Newscast Media PYONGYANG—North Korea said on Sunday it would not use jailed US citizen as a “bargaining chip” with Washington, as it laid out conditions to revive a jointly-run business estate with its neighbor, the South.
“Some media of the U.S. said that the DPRK (North Korea) tried to use Pae’s case as a political bargaining chip. This is a ridiculous and wrong guess,” a foreign ministry spokesman told the official KCNA news agency.
“The DPRK has no plan to invite anyone of the US as regards Pae’s issue.”
The North said Thursday it had sentenced Pae, known in the US as Kenneth Bae, to 15 years of hard labor for hostile acts aimed at toppling the communist regime.
The Korean-American tour operator was arrested as he entered the northeastern port city of Rason. Bae, who was referred to throughout the trial as Pae-Jun-ho, the Korean iteration of his name, was first detained in November and could have been executed for the charge that he conspired to overthrow the government.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang demanded that South Korea drop all “military provocations” if it wants to revive the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North’s National Defense Commission, its most powerful body, on Sunday again blamed the South for the suspension.
“If the South was truly worried about Kaesong’s future, it should take measures of stopping all the hostile acts and military provocations, the source of the prevailing situation”, said a spokesman for the commission, which is chaired by leader Kim Jong-Un.
The spokesman’s statement, on the Korean-language service of the official KCNA news agency, cited anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border in balloons by conservative activists and defectors. It also cited the South’s preparations for an annual military exercise with its US ally scheduled for August.
“These are parts of confrontational actions and war practice taken by the enemy government when it is rambling that it wants to normalize the Kaesong complex,” the spokesman said.
Pyongyang, accusing Seoul of sparking the military tension, banned entry to the Kaesong complex by South Koreans and pulled out all its 53,000 workers early last month, rejecting repeated calls by the South for talks.
by Anugrah Kumar
Newscast Media BEIJING—Secretary of State John Kerry flew to China on Saturday and met with that country’s top leaders, seeking their help in dealing with North Korea, which has threatened attacks against South Korea and the U.S. and remains unwilling to return to nuclear talks.
After the meetings, Kerry told reporters in Beijing he urged China to take a more activist stance towards North Korea, and called his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping “constructive and forward-leaning.”
“Mr. President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues—issues on the Korean Peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around the world that are in need of a boost,” Kerry told Xi at the Great Hall of the People, according to Reuters.
Kerry, who visited China for the first time as secretary of state, said both governments called on the North “to refrain from any provocative steps and that obviously refers to any future missile shoot.”
“We are able, the United States and China, to underscore our joint commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner,” Kerry said, adding there will be “further discussions to bear down very quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this goal.”
China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who was with Kerry at the press conference, was quoted as saying, “We maintain that the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation. To properly address the Korea nuclear issue serves the common interests of all parties. It is also the shared responsibility of all parties.”
Kerry also told Beijing that American missile defenses in the region, which has been a concern for China, could be reduced if North Korea discontinued its nuclear program.
“Obviously if the threat disappears—i.e. North Korea denuclearizes—the same imperative does not exist at that point of time for us to have that kind of robust forward leaning posture of defense,” The New York Times quoted him as saying. “And it would be our hope in the long run, or better yet in short run, that we can address that.”
The secretary of state said the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, and intelligence officials will visit Beijing this month. He said he wanted to ensure that the pledges made by Beijing were “not just rhetoric.” “There is no question in my mind that China is very serious—very serious, about denuclearizing,” BBC quoted him as saying.
Xi said Kerry is the second key member of President Barack Obama’s administration to visit China within a month after Xi was elected president in March, and this shows both countries’ full understanding of the importance of Sino-U.S. ties, according to China’s state-owned Xinhua news agency.
Currently the Sino-US relationship is in a new era with a good start, and both sides are devoted to building a new type of relationship between powers, Xi said, adding he believes Kerry’s visit will contribute to the positive momentum of the developing bilateral ties.
China is North Korea’s main trading partner and financial backer, and therefore has a unique ability to use its leverage against the impoverished, isolated state, Kerry said in South Korea on Friday before leaving for Beijing.
