Editorial Roundup: US

Editorial Roundup: US

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Elimination of ‘qualified immunity’ a stumbling point in policing reform talks

Quiz: Can you name the TV show from its popular theme song?

‘Understand the threat’: Efforts to ban critical race theory in schools meet rocky reception

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Law used against Trump allies now at center of Giuliani probe

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Mike Pence

Canceling the radical left and building an agenda that will win back America

Kelly Sadler

Big Tech working to turn America blue

David Bossie

Cheney’s messaging not helping to defeat Dems’ socialist agenda in the 2022 election

View all

Question of the Day

Should Donald Trump be back on Facebook?

Question of the Day

 
Yes, it's his right to post

 
Maybe, if he follows the rules

 
No, he should stay banned

 
I don't care about Facebook

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By The Associated Press

Associated Press

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:

May 3

The Los Angeles Times on pushing Congress to enact sensible gun reform measures:

TOP STORIES

New Iranian propaganda music video shows missile hit on U.S. Capitol

Chauvin juror who attended pre-trial rally may jeopardize guilty verdict

Texas Democrats refuse to accept resignation of official who called Sen. Tim Scott 'oreo'

For more years than it is comfortable to count, the National Rifle Association and its abettors in Washington have forestalled even the most sensible efforts to confront our national scourge of gun violence.

But at the moment, the NRA is on the ropes as an institution. Its problems include a move by the New York state attorney general to dissolve the association over fraud allegations; an internal rebellion by longtime major donors; accusations of self-dealing; a failed coup by dissident members; a rancorous lawsuit with its former public relations agency (amid more allegations of fraud); and a dubious bankruptcy filing in Texas aimed at undercutting the existential threat from the New York attorney general.

All of which has diminished the NRA’s power in Congress. And with the pro-reform Democratic Party narrowly controlling the House and the Senate, and with longtime gun-control supporter Joe Biden in the White House, now would seem to be the time to push through some changes.

The NRA remains a force, so any legislation to rein in guns faces significant headwinds. On a couple of familiar issues, though, gun control advocates might finally be able to gain enough traction to overcome the gun lobby.

One is the closing the loopholes that allow some gun sales and transfers to be made without a background check, an idea supported by the vast majority of Americans, including pro-gun Republicans.

Sales through federally licensed gun shops and dealers already require the seller to run the name of the buyer through federal databases of people prohibited from owning a gun for any number of reasons (including having been convicted of a felony or certain domestic violence offenses, being subject to a protective order, or suffering from mental illness). Yet individual sales at gun shows, intra-family transfers, and some online purchases can be made without a background check, a bazooka-sized hole in efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people who legally can’t have them.

And even a required background check can be skirted. If the government does not complete the check within three days, the licensed dealer can complete the sale anyway. While the vast majority of checks proceed quickly, some encounter incomplete records or other wrinkles that slow the process. It is foolishness for the law to say, well, okay, here’s your gun anyway. That very loophole enabled Dylann Roof, who murdered nine Black people in a Charleston, S.C., church, to buy a gun he was barred from owning.

Gun-rights advocates frame mandatory background checks as placing an undue burden on someone’s ability to exercise a constitutional right, and universal background checks would interfere with a private sale of a legal item between two individuals.

But that’s not the case. Laws bar certain individuals from owning a firearm, and checking the names of buyers against that list to determine eligibility is a reasonable balance of interests (much like a store clerk checking an ID to make certain a customer can legally buy a six-pack of beer), whether the seller is a gun shop or your neighbor.

And the federal government is not building a gun registry, as the gun rights people argue; the records of who wants to buy a weapon are kept by gun dealers, and by law the government can’t computerize the handwritten records if they receive them after a gun dealer goes out of business.

Further, they argue, background checks do not keep criminals from buying firearms. While the checks may not be 100% effective (by definition, criminals break laws), more than 3 million purchases have been blocked out of more than 278 million checks performed since they were first required under the 1994 Brady Act. Closing the loopholes will make a difference.

The House has passed two bills to tighten up background checks: the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would extend background checks to gun shows and many other exchanges between private parties, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which would give the government 10 days to complete a background check instead of three. Sen. Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pledged to bring them up in the Senate, and President Biden urged passage of both bills during his address to Congress on Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, the measures still need support from at least 10 Republicans to overcome the inevitable filibuster by gun-rights zealots in the Senate. The nation can only hope that enough of them will find the courage to put public safety first and support these measures.

But to state the obvious, passing sensible gun control measures comes down to politics. People telling pollsters they support such laws is one thing; telling your representatives and Congress to put public safety ahead of the financial interests of the gun lobby is another, more crucial step. Reach out, make your voice heard.

ONLINE: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-05-03/congress-guns-nra-background-checks

___

April 29

The Orange County Register on the lack of “common sense” in proposed gun laws:

Gun-control supporters often propose what they describe as “common sense” gun laws.

It’s their latest mantra, but a host of new California firearms proposals makes clear that many of these proposals are more nonsensical than common sense. Reducing gun crime is a noble aim, but it’s hard to see how the latest proposals will move in that direction.

Senate Bill 264 by Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, would ban gun shows on state property – a symbolic measure that will not reduce gun violence. Gun buyers and sellers at, say, public fairgrounds must follow strict state regulations. There’s no connection between gun shows and violence. The shows will move to private venues.

Assembly Bill 1223 from Assembly member Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, would impose an excise tax of as much as 11 percent on the sale of guns and ammunition to fund California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) grants. Some community-based programs might help, but others seem unproven at best. If such programs work, nonprofits should fund them.

Assembly Bill 1057 from Assembly member Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, sounds good on the surface. It expands California’s “red flag” law, which lets law enforcement confiscate weapons from people who they deem dangerous, to apply to “ghost guns.” Those are untraceable home-built firearms that have become popular thanks to the Internet and 3D printing.

Governments aren’t good at predicting criminal behavior and end up violating innocent gun owners’ due-process rights instead. Ghost guns are proliferating mainly as a workaround to the state’s onerous gun-control laws. The government isn’t particularly effective at cracking down on any underground marketplace, from guns to narcotics.

California’s existing Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS), which is designed to let state agents confiscate weapons from people who shouldn’t own them, is a widely maligned bureaucratic mess plagued by an inaccurate database.

It’s hard to fathom how any of the two dozen gun-related measures introduced this session could be described as sensible means of reducing gun violence.

ONLINE: https://www.ocregister.com/2021/04/29/sacramentos-litany-of-mostly-ineffective-nonsensical-gun-bills/

___

April 30

The Miami Herald on a Florida law that protects free speech for vigilantes, not protesters:

Of all the bills rammed through by the Florida Legislature this session – sometimes revived late at night and then quickly passed by GOP lawmakers – the most egregious remains House Bill 1.

It’s Gov. Ron DeSantis’ baby, and he has already signed it into law.

The session is about to end, but HB 1 set the stage for this year’s legislative theme: Strip power from local governments, and trample Floridians’ constitutional rights underfoot.

Civil-rights attorneys from a nonprofit called the Lawyers Matter Task Force, and additional plaintiffs, have already filed a lawsuit challenging the governor’s new law, concocted to have a chilling effect on those who take to the streets to protest for rights denied – long an American tradition that Florida’s governor suddenly wants to curtail.

This lawsuit is one of the best things to come out of a mean-spirited legislative session that has resulted in few things to cheer.

HB 1 is an insidious law, anti-democratic and un-American, an edict some autocrat might have cooked up.

