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Warning Signs Of Financial Crash, North Korea Is A Bright Spot For A Billionaire |RN

 

Tamim Elyan and Manus Cranny

Some big investors see warning signs ahead for markets but are holding their positions. Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is taking action: He’s put half of his $5.7 billion net worth into gold.

He said in an interview Monday that he believes gold prices will rally further, reaching $1,800 per ounce from just above $1,300 now, while “overvalued” stock markets crash.

Naguib Sawiris wearing a suit and tie: Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE Chairman Naguib Sawiris Interview© Bloomberg Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE Chairman Naguib Sawiris Interview

“In the end you have China and they will not stop consuming. And people also tend to go to gold during crises and we are full of crises right now,” Sawiris said at his office in Cairo overlooking the Nile. “Look at the Middle East and the rest of the world and Mr Trump doesn’t help.”

President Donald Trump is aiding Sawiris in one way, though: If a North Korean peace deal can be reached, the Egyptian’s investments there may finally pay off. After 10 years of waiting to repatriate all his profits easily and control his mobile-phone company, Egypt’s second-richest man says an accord would let him reap some of his returns.

“I am taking all the hits, I am being paid in a currency that doesn’t get exchanged very easily, I have put a lot of money and built a hotel and did a lot of good stuff there,” said Sawiris, who founded North Korea’s first telecom operator, Koryolink. The North Korean unit’s costs and revenues aren’t currently recognized on the financial statements of Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE.

Egyptian billionaire and Orascom Telecom Chairman Naguib Sawiris discusses Brexit and investing in gold and mining

Sawiris over the years has been pressured by “every single Western government in the world” for his presence in the country hit by international sanctions for its nuclear threats, he said, but he considered himself a “goodwill investor.” His advice for governments and to Trump ahead of his expected meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un: Don’t bully him, and promote prosperity in exchange for concessions on nuclear.

a man sitting in a room: Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE Chairman Naguib Sawiris Interview© Bloomberg Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE Chairman Naguib Sawiris Interview

Naguib Sawiris speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview.

A successful meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-In last week cleared the way for Trump to meet with the North Korean leader to discuss his nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs. The date and the place haven’t been set. An agreement — elusive for almost seven decades — would open the door for Sawiris to restore his investments there and possibly make new ones.

“I know these North Korean people. They are very proud, they will not yield under threat and bullying. You just smile and talk and sit down and they will come through,” he said.

Sawiris, the son of Onsi Sawiris, who founded Orascom Construction, has built a name by investing in the telecom sector in Egypt and in less popular markets including Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea and Bangladesh. He also bought Italy’s Wind Telecomunicazioni before merging it, along with a number of his telecom assets, with Veon Ltd. in 2011.

Since then Sawiris has diversified into the financial sector by buying out Egyptian investment bank Beltone Financial Holding and attempting to buy CI Capital Holding to create Egypt’s biggest investment bank. His offer was blocked. He also expanded in mining, becoming, with his family, the largest investor in the sector through shareholdings in Evolution Mining, Endeavour Mining Corporation and La Mancha Resources Inc.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Gold and Cash                           © Bloomberg Gold and Cash

“I had to convince my mom in the beginning,” Sawiris said in the interview with Bloomberg Television. “It has been a very good investment for me. I recently sold a portion of my Evolution shares because I want to invest now in Latin America and Eastern Europe.”

He’s from a family of investors. Nassef Sawiris, Naguib’s youngest brother and the richest man in Egypt, is the biggest shareholder and chief executive officer of fertilizer producer OCI NV. He’s also the biggest shareholder in contracting and engineering company Orascom Construction Ltd. He re-based his companies outside Egypt after a tax dispute with the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013.

Sawiris said his view of Saudi Arabia was negatively impacted by a corruption crackdown that led to the arrest of high-profile princes and billionaires in November. Authorities need to ensure there is rule of law and order and transparency, he said.

Naguib Sawiris wearing a suit and tie: Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE Chairman Naguib Sawiris Interview

Rather, Sawiris is giving investment priority to his homeland after an International Monetary Fund-backed reform program that began in 2016. By lifting all restrictions on the currency and cutting subsidies, it boosted investors’ confidence in the economy of the Arab world’s most populous nation.

And he’s planning an investment debut in Egypt’s “booming” real estate market this year after hiring a consultant who said demand was strong, shrugging off concerns of a bubble in the market.

