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PN's Voice 76, 17-03-2016
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PN's Voice No. 76 17. 03. 2016
Small steps, Road to peace
N. Korea Warns of Preemptive Attack on S. Korea
North Korea said on Wednesday its military will launch a preemptive attack if it sees any signs that the South Korean and U.S. troops involved in annual joint military drills are attempting to invade the North.
South Korea and the United States kicked off the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises for a weeks-long run on March 7th in South Korea, mobilizing some 300,000 local troops along with 17,000 U.S. forces. After the first half of the drill focused on defense against possible attacks from the North, the troops continued with part two of the drill on Monday, conducting a joint battalion-level simulated exercise aimed at attacking key facilities in a mock-up North Korean city. This year's exercises of South Korea and Washington are the largest yet in size and come on the heels of North Korea's surprise nuclear test in January and a long-range missile test last month.
A statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency read: "While frantically staging the largest-ever joint military drills, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle 16, against the DPRK throughout South Korea, the enemies are pushing ahead with 'scenario for attack drill part 2,' the key note of which is the 'operation for advance into the northern inland area' targeting the strategic key area of the DPRK…Once there is a slight sign of the start of their foolish special operation, the Korean People's Army will promptly launch the battle for preemptive attack without hesitation."
Source : Yonhap News
Obama Imposes Fresh Sanctions on N. Korea
U.S. President Barack Obama imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea on Wednesday, further tightening the screws on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile tests, including the blacklisting of anyone assisting the North over its labor and mineral exports. "I have now determined that the government of North Korea's continuing pursuit of its nuclear and missile programs ... increasingly imperils the United States and its allies," Obama said in the new executive order. "The order addresses those actions and takes additional steps."
Obama said the new measures target the North's government, not its people, and block the property and interests in property of the government in Pyongyang, its ruling Workers' Party and "any person" helping the regime with its nuclear and missile programs, cyber-attacks, human rights abuses and other illicit activities.
The order carries out both the new U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution and the recently enacted U.S. sanctions law against Pyongyang, and is largely aimed at choking off sources of cash for the regime, including sanctioning exports of the North's mineral resources. But it also has a new measure, such as the "blocking of the property and interest in property of any person found "to have engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for the exportation of workers from North Korea, including exportation to generate revenue for the government of North Korea or the Workers' Party."
Source : KBS News, Yonhap News, The Korea Herald
North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test, Defying U.N.
Kim Jong-un, said his country would soon conduct another nuclear test and also flight-test ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the country’s state-run news media reported Tuesday.
If Kim follows through with those threats, that would mean North Korea was readying its fifth nuclear test and was preparing to conduct more missile launchings in defiance of the sanctions resolution the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted this month against the country. Kim declared that “a nuclear warhead explosion test and a test-fire of several kinds of ballistic rockets able to carry nuclear warheads will be conducted in a short time to further enhance the reliance of nuclear attack capability,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday.
Although North Korea has repeatedly threatened to launch nuclear strikes against the United States, officials and analysts have questioned how close the country has come to acquiring such technology, as well as the ability to guide a long-range missile. Although Kim said that his country has the re-entry technology, it has never flight-tested a long-range missile.
Since the sanctions resolution, North Korea has issued a series of threats and claims about its nuclear ability. It threatened to launch “pre-emptive” nuclear strikes at the United States. It also said that it had “standardized” miniaturized nuclear warheads to be fitted on its missiles. Last Friday, the North said Kim had ordered more nuclear tests, though it did not give a time frame.
Source : The New York Times, The Guardian
S. Korean UN Ambassador: Even More Sanctions Possible if N. Korea Conducts 5th Nuke Test
Oh Joon, the South Korean Ambassador to the United Nations, says if North Korea carries out its threat to conduct another nuclear test or other provocations, the international community can toughen up its sanction measures on Pyongyang even further. Ambassador Oh Joon said there are measures that initially appeared in the draft but weren't included in the final version of UN Security Council Resolution 2270.
"Most of the contents in the initial draft of the current sanction measures are reflected at the end but not 100 percent of it was included. So the measures in the initial draft can be put in place and blacklisted individuals and organizations can be expanded…for example, current sanctions ban trade of North Korean minerals which accounts for a third of its trade. But as the rest of the two-thirds remain to be North Korea's foreign currency resource, that can be targeted."
He then added that current UNSC sanction measures are at a level that hinders a normal country from carrying out state affairs for a long time, expressing hope there would be no need to augment the current measures. Mr. Oh stressed that China and Russia are also ready to implement the UNSC measures. "I believe that the sanctions will be firmly implemented. Because when the sanctions are agreed on at a level higher than expected, it means China and Russia were ready to carry them out."
Source : KBS News
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