AN ATTEMPT TO SILENCE

Aimed at clamping down on social-justice demonstrations, the bill increases penalties for crimes committed during protests, but also allows even peaceful protesters and uninvolved bystanders to be swept up and hauled in by police during protests where violence occurs.

Black Floridians, especially, say it’s an attempt to silence their demands for social justice – most recently invigorated after the death of George Floyd last year.

Before signing the bill into law, DeSantis said, “We wanted to make sure that we were able to protect the people of our great state, people’s businesses and property against any type of mob activity or violent assemblies.”

“Mob activities” and “violent assemblies” are unacceptable. But so is letting police decide what exactly is a “riot” and cast the broadest net possible over people in the vicinity of a protest. HB 1 ignores the fact that strong laws against such violence and property destruction already exist.

Worse, HB 1 creates a new category of violent criminal behavior – then, callously, protects it.

The law gives cover to vigilantes and counter protesters who injure or kill “rioters,” letting them escape liability in a civil lawsuit.

WHAT’S A RIOT?

“House Bill 1 is a horrendous injustice to Florida citizens and infringes on multiple constitutional rights,” said Shannon Ligon, who founded the group that’s challenging the new law in federal court in Orlando. It names as defendants DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

Under the new law, peaceful protests could be “characterized as a “riot” due solely to the misconduct of one or two individuals, the plaintiffs wrote.

The law, among other things, creates a new felony crime of “aggravated rioting” that carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a new crime of “mob intimidation,” which makes it unlawful “for a person, assembled with two or more other persons and acting with a common intent, to use force or threaten to use imminent force, to compel or induce, or attempt to compel or induce, another person to do or refrain from doing any act or to assume, abandon, or maintain a particular viewpoint against his or her will.”

But there is still something called freedom of speech, and Floridians should fervently hope the court reminds the governor of that.

ONLINE: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article250859594.html

___

May 4

The Hindu Times on the economic crisis in North Korea opening a lane for diplomacy, denuclearization:

President Joe Biden’s call for “stern deterrence” in response to North Korea’s nuclear programme and Pyongyang’s angry reaction, accusing the Biden administration of being “hostile”, suggest that both countries are headed towards a diplomatic showdown. In his first congressional address last week, Mr. Biden said the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea posed a “serious threat to America’s security and world security” and promised to respond through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”. His administration has also completed a review of the U.S.’s North Korea policy. Mr. Biden is likely to steer between Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” and Donald Trump’s top-level summitry in dealing with the North Korean nuclear challenge. North Korea has remained an unresolved foreign policy puzzle for all post-War American Presidents. In recent times, U.S. Presidents have shown a willingness to diplomatically engage with Pyongyang. The Clinton administration had signed a framework agreement with Pyongyang to halt its nuclear programme. Mr. Obama had initiated talks with North Korea in 2012, which collapsed after Pyongyang launched a satellite. He then adopted a wait-and-watch approach, which came to be called “strategic patience”. Mr. Trump altered his predecessor’s North Korea policy by reaching out to the regime and meeting its leader, Kim Jong-un, thrice, but without a breakthrough.

In theory, the Trump administration and North Korea had agreed to a complete de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but failed to agree on its formula. In the 2019 Trump-Kim summit at Hanoi, the U.S. proposed removal of sanctions for de-nuclearisation, but North Korea rejected it. Pyongyang had taken a phased approach and sought sanctions removal in return. Ever since, there has been no improvement in ties. After Mr. Biden assumed office, North Korea had conducted short-range missile tests, which the U.S. saw as a provocation. Mr. Biden does not have many good options in dealing with North Korea. The U.S.’s key goal in northeastern Asia is the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. And the only practical way to achieve this is through diplomacy as a military strike on North Korea, a nuclear power, is out of the question. Though the Trump-Kim summits did not lead to any breakthrough, they have still created a diplomatic momentum for engagement. Despite its threats to expand its nuclear programme, North Korea sticks to the self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests. The North, as acknowledged by Mr. Kim recently, is going through a tough economic crisis and is open to talks. Mr. Biden should seize this opportunity and try to reach common ground with Mr. Kim that addresses both North Korea’s economic worries and the U.S.’s nuclear concerns. That should be the focus of the Biden administration’s new North Korean strategy.

ONLINE: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/the-nuclear-challenge-on-north-koreas-economic-worries/article34474669.ece

___

April 26

The Philadelphia Inquirer on Pennsylvania’s opportunity to help workers through the decline of fracking:

The natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is worried about its future – and rightfully so.

During last week’s virtual global climate summit, President Joe Biden announced a goal of cutting greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030, from a 2005 baseline. Biden has already rejoined the Paris Agreement and set a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The U.S. will not reach the 2030 goal without Pennsylvania, which produced nearly 10% of all energy in the nation in 2018 – only second to Texas. Now the state has an opportunity to manage the decline of its polluting energy industry while investing in sustainable, high-paying green union jobs as a replacement.

While burning natural gas emits less CO2 than burning coal or oil, natural gas is abundant in methane – a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more heat than does carbon, though it lingers for less time. The United Nations will soon release a report declaring it urgent to cut methane to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Natural gas production nationwide was responsible for 47% of methane emissions by industry in 2018. And that doesn’t account for storage and distribution. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has identified 8,500 unplugged abandoned oil and gas wells and estimates approximately 200,000 older undocumented wells, many of which may be leaking methane. Multiple studies suggest that methane leaks are undercutting natural gas’s ability to dramatically contribute to emissions reduction as a “transition fuel.”

Yet, despite all this evidence, and commitments from Gov. Tom Wolf to reduce emissions, Pennsylvania continues to build infrastructure for the natural gas industry – whether via the leaking Mariner East pipeline, new fracking permits, and subsidized petrochemical plants.

In Western Pennsylvania counties, where fracking is abundant, there is understandable collective trauma from past decline of industry. Since 1990, Pennsylvania has lost 42,000 jobs in metal manufacturing and 12,000 in coal mining – a 60% job loss in these two industries. Fracking natural gas was supposed to be a godsend. Instead, fracking created dramatically fewer jobs than industry promised, and those jobs created are now at risk.

Fear of that loss should not be taken lightly. But one reason the decline in coal and steel was so painful is that it wasn’t managed. The rug was pulled out from under workers’ feet. Pennsylvania can do things differently this time.

The opportunity is undeniable. The two occupations that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects see growing fastest in coming years are solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians. The White House is proposing investment that will create millions of jobs in the sector. If Pennsylvania transitions fossil fuel subsidies – totaling $3.8 billion in fiscal year 2019 – into green jobs, the transition will be even faster. It is critical these investments go to the communities that lose fossil fuel jobs and those, predominantly Black communities, that have suffered the most harm from pollution.

As the climate crisis worsens, more abrupt and painful measures to decrease emissions fast will become necessary, yet increasingly inadequate. Pennsylvania has a choice: wait for the decline, or manage it, benefiting workers and the environment.

ONLINE: https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/editorials/fracking-biden-climate-greenhouse-gas-methane-pennsylvania-20210426.html

___

May 3

Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier on the South Carolina Legislature’s open-carry gun bill starts bad, gets worse:

There’s probably nothing we can say at this point to convince S.C. senators who don’t already realize that it’s a bad idea to let concealed-weapon carriers start carrying their guns on their hips.

After all, they’ve heard all the arguments against it, and still they voted more than 2-to-1 last week to bypass committee and put a House-passed open-carry bill at the top of their agenda for debate as early as Tuesday.

