Connect with us

World News

N. Korea tests more missiles as Seoul prepares to send food aid

N. Korea tests more missiles as Seoul prepares to send food aid SEOUL: North Korea reportedly launched two short-range missiles on Thursday afternoon —  its second military provocation in five days following the testing of several rockets and missiles last Saturday. The North’s latest test firing coincided with the visit to Seoul of the US’s top…

N. Korea tests more missiles as Seoul prepares to send food aid

N. Korea tests more missiles as Seoul prepares to send food aid

SEOUL: North Korea reportedly launched two short-range missiles on Thursday afternoon —  its second military provocation in five days following the testing of several rockets and missiles last Saturday.

The North’s latest test firing coincided with the visit to Seoul of the US’s top nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun, and comes at a time when South Korean President Moon Jae-in is attempting to persuade politicians that South Korea should provide food aid to the North, which is currently facing a potentially disastrous shortage following its worst harvest in 10 years.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missiles were fired from the north-eastern city of Kusong toward the eastern waters between 4:29 p.m. and 4:39 p.m. One of the missiles flew 420 km, and the other 270 km.

In 2017, the North launched a long-range ballistic missile, Hwasong-12, and a ground-to-ground missile, nicknamed Pukguksong-2, in the Kusong area.

“We have strengthened surveillance and vigilance in case of an additional missile launch by the North,” the JCS said in a statement. “Both South and US militaries are analyzing the details of the projectile.”

President Moon expressed his concern over the launch of the missiles, which he said could violate UN resolutions that ban the North from firing any kind of ballistic missile.

“If they are ballistic missiles, even if they are short-range, (they) could be in violation of UN resolutions,” Moon said during an interview with a local broadcasting station on the occasion of the second anniversary of his inauguration.

Still, the president — who favors negotiation with the North — was trying to leave room for diplomacy.

“UN resolutions, in fact, target the North’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the international community has never taken issue with short-range missiles,” he said. 

 

“Nevertheless, I warn that such actions, if repeated, will make it more difficult to maintain dialogue and negotiations down the road.”

This week’s missile launches were expected to top the agenda when Biegun met with South Korean officials on Friday.

Having arrived late on Wednesday, Biegun was scheduled to make a courtesy call on President Moon on Friday morning and meet with key security-related officials, including Chung Eui-yong, director of the presidential national security office, and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa, to discuss the missile launches and the potential provision of food aid to the North.

On Tuesday, Moon spoke with US President Donald Trump to discuss his plan to provide food to North Korea, and Trump reportedly expressed his support.

“We’ll push for sending food to North Korean citizens in cooperation with the international community,” said Lee Sang-min, spokesman for the Ministry of Unification on North Korean affairs. “Discussions are underway among related government offices to lay out details of food assistance.”

According to the UN, an estimated 10.1 million people — or 40 percent of the North Korean population — are in urgent need of assistance after this year’s harvest.

The regime cut daily rations to less than 11 ounces per person in January, compared to over 13 ounces per person in January 2018, according to the World Food Program, and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Food shortages in North Korea have been aggravated by the international sanctions imposed in 2016, which have choked the regime’s cash flow, making it difficult for the state to import food.

While America remains cautious about providing the North with materials, fearing that the regime would use any aid for military purposes, Washington has confirmed that it will not stand in South Korea’s way if Seoul chooses to provide food aid to the North.

“Our position in regards to North Korea is going to continue to be the maximum pressure campaign,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday. 

“Our focus is on the denuclearization. (But) if South Korea moves forward on that front, we’re not going to intervene.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that the international community should maintain pressure on North Korea until it gives up its nuclear weapons program completely.

“President Trump has led tough diplomacy toward the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea,” Pompeo said in a speech in London on Wednesday. “That mission is important, and the pressure campaign that the world has engaged in must continue.”

Local experts believe food aid may not be an effective way of luring the North to the negotiating table, although the South hopes that such assistance could set the stage for the fourth round of talks between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“The latest provocation sends a clear message that they will not come to the negotiating table unless the United States changes its attitude toward denuclearization talks,” said Kim Dong-yub, a professor at Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. “The North is not likely to be induced just by food aid.”

