In the News – Myanmar Agrees Defector Release

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In the News – Myanmar Agrees Defector Release

Myanmar has agreed to release a North Korean defector imprisoned two years ago for entering the country illegally and declared its intention to comply with all UN resolutions covering nuclear and missile trade, reflecting the country’s recent tentative moves toward rejoining the international community of nations following years of economic and diplomatic isolation.

The imprisoned defector, whose identity has not been released, has been serving a five-year prison sentence following his 2010 conviction for illegal entry. Upon his release, the man is reportedly set to be transferred to South Korea.

The agreement came as President Lee Myung Bak met President Thein Sein in the new jungle capital of Napyidaw as part of the first visit to the country by a sitting South Korean president since a 1983 terrorist attack carried out in the former Burmese capital of Yangon by North Korean agents killed a number of government ministers and came within minutes of killing President Chun Doo Hwan himself.

For its part, South Korea has offered Myanmar a slew of different forms of development assistance matching the nature of its recent reforms, including loans and grants, scholarships and even help in establishing an economic think tank.

Today, President Lee is set to fly across from Napyidaw to the traditional capital, Yangon, to meet with democracy activist and newly elected lawmaker Aung San Suu Kyi.

 

Original article can be found here.

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 – China Joins World Powers in Strong Warning to North Korea

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In the News – China Joins World Powers in Strong Warning to North Korea

China has joined other world powers in warning North Korea that they will not tolerate any more provocations after the isolated nation’s failed rocket launch last week.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said late Monday in Brasilia that the U.N. Security Council members, including China, are agreed there will be “further consequences” in the event of another provocative act by North Korea. Recent satellite photographs show Pyongyang may be preparing for an underground nuclear test.

China’s state-controlled media are also showing signs of frustration with Pyongyang, noting that China took “a clear attitude in condemning” its longtime ally when it backed a U.N. Security Council statement criticizing the rocket launch. Continue reading

In the News – North Korea Invites IAEA Inspectors to Return

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In the News – North Korea Invites IAEA Inspectors to Return

North Korea's Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Ri Yong Ho (file photo)

North Korea's Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Ri Yong Ho ( 2011 file photo) Reuter

North Korea considers its February 29 agreement with the United States still in effect, despite Washington’s insistence that, if Pyongyang goes ahead with a so-called space launch next month, that will break the deal. The North says it is inviting United Nations inspectors to return to the country to monitor the recent agreement with the United States.

North Korea is continuing efforts to keep its announced “satellite launch” from jeopardizing its recent agreement to partly freeze its nuclear programs in exchange for American food aid.
Chief nuclear negotiator, Ri Yong Ho, says Pyongyang intends to carry out the deal with the United States. Continue reading

In the News – Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

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In the News – Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

(Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put relations with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw.

Political analysts say the launch, which would violate U.N. resolutions on the heavily sanctioned state, is aimed at boosting the legitimacy of its young new ruler Kim Jong-un who inherited power after his father’s death in December.

“The peaceful development and use of space is a universally recognized legitimate right of a sovereign state,” the North’s state KCNA news agency said.

North Korea says it is using the rocket to launch a satellite to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding ruler and grandfather of the current ruler.

The United States, and others, say it is much the same as a ballistic missile test and therefore off-limits for the isolated state which has for years been trying to build a nuclear arsenal.

Washington, which last month agreed to supply North Korea with food in exchange for a suspension of nuclear tests, missile launches and uranium enrichment and to allow nuclear inspectors into the country, called the planned launch “highly provocative”.

More troubling perhaps for Pyongyang, which is long accustomed to trading invective with Washington, Beijing called the planned launch a “worry” in a rare attempt to put public pressure on its impoverished ally.

The North has invited foreign observers and journalists to attend the launch.

It announced the planned launch on Friday just weeks after the deal with Washington. It will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung.

In April 2009, North Korea conducted a ballistic rocket launch that resulted in a new round of U.N. sanctions, squeezing the secretive state’s already troubled economy and deepening its isolation.

That launch was dismissed as a failure after the first stage fell into the Sea of Japan without placing a satellite in orbit. Another test failed in similar circumstances in 1998.

The new launch is due to take place between April 12-16, to coincide with Kim Il-sung’s centenary celebrations and will coincide with parliamentary elections in South Korea.

Japan has said it would consider deploying PAC3 missile interceptors as it did in a 2009 launch by North Korea.

(Reporting by Sung-won Shim; Editing by David Chance and Jonathan Thatcher)

Original article can be found here.