They’ve heard from people who say they would feel threatened if they encountered someone wearing a gun, even if that person does nothing (other than wearing the gun) to threaten them. And from those who argued that having those guns visible puts everybody on edge, increasing the risk that disagreements will escalate into deadly violence.

They’ve heard from police who warn that it’ll be even tougher to distinguish the bad guys from the good guns in active-shooter situations. And more commonly, they’ll be placed in a legally precarious situation when citizens call to complain about someone walking around their neighborhood with a holstered gun – because that’s not a crime, and legally speaking, they have no more justification for questioning someone walking down the street with a gun than someone walking down the street without a gun. (Retired SLED Chief Robert Stewart warned that the bill could get a lot of permit holders killed, because carrying a handgun openly would make them target No. 1 if they were present when a crime was being committed.)

We believe the entire bill should be defeated, because there is no reason to believe that the current law violates anyone’s constitutional rights, no one has presented a good reason it’s needed, and actual conservatives don’t change things without a legitimate reason.

But even if they aren’t willing to do that, we would urge senators at least to pay attention to some other provisions of H.3094 that have gotten little attention.

The bill does allow local governments to prohibit the open carry of weapons at protests, festivals and other organized events that require a permit. But it says they can’t extend the ban for any period before or after the event, which seems dangerous given that violence associated with protests often occurs after the event officially ends.

The bill also says local governments “may not exercise the provisions of this subsection” if “a permit is not applied for and issued prior to an event” – which seems to invite people who want a fully armed protest to hold it without applying for a permit.

H.3094 also strips a provision from state law that makes it clear that state law “does not affect the authority of any county, municipality, or political subdivision to regulate the careless or negligent discharge or public brandishment of firearms, nor does it prevent the regulation of public brandishment of firearms during the times of or a demonstrated potential for insurrection, invasions, riots, or natural disasters.”

State law doesn’t even define brandish, but several local governments, including Charleston, prohibit it. So it’s not clear that police could charge someone who started waving his or her gun around in a menacing way.

Of course, the worst part of the bill is the part that isn’t in it yet: Some senators want to transform a bill that allows open carry for licensed concealed-weapons permit holders into a bill that allows everybody who isn’t legally barred from owning guns to carry those guns openly.

At least people with concealed-carry permits have passed criminal background checks and received some rudimentary training in what state law allows and doesn’t allow them to do with their guns and where they are and are not allowed to carry those guns. And the people who apply for the permits tend to be law-abiding citizens – although SLED reports that it had to deny 2,660 permits in 2020 and that it revoked 1,199 more, which means not every one with a permit is law-abiding or otherwise fit to carry a gun.

Supporters call the idea of letting everybody carry their guns openly “constitutional carry.” That’s the ultimate in trying to rewrite reality through language, because as Chief Stewart testified last week, if the U.S. Constitution gave people the right to carry their guns in public, we wouldn’t be having this debate.

Except for a small portion of the population on the extremes, no one has ever believed the Constitution allows that; the U.S. Supreme Court has never even hinted that it does. Just the opposite, in fact. (The case the high court agreed to hear last month challenges a New York law that is far more restrictive than South Carolina’s much more conservative law that was in place prior to our current concealed-carry law.)

The only reason to even consider such a radical law would be if we were backed into a corner and forced by the court to pass it, which hasn’t happened. For that matter, no one has presented another reason that would justify allowing even permit holders to carry their guns openly.

ONLINE: https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-sc-open-carry-gun-bill-starts-bad-gets-worse-some-want-to-make-it/article_2444340e-ac2a-11eb-909a-237b315f3bf1.html

NKorea man fails in bid to halt US extradition from Malaysia

NKorea man fails in bid to halt US extradition from Malaysia

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Former cop leads quest to oust prosecutors funded by George Soros amid spike in violence

Quiz: Do you remember these popular TV couples?

Republicans, strategists differ on ways to beat back racism accusations from Dems

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

How the Pentagon is combating the latest emerging threat: ‘Extremism’ in the ranks

SPONSORED CONTENT

Kistefos and The Twist – Norway’s “must-see” cultural destination

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Joseph Curl

So much for bringing dogs back to the White House

Gary Anderson

Biden doctrine on China and Taiwan yet to be articulated

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

Teaching identity politics goes too far

View all

Question of the Day

Should N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo resign?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By

Associated Press

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysia’s top court ruled on Tuesday that a North Korean man can be extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges, rejecting his assertion that the U.S. charge was politically motivated.

The Federal Court refused to accept Mun Chol Myong’s arguments because it was not a trial, and agreed with a lower court that prosecutors had followed procedures, said defense lawyer Gooi Soon Seng.

Mun, who is in his 50s, has lived in Malaysia for a decade and was arrested in May 2019 after U.S. authorities requested his extradition. Malaysia’s government approved the extradition, but Mun challenged the U.S. bid.

TOP STORIES

Sen. Tim Scott: 'Woke supremacy is as bad as White supremacy'

Trump's pitch for campaign donors sparks wariness among GOP officials

Biden's dogs banished from White House, sent back to Delaware

In his affidavit, Mun denied U.S. accusations that he was involved in supplying prohibited luxury goods from Singapore to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions while working in the city state before moving to Malaysia in 2008.

Mun denied that he laundered funds through front companies and that he issued fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to his country. He said in his affidavit that he was the victim of a “politically motivated” extradition request aimed at pressuring North Korea over its missile program.

Gooi said Mun’s family was upset with the ruling and worried that he would not be given a fair trial in the U.S. He said the U.S. didn’t seek to extradite three Singaporeans who worked in the same company with Mun and were also charged in the U.S. with money laundering. The Singaporeans were also charged in the city state for breaching U.N. trade sanctions on North Korea and were fined.

“That’s why we are saying the offense is of a political nature,” Gooi said. “He is a pawn caught in the rivalry between the U.S. and North Korea.”

S Korea, US scale back drills over virus, N Korea diplomacy

S Korea, US scale back drills over virus, N Korea diplomacy

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Pandemic of people’: Border catch-and-release risks spread of COVID-19

Quiz: Guess the first name of these popular TV characters

Environmentalist says overpopulation is chief threat to planet

Quiz: Take the political scandals in U.S. history test

UCLA student invaded Capitol as Groyper member, FBI affidavit states

SPONSORED CONTENT

Kistefos and The Twist – Norway’s “must-see” cultural destination

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Everett Piper

Satanists sue for religious right to ritual abortions

Tom Basile

Democrats turn Washington D.C. into America’s Forbidden City

Michael McKenna

Pence the leading GOP candidate for 2024 nomination

View all

Question of the Day

Should N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo resign?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

South Korean army K-9 self-propelled howitzers take positions during the annual exercise in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. A South Korean activist said Tuesday hundreds of thousands of leaflets had been launched … more >

Print

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

Associated Press

Saturday, March 6, 2021

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The South Korean and U.S. militaries are scaling back their annual exercises this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to support diplomacy focusing on North Korea’s nuclear program, officials said Sunday.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the allies decided to start the nine-day drills on Monday after reviewing factors like the status of the pandemic and diplomatic efforts to achieve denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

It said the drills are defensive in nature and are mostly tabletop exercises and simulations that won’t involve field training.

TOP STORIES

Satanists sue for religious right to ritual abortions

Will the real president of the United States please stand up?

Florida got it right, and the lockdown states got it wrong

Last year, the allies canceled their springtime drills after some of their troops were infected with the coronavirus. In recent years, the countries have also suspended or downsized many of their regular training to create more space for the now-stalled U.S.-led diplomatic drive to convince North Korea to denuclearize in return for economic and political incentives.

