PN's Voice 43

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 43, 21-05-2015
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Peace Network

PN's Voice No. 43  21.05.2015 
Small steps, Road to peace

North Korea Claims It Has Built Small Nuclear Warheads

North Korea said on Wednesday that it had already successfully built miniaturized nuclear weapons small enough to be carried by missiles, even as a senior American general questioned the country’s recent claim that it had successfully tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile. “It is long since the D.P.R.K.’s nuclear striking means have entered the stage of producing smaller nukes and diversifying them,” the National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by the North’s official news agency, K.C.N.A. “The D.P.R.K. has reached the stage of ensuring the highest precision and intelligence and best accuracy of not only medium- and short-range rockets, but long-range ones,” the agency said.

Officials and analysts in Washington and Seoul remain uncertain and even divided over how close North Korea has come to acquiring a nuclear weapon small enough to be put on a missile, or its ability to deliver a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile. But their concern has grown since the North placed a satellite into orbit in December 2012, successfully demonstrating a rocket technology needed for a long-range missile. In February 2013, North Korea also claimed that it had conducted its third underground nuclear test with “a smaller and lighter A-bomb.” A month later, the North’s main government newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, quoted a North Korean general as saying that the North’s “intercontinental ballistic missiles and other missiles are on a standby, loaded with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear warheads.
Adm. William E. Gortney, the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told reporters last month that American intelligence officials believed that North Korea had the ability to put a nuclear weapon on its KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile “and shoot it at the homeland,” although he said the North had yet to run a flight test of the missile.

North Korea said the recent May 8 test involved successfully launching a strategic missile from a submarine. But some analysts have since questioned the claim, saying that some of the photographs of the episode that North Korea released may have been altered and that the test launch may have been conducted from a submerged barge, rather than a submarine.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Tuesday, Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, voiced similar misgivings. “They have not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spinmeisters would have us believe,” Admiral Winnefeld said. “They are many years away from developing this capability. But if they are eventually able to do so, it will present a hard-to-detect danger for Japan and South Korea, as well as our service members stationed in the region.”
Source : The New York Times, Yonhap News

Kerry's Remark about THAAD Meant 'internal U.S. discussions': State Department

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that comments he made during a visit to South Korea earlier this week that “talks are under way about the THAAD missile defense” system, were referring to "internal U.S. discussions" his department said Wednesday. Kerry made the remark during a meeting Monday with U.S. service personnel stationed in South Korea. Speaking of how provocative and unpredictable North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is, Kerry said that is "why we're talking about THAAD."

Kerry's remark rekindled intense media attention on the sensitive topic because his statement appeared to contrast with long-running assertions by Seoul and Washington that the two sides have never held any formal consultations on the issue. "I was there with him on that trip. He was referring to internal U.S. discussions. Our position on this hasn't changed. It wasn't a topic of conversation with the South Korean authority," State Department acting spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a regular briefing.

The U.S. wants to deploy a THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile interceptor battery to South Korea, where some 28,500 American troops are stationed, to better defend against ever-growing threats from North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs. But the issue has become one of the most sensitive military and diplomatic issues in South Korea because China and Russia see a potential THAAD deployment as a threat to their security interests and have increased pressure on Seoul to reject such a deployment.
Yonhap News

U.S. Moves Toward Additional Sanctions on N. Korea

U.S. senator Cory Gardener has introduced legislation that would impose additional sanctions on North Korea and redesignate the reclusive nation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The resolution calls for "additional targeted sanctions against the regime and cautions against resuming any negotiations without strict pre-conditions, including a complete halt of Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, proliferation activities, military provocations, and a significant and verifiable improvement in the regime’s human rights record."

Gardner, chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, said the resolution sends a strong message to the Obama administration that the United States must act quickly to address "this major threat" to U.S. and East Asian security. The bill comes as North Korea is believed to have recently purged its defense chief Hyon Yong-Chol and test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The U.S. State Department added North Korea to its state sponsor of terrorism list following the 1987 bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, but the George W. Bush administration removed it from the list in October 2008 in return for meeting all nuclear inspection requirements.

