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Koreas open 1st liaison office for better communication
14 September 2018 - The rival Koreas on Friday [14 September] opened their first liaison office near their tense border to facilitate better communication and exchanges ahead of their leaders' summit in Pyongyang next week. The office's opening in the North Korean border town of Kaesong is the latest in a series of reconciliatory steps the Koreas have taken this year. The office is the first of its kind since the Koreas were divided at the end of World War II in 1945. (more)

Koreas holding military talks to reduce tensions on border
14 June 2018 - The rival Koreas were holding rare high-level military talks Thursday to discuss reducing tensions across their heavily fortified border. Seoul's Defense Ministry said the military talks would focus on carrying out agreements from a summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in which they vowed to take steps to reduce military tensions and eliminate the danger of war. The discussions are the first general-level talks between the militaries since December 2007. (more)

North Korea leader Kim prepared to cede nuclear weapons if U.S. pledges not to invade
29 April 2018 - Keeping diplomatic developments coming at a head-snapping pace, the South Korean government said on Sunday that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, had told President Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country. (more)

North Korea offers to give up nukes if US vows not to attack
29 April 2018 - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told his South Korean counterpart at their historic summit that he would be willing to give up his nuclear weapons if the U.S. commits to a formal end to the Korean War and a pledge not to attack the North, Seoul officials said Sunday (29 April). (more)

North and South Korea set bold goals: A final peace and no nuclear arms
27 April 2018 - The leaders of North and South Korea agreed on Friday (27 April) to work to remove all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula and, within the year, pursue talks with the United States to declare an official end to the Korean War, which ravaged the peninsula from 1950 to 1953. At a historic summit meeting, the first time a North Korean leader had ever set foot in the South, the leaders vowed to negotiate a treaty to replace a truce that has kept an uneasy peace on the divided Korean Peninsula for more than six decades. (more)

Rival Koreas agree to form first unified Olympic team
17 January 2018 - The rival Koreas agreed Wednesday (17 January) to form their first unified Olympic team and have their athletes parade together for the first time in 11 years during the opening ceremony of next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, officials said. The agreements still require approval from the International Olympic Committee. But they are the most prominent steps toward rapprochement achieved by the Koreas since they recently began exploring cooperation during the Olympics following a year of heightened tension over the North's nuclear weapons program. (more)

A small uptick in inter-Korean ties follows a tense year
9 January 2018 - What a difference a year makes. North and South Korea sat down to talk Tuesday (9 January) after a year of mounting tensions ... The seemingly intractable differences suddenly eased over the past week -- though just a tad -- in a series of developments that followed a suggestion by North Korea's leader that he might send a delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea. A look at the buildup and easing of tensions: (more)

North Korea to join Olympics in South Korea as tensions ease
9 January 2018 - The rival Koreas took steps toward reducing their bitter animosity during rare talks Tuesday, as North Korea agreed to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea and reopen a military hotline. (more)

AP Explains: What to expect from North-South Korean talks
8 January 2018 - North Korea's recent abrupt push to improve ties with South Korea wasn't totally unexpected, as the country has a history of launching provocations and then pursuing dialogue with rivals Seoul and Washington in an attempt to win concessions. Still, Tuesday's planned talks between the Koreas, the first in about two years, have raised hopes of at least a temporary easing of tensions over North Korea's recent nuclear and missile tests, which have ignited fears of a possible war. A look at how the Korean talks were arranged and what to expect from them: (more)

South Korea, China agree to manage North Korea issue peacefully, in stable manner
11 November 2017 - The leaders of South Korea and China on Saturday (11 November) agreed on the need to manage the security situation on the Korean peninsula in a stable way and to resolve North Korea-related tensions peacefully after a summit meeting, the South's presidential office said. (more)


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Flooding kills dozens in North Korea, thousands left homeless: Red Cross
6 September 2018 - Severe flooding in North Korea has killed at least 76 people with nearly the same number missing and thousands left homeless by the destruction, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Thursday (6 September). (more)

Red Cross warns of food crisis in North Korea as crops fail in heat
10 August 2018 - A heat wave in North Korea has led to rice, maize, and other crops withering in the fields, 'with potentially catastrophic effects', the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Friday (10 August). The world's largest disaster relief network warned of a risk of a 'full-blown food security crisis' in the isolated country, where a famine in the mid-1990s killed up to three million people. (more)

