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Seoul seeking to verify reports 12 workers brought to ROK against their will, By Dagyum Ji and Oliver Hotham

Seoul seeking to verify reports 12 workers brought to ROK against their will

Ministry of Unification reports it has been unable to meet face-to-face with women

The South Korean government on Friday said it is seeking to ascertain the truth behind local media reports that 12 North Korean restaurant workers who arrived in the ROK in 2016 were brought against their will. In comments made during a regular press briefing, Ministry of Unification (MOU) spokesperson Baik Tae-hyun was asked to comment on Friday .

N. Korea reassures ICAO of missile test halt amid expanding aviation activities, By Hamish Macdonald

N. Korea reassures ICAO of missile test halt amid expanding aviation activities

Statement reiterates pledge made at ruling party meeting in April

North Korea has informed the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that it will no longer fire missiles without warning. The statement was conveyed to the Directors of ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau and Regional Office for the Asia-Pacific Stephen Creamer and Arun Mishra during a visit to the DPRK between May 7 and May 9 for meeting in April.

U.S. will not “walk into an Iran deal” with North Korea, says Trump, By Oliver Hotham

U.S. will not “walk into an Iran deal” with North Korea, says Trump

President insists Washington will not pursue JCPOA-type agreement at summit with Kim Jong Un

The United States will not pursue a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)-style deal with North Korea at an upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump said on Thursday. Speaking to supporters in Indiana, the President said that while he believed the summit – now set to take place on June 12 in Singapore.

First North Korea-U.S. summit to take place in Singapore on June 12, By NK News

First North Korea-U.S. summit to take place in Singapore on June 12
President Trump says he will try to make meeting a “special moment for World Peace” 

A planned first meeting between DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump will take place in Singapore on June 12, Trump announced on social media on Thursday.

“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”

The news follows months of speculation on the potential date and time of what will represent the first-ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting U.S. President.

President Trump first accepted Kim Jong Un’s invitation to talk in March, following a meeting with South Korean officials at the White House.

Two visits by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang since then have been seen as further laying the groundwork for the summit, with the second taking place this week and ending in the release of three U.S. citizens previously held captive in the North.

During his return trip from North Korea, Pompeo added that the summit is likely to last one day, though could stretch into two days if required.

The President reiterated on Thursday that he plans to use the talks to secure a North Korean commitment to denuclearization saying that the two leaders “have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful.”

North Korea had until this week remained silent on its leader’s plans to meet with Trump.

But a report by the Korean Central News Agency and subsequent coverage by ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun on Thursday said the leader had made reference to the “coming DPRK-U.S. summit.”

“[Kim] said that the coming DPRK-U.S. summit would be a historic meeting for the excellent first step toward promotion of the positive situation development in the Korean peninsula and building of a good future,” KCNA said, in coverage of a Wednesday meeting between the DPRK leader and Pompeo.


Togo, Belize, and Sierra Leone continue to provide flags to DPRK-linked ships, By Leo Byrne

Togo, Belize, and Sierra Leone continue to provide flags to DPRK-linked ships

Togo and Sierra Leone registries share Dalian-based agents.

This story has been updated to include additional information from Togo’s UN implementation report Despite stricter sanctions, many DPRK linked-vessels continue to use flags from other countries, an NK Pro investigation can reveal, with Togo, Belize, and Sierra Leone among the most common choices for the most illicit elements of North Korea’s fleet.


Kim Jong Un’s public appearances in April: the inter-Korean summit dominates headlines, By Fyodor Tertitskiy

Kim Jong Un's public appearances in April: the inter-Korean summit dominates headlines

The month saw diplomatic niceties continue and a rare policy shift from the ruling party

Kim Jong Un’s appearances in April largely continued the diplomatic trend which began in March, with the leader’s continued overtures to China and a summit with South Korea. The most notable event of the month was undoubtedly the inter-Korean summit, which received extensive coverage in state media, but April also saw a symbolic concert by DPRK.


Moon Jae-in’s first year: what’s been achieved on North Korea? By Tom Eck

Moon Jae-in’s first year: what’s been achieved on North Korea?

