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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) — The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

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Unification minister vows continued efforts for ‘meaningful’ change in inter-Korean ties

SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) — Unification Minister Lee In-young said Monday that tensions should not be heightened under any circumstances on the Korean Peninsula, vowing to make continued efforts to produce a “meaningful” change in stalled inter-Korean relations.

Lee made the remarks in a speech at a seminar on cross-border cooperation in the renewable energy sector, a day after Pyongyang slammed the South and the United States in a string of scathing statements.

The harsh words appear to be aimed at putting more pressure on South Korea and the U.S. as Washington is soon to announce its new policy on the North and summit talks between the allies will be held later this month.

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Police chief orders thorough probe into anti-N.K. leafleting by defector group

SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s police chief has ordered a swift and thorough probe into a North Korean defector group’s alleged sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North last week, police officials said Monday.

Commissioner General Kim Chang-yong gave the order to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Sunday, hours after the North Korean regime threatened “corresponding action” in response to the “intolerable provocation.”

“I ask you to strictly handle the sending of anti-North Korea leaflets through a swift and thorough investigation,” Kim was quoted as saying.

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N. Korea said to quit World Cup qualifiers to be hosted by S. Korea in June

SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) — North Korea has expressed its intention not to participate in Asian qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, set to take place in South Korea in June, a football governing body here said Monday.

According to the Korea Football Association (KFA), its North Korean counterpart, known as the DPR Korea Football Association (PRKFA), sent an official document to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) last Friday to declare its intent to stay away from the second round of World Cup qualifiers to be hosted by South Korea in June.

The PRKFA reportedly cited fears of coronavirus infection among the reasons for its decision not to travel to South Korea next month.

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S. Korea to wait for N. Korea’s final decision on World Cup qualifiers: official

SEOUL, May 4 (Yonhap) — South Korea will wait for North Korea’s final decision on whether to play a World Cup qualifier set to take place in the South next month, an official said Tuesday, after Asia’s soccer governing body asked Pyongyang to reconsider its decision not to play the game.

Earlier, the South’s Korea Football Association (KFA) said its North Korean counterpart, known as the DPR Korea Football Association, sent an official document to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) last Friday to declare its intent to drop out of the second round of the World Cup qualifiers, citing coronavirus concerns.

“As far as we are concerned, the AFC has asked North Korea to reconsider its decision,” the unification ministry official said. “For now, we will wait until the AFC completes their internal process and notifies our government of the final decision.”

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Police conduct raid over anti-N.K. leafleting

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) — Police on Thursday raided the office of a vocal North Korean defector who claimed to have sent anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets into the North in defiance of a ban.

Police launched an investigation after Park Sang-hak, head of Fighters for a Free North Korea, a North Korean defectors group, said the organization sent 10 balloons carrying around 500,000 leaflets between April 25-29.

“We are currently searching relevant locations,” an official with the Seoul Metropolitan Police said. “We will conduct a swift and strict investigation.”

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N. Korea unlikely to carry out provocations ahead of S. Korea-U.S. summit: minister

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) — Unification Minister Lee In-young said Friday that North Korea is not likely to carry out major provocations ahead of summit talks between the United States and South Korea slated for later this month.

“We cannot rule out all possibilities of North Korea raising tensions but many experts say that the chances of the North heightening military tensions ahead of the South Korea-U.S. summit remain relatively low,” Lee told a local radio show.

“I think it is because North Korea must already know well that things went awry significantly during the Obama administration and it won’t make such a mistake again,” he added.
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