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North Korea accuses CIA of 'bio-chemical' plot against leadership

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North Korea on Friday accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and South Korea’s intelligence service of a plot to attack its “supreme leadership” with a bio-chemical weapon and said such a “pipe-dream” could never succeed. Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high for weeks, driven by concern that North Korea might conduct its sixth nuclear test or test-launch another ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

South Korea: Seoul rules out negotiation over THAAD payment

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South Korea on Monday ruled out any future negotiation over who should pay for a US advanced missile defense system to be deployed here, but left open the possibility that the Trump administration might use the issue as leverage against Seoul during the allies’ defense-sharing negotiations scheduled to take place next year. Citing the Status of Forces Agreement and a classified separate agreement with US Forces in Korea, the Defense Ministry stressed that the allies had agreed that the US would pay for the deployment and operation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Missile Defense system, with Seoul providing land and supporting infrastructure.

South Korea: US moves to deploy key parts of THAAD

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The US Forces Korea on Wednesday brought launchers, a radar and other key parts of its advanced missilen defense system to its deployment site, in a surprise move to accelerate the process ahead of a presidential election here amid heightened tension on the peninsula. Some 20 trailers carrying key components of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system arrived at the site at dawn in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province. Although covered by plastic boxes and wrapping, they were believed to include a radar, launchers, interceptors, a fire control and communications unit, a power generator and a cooler.

China calls for restraint on Korean Peninsula

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China has urged all relevant parties to refrain from doing anything that escalates tensions on the Korean Peninsula. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said this at a daily briefing on Monday while talking about the latest situation in the region. China is closely following the situation on the peninsula, Hua said, adding “under the current situation, all parties concerned should exercise restraint and not do anything that escalates tensions in the region”.

North Korea conducts failed missile test

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North Korea launched a missile from its east coast Wednesday but it appeared to have exploded in mid-air shortly after liftoff, according to officials in South Korea and the United States. The launch attempt came as South Korea and the U.S. are conducting the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises mobilizing a set of U.S. strategic assets including the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson and the nuclear-powered submarine USS Columbus as well as B-1B strategic bombers. “North Korea launched one missile from an area near an air base in Wonsan this morning, but it is presumed to have failed”, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that it was “not fired normally”.

Incentives won’t push North Korea to give up nuclear weapons

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SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) — An incentive-oriented approach won’t help the world reach its goal of getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, a high-profile defector who served Pyongyang said Thursday. “We should not think that giving incentives to North Korea will help resolve Pyongyang’s nuclear issue,” Thae Yong-ho, a former diplomat who arrived in South Korea last year, told a forum in Seoul. He was at the gathering as a panelist, a first for him since his defection. Thae said that no matter how appealing incentives are, North Korea will not accept them if Pyongyang judges they do not benefit the one-man rule of its leader Kim Jong-un.

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