Building on the momentum of the past year must be the ROK President’s primary goal going forward

On May 10 last year, Moon Jae-in became President of South Korea. His election marked the first victory in a presidential election by a liberal party since 2002, returning the political left to power after nine years of conservative rule. President Moon took office in turbulent times, as Pyongyang’s continued launch of ballistic missile tests.

Top MHI-NK Stories from around the web:

AS-Koreas-North-Korean-Restaurant-Workers

(Associated Press) South Korea said Friday it will look closer into the circumstances surrounding the arrival of a dozen North Korean restaurant workers in 2016 after a television report suggested some of the women might have been brought to the South against their will.Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun did not provide a clear answer on whether the women could be returned to North Korea if it’s confirmed they didn’t want to come to South Korea.

Seoul had previously said it sufficiently confirmed the women’s free will in escaping from the North and resettling in the South. North Korea has accused South Korea of abducting the 12 women who were working in China and demanded their return.

Baik was speaking in response to a report by JTBC, which on Thursday aired an interview of a man it said was the manager of a restaurant in China where the women had been working. The man, who’s now also in South Korea, said he carried out the escape under plans arranged by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service and that the women were brought along without knowledge of where they were going.

JTBC also interviewed four women who it said were among the group that arrived in the South. They said they didn’t know where they were headed to until they reached the South Korean Embassy in Malaysia and that they wish to see their parents again.


Trump, Iran and North Korea 

Hasil gambar untuk Trump, Iran and North Korea 

(Korea Times Opinion) There is nothing like a meeting with a dictator to get out of problems at home. The visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang, just as President Donald Trump was jettisoning the Iran deal, shows Trump’s eagerness to sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and come up with a statesman-like solution to the confrontation on the Korean Peninsula.


North Korea: How many political prisoners are there?

Left to right: Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim

(BBC News) Three American citizens have been released from North Korea, where they had been jailed and detained in labour camps. Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul were greeted by President Donald Trump and his wife Melania as they landed at an airbase near Washington DC.

Conditions for prisoners in North Korea are said to be harsh.

One of the American detainees, Kim Dong-chul, said he had had to do a lot of labour “but when I got sick I was also treated by them”.

In political prison camps, detainees have been subjected to torture and many North Koreans are incarcerated for life without any contact with the outside world, according to the UN in a 2014 report on the human rights situation in North Korea.


Japan, China, South Korea agree to cooperate toward nuke-free North Korea

Hasil gambar untuk Japan, China, South Korea agree to cooperate toward nuke-free North Korea

(Kyodo News) The leaders of Japan, China and South agreed Wednesday to work together toward the complete denuclearization of as the world looks ahead to the first-ever U.S.- summit in the coming weeks.

“We have to build on the momentum toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and peace and stability in Northeast Asia, and ensure North Korea takes concrete actions,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a press conference after the trilateral summit.

The talks involving Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In were held in Tokyo’s Akasaka Palace state guesthouse.

“We stress that it is only the international cooperation on and the comprehensive resolution of concerns of the parties…that will pave the way for the bright future for the DPRK,” the leaders said in a joint declaration, using the acronym for North Korea‘s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

But it is unclear whether the three neighbors are completely on the same page due to their differing approaches toward the shared goal.

The talks involving Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In were held in Tokyo’s Akasaka Palace state guesthouse. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters the three countries agreed to further cooperate so that the North will abandon its weapons of mass destruction, including its nuclear arsenal, and ballistic missiles in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” manner in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions.


The Stars of North Korea Talks Revolve Around Moon 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pose for photographs during the Inter-Korean Summit at the Peace House on April 27, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea. (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images)

(Foreign Policy) Now that there is a time and a place set for the summit meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, some question whether Kim would have ever come to the table had a different, more predictable president been in the White House.

South Korea’s leader, President Moon Jae-in, went so far as to deflect credit to Washington, suggesting that Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

But Moon can’t be eclipsed so easily: While the historic talks — set, according to Trump, for June 12 — are partly due to Trump’s campaign of maximum pressure and maximal rhetoric, not to mention Kim’s quest for international recognition, the summit would likely never have happened if it hadn’t been for Moon’s behind-the-scenes efforts to finally bridge the North-South divide.

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