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BBC NEWS, THE GUARDIAN (UK), BLOOMBERG (USA)

Worldcrunch

PYONGYANGNorth Korea has requested immediate aid from the United Nations, including food supplies, after being hit by devastating floods last month.

The aid also includes fuel and clean water to avoid diseases, as wells have been strongly damaged by the floods. UN officials in Pyongyang said the need for aid was urgent after visiting flood-hit parts of the country to assess damage, reports BBC News.

According to North Korean state media, at least 119 died and tens of thousands of people were left homeless, mostly in the northwestern part of the country.

Natural disasters more severely affect the communist nation, which has suffered for decades from chronic food shortages, economic mismanagement, and growing isolation from the international community because of its nuclear weapons and missile programs, reports Bloomberg.

Meanwhile North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un made his diplomatic debut on Thursday as he hosted a Chinese Communist Party delegation for the first time since he replaced his late father as First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in April.

Pyongyang and Beijing intend to maintain high-level contacts, strengthen party-to-party exchanges and boost practical cooperation.

The UK Foreign Office has also confirmed that the mystery man on the photographs which went viral last week showing Kim Jong-un on a rollercoaster ride was a junior member of the British Embassy in Pyongyang.

Taken during a visit to a newly opened theme park in Pyongyang, the photographs were issued as part of what appears to be a publicity drive by North Korea's new leader, who is promoting a youthful and upbeat image that contrasts with the grim militarism of Kim Jong Il, his father, reports The Guardian.

Britain is one of the few Western countries to hold an Embassy in the authoritarian state.

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Geopolitics

North Korea And Nukes: Why The World Is Obliged To Try To Negotiate

How to handle a nuclear armed pariah state is not a simple question.

North Korea And Nukes: Why The World Is Obliged To Try To Negotiate

North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Yongsan Railway Station in Seoul

Alexander Gillespie

The recent claim by Kim Jong Un that North Korea plans to develop the world’s most powerful nuclear force may well have been more bravado than credible threat. But that doesn’t mean it can be ignored.

The best guess is that North Korea now has sufficient fissile material to build 45 to 55 nuclear weapons, three decades after beginning its program. The warheads would mostly have yields of around 10 to 20 kilotons, similar to the 15 kiloton bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

But North Korea has the capacity to make devices ten times bigger. Its missile delivery systems are also advancing in leaps and bounds. The technological advance is matched in rhetoric and increasingly reckless acts, including test-firing missiles over Japan in violation of all international norms, provoking terror and risking accidental war.

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