North Korea
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S. Korea Ministry Says Signs North Preparing Missile Launch

South Korea's defense ministry said Monday it had detected signs that North Korea was preparing a ballistic missile launch, as Japan reportedly put its military on intercept alert.

U.N. resolutions ban North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, although it regularly fires short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast.

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EU Further Tightens Sanctions on North Korea

The European Union on Friday further tightened sanctions against North Korea over nuclear and ballistic missile tests carried out in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The 28-nation bloc said it adopted new restrictions in the trade, financial, investment and transport sectors in order to complement U.N. resolutions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the north's official name.

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U.N. Chief Fuels Presidential Speculation with S. Korea Trip

Visiting U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday left open the possibility of running for the South Korean presidency after his term with the world body ends.

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N. Korea Asks U.N. Chief to Explain Legal Basis for Sanctions

North Korea has challenged United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon to clarify the legal basis for U.N. sanctions against it, Pyongyang's state media said Tuesday.

The North's permanent representative to the U.N. wrote to Secretary-General Ban on Monday, saying that U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear tests and "peaceful satellite launches" had no legal foundation, KCNA news agency reported.

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N. Korea Urges South to Accept Kim Jong-Un Talks Offer

North Korea urged South Korea on Friday to accept leader Kim Jong-Un's proposal for military talks and to ease tensions that surged after the North's fourth nuclear test in January.

Kim had offered the military dialogue during a marathon speech to the recently concluded congress of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party -- the first event of its kind for more than 35 years.

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EU Increases Sanctions on N. Korea

The European Union on Thursday beefed up sanctions against North Korea over nuclear and ballistic missile tests carried out in defiance of United Nations resolutions.

The 28-nation bloc said it was adding 18 persons and one entity to its asset freeze and travel ban blacklist, complementing measures adopted by the U.N. against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the north's official name.

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N. Korea Appoints New Foreign Minister

North Korea has appointed as its new foreign minister a career diplomat at the center of managing relations with the United States and South Korea for more than 20 years.

Ri Yong-Ho's appointment was confirmed in a diplomatic note sent to the British government by the North Korean embassy in London on Monday, an embassy official said.

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U.S. Warns Americans against Travel to North Korea

The State Department has urged Americans to avoid all travel to North Korea, warning that U.S. citizens making the trip risk long and "unduly harsh" imprisonment if they fall foul of laws in the hermit state.

At least 14 U.S. citizens have been detained by Pyongyang over the past decade, according to Washington.

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No 'Imminent' Signs of N. Korea Nuclear Test, Says U.S. Think Tank

Recent satellite images show no imminent signs of a fifth North Korean nuclear test, following the conclusion of a party congress that many thought Pyongyang would mark with an atomic detonation, a U.S. think tank said Wednesday.

The pictures, dated May 8, show low-level activity at the underground test site at Punggye-ri in the country's northeast, and vehicles previously observed at the site's command centre were "no longer present", according to an analysis by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

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'Executed' N. Korean General Named to Senior Party Posts

North Korea's former military chief of staff who was reported executed earlier this year is apparently alive and well after being named Tuesday in a number of senior ruling party posts.

Intelligence reports in South Korea had suggested Ri Yong-Gil, former chief of the Korean People's Army (KPA) General Staff, was executed in February on accusations of corruption and forming a political faction.

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