And in Seoul, politicians are divided over whether to provide food to the North or not.

“For the sake of peace and maintaining the momentum of dialogue with North Korea, humanitarian assistance should be implemented as soon as possible,” Rep. Lee Hae-shik of the governing Democratic Party said on Thursday.

But Rep. Min Kyung-wook, spokesman for the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, rebutted Lee’s claim, saying: “We’re not opposed to any humanitarian assistance to the North Korean people, but this is not the time. If the South provides food aid now, the North will think their provocation bore fruit.”

Analysts believe the North has been developing new short-range missiles modeled after Russia’s Iskander system. Developed in the 1970s, the Iskander is a road-based mobile launch system that can fire multiple ballistic and cruise missiles. It is known to have a range of up to 500 kilometers.

“The missile is potentially capable of conducting strikes on all areas of South Korea, including key American military installations,” said the Kyungnam University professor. “(The most troubling thing) is that the missile could carry a nuclear warhead of up to 500 kilos.”

Retired three-star general Shin Won-shik warned that the Russian-type short-range missile could be capable of evading missile defense systems.

“The South Korean missile shield was developed to cope with existing ballistic missiles, (including) Scud and No Dong. So there are questions about whether the current missile defense plans are (equipped to deal with) the threat of newer missiles,” said Shin.

South Korea is working on a low-tier missile shield — the Korea Air and Missile Defense system or KAMD — a network that includes Patriot Advanced Capability-2 and -3 interceptors, ship-based SM-2 missiles, and locally developed medium-range surface-to-air missiles. The US Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was deployed in the southern part of South Korea in 2007 to augment the low-tier, terminal-phase KAMD.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code

World News

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan returns to Canada amid royal storm

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the…

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan returns to Canada amid royal storm

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal family.
“I can confirm reports that the duchess is in Canada,” the couple’s spokeswoman told AFP, without providing further details.
The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the royals left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny in Canada when they flew to Britain earlier this week.
It said Meghan, a former US television actress, headed back to rejoin him on Thursday and “she may stay there for the foreseeable future.”
An unnamed source was quoted as saying by the domestic Press Association news agency the duchess had traveled to the UK “to attend some meetings” before returning to Canada
Senior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the couple wanted to “step back” from their roles.
Queen Elizabeth II reportedly held crisis calls on Thursday involving Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.
William, Harry and their wives have been viewed as the modern face of the royal family, hailed for bringing fresh energy into the institution.
But Harry and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.
The couple have lashed out at negative news coverage — Harry calling some of it racist — and taken several papers to court.
The prince also confirmed he was growing apart from his brother, who is second in line to the throne.
The couple said they wanted to forge “a progressive new role,” split their time between Britain and North America and become financially independent.
A palace source on Thursday said the queen had instructed aides to work “at pace” with Meghan and Harry and the government “to find workable solutions.”
Key questions include whether they will keep their royal titles and how much of their funding — mostly from Prince Charles — they will maintain.
The couple’s decision follows a turbulent year for the wider royal family.
Prince Andrew announced he was retiring from public duties after a disastrous TV interview about his friendship with the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
 

Continue Reading

World News

Deadlock over Nile dam as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan look to Washington for talks

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal…

Deadlock over Nile dam as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan look to Washington for talks

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal family.“I can confirm reports that the duchess is in Canada,” the couple’s spokeswoman told AFP, without providing further details.The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the royals left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny in Canada when they flew to Britain earlier this week.It said Meghan, a former US television actress, headed back to rejoin him on Thursday and “she may stay there for the foreseeable future.”An unnamed source was quoted as saying by the domestic Press Association news agency the duchess had traveled to the UK “to attend some meetings” before returning to CanadaSenior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the couple wanted to “step back” from their roles.Queen Elizabeth II reportedly held crisis calls on Thursday involving Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.William, Harry and their wives have been viewed as the modern face of the royal family, hailed for bringing fresh energy into the institution.But Harry and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.The couple have lashed out at negative news coverage — Harry calling some of it racist — and taken several papers to court.The prince also confirmed he was growing apart from his brother, who is second in line to the throne.The couple said they wanted to forge “a progressive new role,” split their time between Britain and North America and become financially independent.A palace source on Thursday said the queen had instructed aides to work “at pace” with Meghan and Harry and the government “to find workable solutions.”Key questions include whether they will keep their royal titles and how much of their funding — mostly from Prince Charles — they will maintain.The couple’s decision follows a turbulent year for the wider royal family.Prince Andrew announced he was retiring from public duties after a disastrous TV interview about his friendship with the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