U.S.-South Korea drills have been a major source of animosities on the peninsula, with North Korea viewing them as invasion rehearsals and responding with its own weapons tests. In January, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged the U.S. to withdraw its hostile policy and South Korea to end drills with the U.S., warning the fate of their relations with North Korea depends on how they behave.

Some experts have said Kim may resume high-profile missile tests and raise tensions if he feels provoked by the upcoming drills, one of the two major military exercises between Seoul and Washington along with their summertime training.

The nuclear negotiations have been stalled for about two years since a February 2019 summit between Kim and then President Donald Trump collapsed due to wrangling over U.S.-led sanctions on North Korea. The government of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, which facilitated the early part of the U.S.-North Korea talks, has been calling for the diplomacy’s restart and greater inter-Korean ties.

A South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said that Seoul and Washington decided to “minimize” the number of troops participating in this month’s drills because of the pandemic.

The officer, who requested anonymity citing a department rule, said the allies have been staging field exercises throughout the year to maintain their readiness, rather than holding them intensively in certain periods, in an apparent reference to the spring and summer drills.

UN experts say North Korea still modernizing nuclear arsenal

UN experts say North Korea still modernizing nuclear arsenal

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

States caught up in ‘Stop the Steal’ rebut Trump’s claims point by point

Quiz: Can you pass an elements of the periodic table test?

Lawmakers in two states target teaching of critical race theory, 1619 Project

Quiz: Can you name the actors who played these 1980s TV characters?

Improving coronavirus numbers spark debate over cause, restrictions

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Joseph Curl

Rocky Psaki: New White House press secretary has bumpy start

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

Tom Brady is a gentleman

Charles Hurt

Welcome to Washington, ‘Notorious MTG’

View all

Question of the Day

Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to $15?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends at a meeting of Central Committee of Worker’s Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korean, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. Independent journalists were not given … more >

Print

By EDITH M. LEDERER

Associated Press

Monday, February 8, 2021

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – U.N. experts say North Korea has modernized its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenals by flaunting United Nations sanctions and continues to seek material and technology overseas for use in these programs.

The panel of experts monitoring sanctions on the reclusive northeast Asian nation said in a report sent to Security Council members Monday that Kim Jong Un’s government has also produced fissile material — an essential ingredient for producing nuclear weapons — and maintained its nuclear facilities.

“It displayed new short-range, medium-range, submarine-launched and intercontinental ballistic missile systems at military parades,“ the experts said. “It announced preparation for testing and production of new ballistic missile warheads and, development of tactical nuclear weapons … and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure.“

TOP STORIES

Transgender sprinters finish 1st, 2nd at Connecticut girls indoor track championships

As phenomenon grows, business booms for cancel culture consultant

Biden establishes new tent city to process surge of illegal immigrants

The Security Council has imposed increasingly tough sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name, since its first nuclear test explosion in 2006. It has banned most of the country’s exports and severely limited its imports, trying to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

But the report’s summary, obtained by The Associated Press, makes clear North Korea remains able to evade sanctions while developing its nuclear and missile programs, illicitly import refined petroleum, access international banking channels, and carry out “malicious cyber activities.”

The arsenal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un emerged as a major threat to the United States and its Asian allies following tests in 2017 that included a detonation of a purported thermonuclear warhead and flight tests of ICBMs that demonstrated the potential to reach American territory.

A year later, Kim initiated diplomacy with South Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump, but it derailed in 2019 when the Americans rejected North Korea’s demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a piecemeal deal partially surrendering its nuclear weapons capabilities.

Last year, North Korea’s already battered economy decayed further amid the COVID-19 pandemic which led Kim to close the country’s borders. That severely limited the legal and illegal transfer of goods and movement of people, according to the experts.

Now, Kim must start all over again with President Joe Biden, who previously called him a “thug” and criticized Trump for summit spectacles instead of significant nuclear reductions.

In August 2019, the panel said, North Korean cyber experts illegally raised money for the country’s weapons of mass destruction programs “with total proceeds to date estimated at up to $2 billion.”

The panel said it investigated “malicious cyber activities” by North Korea’s primary intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is on the U.N. sanctions blacklist. It said those actions included “the targeting of virtual assets and virtual asset service providers, and attacks on defense companies.“

The experts said they also investigated attempted violations of the U.N. arms embargo, including illegal actions of blacklisted companies. They cited the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, alleged military cooperation by North Korea, and the use of the country’s overseas diplomatic missions for commercial purposes.

The panel said it also investigated “the country’s continued illicit import of refined petroleum, via direct deliveries and ship-to-ship transfers, using elaborate subterfuge.“

It cited images, data and calculations from an unidentified country showing that between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 last year North Korea received shipments of refined petroleum products exceeding the annual ceiling of 500,000 barrels set by the Security Council “by several times.”

U.N. sanctions ban North Korean coal exports, and the panel said shipments of coal appear to have been largely suspended since late July 2020.

It said that last year, North Korea continued to transfer fishing rights in violation of sanctions, which earned the country $120 million in 2018, according to an unnamed member state.

Under a 2017 sanctions resolution, all North Korean nationals working overseas were to be repatriated by Dec. 22, 2019. The experts said they investigated North Korean workers earning income in sub-Saharan Africa as well as information technology workers dispatched by the Munitions Industry Department.

China asks Indonesia to treat detained sailors fairly

China asks Indonesia to treat detained sailors fairly

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys’: Affidavits reveal Capitol rioters trail of videos, media posts

Quiz: Can you pass a Washington, D.C. history test?

Parler’s freedom from censorship comes at cost of users’ privacy

Quiz: Take the political scandals in U.S. history test

‘We’re fighters here’: PragerU fights Big Tech’s ‘cancel culture and the mob’

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Tammy Bruce

Biden’s bungled response to COVID-19 reveals Democrats’ shiftiness

Michael McKenna

States must stand up to feds to stop poaching of their power

Joseph Curl

Biden’s stumbling, bumbling first steps on COVID-19 expose his weak, feeble plan

View all

Question of the Day

Should D.C. become a state?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this undated photo released by Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA), a BAKAMLA ship escorts Iranian-flagged tanker MT Horse, top right, as they sail towards Batam Island, Indonesia. Indonesian authorities detained the crews MT Horse and Panamanian-flagged MT Freya that … more >

Print

By

Associated Press

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

BEIJING (AP) – China’s government called on Indonesia on Wednesday to treat a group of detained Chinese sailors fairly but gave no indication what their oil tanker was doing when it was found at sea transferring fuel from an Iranian ship.

The Iranian-flagged MT Horse and Panamanian-flagged MT Freya were seized Sunday and are suspected of illegally transferring fuel at sea, shutting off their identification systems and other offenses. Indonesian authorities said 36 Iranian and 25 Chinese crew members were detained.

Iran has sold oil on the black market since then-President Donald Trump imposed sanctions in 2018 and threatened to penalize countries that bought Iranian crude. Iranian oil tankers turn off tracking equipment to conceal their destinations.

TOP STORIES

'New Cold War': Chinese president issues stark warning to Biden

EXCLUSIVE: Biden's order to halt border wall construction is likely illegal, experts say

Rand Paul blasts Democrats for 'incitement to violence' hypocrisy, cites Booker, Waters quotes

Indonesian authorities confirmed to the Chinese Embassy the crew members are “in good condition,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

The embassy asked Indonesian authorities “to investigate the case impartially according to the law, and to ensure the health, safety and legitimate rights and interests of the crew,” Zhao said.

He gave no details about the Chinese ship’s owner or destination.

