PN's Voice 116

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 116, 23.05.2017
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PN's Voice No. 116,  23. 05. 2017 
Small steps, Road to peace

North Korea Fires Medium-range Missile in Latest Test

North Korea fired a medium-range missile on Sunday, according to US and South Korean officials, the latest ballistics test by a country speeding up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles. White House officials travelling in Saudi Arabia with the US president, Donald Trump, said the system that was tested, which was last launched in February, had a shorter range than the missiles fired in North Korea’s most recent tests. The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said both economic and diplomatic pressure would continue to be applied to North Korea in the wake of the launch. “The ongoing testing is disappointing, disturbing and we ask that they cease that,” Tillerson said on Sunday.

The latest launch comes a week after North Korea successfully tested a new mid-range missile that it said could carry a heavy nuclear warhead. North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes, even from China, its lone major ally, calling them legitimate self-defence. A week ago North Korea claimed the US mainland was now within range of its missiles after it successfully test-fired a new rocket it said was capable of carrying a “large-scale, heavy nuclear warhead”.
Source : The Guardian, The New York Times

Resumption of Joint Projects with N.K. to Hinge on Denuclearization

South Korea said on Tuesday that it would push to resume its joint industrial park and tour program with North Korea only in step with the resolution of the North's nuclear standoff. Seoul's reaffirmation came amid growing attention to whether Seoul would try to reopen reconciliatory projects with North Korea as it said Monday that it will flexibly review the resumption of civilian exchanges.

The administration of President Moon Jae-in is expected to resume the supply of humanitarian assistance to North Korea to improve the two Koreas' relations. But it will likely adjust the pace of its engagement by taking into account Pyongyang's nuclear issue. The ministry said it plans to allow for civilian inter-Korean exchanges to an extent that the move would not compromise the international sanctions regime. "South Korea will sternly respond to North Korea's provocations, but it also does not think that long-strained inter-Korean ties will help stability on the divided peninsula," the government said. But the issue of resuming the inter-Korean projects could spark a dispute over whether it violates U.N. sanctions resolutions that ban the transfer of large amounts of money.

In February 2016, Seoul closed down the industrial complex in response to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests earlier in the year. In July 2008, it suspended the tour project after a South Korean woman was killed by a North Korean soldier at the mountain resort. Newly appointed national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said Monday that the government plans to mull over how to resume the projects in a way that doesn't hamper international fronts in pressuring North Korea.
Source : Yonhap News, The Korea Times

Moon to Seek Pope's Help for NK Summit?

President Moon Jae-in is reportedly seeking Pope Francis' help to arrange a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.According to the Joongang Ilbo, Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Moon's special envoy to the Vatican, plans to deliver Moon's letter to the Pope Tuesday or Wednesday. "I will deliver President Moon's letter to the Pope during my audience, in which Moon asks the latter to help arrange an inter-Korean summit," Archbishop Kim was quoted as saying in a report published Tuesday.
Noting that Pope Francis was a crucial figure in the normalization of diplomatic relation between the U.S. and Cuba in 2014, he said the Pope had been looking for ways to resolve the North Korean issue. "Pope Francis emphasized after his visit to Egypt last month that the North Korean missile crisis, which has been going on more than a year, has become too dangerous," Kim said. "He asked for the role of a third country, such as Norway, to mediate the crisis."

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has dismissed the report, saying it was not the time for such a meeting. "Archbishop Kim is in fact set to deliver the President's personal letter to the Pope," presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said. "However, the letter does not contain a request to the Pope to help mediate a South-North Korean summit. The President has instead only asked the pontiff to pray for peace and reconciliation between the two Koreas."
Source : The Korea Times

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