Worst drought in 16 years threatens food supplies in North Korea - UN
20 July 2017 - Early season production has plunged over 30 percent from the previous year. North Korea is facing severe food shortages due to the worst drought since 2001 with food imports needed to ensure children and the elderly do not go hungry, the United Nations' food agency said on Thursday, 20 July. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said rainfall in key producing areas fell well below the longterm average between April and June and badly affected staple crops . . . (more)

North Koreans: Brutal work abroad better than life back home
12 April 2016 - One North Korean who worked abroad says that as a waitress in China, she was forced to put up with male customers who groped her and tried to get her drunk. Two others recall the frozen bodies of their countrymen stored in Russian logging camps. Another says he toiled for up to 16 hours a day at a Kuwaiti construction site surrounded by wire fences. As difficult as those lives were, the four workers told The Associated Press, it beat staying in the North. North Korea has sent tens of thousands of workers abroad with a mission to bring in foreign currency. Human-rights organizations have called those workers modern-day slaves, while also decrying human-rights abuses North Koreans face back home. To the workers themselves, there is little debate about which plight is more favorable. The average monthly wage for ordinary North Korean workers is less than $1, according to defectors. (more)

North Korea orders military takeover of inter-Korean factories
11 February 2016 - North Korea on Thursday ordered a military takeover of a factory park that had been the last major symbol of cooperation with South Korea, calling Seoul's earlier suspension of operations at the jointly run facility as punishment for the North's recent rocket launch a 'dangerous declaration of war.' North Korea said it was responding to Seoul's shutdown order by immediately deporting the hundreds of South Koreans who work at the complex just across the world's most heavily armed border in the city of Kaesong, pulling out the tens of thousands of North Korean employees and freezing all South Korean assets. The North also said it was shutting down two crucial cross-border communication hotlines. (more)

North Korea warns it has restarted all nuclear bomb fuel plants
15 September 2015 - With a big anniversary drawing near, North Korea declared Tuesday (15 September) it has upgraded and restarted all of its atomic fuel plants -- meaning it could possibly make more, and more sophisticated, nuclear weapons. North Korea has spent decades trying to develop operational nuclear weapons. It has conducted three nuclear tests and a series of steadily improving long-range rocket launches, and some analysts see the announcements as foreshadowing another launch ahead of the anniversary celebration or a fourth nuclear test, which would push North Korea further along in its nuclear aims. (more)

AP Exclusive: North Korean farmers face dry fields, drought
3 July 2015 - North Korean farmers work to pump underground water into parched fields. Instead of rice seedlings standing in flooded paddies, the baked earth is cracked. A big lake that used to supply surrounding farmland with water is almost completely dry. There has been almost no rain in this part of the country, an hour's drive from the capital Pyongyang and one of the country's main rice-growing regions, according to farmers and local officials interviewed by The Associated Press. While the situation in this area visited by the AP looks grim, it is unclear how severe the drought is in the rest of the country. North Korea severely limits outside access, so state media's recent claim of the worse drought in a century has faced widespread skepticism. North Korea's food production is regularly affected by droughts or floods that expose the inefficiencies of its agricultural system, which is heavily reliant on foreign aid, artificial irrigation and terraced fields that are vulnerable to torrential rain. (more)

Blacklist warnings spread on websites in North Korea
2 July 2015 - North Korea, already one of the least-wired places in the world, appears to be cracking down on the use of the Internet by even the small number of foreigners who can access it with relative freedom by blacklisting and blocking social media accounts or websites deemed to carry harmful content. The move won't be noticed by most in the North since hardly anyone has access to the Internet. But it could signal increasing concern in Pyongyang over the flow of real-time photos, tweets and status updates getting out to the world and an attempt to further limit what the few North Koreans able to view the Internet can see. (more)

North Korean defector lifts lid on world's most secret state
2 July 2015 - As a schoolgirl in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was forced to watch executions, denounce her friends for fabricated transgressions, and dig tunnels in case of a nuclear attack. It wasn't until she left North Korea at the age of 17 that she began to discover the full horror of the government that had fed her propaganda since birth. (more)

North Korea says hit by worst drought in 100 years
16 June 2015 - Reclusive North Korea said on Tuesday it has been hit by the worst drought in a century, compounding chronic food shortages in a country where the United Nations says almost one third of children under five are stunted due to malnourishment. (more)

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