North Korean

Government shutters all North Korean businesses in line with UN sanctions

KONFRONTASI -   The government has shuttered all businesses run by North Koreans in the Kingdom, in line with UN sanctions against that country over its nuclear and missile programmes.

The premises which were closed down include six restaurants and the North Korean-built Panorama museum in Siem Reap province which were set up before the sanctions were imposed.

Pompeo says has good meeting with North Korea's Kim but more needs to be done

KONFRONTASI- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed to arrange a second leaders summit “as soon as possible,” and discussed potential U.S. monitoring of Pyongyang’s steps toward denuclearization, South Korea’s presidential office said on Sunday.

Pompeo said his latest, fourth trip to Pyongyang was “another step forward” to denuclearization and he had a “good, productive conversation” with Kim, but more needed to be done.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in held talks with Pompeo in Seoul after the top U.S. diplomat met with Kim for more than three hours during a short trip to Pyongyang that was aimed at breaking a gridlock in their nuclear negotiations.

Pompeo said he and Kim discussed denuclearization steps to be taken by the North and the issue of U.S. government monitoring of those actions, which Washington sees as vital, as well as the measures the United States would conduct in return, Moon’s office said.

Pompeo and Kim also agreed to form a working group “at an early date” to discuss the denuclearization process and the second summit, which Kim proposed to U.S. President Donald Trump in a letter last month, according to Moon’s press secretary Yoon Young-chan.

“Secretary Pompeo said he and Chairman Kim concurred that they will hold the second U.S.-North Korea summit as soon as possible,” Yoon said in a statement.

“The two sides also agreed to continue discussions to decide on the detailed timing and location of the second summit.”

While Seoul sounded upbeat, Pompeo struck a more cautious tone.

“As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way and we took one of them today,” Pompeo told Moon. “It was another step forward. So this is, I think, a good outcome for all of us.”

Trump appeared hopeful on Sunday.

“@SecPompeo had a good meeting with Chairman Kim today in Pyongyang. Progress made on Singapore Summit Agreements! I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim again, in the near future,” Trump tweeted.

Moon expressed hopes that Pompeo’s trip and the proposed second meeting between Kim and Trump would make “irreversible, decisive progress in terms of denuclearization as well as the peace process.”

Moon had his own third summit with Kim last month in Pyongyang, which was partly intended to help salvage the stumbling negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington, after Trump called off Pompeo’s planned visit to the North in late August citing lack of progress.

A U.S. official who was part of Pompeo’s delegation said the trip was “better than the last time” but added: “It’s going to be a long haul.”

Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization during the Singapore summit, but Pyongyang’s actions have since fallen short of U.S. demands for irreversible steps to give up its arsenal.

At his last meeting with Moon, he expressed willingness to allow outside observations of key missile facilities and, for the first time, to “permanently” scrap North Korea’s main nuclear complex in Yongbyon.

But the inter-Korean agreement again failed to stipulate any plans called for by the United States, such as to declare a list of its nuclear weapons, facilities and materials, or a concrete timeline for denuclearization.

 

Seoul is keen to keep the dialogue going, with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha suggesting Washington delay securing the list, which she said would “take a lot of back and forth,” and agree to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War in return for a shutdown of Yongbyon.

Russia says visit by North Korean leader being discussed

KONFRONTASI-Moscow and Pyongyang are discussing the possibility of a visit by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, to Russia, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said on Wednesday.

“The possibility of such a visit has been discussed, the invitation has been sent, we are discussing this with the Korean representatives but no date has been identified, there is no clear response from the Korean side yet,” Ushakov told journalists.

 

North Korean leader Kim visits China, meets President Xi

KONFRONTASI-North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited China this week and met President Xi Jinping, the state media of both countries said on Tuesday, their second encounter in two months amid warming ties between the Cold War allies.

Their talks in the northeastern coastal city of Dalian comes as tension on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons eases ahead of what would be a historic meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, as soon as this month, according to the White House.

China has been keen to show it has an indispensable role to play in seeking a lasting solution to tension over North Korea, concerned that its interests may be ignored, especially as North Korea and the United States establish contacts.

Kim, during his visit on Monday and Tuesday, told Xi he hoped relevant parties would take “phased” and “synchronized” measures to realize denuclearisation and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

“So long as relevant parties eliminate hostile policies and security threats toward North Korea, North Korea has no need for nuclear (capacity), and denuclearisation can be realized,” China’s official Xinhua news agency cited Kim as saying.

Kim told Xi that the denuclearisation of the peninsula was North Korea’s “constant and clear position”, and that dialogue between North Korea and the United States could build mutual trust.

Chinese state media showed pictures of Kim smiling in an outdoors meeting with Xi, and the two leaders strolling along a waterfront.

Xi hosted a banquet and told Kim of his backing of North Korea’s “strategic shift towards economic development”, Xinhua added.

“China supports North Korea’s upholding of denuclearisation on the peninsula, and supports North Korea and the United States resolving the peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation,” Xi said.

North Korean state media said Kim was “very pleased” that the relationship with China was reaching a high point, and North Korea would cooperate with China more actively as the situation on the Korean peninsula changed.