Kerry’s Asia visit, which includes a stop in Tokyo on Sunday, comes weeks after North Korean threats of war since the imposition of new U.N. sanctions in response to its third nuclear test two months ago.
Newscast Media TEHRAN—With North Korea having sounded the battle cry, war seems inevitable and one Iranian commander foresees infliction of heavy losses on the U.S. and its allies, should they commence to war against Kim Jung Un.
“The presence of the Americans in [South] Korea has been the root cause of tensions in this sensitive region in the past and present. The US and its allies will suffer great losses if a war breaks out in this region,” Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri said on Friday.
He added that the US presence has also created division between North Korea and South Korea.
The Iranian commander emphasized that if international organizations and the United Nations acted efficiency and independent of big powers, they would have prevented tension in the Korean Peninsula and stopped the US extortionism.
Jazayeri stressed that independent countries would not submit to the US mischief, saying the time for Washington’s bullying and extortionism is long past.
War of words escalated after the participation of the United States’ nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers in its joint military drills with South Korea.
On Thursday, North Korea said a preemptive nuclear war with the United States “could break out today or tomorrow.”
The Pentagon said on Wednesday that Washington would deploy the ballistic Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) to Guam in the coming weeks.
The US has also deployed a battalion equipped to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical attacks to South Korea.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia cautioned against aggressive posturing in response to increasingly bellicose North Korean rhetoric on Friday, saying that it could spiral into violence.
“We are alarmed that along with the adequate reaction from the UN Security Council and the collective reaction of the international community, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that involves increased military activity,” Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara.
Lavrov did not single out any specific country, but urged all sides involved in the Korean standoff to refrain from muscle-flexing. This appeared to be a reference to the recent flare-up in tensions between
Pyongyang and Washington in the wake of joint US-South Korean military exercises close to the border.
South Korea and the United States began annual large-scale military exercises, codenamed Key Resolve, on March 11. The drills involve 10,000 South Korean and 3,500 US troops. Prior to the exercises, Pyongyang threatened the United States with a preemptive nuclear strike amid warnings that it plans to terminate the Korean War Armistice Agreement.
It warned of retaliatory countermeasures if the United States and South Korea went ahead with the drills. The United States on Thursday dispatched two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers on an “extended deterrence” practice run over South Korea.
US officials said the exercise should serve “to demonstrate very clearly the resolve of the United States to deter against aggression on the Korean Peninsula.”
North Korea responded on Friday by placing its strategic rocket forces on standby to strike US and South Korean targets.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—North Korea says it is informing the United Nations of an imminent nuclear war on the Korean peninsula due to provocation from Seoul and Washington.
“Our people and army are entering the final stage of preparations for war against the United States to defend their country’s dignity and sovereignty,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in a Tuesday statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the KCNA also reported that top North Korean leaders are scheduled to meet in the coming days to make a decision on an “important” issue.
According to the agency, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee will hold its meeting before the end of March in a move to “discuss and decide an important issue for victoriously advancing the Korean revolution.”
The date of the meeting and the issue to be discussed have not been specified, yet. However, analysts in South Korea believe decisions on international relations, security and also the reshuffling of personnel will be made at the meeting.
This comes as in a separate statement on Tuesday, the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army said that it has elevated its artillery and strategic missile forces to “combat-ready posture,” adding that it was ready to strike US territory.
North Korea said it would “show off our army and people’s stern reaction to safeguard our sovereignty and the highest dignity through military actions.”
In reaction to the comments, Pentagon spokesman George Little said that, “We are concerned by any threat raised by the North Koreans,” adding, “We take everything they say and everything they do very seriously. They need to stop threatening peace—that doesn’t help anyone.”
On March 11, Seoul and Washington launched a week-long annual joint military maneuver near the Korean Peninsula despite warnings from Pyongyang. The maneuver involved 10,000 South Korean soldiers and about 3,000 US troops.
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media SEOUL—Iran’s semi-official news outlet Fars News Agency reported that North Korea is accusing the U.S. of causing instability between the North and South. North Korea is facing further UN sanctions for its underground nuclear test explosion two weeks ago, its biggest and most powerful to date which prompted warnings from Washington.