“In my family, we are investing a lot right now because we see the opportunities,” he said. “It isn’t patriotism or advertising or anything like that.”    (Bloomberg)

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Kim Jong Un Meets Moon Jae-in, Says Koreas’ On Starting Line Of A New History |RN

(Provided by Wochit News)

GOYANG, South Korea — With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly back into the north with him before they returned to the southern side.

Those small steps must be seen in the context of the last year — when the United States, its ally South Korea and the North seemed at times to be on the verge of nuclear war as the North unleashed a torrent of weapons tests — but also in light of the long, destructive history of the rival Koreas, who fought one of the 20th century’s bloodiest conflicts and even today occupy a divided peninsula that’s still technically in a state of war.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim…

“I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of (the two Koreas) writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity,” Kim told Moon as they sat at a table, which had been built so that exactly 2018 millimeters separated them, to begin their closed-door talks. Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a “big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace-loving person in the world.”

Beyond the carefully choreographed greeting, however, it’s still not clear whether the leaders can make any progress in talks on the nuclear issue, which has bedevilled U.S. and South Korean officials for decades. North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests last year likely put it on the threshold of becoming a legitimate nuclear power. North Korea claims it has already risen to that level.

Kim and Moon in their talks vowed to have more meetings, according to Moon’s spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, with Kim joking that he would make sure not to interrupt Moon’s sleep anymore, a reference to the North’s drumbeat of early morning missile tests last year. Kim also referred to a South Korean island that North Korea attacked with artillery in 2010, killing four, saying the residents of Yeonpyeong Island who have been living in fear of North Korean artillery have high hopes the summit will help heal past scars. Kim said he’d visit Seoul’s presidential Blue House if invited.Earlier, both leaders smiled broadly as Moon grasped Kim’s hand and led him along a blindingly red carpet into South Korean territory, where schoolchildren gave Kim flowers and an honor guard stood at attention for inspection, a military band playing traditional Korean folk songs beloved by both Koreas and the South Korean equivalent of “Hail to the Chief.” It’s the first time a North Korean leader has crossed over to the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War ended in 1953.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, attend during a summit at Peace House of the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Friday, April 27, 2018. North Korean leader Kim made history by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. At right is Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, attends during a summit at Peace House of the border village of…

Kim’s news agency said that the leader would “open-heartedly” discuss with Moon “all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula” in a “historic” summit.

The greeting of the two leaders was planned to the last detail. Thousands of journalists were kept in a huge conference centre well away from the summit, except for a small group of tightly controlled pool reporters at the border. Moon stood near the Koreas’ dividing line, moving forward the moment he glimpsed Kim, dressed in dark, Mao-style suit, appearing in front of a building on the northern side. They shook hands with the borderline between them. Moon then invited Kim to cross into the South, and, after he did so, Kim grasped Moon’s hand and led him to the North and then back into the South. They took a ceremonial photo facing the North and then another photo facing the South.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim…

Two fifth-grade students from the Daesongdong Elementary School, the only South Korean school within the DMZ, greeted the leaders and gave Kim flowers. Kim and Moon then saluted an honour guard and military band, and Moon introduced Kim to South Korean government officials. Kim returned the favour, introducing Moon to the North Korean officials accompanying him. They then took a photo inside the Peace House, where the summit was to take place, in front of a painting of South Korea’s Bukhan Mountain, which towers over the South Korean Blue House presidential mansion. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was by his side throughout the ceremony, handing him a pen to sign a guestbook, taking the schoolchildren’s flowers from his hand and scribbling notes at the start of the talks with Moon.

Nuclear weapons will top the agenda, and Friday’s summit will be the clearest sign yet of whether it’s possible to peacefully negotiate those weapons away from a country that has spent decades doggedly building its bombs despite crippling sanctions and near-constant international opprobrium.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inspect honor guard as Kim crossed the border into South Korea for their historic face-to-face talks, in Panmunjom Friday, April 27, 2018. Their discussions will be expected to focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inspect honour guard as Kim crossed the border into South Korea for their historic face-to-face talks, in…

Expectations are generally low, given that past so-called breakthroughs on North Korea’s weapons have collapsed amid acrimonious charges of cheating and bad faith. Sceptics of engagement have long said that the North often turns to interminable rounds of diplomacy meant to ease the pain of sanctions — giving it time to perfect its weapons and win aid for unfulfilled nuclear promises.

