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South Korea's Moon advocates regional virus initiative involving Japan, others

The Japan Times

Seoul – South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Wednesday for a regional infectious disease control and public health initiative involving Japan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea to tackle health crises and lay the foundation for peace with Pyongyang. Moon unveiled the so-called Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health during a video address to the U.N. General Assembly. "In the face of the COVID-19 crisis that poses a greater threat to humanity than a war, we came to be acutely reminded that the safety of neighboring countries is directly linked to that of our own," Moon said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks distributed by his office. Such an initiative would lead North Korea to "engage with the international community," according to Moon. "It is not only Korea's response to COVID-19 but also the invaluable lessons Korea will be gaining from institutionalizing peace that Korea wishes to share with the rest of the world," he said.


Japan, U.S., South Korea agree: no easing of North Korea sanctions without progress in nuke talks

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO – The top diplomats of Japan, the United States and South Korea on Tuesday urged North Korea to refrain from military provocation and continue denuclearization talks, but ruled out any easing of crushing economic sanctions without progress in the stalled negotiations. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi held discussions with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Kang Kyung-wha, in East Palo Alto, just outside San Francisco, two weeks after a deadline set by Pyongyang for progress by the end of 2019 passed. "We agreed on the importance of North Korea making positive efforts in talks with the United States rather than going through with provocative moves," Motegi told reporters. The statement appeared to contradict remarks in a New Year speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in a day earlier in Seoul, where he said that he could seek exemptions of U.N. sanctions to bring about improved inter-Korean relations that he believes would help restart the deadlocked nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. Moon has previously made similar comments, despite outside worries that any lifting of sanctions could undermine U.S.-led efforts to eliminate North Korea's nuclear arsenal.


Prestigious Pyongyang university now running specialist Japanese language and literature courses

The Japan Times

Kim Il Sung University set up specialist Japanese language and literature courses in the spring of 2017, it was learned Saturday from the university. The training course for Japanese researchers was established at the prestigious institution in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, at a time when the rogue state was repeatedly testing nuclear weapons and launching ballistic missiles. That period continued until the fall of 2017 and led to heightened tensions with the United States. There is a possibility that it was judged necessary to strengthen the development of such experts in view of future diplomacy with Japan. Japan and North Korea maintain no diplomatic relations.


Prestigious Pyongyang university teaching specialist Japanese language, literature courses

The Japan Times

Kim Il Sung University in the spring of 2017 set up specialist Japanese language and literature courses, it was learned Saturday from the university. The training course for Japanese researchers was established at the prestigious institution in the capital, Pyongyang, at a time when North Korea was repeatedly testing nuclear weapons and launching ballistic missiles, which continued until the fall of 2017 and led to heightened tensions with the United States. There is a possibility that it was judged necessary to strengthen the development of such experts in view of future diplomacy with Japan. Japan and North Korea have no diplomatic relations. The Department of Japanese Language and Literature was established in the university's Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature.


Japan offers U.S. its robotics tech for use in denuclearizing North Korea

The Japan Times

Japan has told the United States it is ready to provide its robot technology for use in dismantling nuclear and uranium enrichment facilities in North Korea as Washington and Pyongyang pursue further denuclearization talks, government sources said Friday. As Japan turns to the remotely controlled robots it has developed to decommission reactors crippled by the triple core meltdown in 2011 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, it believes the same technology can be used in North Korea, according to the sources. The offer is part of Japan's efforts to make its own contribution to the denuclearization talks amid concern that Tokyo could be left out of the loop as the United States and North Korea step up diplomacy. Tokyo has already told Washington it would shoulder part of the costs of any International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of North Korean facilities and dispatch its own nuclear experts to help. The scrapping of nuclear facilities, such as the Yongbyon complex, which has a graphite-moderated reactor, will come into focus in forthcoming working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang.


North Korea university to teach artificial intelligence, state media says

#artificialintelligence

North Korea is reforming education at universities to place greater emphasis on artificial intelligence, according to state media. Pyongyang's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Sunday Pyongyang University of Computer Science is changing its computer-programming department into a department for the study of AI. The goal is to improve the quality of school courses so classes on AI are more readily available in the department, according to the report. PyongyangUniversity of Computer Science has decided to improve artificial intelligence education because AI is a "key technology in the information industry," the Rodong article said. The university is developing the new program following directives from Kim Jong Un, issued at the fourth plenum of the seventh party central committee meeting in April, state media said.


North Korea calls Biden 'fool of low IQ' over Kim criticism

FOX News

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea has labeled Joe Biden a "fool of low IQ" and an "imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being" after the Democratic presidential hopeful during a recent speech called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a tyrant. Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday accused Biden of insulting the country's supreme leadership and committing an "intolerable and serious politically-motivated provocation" against the North. Biden during a campaign launch in Philadelphia on Saturday accused President Donald Trump of cozying up to "dictators and tyrants" like Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin.


G7 pushes North Korea to continue denuclearization talks with U.S.

The Japan Times

DINARD, FRANCE - Foreign ministers of Group of Seven nations on Saturday pushed North Korea to continue denuclearization negotiations with the United States while vowing to maintain pressure on Pyongyang to encourage it to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. In a communique issued after a two-day meeting in Dinard, western France, the ministers also expressed serious concern about the situation in the East and South China seas -- a veiled criticism of China's militarization of outposts in disputed areas of the South China Sea and its attempts to undermine Japan's control of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The Senkakus are administered by Japan, but claimed by China and Taiwa, which call them the Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively. During the meeting, some G7 members touched on China's expanding global ambitions through its signature Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure project, a Japanese official said. But the communique makes no reference to the initiative in an apparent effort to demonstrate unity among the group.


Creepy incidents with Nest cameras prompt password warning

The Independent - Tech

Google has urged owners of Nest cameras to reset their passwords, following reports of hackers taking over the smart home devices. In one incident last month, a family in Illinois had their home security system compromised by cyber criminals, who took control of connected Nest cameras to shout racial abuse through the device's speaker at a couple and their baby. "As I approached the baby's room and stood outside, I was shocked to hear a deep manly voice talking to my 7-month-old son," the victim told local media. In a separate incident that same month, a Californian family received an emergency broadcast alert through their Nest surveillance camera that detailed three North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles headed to the United States. "It warned that the United States had retaliated against Pyongyang and that people in the affected areas had three hours to evacuate," The Nest owner told The Mercury News.


Abe says he's willing to talk directly with Pyongyang to resolve abduction issue

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday he is willing to talk directly with North Korea in a bid to resolve the festering issue of abductions of Japanese citizens and foster better ties with Pyongyang. "I wish to directly face North Korea and talk with them so that the abduction problem can be resolved quickly," Abe said at a joint press conference with President Donald Trump. The U.S. leader promised to raise the highly sensitive issue of the Japanese nationals kidnapped by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s with Kim Jong Un at next week's high-stakes summit in Singapore. Abe added there was no change in Japan's policy to pursue "real peace in Northeast Asia" and that if North Korea "is willing to take steps" in the right direction, it will have a "bright future."