PN's Voice 127
Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 127, 22.02.2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Peace Network
PN's Voice No. 127, 22. 02. 2018
Small steps, Road to peace
Pence was Due to Meet N. Koreans at Pyeongchang Olympics
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un's sister during the Winter Olympics this month. However, the North Koreans cancelled at the last minute, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. "North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the Vice President softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics," Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement. But after Pence condemned North Korean human rights abuses and announced plans for new economic sanctions, "they walked away from a meeting or perhaps they were never sincere about sitting down," Ayers said.
The encounter would have been the first scheduled between senior officials from the Trump administration and Pyongyang, which are in a standoff over the North's development of nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States. Pence had criticized Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions and announced the "toughest and most aggressive" sanctions against Pyongyang yet, while also moving to strengthen the U.S. alliance with Japan and South Korea. This is thought to be the potential reason why the North Koreans cancelled the meeting a reported 2 hours before it was scheduled to take place. Kim Jong Un, through his sister, invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang to begin talks "soon."
Source: The Guardian
THAAD Cost may Fall to Seoul
Washington has been intensifying its pressure on Seoul over trade and could now be turning that attention to security negotiations as the top Korean defense chief noted Tuesday that Washington may ask Seoul to cover the cost of THAAD in South Korea by using funds set aside to maintain U.S. troops stationed here.
“There is such a possibility, so we are planning a strategy,” said Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo, speaking to the National Assembly’s defense committee. He was answering a question by a lawmaker about whether Washington might dip into the bilateral burden-sharing fund to cover the cost of running THAAD. The Special Measures Agreement (SMA), a multi-year cost-sharing deal under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), establishes what Korea must contribute to the non-personnel costs associated with keeping U.S. troops in the country. Since 1991, the two countries have conducted routine negotiations to decide what Korea’s financial contribution should be. Under the current five-year agreement set to expire on Dec. 31, Korea has agreed to pay about 920 billion won ($856 million) in annual costs.
The Korean Ministry of National Defense has said until now that the two sides had agreed the United States would cover the cost of THAAD’s deployment while Korea would provide the land and infrastructure. But Song’s remarks indicate that the Defense Ministry expects the United States to request Korea to pay the cost of maintaining THAAD.
Source: Joongang Daily
Ivanka Trump to Arrive in S. Korea on Friday
The presidential office has confirmed that U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, will arrive in South Korea for a four-day trip on Friday and have dinner with President Moon Jae-in. A top office official told reporters Thursday that the dinner will take place at the traditional wooden hanok house, Sangchungjae, within the presidential office. The venue is used to receive foreign dignitaries and is where Moon and Trump had tea when the U.S. president visited South Korea last November. She will be leading the American delegation to the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics set for Sunday. The delegation is set to arrive in South Korea via Incheon International Airport at around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Source: KBS News, The Guardian
Progress at North Korea’s Experimental Light Water Reactor at Yongbyon
38 North, a reputed website devoted to analysis of North Korea, run by Johns Hopkins University, reported this week that satellite imagery from 2017 through to February 11, 2018 indicates steady progress has been made towards the operationalization of the Experimental Light Water Reactor at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Having been under construction since 2010, the reactor seems to be nearing operational status based on improvements made over the past year, including new provisions for a more consistent cooling water supply, installation of internal equipment and the connection of the reactor to the local electrical grid. The latest imagery from February 11 shows the reactor is externally complete, while the two adjacent construction support yards now appear relatively quiet as opposed to mid-2017 when equipment was actively being transferred from the yards into the reactor dome. Click the link below to see the photos and their photo analysis.
Source: 38 North
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