Advocates of engagement, however, say the only way to get a deal is to do what the Koreas tried Friday: Sit down and see what’s possible.

The White House said in a statement that it is “hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. … (and) looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a guest book watched by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, inside the Peace House at the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Their discussions will be expected to focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a guest book watched by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, inside the Peace House at the Peace House at the border village of…

Moon, a liberal whose election last year ended a decade of conservative rule in Seoul, will be looking to make some headway on the North’s nuclear program in advance of a planned summit in several weeks between Kim and Trump.

Kim, the third member of his family to rule his nation with absolute power, is eager, both in this meeting and in the Trump talks, to talk about the nearly 30,000 heavily armed U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and the lack of a formal peace treaty ending the Korea War — two factors, the North says, that make nuclear weapons necessary.

North Korea may also be looking to use the talks with Moon to set up the Trump summit, which it may see as a way to legitimize its declared status as a nuclear power.

One possible outcome Friday, aside from a rise in general goodwill between the countries, could be a proposal for a North Korean freeze of its weapons ahead of later denuclearization.

Seoul and Washington will be pushing for any freeze to be accompanied by rigorous and unfettered outside inspections of the North’s nuclear facilities since past deals have crumbled because of North Korea’s unwillingness to open up to snooping foreigners.

South Korea has acknowledged that the most difficult sticking point between the Koreas has been North Korea’s level of denuclearization commitment. Kim has reportedly said that he wouldn’t need nuclear weapons if his government’s security could be guaranteed external threats were removed.

Whatever the Koreas announce Friday, the spectacle of Kim being feted on South Korean soil was striking.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)

Kim and Moon enjoyed each other’s company in the jointly controlled village of Panmunjom near the spot where a defecting North Korean soldier fled south last year in a hail of bullets fired by his former comrades, and not too far where North Korean soldiers axe-murdered two U.S. soldiers in 1976.  (Associated Press)

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Russia To Build A Bridge To North Korea |The Republican News

Adam Taylor
"I am offended, you know," Putin joked              © Provided by AFP “I am offended, you know,” Putin joked

 

The one with Russia is just 11 miles, following the Tumen River and its estuary in the far northeast. There is one lone crossing, dubbed the “Friendship Bridge.” It opened in 1959 and offers the two nations a fairly basic rail connection. This week, amid a period of relative calm on the oft-tense Korean Peninsula, Russian representatives travelled to North Korea to discuss an idea: They should open another bridge.

Though the planning appears to be at a preliminary stage, it may show that Russia and North Korea are looking toward a trading future beyond sanctions and military tensions.

The two nations have long suggested a crossing that would allow vehicles to go between them without a lengthy detour through China. And Wednesday, the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East announced in a statement that the two sides would create a working group on a new crossing.

“There are 23 automobile checkpoints between [North Korea] and China, and not one with Russia,” the ministry quoted Ro Tu Chol, a North Korean minister, as saying during the meeting. “Currently, when importing goods from [Russia’s far east], they do not come across the border with Russia, but through China. This greatly extends the path.”

a close up of a map           © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post

The Russia-North Korea summit caught the attention of NK News, which reported that the two nations would “push ahead” with the new border crossing. Anthony Rinna, an analyst on Russian foreign policy in East Asia for Sino-NK, told the North Korea-watching publication that the new border crossing could be used to “alleviate any unforeseen problems, such as logistical or technical glitches that may undermine North Korea’s rail links.”

The proposed bridge may be more noteworthy for its symbolic value than economic worth, said Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein, an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and co-editor of North Korean Economy Watch.

Trade between Russia and North Korea is insignificant, Katzeff Silberstein added, largely because of multilateral sanctions imposed by the United Nations, but “there also seems to be a belief that in the longer run, the trade will pick back up again.”

a close up of a map           © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post

Russia and North Korea certainly have a trading history. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was easily North Korea’s most important financial ally, accounting for as much as half of North Korea’s foreign trade during the 1970s and 1980s. It was only after the end of communism that Moscow and Pyongyang drifted apart, with Russia’s new president, Boris Yeltsin, seeking a closer relationship with Seoul.

Things improved when Russian President Vladimir Putin took power: He visited Pyongyang in 2000 and received adulating praise in North Korean state media. However, the economic links between the two nations did not increase by much: In 2013, Russia amounted to just 1 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade, according to one study, far below China.

