PN's Voice 108

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PN's Voice 108, 09.03.2017
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PN's Voice No. 108,  09. 03. 2017 
Small steps, Road to peace

NK Fires Four Missiles into the Sea

North Korea launched four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan on Monday morning. Three of them fell into Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) after flying some 1,000km (620 miles), in what PM Shinzo Abe called a "new stage of threat". The type of missile is unclear but the North is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN.

State Department acting spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement: "The United States strongly condemns the DPRK's ballistic missile launches tonight, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology." Last Friday, Pyongyang had threatened to fire missiles in response to the Foal Eagle military exercises under way between South Korea and the US. The North sees the annual drills as preparation for an invasion against it.

Monday's launches were just the latest in a long series of tests of North Korean missile technology, which experts say is likely to be improving with successive tests. North Korea has repeatedly said its space programme is peaceful but it is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the US. However, most experts believe the North is still some time away from being able to miniaturise nuclear warheads so they could fit on to a missile. This latest launch is the first test-firing since Donald Trump became US president; it was condemned by the UN, the US, South Korea, Japan, and perhaps surprisingly China. It has seen the deployment of THAAD in South Korea step up a gear (see below).
Source : BBC News

U.S. Starts Deploying THAAD in South Korea

The United States began installing THAAD, the advanced antimissile system this week, after North Korea tested four ballistic missiles on Monday. Alarmed over North Korea’s increasingly provocative behavior, the United States said on Tuesday that it had started to deploy an antimissile system in South Korea that China has angrily opposed as a threat to its security.

A spokeswoman for the United States forces in South Korea said that one of five major components of the missile system had arrived on Monday. Officials said it could take a couple of months for the system to become fully operational. In telephone calls on Monday to South Korean and Japanese leaders, President Trump said the United States would stand with its Asian allies and take steps to defend against North Korea’s growing ballistic missile threat. Mr. Trump emphasized that the United States was taking steps to “enhance our ability to deter and defend against North Korea’s ballistic missiles using the full range of United States military capabilities,” the White House said in a statement.

China has been incensed over the deployment of the system, fearing it could give the United States military the ability to quickly detect and track missiles launched in China, according to analysts. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geng Shuang, said Tuesday that China would “take the necessary steps to safeguard our own security interests, and the consequences will be shouldered by the United States and South Korea.” Mr. Geng warned the two countries not to “go further and further down the wrong road.” Yang Xiyu, a former senior Chinese official who once oversaw talks with North Korea, said China was worried that the deployment of the system would open the door to a broader American network of antimissile systems in the region, possibly in places like Japan and the Philippines, to counter a growing Chinese military. “China can see benefits only for a U.S. regional plan, not for South Korea’s national security interest,” he said.
The South Korean Defense Ministry declined to specify when the system would be operational. But the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the deployment was likely to be completed in one or two months, with the system ready for use by April.
Source : The New York Times

U.S. Envoy: N. Korea Leader 'Not Rational Person' to Talk to

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday rejected calls for opening negotiations with North Korea to defuse escalating tensions, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "not a rational person." Amb. Nikki Haley also turned down China's suggestion that the U.S. halt annual joint military exercises with South Korea in exchange for Pyongyang's suspension of its nuclear and missile activities. She also said the U.S. is reviewing all options on the table.
"I appreciate all of my counterparts wanting to talk about talks and negotiations. We are not dealing with a rational person. If this was any other country, we would be talking about that and it wouldn't be an issue. This is not a rational person who has not had rational acts, who is not thinking clearly," Haley told reporters after an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea.

But State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Haley's point was that the North's "behavior" has not been rational. He also said the U.S. remains open to dialogue with the North with the aim of returning to credible and authentic negotiations on denuclearization, and the North should take meaningful actions toward the goal. "Efforts up until today, whether it's six party talks, whether it's sanctions, all of the efforts that we have taken thus far to attempt to persuade North Korea to, again, engage in meaningful negotiations, have fallen short, to be honest. So we need to look at new ways to convince them, to persuade them that it's in their interest," he said.

In Beijing earlier Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi likened the U.S. and the North to "accelerating trains coming towards each other with neither side willing to give way" and called for a compromise in which the U.S. halts exercises and the North suspends weapons activities.

Haley finished by saying the U.S. is reviewing its strategy to deal with the North and that she thinks "all the options are on the table now."
Source : Yonhap News

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