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Key N Korean nuke official passes away

ANI | Updated: Sep 04, 2018 14:27 IST

Seoul [South Korea], Sept 4 (ANI): A key North Korean official, who was believed to be involved in the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, breathed his last at the age of 89, the North's state media confirmed on Tuesday.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Ju Kyu-chang passed away on Monday night due to pancytopenia, a condition that occurs when a person has low counts for all three types of blood cells -- red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
The state media described Ju as a "revolutionary soldier" who had made a "distinguished contribution" to the national defence, according to Yonhap News Agency.
"Letting go of comrade Ju Kyu-chang who had faithfully carried out our party's great tasks at the forefront of national defence is a huge loss, not just for our party but also for our people," the KCNA said.
Ju, who graduated from the Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang, spent much of his life developing high-tech nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
In 2009, Ju was seen accompanying the then late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on his visit to observe the launch of an Unha-2 rocket. He was believed to be involved in developing the upgraded Unha-3 rocket, which was test-fired by Pyongyang in 2012.
In 2013, the United States blacklisted the official for his suspected involvement in developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Despite incumbent North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowing to give up his nuclear programme, a confidential report by the United Nations last month had revealed that the country is reportedly continuing to pursue its nuclear weapons programme. A US official also stated that Pyongyang was reportedly constructing new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and its missile programme was doing "business as usual."
North Korea has become a virtual pariah in the international community due to tough sanctions imposed by the UN and the US on the reclusive nation, after conducting nuclear tests and launching three ICBMs last year. (ANI)