On Wednesday, both tankers were anchored off Batam Island in the Riau Islands south of Singapore, the Indonesian government said.

In August, U.S. officials said the Trump administration seized 1.1 million barrels of gasoline from four tankers bound from Iran to Venezuela.

In 2018, ships were captured in satellite photos transferring oil to North Korean ships off the Chinese coast in a possible effort to evade U.N. sanctions on North Korea. The Chinese government said it would investigate but has yet to announced results.

Demoted? Pushed aside? Fate of Kim Jong Un’s sister unclear

Demoted? Pushed aside? Fate of Kim Jong-un’s sister unclear

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Joe Biden missed many opportunities to learn about son’s business dealings

Quiz: Can you pass this general physics test?

State Department lifts all restrictions on government contacts with Taiwan

Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grader?

‘Hello, my wonderful social justice warriors’: School sued over critical race theory instruction

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

David Keene

What America faces with Biden and his Congress

Joseph Curl

Poof: The day President Trump’s entire legacy disappeared forever

Clifford D. May

Biden must heal the nation and show world adversaries a unified America

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump pardon protesters arrested at the U.S. Capitol?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Feb. 9, 2018, file photo, Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, arrives for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool, File) more >

Print

By Hyung-jin Kim

Associated Press

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — What has happened to Kim Yo-yong, the North Korean leader’s influential sister?

That is a question many who watch the cloistered, nuclear-armed country are wondering after she failed to appear in absolute leader Kim Jong Un’s newly released lineup for the country’s powerful Politburo in recent days.

Some say Kim Jong-un may have demoted his sister over general policy failures. Others, however, believe he could be worried about her rapid rise and increasingly high profile as he tries to bolster his domestic authority in the face of growing economic challenges.

TOP STORIES

Trump cautions Biden not to take down 'completed' border wall

PBS fires lawyer over 'hateful rhetoric' after Project Veritas undercover sting

North Korea issues threat to U.S. as message to Biden

Rumors that Kim Yo-jong is her brother’s heir apparent could be dangerous because they “raise the issue of Kim’s hold on power and health inside North Korea,” said Oh Gyeong-seob, an analyst at Seoul’s Korea Institute for National Unification. This, he said, is why Kim Jong Un is slowing down her rise in power.

The development is a surprise because Kim Yo Jong, who became an alternate member of the Politburo last year, was widely expected to receive a full bureau membership during a ruling Workers’ Party congress that ended Tuesday. A Politburo membership is viewed as crucial for high-level officials hoping to thrive in Kim Jong-un’s government because he’s made key decisions at bureau meetings, including the 2013 move to execute his powerful uncle Jang Song-taek, and the 2012 purge of military chief Ri Yong-ho.

When the eight-day congress, the first of its kind since 2016, opened last week, Kim Yo-jong, who is thought to be about 32, sat on the leadership podium, standing out amid the often elderly, overwhelmingly male party cadres. But when the congress on Monday announced a list of 30 alternate and full members of the Politburo, including the 37-year-old Kim Jong-un, her name wasn’t there.

Kim Yo-jong hasn’t been purged or forced to quit politics, a fate that some officials have met under Kim Jong Un, and she still retains her membership in the party’s Central Committee, also a high-level body. But when she released a statement criticizing South Korea on Wednesday, state media identified her as a “vice department director” of the party, a lower rank than her previous title of “first vice department director.”

Kim Jong Un is urging his 25 million people to rally behind his leadership to overcome what he has called his nation’s “worst-ever” difficulties. North Korea has faced coronavirus-related economic shocks, a spate of natural disasters last summer and persistent U.S.-led sanctions over its pursuit of illicit nuclear weapons. During the congress, Kim vowed to expand his nuclear arsenal and build a stronger, self-reliant economy.

“The congress’ purpose is to solidify Kim Jong Un’s leadership. If Kim Yo Jong had become a full Politburo member, all eyes would have been on her … and Kim Jong Un likely felt that as a burden,” Ko Young-hwan, a former deputy head of the Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank run by South Korea’s spy agency, said during a TV news program Monday.

Previously little known to outsiders, Kim Yo-jong has soared politically since her brother inherited power after their father, Kim Jong-il, died in late 2011.

The current Kims are the third generation of their family to rule North Korea, and their leadership is based on a personality cult established after their grandfather Kim Il-sung founded the country in 1948. Their mythical “paektu” bloodline, named after the North’s most sacred mountain, allows only direct family members to rule the country.

Kim Yo Jong rose to international prominence after her brother’s high-stakes nuclear diplomacy with President Donald Trump and other world leaders in 2018 and 2019. In those meetings, her proximity to Kim Jong Un sparked speculation that she was serving as her brother’s chief of staff.

In South Korea, she built an image as “a peace messenger” after she attended the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, becoming the first member of the North’s ruling family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Last year, however, she abruptly changed course by launching harsh diatribes against South Korea and putting pressure on the United States to make concessions amid deadlocked nuclear diplomacy. North Korea’s state media said she was in charge of relations with South Korea, and outside experts speculated that she might be handing U.S. affairs as well.

In her statement on Wednesday, she slammed South Korea for provoking the North by announcing that it had detected intelligence that North Korea held a military parade or a rehearsal for such a parade this week.

When unconfirmed global rumors about Kim Jong Un’s health rose last year, some observers said Kim Yo Jong was next in line to rule North Korea if her brother became incapacitated. South Korea’s spy agency said later that she was virtually the North’s No. 2 official but hadn’t been anointed as her brother’s heir.

Kim Jong Un likely held his sister responsible for worsened (external) ties, as she had no achievements in relations with the U.S. and South Korea,” said Kim Yeol Soo, an analyst with South Korea’s Korea Institute for Military Affairs.

Whatever the reason for her apparent loss of the Politburo job, many experts say her political clout likely remains unchanged thanks to her direct link to the paektu bloodline. There’s also a feeling that Kim Jong Un could eventually give her another high-profile job.

Oh, the analyst, said Kim Yo-jong is likely the second-most powerful woman in North Korean history after Kim Song-ae, the late second wife of Kim Il-sung.

Kim Yo Jong can meet and talk to Kim Jong Un freely anytime … so we can’t help saying that she has a tremendous influence,” Oh said. “As she gets older, her roles will be bigger.”

But, he added, her rise could end if she covets more power. “She has to be careful about that,” he said.

Kim Jong-un threatens Joe Biden with expanded nuclear program

North Korea issues threat to U.S. as message to Biden

Kim Jong-un faces return of 'strategic patience' policy

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Joe Biden missed many opportunities to learn about son’s business dealings

Quiz: Can you pass this general physics test?

State Department lifts all restrictions on government contacts with Taiwan

Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grader?

‘Hello, my wonderful social justice warriors’: School sued over critical race theory instruction

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Cal Thomas

Answer to speech you don’t like is not less speech, but more discussion

Robert Knight

Storming of the Capitol was stupid, but Democrats’ flaming hypocrisy is outrageous

Everett Piper

Crackpot ‘evangelical leader’ David Drury’s ignorant attack on American Christians

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump pardon protesters arrested at the U.S. Capitol?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends the ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korean, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted … more >

Print

By Guy Taylor

The Washington Times

Sunday, January 10, 2021

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is marking the impending end of the Trump administration early by leveling a major threat to expand Pyongyang‘s nuclear weapons and missile programs unless the incoming Biden administration dials back America’s “hostile” policy toward North Korea.

