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YONHAP (South Korea), CNN, (USA), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

SEOUL - South Korea has backtracked from an earlier statement that said there was evidence North Korea was preparing for its fourth nuclear test.

South Korea's Defense Ministry on Monday denied earlier suggestions by South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae that a nuclear arms test was imminent in North Korea, calling vehicle and personnel activities at the northeastern Punggye-ri nuclear test facility "routine."

"We found there had been no unusual movements that indicated it wanted to carry out a nuclear test," a Defense Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s news agency Yonhap revealed Monday that North Korea was withdrawing its 51,000 workers from the jointly operated Kaesong industrial park located near the border, 10 kilometers north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The complex was considered as the last remaining symbol of cooperation between the two Koreas.

Pyongyang had already been preventing South Korean workers and managers from entering the Kaesong complex and threatened to shut it down entirely amid weeks of war threats and other efforts to punish South Korea and the U.S. for ongoing joint military drills, CNN says.

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Geopolitics

Olaf Scholz: Trying To Crack The Code Of Germany's Enigmatic Chancellor

Olaf Scholz took over for Angela Merkel a year ago, but for many he remains a mysterious figure through a series of tumultuous events, including his wavering on the war in Ukraine.

man boarding a plane

Olaf Scholz boading an Air Force Special Air Mission Wing plane, on his way to the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Tirana.

Michael Kappeler / dpa via ZUMA Press
Peter Huth

-Analysis-

BERLIN — When I told my wife that I was planning to write an article about “a year of Scholz,” she said, “Who’s that?” To be fair, she misheard me, and over the last 12 months the German Chancellor has mainly been referred to by his first name, Olaf.

Still, it’s a reasonable question. Who is Olaf Scholz, really? Or perhaps we should ask: how many versions of Olaf Scholz are there? A year after taking over from Angela Merkel, we still don’t know.

Chancellors from Germany’s Social Democrat Party (SPD) have always been easy to characterize. First there was Willy Brandt – he suffered from depression and had an intriguing private life. His affected public speaking style is still the gold standard for anyone who wants to get ahead in the center-left party. Then came Helmut Schmidt. He lived off his reputation for handling any crisis, smoked like a chimney and eventually won over the public.

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