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PN's Voice 64, 10-12-2015
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PN's Voice No. 64 10. 12. 2015
Small steps, Road to peace
US Expands North Korea Sanctions over Arms Trade
The US has imposed new sanctions on North Korea over its alleged weapons proliferation activities. The economic penalties have been applied to six of the North’s international banking representatives and three of its shipping companies for what the Treasury Department called ties to illicit arms proliferation and financing. The sanctions, announced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, bars them from dealings with the United States and impounds any assets in American jurisdiction. The sanctions also target the North Korean army's Strategic Rocket Force, which is accused of performing several missile tests last year.
"North Korea threatens international peace and security by expanding its nuclear program and continuing its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons," said Adam Szubin, acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. Five of the individuals added to the blacklist - two in Syria and two in Vietnam - are representatives of the Tanchon Commercial Bank, which is already on the US sanctions list. It performs financial activities for the Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation, which is responsible for North Korea arms exports. The North's Foreign Trade Bank also had one representative, based in Russia, added to the sanctions list. The firm itself was also already covered by US sanctions.
North Korea is already under sanctions form several other nations and the UN, and this was the second time in four weeks that the US has imposed sanctions on the reclusive nation.
Source : The New York Times, The New York Times
Kim Jong-Un Claims Hydrogen Bomb Development
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced in Pyeongyang’s state media that his country has developed not only nuclear weapons but also hydrogen bombs. He made the remark while inspecting a historic site for the communist nation's arms industry a day earlier, according to reports. The North has been turned into a "powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate a self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation" thanks to tireless efforts by his late grandfather Kim Il-sung, founder of the nation, the Korean Central News Agency said in a report on Kim's "field guidance" at the Pyongchon Revolutionary Site in Pyongyang.
It marks the first time that Kim has publicly mentioned the North's development of an H-bomb, experts here noted. "Kim has revealed on a number of occasions that North Korea possesses nuclear bombs. But this appears to be the first time that he talked about an H-bomb," Chang Yong-seok, a researcher at the Seoul National University Institute for Peace and Unification Studies said. Lee Chun-geun, research fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, was cautious. "It's hard to regard North Korea as possessing an H-bomb. I think it seems to be developing it," he said.
Source : The Korea Times
38 North: Upgrade of N. Korea's Rocket Launch Site Near Completion
38 North, a well US research institute, said yesterday that construction of fuel storage bunkers at North Korea's rocket launch site appear to be near completion as a three-year project to expand the site draws to an end.
Commercial satellite imagery taken of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the North's northwest from October through late November indicates that construction of new propellant (fuel/oxidizer) bunkers continues and is nearing completion, 38 North said in a report. "With the upgrade program nearing completion, North Korea will be ready to conduct further activities at Sohae, including space launches, by the first quarter of 2016 should the leadership in Pyongyang decide to do so," 38 North said in a report.
South Korean military and intelligence officials have said they believe the upgraded facility can be used for the launch of long-range missiles twice the size of the 30-meter-long Unha-3, which put a satellite into orbit in December 2012.
Pyongyang is believed to have developed advanced ballistic missile technologies through a series of test launches, including the 2012 launch that is considered the most successful so far. That test sparked fears that the North has moved closer to ultimately developing nuclear-tipped missiles that could potentially reach the mainland U.S.
Source : 38 North, The Korea Herald, The Guardian
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