PN's Voice 88

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 88, 21-07-2016
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PN's Voice No. 88   21. 07. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace

S. Korea Condemns N. Korea for 'Spy Broadcasts'

South Korean officials have criticized North Korea after it apparently resurrected a Cold War-era method of contacting spies. In recent weeks, mysterious strings of numbers have twice been broadcast over the radio from the North. A spokesman for the South's Unification Ministry said it couldn't be sure about North Korea's "hidden intentions", but it urged the North to "desist from such outdated practices"..

But what exactly do the broadcasts say? The numbers were picked up on Radio Pyongyang last Friday, officials have said. South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted government sources as saying the broadcast said: "I will give review work to No. 27 exploration agents." The announcer then read: "On page 459 number 35, on page 913 number 55, on page 135 number 86, on page 257 number 2," and so on. A similar two-minute broadcast took place on 24 June.

South Korean intelligence authorities are trying to work out what exactly the numbers means, but they are now on alert for "possible provocations". Such broadcasts were used frequently during the Cold War as a way of getting coded messages to spies in the field or to activate sleeper agents. Spies would use a hardcopy reference book to decode the numbers into instructions. Yonhap reported that North Korea had not broadcast number codes since 2000 - it has recently preferred to use the internet for its communications.

The broadcasts come after a spike in tensions between North Korea and South Korea over the North's nuclear and missile tests, and retaliatory international sanctions. Additionally, this month, South Korea and the US announced an agreement to deploy a battery of the THAAD missile defence system.
Source : BBC News, Yonhap News, KBS News

N.K. Fires 3 Ballistic Missiles into the Sea

North Korea has fired three ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, say US and S. Korean officials. This latest provocation, like the aforementioned ‘spy broadcasts’, comes after the US and South Korea said they would deploy THAAD, an anti-missile system to counter the North's threats.
North Korea is barred by UN sanctions from any test of nuclear or ballistic missile technology. But tensions have soared since it carried out its fourth nuclear test in January. South Korea's Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said missile tests had been "a rare phenomenon in the past" but had been taking place "continuously" this year. "The threat to our national security has grown very quickly in a short period of time," he said. North Korea has also conducted several launches in recent months, including a test of mid-range missiles in June which were considered its most successful yet. Seoul has said activity detected recently in North Korea indicates it could be preparing to conduct a fifth nuclear test imminently.
Source : BBC News, The Guardian, The New York Times

N.K. says Missile Test Aimed at Ports, Airfields in the South

North Korea announced on Wednesday that Tuesday’s launch of three missiles was aimed at boosting its capabilities to strike South Korean ports and airfields, in an apparent bid to ratchet up its protest against the Seoul-Washington plan to dispatch THAAD in South Korea.

The firing of one Rodong and two Scud missiles was seen as a show of force targeting the allies’ recent announcement of their deployment decision. “The drill was conducted by limiting the firing range under the simulated conditions of making preemptive strikes at ports and airfields in the operational theater in South Korea, where the U.S. imperialists’ nuclear war hardware is to be hurled,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.

During the event, the North “examined the operational features of the detonating devices for nuclear warheads mounted on ballistic rockets at the designated altitude over the target area.”

In images carried by Rodong Sinmun, the ruling Workers’ Party’s mouthpiece, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed the liftoff. On a table beside him was a map of the peninsula titled “the strategic forces’ firepower strike plan,” with a trajectory chart from Hwangju to such areas as Busan and another port city of Ulsan toward the East Sea. The Panmunjom Mission of the North’s Korean People’s Army also threatened that U.S. military bases in South Korea would be the first target of any attack, followed by South Korean troops.
Source : Joongang Daily, The Korea Herald

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