PN's Voice 103

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 102, 22.12.2016
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PN's Voice No. 102,  22. 12. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace

Acting President Hwang says THAAD Should be Deployed Quickly

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said on Wednesday that anti-missile system THADH has to be deployed to South Korea as soon as possible to counter North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats. Hwang made the remarks amid calls from opposition parties to delay the planned deployment of THAAD to the Korean Peninsula given the lack of public consensus and China's vehement opposition to it. Seoul hopes to install a THAAD battery in the southern county of Seongju, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, by May next year.

"For security, (we) have to deploy (THAAD)," he said during a parliamentary interpellation session. "As we cannot wait even for a moment to cope with North Korea's nuclear provocations, we have to do what we can do first." Hwang, then, made an appeal for parliamentary support for the deployment, underscoring that the North's nuclear provocations this year were "unprecedented." Pyongyang carried out two nuclear tests in January and September, raising concerns it is making headway towards achieving nuclear-power status. Pointing to China's objections, Hwang said, "China's thoughts will not change even if (Seoul) postpones the deployment by two to three years."

China has strenuously opposed the deployment of the missile defense asset, saying its long-range radar system could target it and undermine its security interests. In apparent retaliation against the deployment plan, Beijing is suspected of carrying out tax probes and sanitary checks on South Korean businesses operating in the country. "Chinese authorities have never publicly warned of any retaliation with regards to the THAAD issue, but they have taken a set of steps that seem to be apparent responses (to the deployment plan)," he said. "We are making efforts to cope with such measures."
Source : Yonhap News

N. Korea Likely to Conduct Nuke Test Early Next Year

A South Korean state-run think tank said Wednesday that North Korea may heighten tensions with new nuclear and missile tests early next year as the Donald Trump administration takes over. "The North is expected to intensify its push to deploy nuclear weapons for combat use through its sixth nuclear test and ballistic missile launches next year," the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS), a think tank run by the National Intelligence Service, said in a report.

The INSS said that the North could conduct a nuclear test, in particular, in January and February when it is to celebrate major anniversaries such as birthdays of Kim Jong-un and his late father Kim Jong-il. The think tank worried that the North's additional provocation would result in more diplomatic pressure from the incoming Donald Trump administration, heighten tensions and prompt yet another nuclear crisis in the region.

The INSS said that the Kim Jong-un regime may launch a peace offensive by pursuing talks with the U.S. and South Korea in the second half but if the attempt does not pan out, it could resort again to provocative measures. The U.S. and South Korea have said that there will be no talks with the North until it shows meaningful action toward denuclearization.
Source : The Korea Times

Ban Ki-moon Hints at Presidential Bid

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was willing to devote himself to his motherland once he returns home next month in his post-UN career, giving his strongest signal yet that he may run for president in the next year’s election. “I am willing to devote myself to help in any way for the development of Korea by reflecting on lessons I have learned from my service as UN Secretary General,” said the veteran diplomat during a meeting with Korean reporters in New York on Tuesday.

When asked how he would dedicate himself to the good of the nation, Ban said politics could never be done without political means and vision, commenting, “I will determine it after listening to voices of people from all walks of life.” The 72-year-old top UN official offered his stinging criticism of the domestic political scene, citing people’s growing disappointment and anguish amid a grave abuse of power scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. “I don’t understand why we need to differentiate people who belong to the pro-Park faction and those outside of it,” Ban said. Such a remark appears to show his intention to distance himself from the current political circle in an attempt to project himself as a politician with a new vision free of partisan interests.

It has been months since Ban has been cited as one of the presidential hopefuls to run in the next year’s election. While he has never declared his official bid, he has made comments deemed political and made a visit to former two-time prime minister Kim Jong-pil during his time in Korea, which was seen as his attempt to gain political advice from the 90-year-old on nurturing his presidential ambition.
Source : The New York Times

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