North Korea accuses US, South Korea of assassination attempt

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North Korea is also believed to have made progress in developing intermediate-range and submarine-launched missiles.

More than a quarter of the South Korean electorate have already cast their ballots in early voting ahead of a high-stakes presidential election on Tuesday that has been overshadowed by the nuclear threat of North Korea.

This includes the ability to sanction persons employing North Korean labor overseas, "which is both a significant human rights abuse and another source of hard currency for the regime", according to a brief of the legislation on the House Foreign Affairs Committee website. At times when the nation is facing unusual or extraordinary threats, the president has wide authority under the law, including the power to block or prohibit transactions involving property located in the U.S.

Co-sponsor of the bill, Republican Ed Royce of California, told reporters that if passed, the bill will send a strong message to North Korea.

North Korea has accused the United States and South Korean spy agencies of an unsuccessful assassination attempt on leader Kim Jong Un involving bio-chemical weapons. Imports of goods produced by North Koreans would be blocked unless the USA determines they weren't the product of forced labor.

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Possible locations included the mausoleum where Kim Jong-Un's father and grandfather - the North's founder - lie in state, or a military parade. "So let's squeeze his purse".

Moon, a human rights lawyer who was a top aide to the late president Roh, has Washington anxious his more moderate approach could undercut efforts to increase pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang, senior South Korean government officials said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this week that Washington was working on more sanctions against North Korea, if it takes steps that merit a new response.

But ties have begun to fray in recent years, with China increasingly exasperated by the North's nuclear antics and fearful of a regional crisis.

The debate over how to deal with North Korea has intensified as Pyongyang has grown bolder with its nuclear and missile tests and other provocations, such as 2010 attacks that killed 50 South Koreans.

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On Saturday North Korea conducted its second failed ballistic missile test in two weeks.

The accusation comes as Pyongyang issues increasingly belligerent rhetoric in a tense stand off with the administration of US President Donald Trump over its rogue weapons programme.

Also at play is Park's decision to allow the deployment of a sophisticated US missile-defense system to cope with the North Korean threat.

The missile defense system, known as THAAD, employs six truck-mounted launchers that can fire up to 48 interceptors at incoming missiles detected by the system's x-band radar.

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