Senator Gardner’s push for proposed legislation comes at the same time that Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. are in talks with China over pursing joint sanctions toward North Korea over its nuclear program. Kerry, speaking in Seoul, emphasized that the United States’ ongoing participation in international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program could serve as a model for North Korea. Kerry noted that he and Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, had “agreed that a mix of negotiations and pressure are needed to address this challenge, and North Korea needs to live up to its international obligations and commitments.”
Source : KBS News The Diplomat, The Wall Street Journal

N. Korea Withdraws Ban Ki-Moon’s Invitation

North Korea abruptly withdrew an invitation to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, Wednesday, a move which Ban found "deeply regrettable."

North Korea abruptly withdrew an invitation to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, Wednesday, a move which Ban found "deeply regrettable."

The Ministry of Unification, which deals with inter-Korean affairs, echoed a similar view, saying Pyongyang's move was "regretful." "Ban sought to visit the industrial park, Thursday, to promote peace and security on the Korean Peninsula," ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol said. "We urge North Korea to come forward to cooperate with the U.N. and the international community in order to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and improve inter-Korean relations."

He added his ministry did not receive any message from the reclusive state prior to Ban's speech. Lim also said the government has not found anything out of the ordinary that may have led the North to call off Ban's trip. The cancellation of Ban's trip adds to concerns over the erratic nature of the North Korean leader. According to a North Korea expert, the military regime deliberately made the diplomatic discourtesy because it found Ban's remarks at the World Education Forum (WEF), Tuesday, offensive. "It's possible Pyongyang was upset by the U.N. chief's criticism of its military aggression," said Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

Ban had initially announced his plan to visit Gaeseong during a press conference at the WEF in Songdo, Incheon, Tuesday. His plan was welcomed by politicians as well as entrepreneurs, who hoped his scheduled tour to the North would bring a breakthrough in inter-Korean relations, which have deteriorated over the past few years. The Gaeseong complex has been a symbol of reconciliatory efforts between Seoul and Pyongyang since it began operations in 2004. Ban would have been the first head of the U.N. to visit the complex. He would also have been the first U.N. chief to visit North Korea since Boutros Boutros-Ghali did so in 1993.
Source : The Korea Times

Female Peace Activists leave Beijing for Pyongyang

Around 30 prominent women’s rights and peace advocates from 15 countries left Beijing for Pyongyang on May 19 for the Women Cross DMZ Peace Walk event. Their five-day visit will see them staging symposiums and recitals in North Korea on “women and peacemaking” and visiting children’s hospitals. On May 24, they are scheduled to walk across the DMZ and arrive in South Korea at Panmunjeom. Participants include the leading US women‘s right activist Gloria Steinem, Nobel laureates Leymah Gbowee from Liberia and Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, and Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Walt.

Just before their departure, participants held a press conference at the Holiday Inn in Beijing to call for peace on the Korean Peninsula and sent a message of comfort to families separated by the peninsula’s division. “It is an amazing opportunity for us to walk across the DMZ as a delegation of women for peace,” said Maguire. “The DMZ was created against the wishes of many people on the Korean Peninsula, and countless divided families have been suffering.” “We started this action to comfort those people and support the peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula,” she added.

Gbowee, who led other women in a non-violent struggle to end a civil war in Liberia, said her country also experienced war and severe human rights infringements. “The Korean Peninsula is the most dangerous place in the world, where conflicts, suffering, and chains runs deep,” she said. “Until every place in the world is peaceful, there can be no true peace.” “It is our duty as world citizens to take an interest in peace on the Korean Peninsula,” she added. Gbowee went on to say that peace is “a powerful weapon that can bring happiness to everyone.” “There is no conflict or enmity that women cannot solve,” she continued. Gbowee expressed her hope that politics in North and South Korea “will end the war and division during this generation rather than leaving it [for the next].”

The women said they’ve already received North Korea’s approval and will walk to Panmunjeom on May 24.
Source: The Hankyoreh

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