In a warning that has not yet drawn a response from President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Mr. Kim made global headlines Friday by declaring that the U.S. remains his country’s “biggest enemy,” despite the three meetings he had with President Trump, whose outreach to the young dictator ultimately failed to deliver a breakthrough denuclearization deal.

Mr. Kim made the statement on his 37th birthday in a speech to his regime’s ruling Workers’ Party Congress. At a gathering in Pyongyang last week, he sowed uncertainty over how U.S. policy toward North Korea will look under Mr. Biden, who once called Mr. Kim a “thug” and has criticized Mr. Trump’s summits with the dictator.

TOP STORIES

Dem congressman suggests Cruz, Hawley be placed on no-fly list

Brandon Straka, 500K-strong 'Walk Away' page banned by Facebook: 'Every member of my team!'

GOP blocks Pelosi's first attempt to punish Trump after Capitol attack

Based on his history and his campaign rhetoric, Mr. Biden is unlikely to pursue the kinds of high-stakes direct meetings with Mr. Kim that Mr. Trump favored. The incoming president is instead expected to return to the policy of “strategic patience” embraced during the final years of the George W. Bush administration and throughout the Obama era, when Mr. Biden was vice president.

The approach will likely revolve around efforts to continue isolating Pyongyang through U.S. and United Nations sanctions while taking care to avoid rewarding the Kim regime with any major diplomatic overtures. But some fear Mr. Kim is likely to test the new administration, perhaps with a nuclear or long-range ballistic missile test.

Such concerns have been underscored during recent days by Mr. Kim‘s Workers’ Party speech, declaring that North Korea “need[s] to strengthen [its] national defense capabilities without a moment of hesitation to deter the United States’ nuclear threats and to bring peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.”

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Mr. Kim as saying the “key to establishing new relations between [North Korea] and the United States is whether the United States withdraws its hostile policy.”

North Korea‘s “external political activities going forward should be focused on suppressing and subduing the U.S., the basic obstacle, [and] biggest enemy against our revolutionary development,” said Mr. Kim, who listed sophisticated weapons systems that he said were under development.

According to The Associated Press, a KCNA report over the weekend said the weapons systems include a multiwarhead missile, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, solid-fueled long-range missiles and spy satellites.

Mr. Kim was also cited as saying North Korea must advance its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) precision attack capability on targets as far as 9,300 miles way — an apparent reference to the U.S. mainland — while developing technology to manufacture smaller nuclear warheads to be mounted on long-range missiles more easily.

“The reality is that we can achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula when we constantly build up our national defense and suppress U.S. military threats,” the North Korean leader said.

International observers widely regard KCNA, the official propaganda outlet of the North Korean regime, as a murky window into the notoriously secretive activities of the isolated government in Pyongyang. It is known to offer at times conflicting and difficult-to-interpret reports.

The news of Mr. Kim‘s remarks about the U.S., for instance, coincided with KCNA reports citing the North Korean leader as stressing the need to drastically improve his nation’s ties with the outside world. The New York Times maintained over the weekend that Mr. Kim said at one point during the Workers’ Party Congress that he did “not rule out diplomacy.”

Although it was not clear whether the remark was directed at Washington, Mr. Kim has a history of launching provocations and hurling heated threats only to later agree to diplomatic engagement. That was the case at the start of the Trump era, when the president was also engaging in threatening rhetoric. Mr. Trump warned in 2017 that he would unleash “fire and fury” like the world has never seen if North Korea did not dial down its weapons provocations. Ultimately, he agreed to hold his first summit with Mr. Kim in Singapore in 2018.

Talks between North Korean, South Korean and American officials have been stalled since a summit in Hanoi in 2019 ended in failure. Mr. Trump walked out of Hanoi claiming Mr. Kim had demanded sweeping sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial abandonment of the North’s nuclear programs, which have been built clandestinely in violation of decades of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In his remarks last week, Mr. Kim said his regime intends to pursue a policy of boosting ties with China, its biggest ally and economic lifeline. At the same time, Mr. Kim slammed U.S.-ally South Korea for continuing to hold joint military drills with American forces and for introducing its own increasingly modern weapons.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry responded over the weekend that it hopes for the a resumption of North Korean-U.S. talks. It said the inauguration of a new president in Washington could serve as a good chance to improve ties.

Analysts are circumspect.

Nam Sung-wook, an expert on North Korea at Korea University in South Korea, told The Associated Press that “Kim‘s speech foreshows the North Korean-U.S. relations won’t be smooth in the next four years with Biden in office.”

David Maxwell, a former U.S. Special Forces colonel and North Korea expert with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington, called on the incoming Biden administration to avoid yielding to the rhetorical pressure from Mr. Kim.

Kim may think he is challenging President-elect Biden to implement a different policy toward [N]orth Korea and to break with all past administrations to include the Trump administration,” Mr. Maxwell said in comments circulated via email.

“He is saying to Biden — ‘dare to be different’ and then we will talk. But we should not be duped by Kim‘s continued long con and political warfare strategy,” Mr. Maxwell said, adding that Mr. Kim is “acting similarly toward South Korea.”

“He is blaming the failed [N]orth-South engagement on the South (and the Minister of Unification has responded predictably and as Kim desires,” Mr. Maxwell said. “The South will double down on engagement despite Kim‘s anti-South rhetoric. The subversion of the South continues.”

Others said there was little question about the gravity of Mr. Kim‘s threats, particularly with regard to the North Korean leader’s vow to expand his nuclear weapons arsenal.

“It lights a fire under the Biden administration,” said Ankit Panda, a Stanton Senior Fellow in the in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Kim is making clear that if Biden decides not to prioritize North Korea policy, Pyongyang will resume testing and qualitatively advancing its nuclear capabilities in ways that would be seriously detrimental for Washington and Seoul,” Mr. Panda told Bloomberg News.

Kim Jong-un calls U.S. ‘biggest enemy,’ vows to build more nuclear weapons

Kim Jong-un calls U.S. ‘biggest enemy,’ vows to build more nuclear weapons

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Hunter Biden email associate on Justice Department transition team

Quiz: Can you guess the REAL names of these actors?

Five tech stories that changed life in 2020

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Satirical Babylon Bee: ‘Paper of record’ for conservatives

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Everett Piper

Crackpot ‘evangelical leader’ David Drury’s ignorant attack on American Christians

Cheryl K. Chumley

Great Reset is corporate communism, and it’s coming to America

Michael McKenna

U.S. elections are not worth sacrificing one’s ‘personal’ life

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump pardon protesters arrested at the U.S. Capitol?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Kim has reviewed relations with rival South Korea and underscored the need … more >

Print

By Guy Taylor

The Washington Times

Friday, January 8, 2021

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared Friday that the U.S. remains his nation’s “biggest enemy” and said he believes Washington will be hostile toward North Korea whether there is a Democrat or Republican in the White House.

Breaking his silence on the outcome of the American presidential election, Mr. Kim also told a vast government rally in Pyongyang that he will continue to advance North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities as President-elect Joseph R. Biden comes to office in the United States.

Mr. Kim made the remarks on his 37th birthday during a speech Friday before his regime’s ruling Worker’s Party Congress in the North Korean capital.

TOP STORIES

Great Reset is corporate communism, and it's coming to America

Trump's son says social media blackout of President Trump is 'sick and sad'

How Pelosi is angling to yank Trump's nuclear launch codes

According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, North Korean state media said Mr. Kim called for “an unrelenting pursuit of building nuclear power for the safety of our people, the fate of our revolution and the existence and self-reliant development of the country.”

