PN's Voice 81

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PN's Voice 81, 28-04-2016
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PN's Voice No. 81   28. 04. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace

Obama Rejects NK’s Nuclear Offer

Barack Obama recently dismissed an offer from North Korea to cancel any nuclear tests, in exchange for the halting of the joint US-South Korean military drills. Obama said on Sunday that he does not believe North Korea is sincere in its offer and that Pyongyang would “have to do better than that”.

Obama stressed that his dismissal of North Korea’s offer was simply sticking to his preexisting policy on North Korea of waiting for signs of a sincere approach towards denuclearization; “We don’t take seriously a promise to simply halt until the next time they decide to do a test these kinds of activities,” the president said. “What we’ve said consistently,” he continued, “is that if North Korea shows seriousness in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, then we’ll be prepared to enter into some serious conversations with them about reducing tensions and our approach to protecting our allies in the region. But that’s not something that happens based on a press release in the wake of a series of provocative behaviors. They’re going to have to do better than that.” Obama also said that until North Korea offers a “better” proposal, the US will continue to “emphasize our work with the Republic of Korea and Japan, and our missile defense mechanisms, to ensure that we’re keeping the American people safe and we’re keeping our allies safe”.
North Korean officials have floated similar proposals to this one in the past, but the US has insisted that the North give up its nuclear weapons before any negotiations. Pyongyang has argued that the US and South Korea, with which its war technically continues, have forced the North to develop nuclear weapons for self-defense. The result has been a stalemate that North Korea says puts the peninsula at the crossroads of a thermonuclear war.

This year’s exercises are the biggest ever, involving about 300,000 troops. Washington and Seoul say they beefed up the maneuvers after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, in January. Pyongyang has responded to the exercises with a series of missile launches and statements that the country has developed its long-range ballistic missile and nuclear warhead technologies, to the point that they now present a credible deterrent and could even be used against targets on the US mainland. The North has said that the possibility of conflict has increased significantly this year because the exercises have taken on what Pyongyang sees as a more aggressive and threatening tone, including training to conduct precision “decapitation” strikes on North Korea’s leadership.
Source : The Guardian


Obama Stresses Missile Shield for Korean Peninsula

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that Washington could “destroy” North Korea with its nuclear arsenal, but that it is restraining itself out of consideration for its ally, South Korea. “We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals,” Obama said in an interview with CBS This Morning that aired on Tuesday, “but aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, the Republic of Korea.” The remarks came amid concerns that North Korea could conduct a fifth nuclear weapons test at any moment.

Obama said that Washington is working on a shield system to cope with North Korea’s nuclear threats. “One of the things that we have been doing is spending a lot more time positioning our missile defense systems,” he said, “so that even as we try to resolve the underlying problem of nuclear development inside of North Korea, we’re also setting up a shield that can at least block the relatively low-level threats that they’re posing right now.”

Obama called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “personally irresponsible” and Pyongyang “a massive challenge.” He said it is a “priority” to protect South Korea and Japan, U.S. allies “that are vulnerable to the provocative actions that North Korea is engaging in.”

North Korea’s fourth nuclear test on January 6th, a long-range rocket launch on February 7th, as well as a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test on Saturday, have resulted in a number of sanctions placed on North Korea from the US, the UN and South Korea. Additionally, these actions have led to Seoul and Washington launching formal negotiations over the possible deployment of the THAAD in South Korea, a move that will likely anger both North Korea and China.
Source : Joongang Daily


Strong Sign of NK 5th Nuclear Test as Regime Organizes May 6th Party Congress

North Korea has announced its ruling Workers’ party congress will take place on May 6th – a landmark event that analysts suggest will be preceded by another banned nuclear test. It is the first such conference in 36 years and analysts expect North Korea to formally adopt leader Kim Jong-un’s ‘Byongjin’ policy: simultaneously pushing for economic development and nuclear weapons capability. The summit will be watched closely for indications of how it will present its internationally banned pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Byongjin follows Kim’s father’s policy of ‘Songun’, or “military first”, and his grandfather’s ‘Juche’, the North’s home-grown founding ideology that combines Marxism and extreme nationalism. North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and has pushed ahead with ballistic missile development in defiance of UN sanctions and international warnings. It is seen to be readying another nuclear test and missile launches in the run-up to the conference despite new UN sanctions imposed in March.

The last congress of the Workers’ party was held in 1980 under the rule of Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the state founder. Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, who died in December 2011, never held a ruling party congress.
Source : The Guardian, The New York Times, The Korea Times



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