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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 310 (April 24, 2014)

INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS S. Korea's railway chief makes rare train travel to N. Korea BEIJING (Yonhap) -- The chief of South Korea's state-run railway company boarded an international rail and headed for North Korea on April 21, making a rare train travel to Pyongyang from Beijing to attend an international conference concerning transport between Europe and Asia.

N. Korea nuclear threats to top agenda for Park's talks with Obama

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- Nuclear threats from North Korea, including the possibility of an additional nuclear test, will be a key topic when President Park Geun-hye holds talks with U.S. President Barack Obama later this week, an official said Thursday. Obama is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Friday for a two-day visit amid growing concerns that Pyongyang could conduct its fourth nuclear test. South Korean officials have cited intelligence showing that all technical preparations have been completed at the Punggye-ri test site.

Canada's oil, gas catch Europe's eye amid Ukraine troubles: Polish ambassador

OTTAWA - The Russian invasion of Crimea is making Alberta's oil and gas more attractive in European capitals, says Poland's ambassador to Canada. Poland supports the idea of importing Canadian oil and gas, envoy Marcin Bosacki said Wednesday prior to the start of a two-day visit to his country by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. "This point of view is being shared in a growing number of European capitals in the last two months since the Crimea invasion," Bosacki said.

N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy

More than a week after a South Korean ferry carrying 476 people capsized and sank, North Korea finally voiced its condolences Wednesday for the victims of the disaster, including the many schoolchildren who died. The message was sent between the two Koreas' Red Cross organisations who regularly handle official cross-border communications, the South's Unification Ministry said. "The North said in the message that it conveys deep condolences that so many passengers, including young students, died or went missing due to the sinking of the ferry Sewol," the ministry said.

N. Korea offers condolences over S. Korean ferry victims

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has expressed its condolences over the sinking of a South Korean ferry in a telephone message through its Red Cross Society, the unification ministry said Wednesday. The message under the name of Kang Su-rin, the chief of the Red Cross Society of North Korea, was sent to Yoo Jung-keun, the president of the (South) Korean Red Cross, the ministry said. Of 476 people on board, 174 people survived the sinking of the 6,325-ton ferry Sewol. One hundred and fifty have been confirmed dead, with 152 people still missing as of noon on Wednesday.

Park asks China to help dissuade N. Korea from nuclear test

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help persuade North Korea not to carry out a nuclear test, her office said Wednesday, as concerns have been growing that Pyongyang has completed all preparations and could soon press ahead with a test.

Park asks China to dissuade N. Korea from nuclear test

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye asked Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday to help persuade North Korea not to carry out a fourth nuclear test, her office said Wednesday, as fresh intelligence suggested that Pyongyang is fully ready for a test. Park made the request in a phone conversation with Xi, saying an additional nuclear test by the North would fundamentally change the security landscape in Northeast Asia as it would spark an arms race and a "nuclear domino" effect in the region, according to her office.

Japan sees all-time high of 1.05 mil. foreign visitors in March

The number of foreign visitors to Japan reached 1.05 million in March, an all-time high for a single month, topping the previous high of 1.00 million in July last year, an estimate released by the Japan National Tourism Organization showed Wednesday. The figure for March was up 22.6 percent from the same month a year earlier.

N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy

More than a week after a South Korean ferry carrying 476 people capsized and sank, North Korea finally voiced its condolences Wednesday for the victims of the disaster, including the many schoolchildren who died. The message was sent between the two Koreas' Red Cross organisations who regularly handle official cross-border communications, the South's Unification Ministry said. "The North said in the message that it conveys deep condolences that so many passengers, including young students, died or went missing due to the sinking of the ferry Sewol," the ministry said.

Today in Korean history

April 24 1915 -- A group of South Korean journalists form an association of newspapers. 1960 -- Vice President Lee Ki-boong resigns following the April 19 Revolution. The student-led popular uprising, which took place after the country's first president, Rhee Syngman, revised the Constitution and rigged the election that year to extend his term of office, led to the end of Rhee's regime after 12 years in power. 1993 -- National Assembly Speaker Park Jyun-kyu tenders his resignation amid controversy involving public officials' secret assets.
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