“We need to strengthen the national defense capabilities without a moment of hesitation to deter the United States’ nuclear threats and to bring peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula,” a report by the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Mr. Kim as saying.

North Korea’s “external political activities going forward should be focused on suppressing and subduing the U.S., the basic obstacle, [and] biggest enemy against our revolutionary development,” Mr. Kim was quoted as saying.

KCNA is the official propaganda outlet of the ruling North Korean regime. The outlet is widely regarded by international observers as a murky window into the activities of the isolated government in Pyongyang. It is known to offer at times conflicting and difficult-to-interpret reports.

The news of Mr. Kim’s remarks about the U.S. came hours after an earlier KCNA report cited the North Korean leader as stressing the need to drastically improve his nation’s ties with the outside world as he addressed a major political conference for the third day.

The Associated Press cited KCNA as saying Mr. Kim also reviewed relations with rival South Korea but didn’t explain what steps he said he wanted to take.

Friday’s developments came on the fourth day of the rare Workers’ Party gathering taking place in Pyongyang this week.

Mr. Kim made no mention of denuclearization, the United States, President Trump or President-elect Joseph R. Biden in remarks to the gathering on Tuesday.

With the North still trying to calibrate its response to the shift of power in Washington, Mr. Kim’s closely watched speech Tuesday focused instead on the country’s troubled domestic economic situation, a sharp departure from his remarks at the last Workers’ Party Congress in 2016. During those remarks, Mr. Kim had spoken at length about nuclear-weapons issues, while also signaling an eagerness for dialogue with the U.S. and South Korea.

A central part of the Trump administration’s strategy over the past four years has been an effort to convince Mr. Kim that the U.S. and other world powers would ease sanctions on Pyongyang if only the Kim regime would fully renounce its nuclear ambitions. But after two summits and a third meeting, Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim failed to reach a major denuclearization deal.

Based on his history and his campaign rhetoric, Mr. Biden is unlikely to pursue the kind of high-stakes direct meetings with North Korea’s leader that were favored by Mr. Trump.

He is instead expected to return to the Obama-era policy of “strategic patience,” isolating Pyongyang through sanctions, and avoid rewarding the Kim regime with diplomatic overtures. Some fear Mr. Kim is likely to test the new administration early, perhaps with a fresh nuclear or long-range ballistic missile test.

Kim vows to improve ties with outside world at party meeting

Kim vows to improve ties with outside world at party meeting

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Hunter Biden email associate on Justice Department transition team

Quiz: Can you guess the REAL names of these actors?

Five tech stories that changed life in 2020

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Satirical Babylon Bee: ‘Paper of record’ for conservatives

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Healing in a national crisis, thy name is Greg Stanton

Cal Thomas

Any supporter of Trump must denounce what happened at the U.S. Capitol

Scott Walker

Elected officials need to focus on helping Americans, not absurd political correctness

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump pardon protesters arrested at the U.S. Capitol?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Kim has reviewed relations with rival South Korea and underscored the need … more >

Print

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

Associated Press

Thursday, January 7, 2021

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stressed the need to drastically improve his nation’s ties with the outside world as he addressed a major political conference for the third day.

State media said Kim also reviewed relations with rival South Korea but didn’t explain what steps he said he wanted to take. Observers have expected Kim to use the first congress of the ruling Workers’ Party in five years to send conciliatory gestures toward Seoul and Washington as he faces deepening economic troubles at home.

In his speech on the third day of the meeting Thursday, Kim “declared the general orientation and the policy stand of our party for comprehensively expanding and developing the external relations,” the Korean Central News Agency said Friday.

TOP STORIES

Democrats harvest the Peach State: Georgia victories portend America's radical transformation

Republicans rip Democrats' 'double standards' on violence

Trump cancels Camp David trip, hunkers down at White House

Kim also examined relations with South Korea “as required by the prevailing situation and the changed times,” KCNA said.

The congress is the party’s top decision-making body that reviews past projects, lays out new priorities and reshuffles top officials. It was convened as Kim struggles to overcome what he calls “multiple crises” caused by an economy battered by pandemic-related border closings, a series of natural disasters and U.S.-led economic sanctions.

In his opening-day speech, Kim admitted his previous economic plans had failed and vowed to adopt a new five-year development plan. On the second day of the meeting, he said he would bolster his country’s military capability.

Kim, who inherited power upon his father Kim Jong Il’s death in late 2011, turned 37 on Friday. His birthday hasn’t yet been designated a national holiday like his father’s and grandfather’s. KCNA said the congress would continue, suggesting it was having a fourth-day session on Kim’s birthday.

After a provocative run of weapons tests in 2016-17 to acquire the ability to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons, Kim abruptly launched high-stakes nuclear diplomacy with President Donald Trump, which awarded him long-desired legitimacy on the world stage. He also met Chinese, Russian, South Korean and other world leaders. But as his diplomacy with Trump stalled and the coronavirus forced him to close his country’s borders, Kim has been focusing domestically to mitigate the economic shocks from the pandemic.

During Thursday’s session, Kim also called for “thoroughly eliminating non-socialist elements” in North Korean society and proposed ways to promote the “might of the social system of our state,” KCNA said. Kim criticized working people’s organizations including the youth league for allegedly failing to fulfill their duties and said the league must prioritize “ideological education” above other tasks, it said.

Kim’s government has been cracking down on what it calls “alien, unsound non-socialist practices.” Last month, state media said North Korea’s parliament legislated “a law on rejecting reactionary ideology and culture.” Analysts say North Korea is guarding against a possible spread of capitalism and looser internal unity amid the economic difficulties.

South Korea’s spy agency said Kim is worrying about U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who is to take office on Jan. 20. Biden has called Kim a “thug” and is unlikely to hold any direct meetings with him unless North Korea takes serious steps toward denuclearization. The Kim-Trump diplomacy broke down during a summit in Vietnam in early 2019 after Trump rejected Kim’s offer to dismantle his main nuclear complex, a limited disarmament step, in return for broad sanctions relief.

Ties between the Koreas once flourished after Kim entered talks with Trump. But North Korea has halted exchanges with the South and resumed harsh rhetoric against it since the breakdown of the Kim-Trump summit in Vietnam.

Some observers say North Korea is frustrated because the South has failed to break away from Washington and revive stalled joint economic projects held back by the U.S.-led sanctions. They also speculate that North Korea initially thought South Korea would help it win sanctions relief but got upset after Kim returned home empty-handed from the 2019 summit with Trump.

The observers say North Korea may reach out to South Korea first to promote a mood of reconciliation before pushing for talks with the Biden administration. The nuclear diplomacy between Kim and Trump began after South Korean officials met Kim in early 2018 and conveyed to Washington his reported willingness to deal away his nuclear program in exchange for economic and political benefits.

EXPLAINER: What’s behind N. Korea’s biggest political event

EXPLAINER: What’s behind N. Korea’s biggest political event

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Hunter Biden email associate on Justice Department transition team

Quiz: Can you guess the REAL names of these actors?

Five tech stories that changed life in 2020

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Satirical Babylon Bee: ‘Paper of record’ for conservatives

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Victor Davis Hanson

Great works of literature not immune to cancel culture

Tammy Bruce

Detaining and imprisoning, with guidance from New York and California

Joseph Curl

Ignore the histrionics; Democrat lawmakers have objected to last three GOP presidents

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Kim opened its first Workers’ Party Congress in five years with … more >

Print

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

Associated Press

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea has opened the first full congress of its ruling party in five years, with leader Kim Jong Un admitting his previous economic development plans have failed. The congress could be crucial, coming as it does amid what some experts see as the most fraught moment of Kim’s nine-year rule.

