Peace Network Korea,
PN's Voice, No.1, 17-06-2014
PN's Voice - Small steps, Road to peace
North Korea Acquires Anti-Ship Missiles
Over the last couple of weeks reports have emerged that North Korea has acquired anti-ship cruise missiles. A propaganda film shown recently on North Korean state video featured the new missile. A Military source quoted in the Chosun Ilbo states that the missile is “probably either the Russian-developed Kh-35 Uran or a copy." The Russians developed the Kh-35, which has a range of 130km, in the mid-90s and have since exported them to countries such as Algeria, Myanmar, Vietnam and India. How North Korea came to acquire this latest addition to its military arsenal is unknown but it’s possible it was bought clandestinely from Russia or through a third country such a Myanmar, or perhaps is a North Korean developed copy. Whilst, these low skimming missiles can be intercepted by the electronic warfare systems on modern South Korean destroyers, the older patrol ships that mostly operate near the Northern Limit Line (the de facto maritime border) aren’t equipped with such weaponry and are therefore vulnerable. This news is a further blow to stability on the Korean peninsula.
Source : 38 North
North Korean Leader Inspects Naval Unit
yongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un paid a visit to a naval unit stationed in the East Sea on Monday. Another North Korean news outlet, The Nodong Sinmun, claimed that during his visit Kim actually personally lead a drill aboard a submarine, believed to be North Korea’s largest. The newspaper also printed pictures of the North Korean leader “physically boarding a submarine and commanding” (quote via The Korea Times) as well as the interior of the submarine. This is surprisingly as it’s the first time these kinds of photos have been published to the public, as the North has usually been very unwilling to disclose details about its weapons.
Source : Daily NK, The Korea Times
Abe’s Actions Could Isolate Japan from its Neighbours
After a recent improvement Japanese-Korean relations could be set to cool off again due to two new proposals of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government. The first of these controversial measures is Abe’s plan to reverse the Kono Statement, the document that acknowledges Japan’s forced recruitment of ‘comfort women’, mostly from Korea, during World War II. The lack of a Japanese apology on the historical issue of ‘comfort women’ is still a running sore in South Korea, and protests outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul undertaken by surviving ‘comfort women’ still occur today. Whilst a reversal of the Statement may be problematic to pull off, Abe may still seek to tarnish and discredit the Statement in lieu of a full abolishment of the Statement. Abe’s main argument behind seeking to amend the agreement is "there was no material to prove the forced mobilization [of comfort women], which is the central part of the Kono Statement.” (Quote from The Kyunghyang Shinmun). Any undermining of the Kono Statement is guaranteed to sour Korea-Japan relations. Additionally, Abe’s aim to ‘reinterpret’ Article 9 of Japan’s constitution is highly likely to upset Japan’s neighbours, particularly China and North Korea. Article 9 allows “only the bare minimum use of force to defend the nation from direct attack. It does not permit the exercise of collective self-defense, or even the use of force to defend an ally that is under attack.” (Quote from The Diplomat). The purpose of Abe seeking to change the interpretation of this Article is to pursue a new strategy of “active pacifism” that would allow Japan to exercise collective self-defence. The move is likely to displease Japan’s East Asian neighbours as many see the strong Japanese-U.S. alliance translating to the Japanese being a proxy U.S. presence in the region. The proposed amendment to Article 9 would be a success for Washington as its strong alliance with Japan would mean a greater U.S. influence in the region. This is likely to anger the Chinese who’ve been involved in territorial disputes with Japan, as well as potentially angering North Korea as well.
Source : The Diplomat, The Kyunghyang Shinmun
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