustain meetings at different levels with South Korea, the United States and China to achieve those purposes.

In that context, reaffirmed its determination to resignj to its advanced nuclear and missile program -of a self-defensive nature and axis of old disputes- always there are real guarantees that threats and pressures against it will end on the part of Washington and allies in the zone.

The international community keeps alert to the process of approach with the expectation that distension is achieved in the Korean península.

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