“The US is to blame for the situation on the Korean peninsula which is inching close to an unpredictable phase now,” So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.
“The US should no longer be allowed to seriously infringe upon the independent right of the DPRK to use space for peaceful purposes nor should it be allowed to abuse the UN Security Council as a tool for executing its hostile policy toward the DPRK,” he added, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The third nuclear test was carried out as part of the practical countermeasures for defending the country’s sovereignty and security to cope with ruthless hostile behaviors of the US, which wantonly infringed upon the DPRK’s legitimate right to satellite launch for peaceful purposes,” So said.
by Anugrah Kumar
Newscast Media TOKYO, Japan—A day after North Korea announced it would launch another satellite this month, believed to be cover for a ballistic missile test, and causing concerns in the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda threatened to shoot down the rocket if it threatened Japanese territory.
“The defense minister has today issued orders to prepare for the interception and defense against ballistic missiles,” ABC News quoted Noda as saying on Sunday. “If they do indeed go ahead with the launch, then it is indeed very regrettable. Not only our country, but the entire international community must take strong measures to deal with this.”
Noda’s statement comes the day after Korean Central News Agency quoted the Korean Committee for Space Technology as saying that the North “plans to launch another working satellite, which has been manufactured true to the behest of great leader comrade Kim Jong Il with our own efforts and our own technology.”
The launch of Unha-3 rocket from the Sohae Space Center in North Phyongan Province will take place between Dec. 10 and 22, around the time when Kim Jong-un will complete one year in office as the nation’s supreme leader, and about eight months after a failed rocket launch in April.
North Korea’s sole ally China also expressed concerns Sunday. “China … expressed its concern about the satellite launch plan of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, saying it hopes relevant parties can act in a way that is more conducive to the stability of the Korean peninsula,” Xinhua news agency said. “North Korea has the right to the peaceful use of outer space, but this right is limited by the relevant Security Council resolutions,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quoted as saying.
North Korea notified neighbors, including Japan, of the route of the rocket, South Korea’s Yonhap News said Sunday. “The North has notified aviation authorities in nations including Japan that could come under potential danger…of the timing and expected path [of the rocket],” a senior official was quoted as saying.
On Saturday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland responded in a statement, saying, “A North Korean ‘satellite’ launch would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region. Any North Korean launch using ballistic missile technology is in direct violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions.”
Nuland also criticized warped priorities of the isolated and impoverished nation.
“Devoting scarce resources to the development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles will only further isolate and impoverish North Korea,” she said. “The path to security for North Korea lies in investing in its people and abiding by its commitments and international obligations.”
South Korea has also expressed “serious concern” over the planned launch. The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Saturday said it was a “long-range missile test in the name of working satellite,” and warned that “it will be faced with a strong response.”
“The launch is a severe provocation as it is ignoring the concern and warning from the international community and is a direct challenge to the international community as a whole,” the ministry’s statement said.
U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague joined in condemning the planned exercise on Saturday. “Failure to do so [abandon the project] must lead to a further response by the international community, and will damage the prospects for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” he said in a statement.
The North has launched several long-range rockets in the last one and a half decades, seen as cover for intercontinental ballistic missile tests. Most of the rockets either exploded in midair or failed to put satellites into orbit, but North Korea claims partial success.
Newscast Media PYONGYANG—The North Korean army threatened Friday to carry out a “merciless military strike” against South Korea next week, in a serious escalation of cross-border tensions. The Korean People’s Army (KPA) vowed to initiate the strike if a group of North Korean defectors now living in the South went ahead with plans to scatter propaganda leaflets next Monday from balloons floated over the border.
“The moment a minor movement for the scattering is captured… a merciless military strike by the Western Front will be put into practice without warning,” the KPA said in a statement carried on the official Korean Central News Agency.
Residents in and around the area where the activists plan to launch their balloons should “evacuate in anticipation of possible damage. The surrounding area will become targets of direct firing of the KPA,” the statement said, adding: “The KPA never makes empty talk.”
South Korea vows it will not leave the threat unanswered, saying it would return fire.
