PN's Voice 145

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 145, 13.11.2018
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PN's Voice No. 145  13 11. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace


New Report Shows 13 Hidden NK Missile Bases

A new study this week revealed that North Korea has operated at least 13 undeclared missile sites across the nation, a potential blow to U.S. President Donald Trump's assertion that his strategy on Pyongyang has effectively eliminated its military threats. In its latest report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said it has located 13 out of an estimated 20 missile undeclared North Korean operating bases. "These missile operating bases, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missiles from short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) up to and including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), would presumably have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal," the report said. The report’s findings are mostly based on satellite imagery and a number of interviews with North Korean defectors, as well as government, defense and intelligence officials worldwide. 

This news comes amid lingering doubts as to whether the North will agree to submit a full list of its nuclear and missile programs, and engage in serious denuclearization talks with the U.S. Despite all Trump’s reassurances that his plan for North Korean denuclearization is going well, this looks like a big setback. 

Source : Yonhap News, CNN, NY Times 

S. Korea's Unification Minister to visit U.S. to Discuss NK Issues

South Korea's unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon will embark on a five-day trip to the U.S. this week to discuss issues linked to inter-Korean relations with top U.S. officials and experts, likely including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. His trip to the U.S. comes amid apparent friction between the allies over how to enforce global sanctions imposed on North Korea amid almost stalled denuclearization talks. South Korea has been eager to expand cross-border exchanges, which have been blocked by sanctions on Pyongyang. The U.S. has said that sanctions will remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program. Joint projects between South and North Korea, such as railway and road connections over their border, have also been faced with apparent opposition from the U.S. Cho will likely emphasize Seoul's argument that an improvement in inter-Korean relations could benefit the denuclearization process and ask the U.S. to cooperate in easing sanctions on key cross-border projects.

Source : Yonhap News

Kim & Trump Unlikely to Meet Again until Next Year

Donald Trump has said he expects to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a second summit “sometime early next year” amid stalled negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Trump’s comments came after a scheduled meeting between secretary of state Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean officials, including Kim Yong-chol, a senior advisor to Kim Jong-un, was cancelled at the last minute by the North Koreans. Trump declared he was “in no rush” to advance talks; “We are going to make it ... another day…but we’re very happy with how it’s going with North Korea. We think it’s going fine. We’re in no rush.” 

The manoeuvers, part of the Korean marine exchange program, will take place in the southern South Korean city of Pohang, according to the South Korean defense ministry. The location of the drills, far from the border with North Korea, as well as the low-key nature of the drills is significant. In hopes of giving the diplomatic talks with the North a chance, Seoul and Washington have mostly cancelled the large-scale drills, favouring to only run much smaller drills. Decisions over major military exercises for next year are expected to be made by the end of the year. 

North Korea experts have suggested that the cancellation may be a negotiating tactic; there are several precedents for this. The U.S. too has done this in the past; in August Pompeo cancelled a trip to North Korea after Trump said there was little chance for progress to be made. Other experts argued that North Korea only wants to meet with the President himself to try as it’s their best chance of getting some sort of concessions from the U.S. 

Source : The Guardian

NK Fumes over Joint Drills 

North Korea has spoken out critically against South Korea and the United States for their resumption of joint marine exercises, labelling the move a military act which runs contrary to the ongoing peace momentum on the Korean Peninsula. Seoul and Washington resumed the marine drills, the Korea Marine Exercise Program (KMEP), for two weeks in Pohang. In consideration of the reconciliatory approach of the two nations towards North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea have suspended a series of joint military drills earlier this year but decided to resume the marine drill to enhance defense readiness here.

"The drill is a breach of the inter-Korean military agreement under which both sides agreed to remove any threats for possible war and ease tension across the peninsula," said the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the North Korean regime. The agreement was signed in September during the third-ever inter-Korean summit this year between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Under the agreement, both sides reached a consensus to take steps to disarm inter-Korean border areas and continue easing tension on the peninsula.

Despite the North’s complaints, the South's Ministry of National Defense said on Monday that won’t stop or cancel the annual drill. 

Source : The Korea Times 


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