In the News – Satellite photos show intense activity at N. Korea nuclear site

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In the News – Satellite photos show intense activity at N. Korea nuclear site

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Satellite images of North Korea’s nuclear test site shows “lots of activity” in preparation for another underground bomb test, analysts who have studied the aerial surveillance of the prohibited weapons site said Friday.

The 38 North website of the U.S.-Korea Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies posted three satellite photos showing the progression of work at the blast site over the last seven weeks.

“We can tell there has been a lot of activity at the site. You can see vehicles moving around, objects being moved around. They’ve been digging a lot of dirt out of the tunnel,” said Joel Wit, a visiting scholar at the institute and editor of the website on North Korea. “But, at end of day, you can’t really tell whether it’s ready or not.”

Diplomatic and intelligence sources have been warning for weeks that a nuclear test — in defiance of international warnings to Pyongyang — appeared to be imminent. Continue reading

In the News – UN Chief Urges North Korea to Reconsider Rocket Launch Plan

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In the News – UN Chief Urges North Korea to Reconsider Rocket Launch Plan

Photo: AP

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in South Korea, March 24, 2012.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged North Korea to reconsider its announced plan to launch a so-called “application satellite” next month.

Mr. Ban discussed the issue in a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak Saturday.  He arrived in Seoul earlier in the day to attend the Nuclear Security Summit which begins Monday.

The statement issued by his office says Mr. Ban urged Pyongyang to fully comply with the relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, particularly the resolution which bans “any launch using ballistic missile technology.”  He also urged North Korea to reconsider its decision in line with its recent agreement to refrain from long-range missile launches. Continue reading

In the News – Seoul nuke summit expected to touch on N. Korea issue: Ban

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In the News – Seoul nuke summit expected to touch on N. Korea issue: Ban

NEW YORK, March 13 (Yonhap) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he expects global leaders will discuss the North Korean nuclear issue when they meet in Seoul later this month for a summit on nuclear safety and security.

South Korea is scheduled to host the second Nuclear Security Summit from March 26-27 in which the heads of state from more than 50 nations and leaders of international organizations including Ban will take part.

The biennial summit does not have the North’s nuclear problem as a formal agenda since it is not designed to deal with nonproliferation issue of a specific nation, Ban said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at his office in New York.

“I think discussions (on the matter) are possible on the sidelines such as through bilateral consultations, since leaders of the world’s major countries participate (in the summit),” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to Yonhap News Agency in an interview at his office on March 13. (Yonhap)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to Yonhap News Agency in an interview at his office on March 13. (Yonhap)

Ban, formerly a South Korean foreign minister, said participants will be able to express support for the six-way nuclear talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which will eventually contribute to global efforts to bolster nuclear security.

He was skeptical of the possibility that Pyongyang will join the Seoul session, citing the communist nation’s internal situation and its responses to the South’s invitation.

Ban said, meanwhile, the U.N. will put forward several action plans to beef up the multilateral nuclear security and safety.

He said toughening financial sanctions are necessary to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear terrorism.

Above all, Ban stressed, it is important to tackle the production and transfer of highly enriched uranium (HEU), plutonium and other fissile materials.

On South Korea, he said he was proud that his motherland will host the Nuclear Security Summit, the highest-level forum on international security, after the G-20 summit was held in Seoul.

“The summit this time is meaningful in that the stature of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has been recognized not only in economy but also in the international security field,” Ban said. “I think South Korea’s national brand will be upgraded by one notch through the success of the summit this time.”

Original article can be found here

In the News – China has repatriated North Korean defectors, South Korean official says

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In the News – China has repatriated North Korean defectors, South Korean official says

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — Ignoring international protests, China may have repatriated around 30 North Korean defectors who had been caught while trying to escape their homeland, a South Korean official said Friday.

Park Sun-young, a South Korean lawmaker who had been on hunger strike protesting such repatriations, told CNN she believes the North Koreans have been sent back.  CNN cannot independently confirm the assertion. Continue reading

In the News – U.N. chief voices concern over N. Korean defectors in China

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In the News – U.N. chief voices concern over N. Korean defectors in China

NEW YORK, March 8 (Yonhap) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “deep concern” Thursday over the fate of North Korean defectors in China, which has emerged as a key diplomatic issue between Seoul and Beijing, according to his office.

In a meeting with visiting South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Ban “shared the deep concern with the Foreign Minister about the dislocated people from the DPRK, and encouraged the concerned parties to do their utmost to find a mutually agreeable solution,” the U.N. leader’s office said in a press release.

South Koreans are increasingly demanding China stop its forceful repatriation of North Korean defectors following media reports that around 30 North Koreans are in custody there and face deportation back to their hunger-stricken homeland.

Ban, formerly a South Korean foreign minister, also reiterated his worries about the severe food and nutrition problems in the North and welcomed some progress in talks between the U.S. and North Korea, Ban’s office said.

The South’s foreign minister, meanwhile, told reporters that the Seoul government and the U.N. agreed to continue consultations over the humanitarian issue in the North.

Kim said Seoul was trying to confirm press reports of the pending repatriation of North Koreans caught by Chinese authorities.

He is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Friday.

Original article can be found here

In the News – U.N. chief expresses hopes for easing tensions on Korean Peninsula

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In the News – U.N. chief expresses hopes for easing tensions on Korean Peninsula

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he hopes to see tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia ease next year, saying 2012 will be a very important one for Koreans.

In a New Year’s message to the people of his native South Korea, Ban also said he will provide unsparing support as U.N. chief to help reduce tensions on the divided peninsula and in the region.

Ban said that the year 2012 will be “very important” for the Korean Peninsula, apparently referring to the leadership change in North Korea after the Dec. 17 death of Kim Jong-il. South Korea is also set to elect a new parliament and a new president next year.

Ban also praised South Korea’s economic development and democracy as an exemplary success case of realizing the ideals and goals the United Nations pursues.

He also called for South Koreans to make greater contributions to the international community.

(END)

Original article can be found here.