“If (a North Korean strike) were to happen, there would be a perfect response against the source of the attack,” Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told a parliamentary committee, Reuters reported.
Korean Central News Agency also warned inhabitants of the border region to leave the area of Imjingak “in anticipation of possible damage.”
Source: Al Manar TV
Newscast Media NEW YORK — For the first time in almost two years, a top North Korea envoy will visit New York later this week for exploratory talks on the possibility of resuming the six-party negotiations on denuclearization. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the North’s vice foreign minister and former nuclear
negotiator, Kim Kye-Gwan, would visit the US “later this week” for the talks.
“Following the first round of denuclearisation talks between the nuclear negotiators of the Republic of Korea and North Korea, the United States has invited North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kae-gwan to New York later this week,” Clinton said in a statement. Kim’s visit will mark the resumption of US-North Korean dialogue 19 months after Stephen Bosworth, the top US envoy on Korean peninsula affairs, visited Pyongyang in December 2009.
In a statement released to reporters as she left Indonesia after three days of intense engagement with East Asian foreign ministers, Clinton said Kim would meet with an interagency team of US officials.
Their discussions would focus on the “next steps necessary to resume denuclearization negotiations through the six-party talks”, she said.
“This will be an exploratory meeting to determine if North Korea is prepared to affirm its obligations under international and six-party talk commitments, as well as take concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization,” Clinton said.
“We do not intend to reward the North just for returning to the table,” Clinton said.
“We will not give them anything new for actions they have already agreed to take. And we have no appetite for pursuing protracted negotiations that will only lead us right back to where we have already been.”
The six-party denuclearization forum, grouping two Koreas, the US, Japan, China and Russia, has been deadlocked since the last meeting in December 2008. http://www.newscastmedia.com/north-korea.html
Newscast Media PYONGYANG, North Korea –Unless North Korea shows it is willing to meet conditions on halting its nuclear facilities, the US has ruled out resuming any negotiations or talks with Pyongyang. North Korea has not responded, and the White House has described its actions as belligerent.
The White House’s remarks come after an unofficial visit to North Korea by Gov. Bill Richardson who said Pyongyang would re-open its facilities to UN inspectors. North Korea has not confirmed the offer nor has UN’s nuclear watchdog responded to Richardson’s statements. Richardson believes that the North’s gesture to allow international inspectors back in to its main nuclear complex, and its restraint in not retaliating for South Korean live-fire drills, could provide a basis for new six-party talks.
However, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the North was not “even remotely ready” for such talks.
“Right now the action must come not from their words, but from their deeds,” he said. We’re not going to get a table in a room and have six-party talks just for the feel-good notion of having six-party talks. The six-party talks will be restarted again when the North Koreans display a willingness to change their behavior,” Mr Gibbs said.
“We’re not going to get a table in a room and have six-party talks just for the feel-good notion of having six-party talks.”
Mr Gibbs said there were no plans for Mr Richardson to talk with the president following his unofficial trip to North Korea, which was made at Pyongyang’s invitation. http://newscastmedia.com/nucleartalks.html
Newscast Media PYONGYANG, North Korea — Former US President Jimmy Carter has arrived back in the US with an American whose release by North Korea he won. Mr Carter and Aijalon Gomes touched down in Boston, where their plane was met by Mr Gomes’s family. Mr Gomes, who had been living in South Korea, was jailed in January after crossing into North Korea from China.
The insular nation’s state-run news agency said leader Kim Jong-il had granted the former president’s request to “leniently forgive” Mr Gomes. His friends and family applauded when the flight landed at Boston’s airport shortly after at 1400 (1800 GMT) on Friday.
Mr Gomes, who appeared thin, embraced his mother and Mr Carter upon walking off the plane. The former president spent two days in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, before leaving with Mr Gomes, who had been working as an English teacher in South Korea.
The US state department said it welcomed Mr Gomes’s release, but also stressed that Washington had played no official role in Mr Carter’s trip.
“We appreciate former President Carter’s humanitarian effort and welcome North Korea’s decision to grant Mr Gomes special amnesty and allow him to return to the United States,” state department spokesman Philip Crowley said. http://newscastmedia.com/carterjimmy.htm