Seoul-based "NK News" reports that North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho has been replaced. His successor is expected to be publicly announced next Thursday.
Seoul-based "Daily NK" reports North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is recuperating from a heart procedure done earlier this month, after his disappearance from various events led to speculation about his health.
In response to the annual military drills, North Korea threatens to destroy Seoul and Washington, D.C. through nuclear weapons if provoked. Both South Korea and the United States insist the drills are for defense.
North Korea accuses South Korea of kidnapping its citizens and demands their immediate return after Seoul's Ministry of Unification said 13 of them had defected to South Korea from China, where they worked in a Pyongyang-operated restaurant. China says that the 13 people, a male manager and 12 young female employees, had legitimate passports and had freely exited China.
North Korea issues an "ultimatum" to South Korea, demanding blanket apologies and an immediate cessation of anti-DPRK activities. Some protesters in Seoul were noted burning portraits of North Korean leaders on Monday, while North Korea celebrated the birthday of the late Kim Il-sung. The new threat comes amid what is otherwise perceived as an easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. North Korean authorities say that an attack may occur without warning at any moment.
A Seoul-based radio station targeting North Koreans reports that a train carrying birthday gifts for North Korean future leader Kim Jong-un derailed, in what it describes as a possible act of revolt by opponents. South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) states that it is checking the report.