Korean leader Kim Jong-un makes 93 public appearances in 2017

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There was no evidence North Korea diverted wages paid to its workers by South Korean firms in a now-closed border industrial park to bankroll its weapons programmes, an expert panel appointed by Seoul's Ministry of Unification said on Thursday.

Ri Pyong Chol and Kim Jong Sik are now both blacklisted - which means any assets they have in the USA will be frozen, although as NPR's David Welna notes, "It's not clear whether either of them, in fact, has any US assets".

Ri Pyong-chol and Kim Jong-sik were named as leaders of the country's missile program in a Treasury Department announcement.

North Korea has since said the move was "an act of war" and tantamount to a total economic blockade. North Korea claims the missile is capable of delivering nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States.

Experts have said such launches are likely aimed at further developing the North's ballistic missile technology, and as such would be prohibited under United Nations resolutions.

The Joongang Ilbo Daily newspaper, citing an unnamed South Korean government official, reported on Tuesday that North Korea could also be preparing to launch a satellite into space.

Despite Bossert's warning, the State Department has said it is moving forward in the hopes of doing just that and eventually convincing Kim to come to the table for denuclearization talks.

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An unnamed South Korean official said: "Anthrax antibodies have been found in the North Korean soldier who defected this year". North Koreans working outside of the country will also have to return in the next two years.

In a rare expression of unanimity ~ after the prevarication over Libya and Syria ~ the Security Council has tightened the screws on North Korea in the immediate aftermath of the latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

It's hard to keep all 194 nations that aren't North Korea - of 195 in the world - from engaging in commercial activity with the country.

The Trump administration had wanted to freeze all of North Korea's worldwide assets - as well as those held personally by Kim Jong Un - and all imports entirely.

The survey also showed 32.5 percent of USA -based respondents were in favor of US military action, while that number was lower in Japan, or 20.6 percent.

North Korea will remain committed to the country's nuclear development in 2018, according to a report released on Saturday by state-media. North Korea declared the United Nations steps to be an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade.

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