North Korean defectors show signs of possible radiation exposure

Ri Pyong Chol and Kim Jong Sik have been sanctioned by the US government because they are key figures in North Korea's ballistic missile program. They have been

North Korean defectors show signs of possible radiation exposure

The United States sanctioned two North Korean officials on Tuesday over the development of ballistic missiles, as Russian Federation and America's top diplomats held talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

This year alone, North Korea test-launched a total of three intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test in September. Similarly, the White House too had released a report earlier this month claiming North Korea was developing chemical and biological weapons that can be delivered via missiles.

He started his career as a civilian aeronautics technician, but now wears the uniform of a military general at the Munitions Industry Department, according to experts and the South Korean government.

New additions to the list are 16 people from North Korea and the defence ministry in the capital Pyongyang, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.

China has long urged a softer approach to North Korea, focusing on dialogue and not sanctions, which it says could create a humanitarian crisis on its border.

The United States has places sanctions on two North Korean officials behind the development of nuclear missiles.

The missile test in November led to a meeting between the UN Security Council where they approved new sanctions.

Ri is believed to be a key official in its intercontinental ballistic missile development
Ri is believed to be a key official in its intercontinental ballistic missile development

North Korea warned Sunday that a new round of UN sanctions against it are "an act of war", saying the USA and other nations that supported the strict measures will pay a heavy price.

Both men are regularly photographed alongside North Korea leader Kim Jong-un at missile launches.

Washington has made it clear that all options, including military ones, are on the table, but it prefers a diplomatic solution.

The North Korean Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Monday saying that "peaceful space development is a legitimate right of a sovereign state".

The main source of North Korea's fuel, China did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to Pyongyang last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on December 26.

It was not immediately clear if Trump was referring to the report or USA intelligence in his tweet, or if he was accusing China - the North's main ally - of directly violating sanctions targeting Pyongyang.

A report by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that North Korea has taken steps to strengthen the capabilities for self defense and pre-emptive attacks with nuclear force.

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