PN's Voice 97

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PN's Voice No. 97,  03. 11. 016 
Small steps, Road to peace


N. Korea Preparing to Launch Another Musudan Missile in 2 Days

North Korea is getting ready to launch yet another Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile in the next three days, a U.S. news report said Tuesday. Fox Business News cited two unidentified U.S. officials "with knowledge of this assessment" as saying that the North is preparing to conduct a launch "in the next 24 to 72 hours." It said the potential launch would be the ninth test of the Musudan missile this year. The Department of Defense declined to confirm the report. However, South Korea's military authorities confirmed the report, saying activities of a Musudan missile-carrying transport erector launcher (TEL) have recently been spotted in North Korea. "We cannot disclose the possible launch site but our analysis is that the North can launch a Musudan at any time. The military is on high alert to counter any provocative acts by the North," a defense official said, adding there was no pre-notice issued by Pyongyang to warn planes and ships that may be in the path of the missile.

Last month, the North twice tested the Musudan missile on Oct. 15 and Oct. 20. Both tests failed, as the missile exploded shortly after take-off. Still, the tests showed how committed the North is to developing nuclear-armed, long-range missiles. They were the seventh and eighth tests of the missile believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam. Of the eight tests, the only successful one was a June launch in which the missile reached space and re-entered Earth's atmosphere before landing in waters some 400 kilometers away.

The missile launches are among a number of provocations the North has undertaken this year in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The communist nation also carried out two underground nuclear tests in January and September.
Source : Yonhap News


South Korea Plans to Revive Talks With Japan on Sharing Intelligence

South Korea said on Thursday that it would restart talks with Japan about a military intelligence-sharing pact, four years after a similar agreement was canceled in the face of a domestic furor. Officials at the Defense Ministry said in a news briefing on Thursday that such an agreement would allow South Korea to better address the growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. The South hopes to sign a deal by the end of the year, the officials said. The United States has also pressed Japan and South Korea, its allies, to increase military cooperation so that the three countries could more effectively work together to monitor and confront the military threats from the North. Senior officials from all three countries met in Tokyo on Thursday to discuss ways of increasing pressure on North Korea.

But South Koreans remain wary of cooperating too closely with Japan, especially given its relatively nationalist administration under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which some say has tried to glorify Japan’s brutal colonial rule of Korea in the early 20th century. In 2012, a deal was postponed at the last minute after criticism that the government had not allowed enough public debate. Two years later, the United States persuaded South Korea and Japan to sign a trilateral pact on sharing intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities. Even then, Japan and South Korea did not agree to share data directly; under the agreement, the United States acted as an intermediary.
Source : The New York Times


Most N. Koreans criticize government in private: CSIS survey

Most North Koreans criticize their government in private, even though such criticism could land them in prison camps or other punishments in the totalitarian nation that tolerates no dissent, a survey showed Wednesday. According to the survey of 36 North Koreans currently living in the country, 35 of them said that their "family, friends, or neighbors complain or make jokes about the government in private," the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said.

CSIS commissioned the survey as part of its "Beyond Parallel" project on North Korea. The participants were from various provinces across the North, aged 28-80, and had jobs such as laborer, doctor, homemaker, factory worker, cook and sauna worker. "North Korea is not a free and open society. That all but one of the Beyond Parallel interviewees say people they know complain and makes jokes about the government is an extraordinary number given the gravity with which the regime responds to criticism," CSIS said. "People who express dissent or criticize the state, even if unintentionally, are subject to harsh punishments and detention, often punished without trial," it said.

The think tank said that past surveys of North Korean defectors have also shown similar results, but its survey is more meaningful as it involved those currently living in the country. "One can therefore reasonably assume that defectors would have a more negative or critical disposition toward the government. However, the Beyond Parallel finding that the overwhelming majority of respondents still living in North Korea also make jokes at the government's expense, is another thing altogether," it said.
Source : Yonhap News


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