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North Korea

South Korea Backtracks Earlier Claim, Says North Korea Nuclear Test Not Imminent



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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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Return At Your Own Risk: Gazans Stranded In Egypt Use Ceasefire To Go Back Home

Having been stuck outside their besieged homeland, hundreds of Palestinians have reentered Gaza, preferring to risk it all to be close to loved ones.

Photo of a Palestinian woman waiting to cross into Gaza from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing

A Palestinian woman waits to cross into Gaza from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing during the ceasefire

Elias Kassem

RAFAH — Like most Palestinians elsewhere in the world, Marwan Abu Taha has spent the past seven weeks glued to his phone screen, anxiously following the news in Gaza and talking with family in the besieged enclave.

But unlike others, Abu Taha was also desperately trying to get back inside Gaza.

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The father of four, among several thousand Palestinians stranded in Egypt since the war broke out, was allowed to cross back into Gaza on Saturday amid the current, temporary ceasefire.

“It’s a risk,” Abu Taha said over the phone from his home in Gaza’s central town of Deir Al Balah. “But I wanted to come back to be with my children.”

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