North Korea

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Kim Jong-un apologizes in a letter to Seoul for the shooting of South Korean official
Kim Jong-un apologizes in a letter to Seoul for the shooting of South Korean official
Credit: (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has issued an apology for the death of a 47-year-old South Korean government worker, who was shot dead and his body set alight North Korean troops. The unidentified man was found floating on the sea, in the North's waters.

The apology came in the form of a letter sent to South Korea's Blue House Friday morning, which acknowledged that the incident should not have happened.

According to the Blue House, the letter read "Chairman Kim Jong Un asked to convey that he feels very sorry that instead of giving aid to our compatriots in the South who is struggling with Covid epidemic, we have given President Moon and our compatriots in the South a great disappointment with this unseen misfortune in our sea."

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North Korea's ruler Kim Jong-un hands over some responsibilities to sister
North Korea's ruler Kim Jong-un hands over some responsibilities to sister
Credit: KCNA

According to reports from South Korean secret services, the North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has handed over further powers to his sister Kim Yo-Jong. She is now in charge of "the management of state affairs". What exactly is meant by that remains open, though.

According to South Korean media reports, relations with the USA and South Korea, among other things, are to fall within her area of responsibility. The North Korean side has not officially confirmed the report. However, the country is known for the fact that important personnel decisions are only communicated in the state media weeks or months later.

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North Korea declares state of emergency in Kaesong over first suspected Covid-19 case
Kim Jong-un in a meeting of the WPK Central Committee
Kim Jong-un in a meeting of the WPK Central Committee Credit: KCNA (Public Domain)

Kim Jong-un declared a state of emergency and imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong after a person suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus returned from South Korea after illegally crossing the border.

According to KCNA, a person "who went to the south three years ago, a person who is suspected to have been infected with the vicious virus, returned on July 19 after illegally crossing the demarcation line.".

If confirmed, it would be the first case officially acknowledged by Pyongyang.

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Inter-Korean liaison office blown up by North Korea

North Korea has blown up an inter-Korean liaison office at its border hours after threatening South Korea with military actions. The joint liaison office, located near the North Korean border town Kaesong, was opened in 2018 and was used for talks with South Korea. The explosion was confirmed by South Korea's Unification Ministry at 2:49 p.m. local time. Kim Yo-jong, sister to Kim Jong Un, had threatened the demolition of the office last weekend.

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North Korea threatens military action against South Korea

The sister of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong has announced that "By exercising my power authorized by the supreme leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with the enemy to decisively carry out the next action" and adding that it would be time to break with the authorities of South Korea. Kim Yo Jong has not specified that the next action would be that she instructed to be carried out.

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North Korea cuts communication channels with South Korea
North Korean soldier
North Korean soldier Credit: Roman Harak (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

North Korea announced Tuesday it would cut off all communication channels with South Korea, including a hotline between the two countries' leaders. Pyongyang decided to escalate its pressure on the South for not stopping activists from floating anti-regime leaflets across their tense border.

South Korea's government repeated that it would work toward restoring peace on the Korean Peninsula. North and South Korea are technically still at war because no peace agreement was reached when the Korean War ended in 1953.

Regional News • Asia • China
China reclassified city near Russia and North Korea as "high risk" again

After multiple locally transmitted cases, China has reclassified the city of Shulan near the borders of North Korea and Russia as "high risk" and has closed all public places including cinemas, libraries and others with the order that all residents must stay home with the exception of "unusual circumstances". The country had reported a total of 17 new cases on Sunday.

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Gunshots fired at Korean DMZ
Gunshots fired at Korean DMZ
Credit: wikimedia/Johannes Barre (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On Sunday, North Korean soldiers fired gunshots at the wall of South Korean guard post at the countries' DMZ, Demilitarized Zone. According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, no one was injured. South Korea broadcasted a verbal warning and returned fire twice. As of now, the reason behind the fire exchange is unclear.

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North Korea's Kim Jong Un appears in video after 21-day absence
Kim Jong Un attending a fertilizer plant opening
Kim Jong Un attending a fertilizer plant opening Credit: Korean Central News Agency

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released video footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending a fertilizer plant opening in Pyongyang. Kim cut a ribbon at the event on Friday, ending three weeks of speculation about his wellbeing.

The video footage has not yet been independently verified.

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Kim Jong Un allegedly in 'vegetative state'

The Japanese magazine Shukan Gendai reported Friday that Kim Jong Un is in a 'vegetative state' following his cardiovascular procedure on April 12.

According to Reuters, a Chinese medical team was sent to North Korea to aid in Kim Jong Un's treatment. Reuters stated that they were not able to "immediately determine what the trip by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim’s health". North Korean media has been quiet about Kim Jong Un's health so far.

North Korean Dictator has left Pyongyang following Covid-19 outbreak

A South Korean source claims that "intelligence analysis suggests that Kim Jong-un" has left the capital city of North Korea and has moved to Wonsan on the east coast of the country following the spread of the coronavirus. The source also says that over 180 North Korean soldiers have died following the Covid-19 spread.

North Korean Dictator sends support letter to South Korea over COVID-19

A personal letter from Kim Jong-un, North Korea's Dictator, has been delivered to South Korea's president Moon Jae-in. In the letter, Kim Jong-un expresses his support to fight the coronavirus. He also wished for good health. Following this Moon returned a letter to North Korea to express his gratitude for the quiet support.