Though both sides have expressed hope for better economic ties, one detail — North Korea’s international pariah status because of its pursuit of nuclear weapons — has stood in the way. Russia has supported a number of U.N. votes on sanctions against North Korea; in late December, new multilateral sanctions limited the number of North Koreans who can work in Russia and other countries, arguably the two nations’ most important economic link.

Artyom Lukin, a professor of international politics at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia, said it was clear that trade between Russia’s far east and North Korea has been hit considerably in the past two years. He said that the railway bridge had once been important for transporting Siberian coal to the North Korean port of Rajin in the city of Rason, where Moscow owns a terminal.

“From this terminal, the coal is sent for export to Asian countries, mostly China,” Lukin wrote in an email. “At least, this was the case prior to the introduction of tough sanctions on [North Korea] in the latter part of 2017.”

a large ship in the background: North Korean coal piles up in November on a dockside at the port in Rason. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images) © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post North Korean coal piles up in November on a dockside at the port in Rason. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Occasionally, foreign tourists cross the Russian border on trains from North Korea. It happens so infrequently, according to one traveller, that border guards seem confused by it.

For the time being, Lukin said, it’s hard to imagine Russian backers investing in a bridge. “The North Koreans will expect Russia to provide the funding,” he said. “However, no Russian investor, private or state-owned, will commit to the project unless the political risks related to North Korea subside considerably.”

If those risks subside, there are obvious benefits for Russia to invest in North Korea. While it is thought to be losing money, the terminal at Rajin port could provide Russia with an important regional foothold if sanctions were lifted. There are also hopes of eventually connecting to South Korea via rail — a move that could open up a freight route to and from Europe through Russia — or of a trans-Korean pipeline to provide Russian natural gas to both nations.

Putin-kim-jong-un

And so Russia appears to be keeping its economic options open in North Korea. Last year, a Russian firm gave North Korea a new Internet connection, apparently running fibre-optic lines over the railway bridge. Now the Russian state is planning a new bridge. “Sooner or later North Korea should come out of isolation,” Lukin said. “Then the bridge will be in high demand.”    (The Washington Post)

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Trump, North Korea’s Kim To Hold Historic Meeting |The Republican News

Donald-Trump-and-Kim-Jong-Un
         US President Donald Trump; North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un

President Donald Trump has agreed to a historic first meeting with Kim Jong Un in a stunning development in America’s high-stakes nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Standing in front of the White House, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong announced the first-ever meeting between a US president and North Korean leader, which he said would take place by the end of May.

Chung had recently returned from Pyongyang, where he met Kim, who, he said: “expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”

Trump hailed “great progress” in the push to persuade Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program.

“Meeting being planned!” he tweeted. “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time.”

“Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached.”

News of the summit is the latest step in a quickening diplomatic detente that has seen North and South Korea exchange envoys.

Pyongyang also sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South, which Seoul had dubbed the “Peace Games” and which saw the two countries marching under a unified flag.

The thaw came after a period of extreme tension between Washington and Pyongyang that sounded like the growing drumbeat of war.

Just months ago, Trump mocked Kim by calling him “little rocket man” and Kim returned the favour by describing Trump as “mentally deranged” and a “dotard.”

The United States and North Korea were foes throughout the Cold War and fought on opposite sides of a bloody war in the 1950s.

In the last two decades, they have been engaged in what is perhaps the world’s most dangerous nuclear standoff, with 30,000 US military personnel stationed just over the border in the South.

– Paradigm shift –

Pyongyang’s decades-long race to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the continental United States has proved a problem for successive administrations.

Trump’s strategy has been to ramp up sanctions, tighten the diplomatic screws and regularly threaten military force.

The White House said in a statement that strategy of “maximum pressure” would stay in place, for now.

“We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”

But the prospect of a top-level meeting is a paradigm shift.

North Korean leaders have sought face-to-face talks with consecutive US presidents, who have rebuffed the idea as an effort to achieve strategic parity that does not exist.

Pyongyang now seems to have achieved its goal, while only agreeing to a temporary suspension of nuclear tests.

It is a gambit fraught with risk for Trump. On multiple occasions, Kim’s father Kim Jong Il dangled the prospect of talks and denuclearization as a means of buying time, easing sanctions and dividing South Korea from its allies.

