North Korea deports American even as it boasts of new weapon

Marsha Scott
November 20, 2018

The North Korean authorities have made a decision to expel a USA citizen who was detained in October for illegally entering the country, South Korean Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), on October 7, 2018.

On the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Papua New Guinea on Saturday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed to closely cooperate on a possible second US-North Korea summit, according to the presidential office.

The North hasn't publicly tested any weapons since November 2017, but in recent days Pyongyang reportedly expressed anger at US -led global sanctions and ongoing small-scale military drills between South Korea and the United States.

Meanwhile, North Korea seems to be eyeing economic development amid a thaw in its ties with China.

"With Kim having publicly declared the economy a new priority and saying the North would denuclearize, many in the military who saw a decline in interest and support could be doubtful and anxious because he has not secured significant concessions like an end-of-war declaration", Kim, the professor said.

The commission also warned that if negotiating parties "cannot agree to verifiably ending North Korea's nuclear and long-range missile programs", China could push for laxer verification and enforcement standards and effectively accept North Korea as a nuclear power.

Earlier Friday, KCNA said Kim observed the successful test of an unspecified "newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon", though it didn't describe what the weapon was.

Speaking on a condition of anonymity, a U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press that Bruce Byron Lowrance was deported and on a flight back to the U.S. Friday.

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"Pyongyang is putting pressure on Seoul and Washington for sanctions relief that they've been asking for", he said.

The climate changed dramatically early in January when Kim Jong-un began his "charm offensive", based on North Korea's participation in the Olympics games in Seoul, South Korea.

Eugene Lee, a spokeswoman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, said more analysis is necessary to find out what type of weapon North Korea tested. Other experts suggested it might be a new, short-range missile.

This came amid rhetoric from North Korea that the USA should ease up on sanctions if its wants to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula - tensions between North Korea and the US recently rose when North Korea threatened to resume its nuclear weapons program if the US doesn't lift economic sanctions.

The deconfliction agreement includes the removal of landmines and guard posts separating the nations, along with the creation of new lines of communication between the South Korean and North Korean militaries that could be invaluable in a crisis.

The North said the test took place at the Academy of National Defence Science and that Kim couldn't suppress his "passionate joy" at its success.

"The U.S. will relax sanctions once the U.S. comes to terms that the sanctions are not really working on North Korea", he said.

It was all hand-shakes and smiles over the summer, when North Korea agreed to work towards denuclearization.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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