Continue Reading

World News

Australia bushfires flare as heatwave brings renewed misery

LONDON: Britain’s royal family is hurt and disappointed by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s surprise announcement that they will step back from their senior roles and spend more time in North America, a royal source said.Harry and Meghan’s decision to step away from royal duties sent shock waves through the royal family as neither…

Australia bushfires flare as heatwave brings renewed misery

LONDON: Britain’s royal family is hurt and disappointed by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s surprise announcement that they will step back from their senior roles and spend more time in North America, a royal source said.Harry and Meghan’s decision to step away from royal duties sent shock waves through the royal family as neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had been consulted on the announcement, made on Instagram.Elizabeth, who has devoted her life to the public duty of monarchy since she became queen in 1952, and other senior members of the family felt hurt and disappointed by the move, a royal source said.“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” Harry and Meghan said in their statement.“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent.”They said the decision was taken after months of reflection and discussion, and that they would split their time between the United Kingdom and North America to allow their family the space it needs.Cast by the couple as an exciting next step, it was not immediately clear how the couple will become what royal biographers said was akin to being a “half royal” — and who will pay for their transatlantic lifestyles.No senior royal has yet commented on the decision. British tabloids said the announcement had left senior royals such as Prince Charles and Harry’s brother, Prince William, incandescent with rage.Buckingham Palace said discussions with Harry and Meghan were at an early stage and that such complicated issues took time to work out.“MEGXIT” read The Sun’s front page headline. The Daily Mail said Queen Elizabeth was furious about the move.While the manner in which Harry and Meghan have tried to exit the spotlight cast on the world’s most famous family drew criticism, Prince Charles has long sought a slimmer and leaner royal family.The haste of their decision, though, raises questions for a family which had in Elizabeth’s words a “quite bumpy” year that included her son Prince Andrew’s decision to step down due to his relationship with disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein.Royal commentators drew parallels with the abdication crisis of Edward VIII who gave up the throne in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson and lived out his life in France.Opponents of the monarchy were scathing and even supporters questioned how one could be a part-time royal.“This really is wanting to have your cake and eat it,” said Graham Smith, head of Republic which wants to abolish the monarchy.“They have said they will dip in and out of royal duties as it suits them but won’t stop taking public money until they find other sources of income.”Meghan, known for her role in the TV legal drama “Suits”, could return to acting in the United States though it is unclear how that would be viewed by the Palace.“Perhaps she’d have to be careful about what roles she’d do because she is a member of the royal family, so she couldn’t do too many racy sex scenes for instance,” said Royal biographer Penny Junor.Harry and Meghan, an American divorcee, met on a blind date but fell in love in Botswana. They married in May 2018 in a lavish ceremony in Windsor Castle that was heralded at the time as a sign of a more modern monarchy.Yet their relationship with the media turned sour as they struggled to deal with the intense scrutiny it brought.Educated at the exclusive Eton College, Harry’s teenage years were overshadowed by negative headlines. Harry and his brother disliked the press because of the way it had hounded their mother, Princess Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.There have been negative stories criticizing Harry and Meghan’s use of private jets while promoting environmental causes and the 2.4 million pound ($3.08 million) taxpayer-funded renovation of their new home.The couple, whose titles are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, began legal action against some tabloid newspapers in October over historic phone-hacking and invasion of privacy.Harry described the treatment of his wife as “bullying,” and likened it to that of his mother before her death.

Continue Reading
error: Content is protected !!