However, his decision also carries historic echoes of Richard Nixon’s visit to communist China or Barack Obama’s overture to Cuba, both of which offered the hope of better ties.

AFP

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North Korea Preparing For Another Nuclear Test – Report |The Republican News

John Haltiwanger
There's a significant amount of tunneling activity at North Korea's nuclear testing site, commercial satellite images show, which suggests it's prepping the area for a future nuclear test.: 01_11_North_Korea_nuclear_test             © Getty Images 01_11_North_Korea_nuclear_test

 

There’s a significant amount of tunneling activity at North Korea’s nuclear testing site, commercial satellite images show, suggesting the area is being prepped for a future nuclear test, according to a report from 38 North, a website dedicated to analyzing the rogue state.

Tunnel excavation has been ramped up at the West Portal at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, while the North Portal remains dormant, the images show.

“Throughout December 2017, mining carts and personnel were consistently present around the West Portal and there was significant expansion of the spoil pile,” 38 North’s report, released Thursday, stated. “On December 28, there were also a large number of personnel (~100 to 200) observed in seven different formations whose purpose is unknown in the Southern Support Area.”

The images can be viewed via the tweet below.

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test—its most powerful to date—at the site in early September. Shortly thereafter, in October, it was reported that Chinese geologists had warned North Korea the mountainous test site was on the verge of catastrophe.

A senior Chinese nuclear scientist told the reclusive nation another test could blow off the top of the mountain and cause a massive collapse. Not long after this was reported, there was a collapse at the site, which reportedly resulted in the deaths of around 200 people.

A little less than two months after its latest nuclear test, North Korea threatened to conduct a seventh test over the Pacific Ocean, which could pose a huge risk to shipping and aircraft.

At the moment, there are tenuous hopes for relative peace on the Korean Peninsula, after the North and South re-established dialogue. As a result, it was decided earlier this week that North Korea would participate in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.

This decision was aided, in part, by a decision from the U.S. and South Korea to put off any large-scale military exercises until after the games. But this has not stopped U.S. military activity in the region entirely, as three B-2 stealth bombers were deployed this week to the U.S. territory of Guam, which has been threatened repeatedly by North Korea. (Newsweek)

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Defected North Korean Nuclear Scientist Commits Suicide After Being Forced to Return

Juliana Rose Pignataro
a group of people standing in a field posing for the camera                            © Provided by IBT US 

A North Korean nuclear scientist who defected to China committed suicide after being forced to return back, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday. The defector was a researcher at the physics center in the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang, the report said.

The scientist was identified as Hyun Cheoi Huh, though RFA clarified it was unclear whether that was his real name. The man reportedly took a leave of absence from his job at the academy before defecting.

He was sent back to North Korea Nov. 17, RFA reported.

“He killed himself only a few hours after he was placed in solitary confinement at the State Security Department in Sinuiju city,” a source told RFA, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He died before he could be questioned about the reasons for his escape, and what his route had been.”

The man took poison inside the security cell where he was set to be questioned. It remained unclear how he smuggled the poison inside.

The man was detained in China and sent back to North Korea. It appeared he had kept his occupation a secret when he was detained, RFA reported, though it was unclear why.

“If the Chinese government had known who he was, they would have wanted to learn what he knew and would never have sent him back,” the source said.  (International Business Insider)

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North Korea ‘Executes Official In Charge Of Nuclear Test Site’ |The Republican News

Samuel Osborne
a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera           © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly executed the official responsible for the country’s nuclear test site.Park In-young was the chief of Bureau 131, a division of the ruling Workers Party of Korea’s Central Committee tasked with supervising military facilities such as the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility and the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.The official was dismissed and then executed as part of a recent purge, an unnamed North Korean defector told Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Two potential reasons were given for the reported execution.

Mr Park could have been blamed for North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test being delayed, the defector said. The test was originally planned to take place in Spring, but was pushed back to 3 September due to delays in tunnel construction.

Experts have warned a series of tremors and landslides near the nuclear test facility probably mean the country’s latest nuclear blast has destabilised the region, and the Punggye-ri nuclear site may not be in use much longer.

Chinese scientists have warned that if the whole mountain collapsed, radiation could escape and drift across the region.

It is also possible Mr Park was held responsible for the reported collapse of a tunnel in October, which killed around 200 people, though North Korea has denied the reports. (The Independent)

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