The visit, part of a flurry of diplomatic engagement that has dramatically eased tension, follows Kim’s recent historic summit with South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

It also followed Kim’s dramatic train journey to Beijing in March, his first known trip abroad since assuming power in 2011.

China says North Korea's Kim pledged commitment to denuclearization

KONFRONTASI-North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization and to meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated neighbor.

After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed that Kim had traveled to Beijing and met Xi during what China called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.

The visit was Kim’s first known trip outside North Korea since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency made no mention of Kim’s pledge to denuclearize, or his anticipated meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that is planned for some time in May.

China has traditionally been secretive North Korea’s closest ally but ties have been frayed by its pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.

China’s Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tension and put forward proposals for talks.

“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to the ministry.

North Korea was willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.

“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.

 

Train believed carrying top North Korean delegation leaves Beijing

KONFRONTASI-A train believed to be carrying a senior North Korean delegation left the Chinese capital on Tuesday following a dramatic whirlwind visit that some reports said included the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

The conservative South Korea Chosun Ilbo newspaper, citing an unnamed senior intelligence official, said the delegation had included Kim and that he had since left to return to North Korea.

South Korea’s left-leaning press Hankyoreh also reported Kim had traveled to Beijing for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday afternoon before leaving for a “third location” on Tuesday. It did not cite specific sources.

The Hankyoreh did not specify where the “third location” was but said it could be in China.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post said Kim was on the train that left Beijing, citing two anonymous sources.

South Korea said it was closely watching events in Beijing, where a foreign ministry spokeswoman deflected a question on whether Kim, his sister or some other senior North Korean was visiting. South Korea’s spy agency declined to confirm the report.

“At present I have no understanding of the situation you mention. If there is news we will release it,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular daily briefing.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing said a senior North Korean official was in town, but did not know exactly who.

Bloomberg, citing three unidentified sources, reported late on Monday that Kim was in Beijing in what would be his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011.

The unconfirmed visit came ahead of planned summit meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump.

“The presidential Blue House is watching things in Beijing very closely, while keeping all possibilities open,” said the senior official in Seoul, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Improving ties between North Korea, which is pursuing nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and China would be a positive sign before the planned summits, he said.

A Reuters reporter saw a convoy leave Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guest House, where senior foreign leaders often stay, and drive north on Tuesday morning. It was unclear where the convoy was headed.

Later, a Reuters journalist saw what was believed to be the delegation’s train pulling out of a Beijing station. The group was reported to have arrived in China on Sunday after crossing from North Korea in the border city of Dandong.

A senior U.S. official who follows North Korea closely said the available evidence suggested that Kim had traveled to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, but stressed that has not been confirmed.

Underscoring the mystery, one senior Beijing-based diplomatic source told Reuters simply: “We just don’t know.”

One source with ties to China’s leadership said it was possible Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was in town. She visited South Korea for the Winter Olympics last month, paving the way for a summit between the two Koreas.

South Korean news agency Newsis reported that Kim Yo Jong and the North’s ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, were visiting Beijing, citing an unidentified North Korea-related source in Beijing.

The pair visited South Korean President Moon Jae-in at his office in Seoul during the Winter Olympics in February.

The U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was unlikely Kim Jong Un would have sent his sister on such an important mission, unlike her ceremonial visit to South Korea for the Olympics.

On the contrary, the official said, a summit with Xi would underscore Kim’s standing as a world leader.

Canadian pastor returns home after release from North Korean prison

KONFRONTASI-A Canadian pastor who was imprisoned in North Korea for more than two years quietly returned to his home in a Toronto suburb on Saturday following a long journey on a private government jet via Japan.

Hyeon Soo Lim, formerly the senior pastor at one of Canada's largest churches, had disappeared on a mission to North Korea in early 2015. He was sentenced to hard labor for life in December 2015 on charges of attempting to overthrow the Pyongyang regime.

Rain in Pyongyang as North Koreans prepare for 'Day of the Sun'

KONFRONTASI-North Koreans placed flower baskets and bouquets below portraits of founder president Kim Il Sung on Friday, showing little sign of tension despite fears the reclusive nation may conduct a nuclear test and the United States would retaliate.

The 105th birth anniversary of the founder is on Saturday, celebrated as the Day of the Sun in North Korea, its most important holiday. The North Korean regime often uses such anniversaries for displays of military prowess.

Malaysia names North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning in murder case

KONFRONTASI-Malaysian police on Wednesday named a North Korean diplomat along with a state airline official who are wanted for questioning over the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader.

Kim Jong Nam, 46, was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13, while preparing to board a flight to Macau, where he lived in exile with his family under the protection of Beijing.

Kim Jong Un has executed over 300 people since coming to power

KONFRONTASI-A new report claims North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has ordered 340 people to be executed since he came to power in 2011.

The Institute for National Security Strategy, a South Korean think tank, released "The misgoverning of Kim Jong Un's five years in power" on Thursday, detailing how the North Korean leader uses executions to tighten his hold on power.

Of those killed, about 140 were senior officers in the country's government, military and ruling Korean Worker's Party.

Pages