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Spy chief nominee says North Korea apparently has no will to denuclearize on its own

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Spy chief nominee Kim Kyou-hyun / Yonhap
Spy chief nominee Kim Kyou-hyun / Yonhap

North Korea appears to have no intent on giving up its nuclear weapons on its own, South Korea's state intelligence chief nominee said Wednesday.

Kim Kyou-hyun, named to lead the National Intelligence Service, presented the view during his National Assembly confirmation hearing, just hours after Pyongyang launched three ballistic missiles into the East Sea amid concerns it may even carry out another nuclear weapon test soon.

"I think North Korea scarcely has a will to denuclearize on its own," Kim said.

On the COVID-19 outbreak in the North, he said people there appear not to have received vaccinations, while it remains unconfirmed whether or not leader Kim has been vaccinated.

The North seems to have received emergency medical supplies from China, he added.

Kim, formerly a veteran diplomat and senior presidential aide, voiced skepticism over the North's daily report of suspected coronavirus infections and deaths, saying, "The figures are hard to believe.

"There is no way to verify (the numbers) objectively, but it seems to be far from the truth," he said.

North Korea has claimed its outbreak of COVID-19 has been slowing down in recent days, with the total number of "fever" cases since late April standing at around 3.06 million. (Yonhap)

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