A US diplomat and a North Korean representative held a rare face-to-face meeting in New York, giving hope of progress on the stalled nuclear disarmament talks. US special envoy for disarmament talks, Sung Kim, met with North Korean envoy, Ri Gun over the weekend. North Korea withdrew from talks in April, but says it is prepared to return if it speaks one-on-one with Americans. But the US has said any bilateral contacts with North Korea must lead to a restart of the six-party negotiations that bring together South Korea, China, Russia, Japan, the US and North Korea. Ri will also attend academic forums in New York and California, and the US underscored that Ri was in America at the invitation of private organisations. Meanwhile, the US froze the assets of a North Korean bank and one of its executives for allegedly being involved in the sale of ballistic missiles. The Treasury said Amroggang Development Bank had helped to finance the sale of ballistic missiles and other weapons out of North Korea. Read more: Voice of America
Some firing squads are all issued with blank cartridges with the exception of one person. This helps alleviate personal responsibility for the execution squad.