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Seoul confirms U.S. citizen arrested attempting defection to North Korea

Seoul confirms U.S. citizen arrested attempting defection to North Korea, By Dagyum Ji
58-year-old American crossed Civilian Control Line (CCL), hoped to “contribute” in DPRK, JCS says
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North Korean machine guns were found on boat bound for Somalia in 2016: report

North Korean machine guns were found on boat bound for Somalia in 2016: report, By Hamish Macdonald
No evidence DPRK was involved in small shipment of arms, says UN
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North Korea continues to buy Chinese electronics in September

North Korea continues to buy Chinese electronics in September, By Leo Byrne
Imports of items like solar panels dwindling, however.

North Korean interest in Chinese consumer electronics remained high in September, despite continuing downward pressure on the country’s earnings from foreign trade, recent trade figures show. Trade data released by China’s General Administration of Customs shows the DPRK’s inflowing trade revenues have plummeted in 2017.

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North Korean troops fired an estimated 40 shots at defecting soldier: JCS
North Korean troops fired an estimated 40 shots at defecting soldier: JCS, By Dagyum Ji
Defector attempted to flee in a Jeep before crossing MDL on foot, military says
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Trump's trip to Asia: victories and setbacks, both real and imagined, on North Korea

Trump’s trip to Asia: victories and setbacks, both real and imagined, on North Korea, By Jonathan R. Corrado
On balance, the President’s first tour was productive – bar a few hiccups

Ask President Trump to assess his performance on his landmark trip to Asia this month, and he’ll tell you that it has been “great,” “epic,” and “in the history of people coming to China, there’s been nothing like that” – a little of the President’s trademark hyperbole.

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How Kim Il Sung tried to save North Korea’s troubled planned economy

How Kim Il Sung tried to save North Korea’s troubled planned economy, By Peter Ward 
In the years before the economic crisis, Pyongyang explored ways to mitigate rampant inefficiencies

Top MHI-NK Stories from around the web:

S. Korea gauging proper timing for planned aid to N. Korea (Yonhap News) South Korea said Tuesday it is gauging an “appropriate” time to implement its planned aid to North Korea via U.N. agencies. In September, South Korea approved a plan to offer US$8 million in humanitarian assistance to North Korea to support infants and pregnant women, amid tensions sparked by North Korea’s provocations. Seoul said at that time it will later decide on the timing of an actual provision by taking into account the inter-Korean situation.
“The government has kept the stance (over the need to support those in need in North Korea) on humanitarian grounds, but it also takes into account various factors for the provision of the aid at an appropriate time,” said an official at Seoul’s unification ministry.

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North Korea’s Winter Training Means Fewer Missile Launches (Bloomberg) North Korea hasn’t fired a missile for 60 days, but that may have more to do with its own winter training cycle than with Pyongyang easing off on provocations. Since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011, only five of the isolated nation’s 85 rocket launches have taken place in the October-December quarter, according to The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ North Korea Missile Test Database.

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, on October 12, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Maxim Shemetov

Russia’s ‘pivot to Asia’ hinges on the Korean Peninsula (Asia Times) Russia expert James DJ Brown believes Moscow genuinely supports ‘denuclearization’ but has an overriding fear of a disorderly collapse of Kim Jong-un’s regime. The United States has sought to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and recently won backing from Russia and China for tougher sanctions at the United Nations security council. But Moscow and Beijing favor dialogue to resolve the standoff and oppose the deployment of US missile defense systems to Japan and South Korea, both American allies in the region. “Russia shares many of China’s worries about the “complete chaos” that could flow from the collapse of the North Korean regime on their doorstep, including a flood of refugees, the risk of unsecured nuclear weapons, and the possibility of US military forces moving north of the 38th parallel that divides the two

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What’s extraordinary (and what isn’t) about a North Korean soldier’s defection at Panmunjom (Free Korea U.S.) A North Korean soldier defected today through the Joint Security Area. What is the significance of this? “Defections at the JSA are extraordinary. I’ve searched my memory, my archives, and Google, and came up with no prior cases of North Korean soldiers defecting there in recent times…”

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Trump Unrestrained (PIIE) During his visit to South Korea, Trump gave a human rights speech on North Korea and showed restraint, while reaffirming the administration’s “maximum pressure and engagement.” This strategy requires the administration to engage China and seek multilateral support for a tightened sanctions regime, while holding open the door to talks.The China and APEC performances, by contrast, swiveled back toward America First themes and immediately raised questions about the meaning of the president’s Indo-Pacific strategy. And that was before the flurry of tweets arriving Saturday and Sunday that we will take up in a subsequent post on North Korea.

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