In the News – U.S. to ‘never’ accept N. Korea as nuclear state: State Dept.

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In the News – U.S. to ‘never’ accept N. Korea as nuclear state: State Dept.

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, May 30 (Yonhap) — The United States made clear Wednesday that it will never recognize North Korea as a nuclear state.

“The United States has long maintained that we will never accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” a spokesperson for the State Department told Yonhap News Agency.

The official’s comments came in response to a report that North Korea revised its constitution to describe itself as a nuclear power.

Earlier in the day, a North Korean Web site, monitored in Japan, carried the full text of the reclusive communist nation’s amended constitution.

It shows three new sentences that highlight the works of its late leader Kim Jong-il, including “the transformation into a nuclear power.”

The contents of the website, named “Naenara (my country),” have not been officially confirmed. It is also unclear when North Korea rewrote its constitution.

Pyongyang has carried out two underground nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, and has sought to be acknowledged as a nuclear state by the international community.

The department official said, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, North Korea should comply with its international obligations under a 2005 agreement and U.N. Security Council resolutions that call on it to abandon all nuclear weapons.

“The leadership of the DPRK has a very stark choice,” the official said. “They must take a hard look at their policies, stop provocative actions, put their people first — ahead of their ambitions to be a nuclear power, and rejoin the international community.”

 

Original article can be found here.

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In the News – South Korea: Myanmar Pledges To Stop Buying North’s Weapons

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In the News – South Korea: Myanmar Pledges To Stop Buying North’s Weapons

South Korea has received assurances from Myanmar that it will no longer buy weapons from North Korea, an aide to President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday.

President Thein Sein of Myanmar acknowledged that his country had bought conventional weapons from the North over the past 20 years but vowed in a meeting with Mr. Lee in the Burmese capital on Monday to end the practice, said the aide, Kim Tae-hyo.

Mr. Thein Sein also indicated Tuesday that Myanmar had not pursued the development of nuclear arms and vowed to honor a United Nations Security Council resolution that bans countries from activities that could assist North Korea’s missile programs, Mr. Kim said.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – U.N. committee sanctions three North Korea companies

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In the News – U.N. committee sanctions three North Korea companies

Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, speaks to the media at UN headquarters in New York, May 2, 2012.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS | Wed May 2, 2012 4:41pm EDT

(Reuters) – A U.N. Security Council sanctions committee on Wednesday added three North Korean state companies to a U.N. blacklist of firms banned from international trade in response to Pyongyang’s rocket launch last month.

The decision by the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee came after China consented to sanctions on the trio of companies. It falls far short of the roughly 40 firms the United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan had wanted to blacklist after Pyongyang’s launch.

The newly blacklisted firms are “very significant North Korean entities” involved in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said. Continue reading

In the News – U.S., allies urge sanctions for North Korea firms; China resists

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In the News – U.S., allies urge sanctions for North Korea firms; China resists

(Reuters) – The United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan have submitted a list of about 40 North Korean companies to the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions committee for possible blacklisting due to Pyongyang’s recent rocket launch, envoys said on Tuesday.

The committee, which includes all 15 Security Council members, received an initial response from China that it would only consent to adding two entities to the U.N. list of banned North Korean firms, which the United States and its allies see as too few, envoys told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

“The U.S., Europeans, Japan and ROK (South Korea) have together produced a list of around 40 entities to be designated by the 1718 Committee,” a senior diplomat told Reuters. “The challenge remains as usual squarely on PRC (China).”

The United States was continuing to press China to allow more North Korean firms to be sanctioned, envoys said. Continue reading

In the News – North Korea Provocations Won’t Be Tolerated, U.S. Diplomat Says

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In the News – North Korea Provocations Won’t Be Tolerated, U.S. Diplomat Says

SEOUL — A senior U.S. diplomat said Monday that the United States and its allies were determined to prevent any further provocations from North Korea following the failure of its rocket launching last week.

The comment from Kurt M. Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, came as signs emerged from Pyongyang that despite its embarrassing rocket failure, North Korea has retained the officials believed to be in charge of the North’s missile and nuclear programs.

“We agreed that even though the launch was a failure, it was a provocative action that threatens international security,” said Mr. Campbell, the highest U.S. diplomat to travel to Northeast Asia since the North’s failed launching. “The international community is united in its strong determination to discourage any further provocations” from North Korea, he added. Continue reading

In the News – Seoul Says N.Korean Rocket Launch a ‘Grave Provocation’

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In the News – Seoul Says N.Korean Rocket Launch a ‘Grave Provocation’

The government on Monday condemned North Korea’s planned rocket launch a “grave provocation aimed at developing a long-range nuclear weapons delivery system using ballistic missile technology.”

The government reached the conclusion in an emergency foreign and security ministers’ meeting chaired by President Lee Myung-bak, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Jung-ha said.

Park said, “Due to the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit slated for Mar. 26-27, the government will be able to cooperate closely with the leaders of the U.S., Japan, China, Russia, and the EU, and join international efforts to deal with the issue.”

The North Korean regime claims it is launching a scientific satellite, but Seoul has concluded that is a cover for an attempt to test propellants for a long-range missile.

“Intercontinental ballistic missile and satellite propellants are based on the same technology. The only difference is that one would deliver a nuclear payload and the latter a satellite module,” a government official said. “North Korea apparently wants to develop a rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.”

The North launched a similar rocket on April 5, 2009 and conducted its second nuclear test on May 25 the same year. The UN Security Council on June 12, 2009 banned rocket launches using “ballistic missile technology,” which would make the planned launch illegal even if it is a bona fide satellite launch.

Original article can be found here

In the News – King urges N. Korea to stop punishing repatriated defectors

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In the News – King urges N. Korea to stop punishing repatriated defectors

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Yonhap) — The U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues demanded in this week’s U.N. meeting that Pyongyang stop punishing forcefully repatriated defectors.

Robert King, attending a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday (local time), shared “deep concerns” about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers from the North, according to a transcript of his remarks released by the State Department
“We urge the DPRK to end the punishment and imprisonment of North Koreans who have sought asylum abroad, as well as their family members,” he said. The DPRK stands for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

A growing number of North Koreans cross the border into China, fleeing their authoritarian and perennially hungry homeland. Beijing, a key communist ally of Pyongyang, has a firm policy of sending them back.

King also called for Pyongyang to allow a visit by Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea. The secretive nation is accused of oppressing many of its 24 million people.

“We hope the DPRK will work with Mr. Darusman, and recognize the benefits of cooperating with the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and thematic special rapporteurs,” King said. “The DPRK could use this opportunity to obtain valuable assistance from international human rights mechanisms. We urge the DPRK to allow the special rapporteur to visit the country and fulfill his mandate to observe and assess the human rights situation.”

He stressed the importance of resuming inter-Korean dialogue and the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

“We appreciate the modest progress between DPRK officials and the American Red Cross on family reunions between Korean-Americans and family members in the DPRK, but we seek greater progress in this area,” King said.

Original article can be found here.