North Korea
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A Coronation for North Korea's Kim Jong-Un

After four years of top-level reshuffles, purges and executions, Kim Jong-Un will formally cement his unassailable status as North Korea's supreme leader at a landmark ruling party congress this week.

The first gathering of its kind for nearly 40 years is really a coronation of sorts -- recognizing the young 33-year-old leader as the legitimate inheritor of the dynastic dictatorship started by his grandfather Kim Il-Sung and passed down through his late father Kim Jong-Il.

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N. Korea Tests Sub-Launched Missile, Says Seoul

North Korea on Saturday tested what appeared to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile in the Sea of Japan, the South Korean defense ministry said.

"North Korea launched a projectile which was believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) around 6:30 pm (0930 GMT) in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) near the northeastern port of Sinpo", a defense ministry spokesman said.

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S. Korea, Japan, U.S. Warn Pyongyang over Possible Nuclear Test

South Korea, Japan and the United States on Tuesday warned North Korea of harsher sanctions and deeper isolation if it went ahead with a fifth nuclear test or other provocations.

The warning, which followed a trilateral meeting of top diplomatic officials, came amid growing speculation that Pyongyang is in the final stages of preparing an underground nuclear detonation at its Punggye-ri test site.

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Report: Preparations in 'Final Stages' for N. Korea Nuclear Test

A surge in activity at North Korea's atomic test site suggests preparations for a fifth nuclear test are in their final stages, possibly before a key political event in early May, South Korean media reported Sunday.

The frequency of vehicle, workforce and equipment movements at the Punggye-ri site have "increased two to threefold," since last month, Yonhap news agency said, citing multiple government sources.

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N. Korea Attacks Obama in Lincoln's Voice

Pyongyang's state media has published an open letter purportedly from Abraham Lincoln to President Barack Obama, chastising him for stifling the "government of the people, by the people, for the people" -- ie, North Korea.

In the piece uploaded on the North's propaganda website "DPRK Today" on Monday, the 16th U.S. president who was assassinated in 1865 "advised" the 44th president that North Korea would never crumble under sanctions and economic blockades.

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N. Korea Claims Defectors were Kidnapped

North Korea accused South Korea Tuesday of kidnapping its citizens after Seoul said 13 of them had defected to the South from China, where they worked in a Pyongyang-operated restaurant.

In its first reaction since Seoul announced the defections, the North's Red Cross spokesman accused the South of committing a crime on an "unparalleled" scale by "kidnapping" them.

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N. Korea Says Successfully Tested Ballistic Missile Engine

North Korea said Saturday it had successfully tested an engine designed for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) that would "guarantee" an eventual nuclear strike on the US mainland.

It was the latest in a series of claims by Pyongyang of significant breakthroughs in both its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

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13 N. Korean Staff in Overseas Restaurant Defect to South

Thirteen North Koreans working in a state-run restaurant outside the country have defected to South Korea, a government official in Seoul said Friday.

The South Korean government estimates that Pyongyang rakes in around $10 million every year from some 130 restaurants it operates -- with mostly North Korean staff -- in 12 countries, including neighboring China.

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N. Korea Says under Leningrad-Style Siege from U.S.

North Korea's top military body has accused U.S.-led "hostile forces" of laying siege to the country like Leningrad in World War II and Cuba during the Cold War missile crisis.

In a statement carried Monday by the North's official KCNA news agency, a spokesman for the National Defense Commission (NDC) also said the latest UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program were "anachronistic and suicidal" and could trigger a nuclear strike on the U.S. mainland.

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Seoul Activists Launch Anti-Kim Leaflets into N. Korea

South Korean activists on Monday launched tens of thousands of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea for the second time in three days, amid heightened military tensions on the divided peninsula.

The conservative activists, including many North Korean defectors, used gas-filled balloons to float 100,000 leaflets criticizing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un over the heavily militarized border.

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