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U.N. Security Council to meet Thursday on North Korea missile launch

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council will hold closed-door consultations on Thursday to discuss a possible condemnation of North Korea's latest ballistic missile launches, U.N. diplomats said. The request for a special session on North Korea came from the United States, council diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity on Wednesday. The meeting of the 15-nation council was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) on Thursday.

S. Korea, US launch massive landing drill amid tensions

Nearly 15,000 South Korean and US troops kicked off a 12-day amphibious landing drill Thursday, the largest for two decades, a day after North Korea launched two mid-range ballistic missiles. Code-named Ssang Yong ("Twin Dragons"), the exercise on the South's southeastern coast will last until April 7 and involve around 10,000 US troops. "The scale of this year's Ssang Yong is greater than any others in the past," a US military spokesman told AFP. The US forces will include 7,500 marines belonging to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, based in Okinawa, Japan.

U.N. Security Council to meet Thursday on North Korea missile launch

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council will hold closed-door consultations on Thursday to discuss a possible condemnation of North Korea's latest ballistic missile launches, U.N. diplomats said. The request for a special session on North Korea came from the United States, council diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity on Wednesday. The meeting of the 15-nation council was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) on Thursday.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 306 (March 27, 2014)

TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 1) Diplomatic efforts under way for resumption of six-party talks SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A new momentum is being created to resume the long-stalled six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program. But the prospects for restarting the multilateral forum are uncertain as the participating countries are wide apart in their respective approaches toward the reopening of the dialogue that has been dormant since its last session in December 2008.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 306 (March 27, 2014)

INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS N. Korea threatens 'merciless blows' to South over leaflets SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea threatened on March 26 to "deal merciless sledgehammer blows" to South Korea for allegedly disseminating leaflets critical of the communist regime amid fresh tensions over Pyongyang's missile launches. The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea accused South Korea's military of scattering anti-Pyongyang leaflets and staging drills near their tense western sea border -- the scene of bloody skirmishes between the rival Koreas in recent years.

N. Korea fires two ballistic missiles

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, March 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea test-launched two medium-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea Wednesday morning, South Korea's military said. "North Korea fired a ballistic missile at 2:35 a.m. and another at 2:45 a.m. from the Sukchon region, north of Pyongyang, into the East Sea," the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. They are estimated to be Nodong missiles as they flew around 650 kilometers, the military said. If confirmed, it would mark the North's first Nodong missile launch in nearly five years.

N.Korea warns US anew of nuclear 'measures'

North Korea on Monday fired a fresh warning that it would take nuclear "measures" if the United States does not end what the communist state described as provocations. North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Ri Tong-Li, said that Pyongyang was "ready" with measures that would "demonstrate the power of the self-defensive nuclear deterrent." Asked at a news conference for more detail, Ri said: "We are keeping ourselves restrained from taking the additional measures, but it is totally dependent on the attitude of the US.

Abducted girl's mother hopes for improved human rights in North Korea

The mother of Megumi Yokota, who has become a symbol of the long-unresolved issue of Japanese abducted by Pyongyang, expressed hope Monday for improved respect for human rights in North Korea. "I want (North Korea) to know the trouble people, who are related by blood, have to go through to meet each other, and how wonderful it is to be free," Sakie Yokota said at a press conference after recently meeting her abducted daughter's child.

Japan should press "changing" North Korea to find closure over abductees

By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - The ageing parents of a 13-year-old Japanese girl abducted nearly 40 years ago by North Korea urged their government on Monday to heed signs of change in Pyongyang in order to find out what happened to their daughter. Japan and North Korea are set to resume high-level talks next week over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, as well as the fate of Japanese abducted decades ago to help train spies, after a hiatus of more than a year.

NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 305 (March 20, 2014)

TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 1) N. Korea continues firing rockets while making nuclear threats against U.S. SEOUL (Yonhap) -- In its latest show of force, North Korea fired 25 short-range rockets into the East Sea on March 16, a move denounced by South Korea and the United States as a "saber-rattling provocation." The North's powerful National Defense Commission had on March 14 threatened to demonstrate its nuclear deterrent in the face of "perceived hostility by the U.S."
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