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21 N.Koreans Found Adrift Off South

A group of 21 North Koreans including women and children have been found adrift off the South's western coast, military authorities said Saturday.

A five-ton wooden boat with the group on board was spotted by sailors on a South Korean Navy vessel in the Yellow Sea on Sunday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a press statement. Earlier reports said they were found Tuesday.

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Report: New Signs of Syria-Pakistan Nuclear Tie

U.N. investigators have identified a previously unknown complex in Syria that bolsters suspicions that the Syrian government worked with A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, to acquire technology that could be used to make nuclear arms.

The buildings in northwest Syria closely match the design of a uranium enrichment plant provided to Libya when Moammar Gadhafi was trying to build nuclear weapons under Khan's guidance, officials told The Associated Press.

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U.S., S. Korea to Raise Readiness against N. Korea

The U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs vowed Friday to raise combat-readiness against North Korean attacks following two deadly incidents last year, saying aggression "is not to be tolerated".

Leon Panetta and his counterpart Kim Kwan-Jin also described the North's uranium enrichment program revealed last November as a "grave threat" that gave it a second path to develop atomic weapons.

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'No Breakthrough' at U.S. Talks with N. Korea

A senior U.S. official said Thursday there was some progress made but "no breakthrough" at this week's meeting with North Korea aimed at restarting long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell was speaking after briefing South Korea about the talks in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday.

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Panetta Says N. Korea Remains Serious Threat

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta began a visit to South Korea Wednesday, pledging to keep a "nuclear umbrella" in place over Washington's close ally to deter threats from North Korea.

Panetta, on the last leg of an Asian tour which also took him to Indonesia and Japan, was to meet troops at the huge Yongsan U.S. army base in central Seoul later in the day.

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Panetta Calls North Korea 'Reckless,' Criticizes China

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday lashed out at North Korea for "reckless and provocative" acts and criticized China for a secretive expansion of its military power.

Panetta, who arrived at this U.S. air base on the second leg of a weeklong Asia tour, spoke out about North Korea and China in an opinion piece published Monday by Japan's Yomiuri newspaper before his arrival.

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N.Korea, U.S. Negotiators Begin Nuclear Talks in Geneva

North Korean and U.S. negotiators met on Monday for direct talks aimed at reviving long-stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations.

The U.S. team led by outgoing special representative Stephen Bosworth, as well as his replacement Glyn Davies arrived shortly before 8.30am (06:30 GMT) at the U.S. embassy where the meeting was to begin at 10.00am.

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U.S., N. Korea to Hold New Nuclear Talks in Geneva

The United States said Wednesday it will hold rare direct talks with North Korea next week on ending the authoritarian state's nuclear program and announced it was replacing its chief envoy.

The State Department said that U.S. and North Korean officials will meet Monday and Tuesday in Geneva but insisted that the talks were "exploratory" and that Pyongyang needed to offer proof that it was serious about dialogue.

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N.Korea Warns over Anti-Pyongyang Leaflets

North Korea's military on Saturday threatened retaliation against "provocative" acts from the South including the scattering of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border.

The warning came as activists in South Korea opposed to the secretive regime plan to float balloons carrying the leaflets across the border in time for the 66th anniversary of the North's ruling communist party inauguration on Monday.

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Seoul Says N.Korea must Shut Uranium Program for Talks

North Korea must shut down its newest nuclear program before long-stalled six-nation disarmament talks can resume, Seoul's top presidential security aide said Friday.

Chun Yung-Woo, senior secretary for foreign affairs and national security, said other parties in the talks would not reward the North for abandoning its "illegal" nuclear activities.

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