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Two Koreas trade hundreds of rounds of artillery fire across disputed maritime border

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The two Koreas traded hundreds of rounds of artillery fire across their disputed maritime border yesterday, forcing South Korean islanders to take shelter a day after the North drove up tensions by threatening a new nuclear test. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Richard III With Nukes

The executions and blood-letting in Pyongyang are only going to get worse as a dynastic purge threatens to destabilize the entire region.

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South Korea businessmen call for Kaesong deal on eve of last-ditch talks

<!– google_ad_section_start –> South Korean businessmen called for the Koreas to strike a deal on the reopening of the Kaesong joint industrial zone, in a statement released on the eve of last-ditch talks. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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The money merry-go-round in North Korea: only foreign exchange, please

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Chinese yuan, US dollars, euros and tea bags. Money can come in many forms in North Korea, but as a foreign visitor you’ll probably never even see a local banknote, let alone use one. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Pyongyang honours ‘heroes’ of bloody Korean war 60 years on

<!– google_ad_section_start –> North Korean leader Kim Jong-un yesterday inaugurated a cemetery for heroes of the Korean war, watched by thousands of veterans and their families who gathered in Pyongyang for the 60th anniversary of the 1950-53 conflict. Kim, dressed in his usual black, high-collared suit and flanked by top military officials, cut a red ribbon and laid a wreath at the cemetery’s main monument – a giant stone rifle barrel with a fixed bayonet pointing to the sky. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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China’s patience wearing thin with erstwhile ally North Korea

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Six decades after treating traumatised Chinese soldiers from the battlefields of Korea, psychiatrist Xue Chongcheng remains convinced their sacrifices – that forged bonds between Beijing and Pyongyang in blood and fire – were essential. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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North Korea open to talks on release of jailed American Kenneth Bae after family receive letters in mail

<!– google_ad_section_start –> North Korea experts said the message of the handwritten letters – and their method of delivery, which could not have happened without Pyongyang’s approval – suggested that the authorities were open to the idea of negotiations on Bae. That had seemed remote three months ago when he was found guilty of committing “hostile acts” against the government. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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North Korea awards late leader new order ahead of anniversary

<!– google_ad_section_start –> North Korea has awarded late leader Kim Jong-Il a new medal, state media said Saturday, as Pyongyang gears up to mark 60 years since the Korean War ended. The presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, or parliament, passed the order on Kim – who died of a heart attack in December 2011 – on June 10, the official Korean Central News Agency reported. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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‘We are ready’: Joe Biden says US open to talks with North Korea

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The United States is prepared to hold talks with North Korea, but only if Pyongyang is serious about engaging in “genuine negotiations,” US Vice-President Joe Biden said on Thursday. A North Korean envoy said last week officials were ready for international talks in a bid to calm regional tensions, but blamed Washington for stoking strife through its military exercises with South Korea. “Now North Korea is calling for dialogue,” Biden said in a speech on US Asia policy ahead of his trip next week to India and Singapore. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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North and South Korea hold rare talks on joint industrial zone

<!– google_ad_section_start –> North and South Korea held rare talks on Saturday on re-opening a joint industrial zone seen as the last remaining symbol of cross-border reconciliation. The talks – delayed by nearly two hours – follow months of friction and threats of war by Pyongyang after its February nuclear test attracted tougher UN sanctions, further squeezing its struggling economy. Kaesong was the most high-profile casualty of the elevated tensions on the Korean peninsula but neither side has declared the complex officially closed, instead referring to a temporary shutdown. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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South Korea proposes talks with North on Kaesong

<!– google_ad_section_start –> South Korea on Thursday proposed talks with North Korea about reopening a joint industrial zone that shut down amid high military tensions. The proposal came a day after the North restored a cross-border hotline and announced it would let the South’s businessmen visit the Kaesong estate just north of the border to check on their closed factories. The South’s Unification Ministry sent a message to the North suggesting a meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Saturday. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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South Korean president puts China ahead of Japan in visiting Beijing

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Pyongyang’s nuclear programme is set to top the agenda when South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrives in Beijing tomorrow for a three-day summit with President Xi Jinping. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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North Korea will dominate China and South Korea summit agenda

<!– google_ad_section_start –> South Korean President Park Geun-hye heads for a summit in China on Wednesday, looking to exploit signs of Beijing’s growing frustration with its unpredictable ally North Korea. The North and its nuclear weapons programme will dominate the agenda of Park’s summit talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which will be anxiously monitored by the regime in Pyongyang. Speaking to senior officials on Monday, Park said her priority in Beijing would be to “harden” China-South Korea cooperation on “attaining the goal of North Korea’s denulcearisation”. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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North Korea proposes talks with US to ease tensions

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The powerful National Defense Commission headed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un issued a statement through state media proposing high-level talks to ease tensions and promote peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Koreas agree to hold talks on re-opening complex

<!– google_ad_section_start –> North and South Korea have agreed to hold talks on reopening a jointly run factory complex in the North and possibly other issues, a hopeful sign for relations that have deteriorated greatly in recent months. North Korea said on Thursday it is open to holding talks with South Korea on re-opening the Kaesong complex, which was shuttered in April. Pyongyang’s statement was carried by state media and was its first public response to Seoul’s proposal in April to discuss the factory complex. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Beijing urged to take lead in managing six-party nuclear talks with North Korea

<!– google_ad_section_start –> China should play an active role in managing the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme, which could resume after Pyongyang sent a special envoy to Beijing, analysts say. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Kim Jong-un’s envoy arrives in Beijing to mend strained ties

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A special envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held talks with top officials in Beijing yesterday, in the first such encounter since China joined the United States and other nations in imposing sanctions on Pyongyang over its ambitious nuclear weapons programme. The visit by Vice-Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, a senior member of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, comes at a politically sensitive time, just weeks before Sino-US and Sino-South Korean summits. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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North Korea releases 16 detained Chinese fishermen after Beijing intervenes

<!– google_ad_section_start –> North Korea has released 16 Chinese fishermen and their boat, Chinese state-run media said on Tuesday, after reports that armed assailants had taken the sailors hostage and demanded a ransom. “All the fishermen with the boat are safe on their way back,” China’s Xinhua news agency said, citing a Chinese embassy official in Pyongyang it said had heard the news from the shipowner. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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North Korea fires fifth missile in three days

<!– google_ad_section_start –> North Korea fired another short-range missile into the Sea of Japan on Monday, the latest in a series of missile drills that have been condemned by South Korea and UN chief Ban Ki-moon. The latest firing – the fifth in three days – was confirmed by a spokesman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said it was unclear if the North was testing guided missiles or rockets from multiple launchers. “We are still checking on the precise nature of these tests,” the spokesman said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Aide to Japanese PM returns from North Korea

<!– google_ad_section_start –> An aide to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned home from a trip to North Korea on Saturday but declined to shed any light on the reason for his mysterious visit. Isao Iijima, a senior adviser to Abe, was tightlipped when confronted by reporters in Beijing on his way home. “I won’t accept any interview on this issue,” he told reporters, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. Abe said on Saturday that Iijima would report back to chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s top government spokesman, on the visit. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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New July 2013