PN's Voice 93

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 93, 06-10-2016
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PN's Voice No. 93   06. 10. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace


Park Geun-hye Appeals to North Koreans to Defect

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has called on North Koreans to abandon their country and defect, just a day after a soldier walked across the heavily fortified border into the South. In a rare message directly addressed to rank-and-file troops and North Korean citizens, the president on Saturday invited North Koreans to relocate to the "bosom of freedom" in the South. "We are well aware of the gruesome realities you face," Park said during a speech marking the country's Armed Forces Day. "The universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights and welfare are the precious rights you should also enjoy. "We will keep the road open for you to find hope and live a new life. Please come to the bosom of freedom in the South whenever you want."

The call comes a month after North Korea's deputy ambassador to Britain defected to South Korea, handing the country a major propaganda coup at a time of rising tension on the divided Korean peninsula. Similarly, in April 12 waitresses and their manager who had been working at a North Korea-themed restaurant in China made headlines when they arrived in South Korea in a rare group defection.

Park said defections by North Koreas fleeing hunger and oppression were increasing "drastically". "There have been persistent defections, even by North Korean elites who have been supporting the regime", she said. Over the years, nearly 30,000 North Koreans have fled poverty and repression in their country and settled in the South. But the number of defectors - who once numbered more than 2,000 a year - has nearly halved since Kim Jong-un took power after the death of his father and former leader Kim Jong-il in December 2011.
Source : Al Jazeera


400,000 N. Koreans Work in Modern Slavery

A civic group says that some 400-thousand North Koreans belonging to a state-run labor group work in conditions that amount to modern-day slavery. The Seoul-based human rights group made the claim on Wednesday at a news conference in Seoul, releasing a report based on its interviews with 18 North Korean defectors, including four former workers or so-called Stormers. The civic group said that North Korean authorities extort about 900 million U.S. dollars a year from North Korean residents.
According to the report, Stormers have to serve about ten years, much like military service, and are mobilized for state construction projects with almost no pay. It also revealed that recruitment even targeted middle school graduates, with students in poor physical condition and from bad family backgrounds usually forced to serve as Stormers.
Source : KBS News


N. Korea Vows Preemptive Strike against U.S. Nuclear Threats

North Korea says it will launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States to counter U.S. nuclear threats. The North's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Wednesday that Pyongyang is ready to launch preemptive attacks against the U.S. at any time.

The paper strongly condemned U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who recently said that the U.S. will modernize its nuclear arsenal to counter possible nuclear attacks by North Korea and Russia. Pyongyang said that Washington’s move to seek nuclear modernization proves the legitimacy and necessity of the North’s nuclear development, claiming that pressure and threats from the U.S. will only push the North to enhance its nuclear deterrence.
Source : KBS News


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