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Satellites show North Korea nuclear test unlikely: think tank

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea is unlikely to be ready to stage a nuclear test timed to coincide with U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Asia, a respected think tank said on Wednesday based on its assessment of satellite imagery. Comments by South Korea's foreign ministry that the North could be moving towards what would be its fourth nuclear test prompted the U.S. State Department to urge Pyongyang to "refrain from actions that threaten regional peace".

U.S. urges North Korea to refrain from new nuclear test

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it was watching the Korean peninsula closely after reports that North Korea may be planning another nuclear test and it urged Pyongyang not to take any step that would threaten regional peace. South Korean news reports quoted the South Korean government as saying on Tuesday that heightened activity had been detected at North Korea's underground nuclear test site, indicating possible preparations for another atomic test.

Russia writes off 90 percent of North Korea debt, eyes gas pipeline

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's parliament has agreed to write off almost $10 billion of North Korea's Soviet-era debt, in a deal expected to facilitate the building of a gas pipeline to South Korea across the reclusive state. Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighboring South Korea's.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 309 (April 17, 2014)

NEWS IN BRIEF N. Korean leader pays tribute to founder on birthday SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid respects to his grandfather and founder of the communist country on April 15 marking his 102nd birthday, the North's state media said. Kim visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the body of Kim Il-sung, along with his son and former leader Kim Jong-un, lies in state, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The founding father died in 1994, and his birthday is one of the most important holidays in North Korea.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 309 (April 17, 2014)

FOREIGN TIPS Russia's deputy PM to visit N. Korea soon: report SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev plans to visit North Korea soon, a U.S. radio report said on April 16. The trip by Trutnev, who is also President Vladimir Putin's envoy to Russia's Far East, is the latest in a series of exchange visits of high-level officials between the two countries, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, citing Russian media.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 309 (April 17, 2014)

TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 1) Diplomatic efforts under way for resumption of six-party talks SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Amid prolonged tension on the Korean Peninsula, a flurry of diplomatic moves have been under way to resume the six-party talks to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Specifically, Seoul, Washington and Beijing are intensifying diplomatic efforts as they wrestle to rein in North Korea's nuclear threats and find middle ground in reopening the long-stalled six-nation forum.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 309 (April 17, 2014)

TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 2) S. Korea dismisses N. Korea's call for joint probe into drones SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korea on April 15 rejected North Korea's offer for a joint investigation by the two Koreas into the suspected North Korean drones that were found crashed in South Korea in recent weeks, saying that it is the North's psychological tactic to evade its responsibility.

U.S., China in 'productive' talks after North Korea test threat

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and China have held "productive" talks on North Korea, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday, part of stepped up international diplomacy after Pyongyang warned of plans to conduct a new type of nuclear test.

N. Korea warns S. Korea will pay dear price for slander

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea warned Monday that it will force South Korea to pay a dear price for its criticism of the North's dignity, the latest in a series of verbal threats against the South. The rival Koreas agreed in February to halt cross-border slander during their first high-level talks in seven years. Still, the North has since claimed South Korea hurled mud at the North's leadership and its social system with the communist country citing, among other things, anti-Pyongyang leaflets.

North Korea denounces US 'double-standards'

North Korea on Friday accused the United States of hypocrisy for remaining silent over a South Korean missile test while condemning Pyongyang's recent launches. "The US double-dealing attitude and despicable mode of action has been brought to light," a spokesman for the North's powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) said in a statement. The statement, carried by the North's official KCNA news agency, comes at a time of elevated military tensions, with Pyongyang threatening a "new" type of nuclear test.
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