The Workers’ Party congress, which was revived by Kim in 2016 after a 36-year hiatus, began on Tuesday as North Korea, one of the world’s poorest countries, faces what Kim has called “huge challenges and difficulties” brought on by an economy hammered by pandemic-related border closings, a spate of natural disasters and harsh U.S.-led sanctions meant to stop the country from putting the finishing touches on its illicit nuclear-tipped missile program.

The meeting will also be closely watched by, and may be meant to send a message to, US. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated later this month. Biden has called Kim a “thug” and criticized his nuclear summitry with President Donald Trump.

TOP STORIES

Warnock's ex-wife says she's been trying to hide his behavior 'for a long time' in police video

No more 'he' and 'she': New rules for the U.S. House go gender neutral

Mitt Romney heckled by Trump supporters in Salt Lake City airport: 'You're a joke'

Here are a few things to know about the biggest political event of the year in North Korea:

___

WHAT IS IT?

The congress is the top decision-making organ of the Workers’ Party.

Kim, the party chairman, determines key day-to-day decisions together with members of his inner circle, but the congress’ responsibilities include the formulation of new policies, reviews of past projects, revisions of party regulations and a reshuffling of officials’ positions.

This year’s congress is the eighth since Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, held the first one in 1945. Kim Il Sung had six congresses before he died in 1994. His son, Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011, never held a congress. Some experts say Kim Jong Il’s “military-first” policy helped undermine the influence of the Workers’ Party during his 17-year rule.

Kim Jong Un revived the congress in 2016 as part of his efforts to increase the party’s authority and cement his grip on power. It was the first congress since 1980, four years before he was born. Kim turns 37 on Friday.

It’s unclear how long this year’s congress will last. The 2016 congress met for four days. In 1980 it was five days, and 12 days in 1970.

___

WHY HOLD IT NOW?

Past party rules required North Korea to hold a congress every five years, but revised guidelines in 2010 don’t specify how often it should be convened. Some experts say Kim needs a big state meeting like this to lay out a new vision for the nation and to strengthen public loyalty at a difficult time in his rule.

North Korea’s yearlong closure of its borders to guard against COVID-19 saw its trade volume plummet with China, its biggest trading partner, by about 80% in the first 11 months of 2020. Typhoons and floods last summer destroyed crops, houses and infrastructure across North Korea. Pyongyang has said that persistent U.S.-led sanctions against its nuclear bomb program are meant to “strangle and stifle” the country.

During a public speech marking the party’s 75th anniversary in October, Kim fought back with tears as he thanked his people for enduring the triple blow to the economy.

“On this planet at present, our country is the only one that is faced with (such) huge challenges and difficulties, like dealing with the anti-epidemic emergency and recovering from the catastrophic natural disasters, when everything is in short supply owing to the harsh and prolonged sanctions,” Kim said.

North Korea, which has a broken medical infrastructure and deep poverty, has taken some of the world’s toughest anti-virus measures, and claims to be coronavirus-free, an assertion widely disputed by foreign experts.

Experts also say that Kim shares a high level of responsibility for the economic woes. Kim has repeatedly told his people that nuclear weapons are a “powerful treasured sword” that are needed because of persistent U.S. hostility. But a string of high-profile weapons tests in past years aimed at acquiring the ability to launch precision nuclear strikes on the American homeland have led to tougher U.S.-led sanctions that experts say are gradually drying up North Korea’s foreign currency reserves.

___

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

During this month’s congress, North Korea has said it will announce new economic developmental goals for the next five years.

State media said Wednesday the congress’ gathering is meant to “discuss and decide on a fresh line of struggle and strategic and tactical policies for making a radical leap forward in the development of the party and socialist construction.” An earlier Workers’ Party statement said its previous “goals for improving the national economy have been seriously delayed.”

Some observers say North Korea may be forced to aim for modest objectives from this congress because it must continue to focus against the coronavirus. Others says North Korea, which recently completed an 80-day “productivity campaign,” might call for more such campaigns to squeeze its people for increased labor.

During several speeches expected at the congress, Kim will likely repeat his commitment to his nuclear development program but may signal a willingness to engage with the incoming Biden administration and rival South Korea. Kim’s state media, which previously called Biden “a rabid dog,” have remained silent over the next U.S. president’s election victory.

Other possible moves at the congress include Kim getting a new high-profile position, such as “generalissimo,” a title held by his late father and grandfather; his influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, may also be appointed a member of the powerful Politburo in a bid to reinforce the Kim family’s rule, experts say.

South Korean officials defend controversial propaganda law

South Korean officials defend controversial propaganda law

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Intelligence pros morphed into partisan political activists in rush to defend Hunter Biden

Quiz: Can you pass an elements of the periodic table test?

Border wall forces drug smugglers to turn to drones

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Law could delist some Chinese companies from U.S. markets

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Charles Hurt

All hail AOC, Death Panel Princess …

Newt Gingrich

Why I will not accept Joe Biden as president

Robert Knight

Ruling elites continue cultural cleansing rampage and not even Honest Abe is safe

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Feb. 16, 2013, file photo, North Korean defectors and South Korean activists prepare to launch helium balloons carrying leaflets against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attached to them, during an anti-North Korea rally denouncing North Korea’s third nuclear … more >

Print

By Ben Wolfgang

The Washington Times

Monday, December 21, 2020

Top South Korean officials on Monday defended a controversial new law banning the flying of leaflets and other propaganda into North Korea by balloon, arguing that the measure will protect citizens living along the militarized border between the two nations.

While critics say the law amounts to little more than an effort to appease North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and will further restrict the flow of information into the reclusive country, supporters argue that the use of leaflets does more harm than good.

“Today, the lives of 1.12 million people living along the border area are repeatedly threatened, daily lives and economic activities are restrained due to imposed safety measures and fear, and the local economy is suffering as less tourists visit the area,” Suh Ho, vice minister of South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, said in a piece for NK News. “The people have constantly pleaded with the National Assembly and the government to stop leaflets.”

TOP STORIES

All hail AOC, Death Panel Princess …

Dr. Deborah Birx to retire, citing Thanksgiving backlash: 'It's been very difficult on my family'

Putin congratulates Russia's intel service after U.S. hit with massive cyberattack

“There exists no evidence that scattering leaflets improve North Korean human rights,” he said. “On the contrary, it endangers defector families in the North by strengthening the government’s control and brings adverse effects to North Korean human rights. Many defectors in South Korea even testified that malicious insults against the North Korean government do not contribute to improving human rights.”

The law marks another step in South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s policy of engagement with Pyongyang.

But critics in South Korea, including some lawmakers, argued that the leaflet ban will block the flow of information and eliminate a key method of informing North Korean citizens about the outside world and their country’s record of human-rights abuses. A group of South Korean attorneys already has vowed to file a constitutional appeal to the law.

The use of balloons to spread propaganda has drawn the ire of Mr. Kim and his family. Earlier this year, the dictator’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, demanded an end to the use of leaflets and labeled North Korean defectors involved in the effort “human scum” and “mongrel dogs.”

That kind of rhetoric out of North Korea helped fuel the ban and pushed South Korean leaders to make concessions to Pyongyang, said David Maxwell, a former U.S. special forces officer turned North Korea analyst with the Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“One only need to look at the timing of the law and the history of North Korean blackmail diplomacy and north-south relations to know this entire debacle is in response to Kim Yo-jong’s threats combined with the naive belief that this will somehow appease the Kim family regime and allow the Moon administration to pursue its engagement strategy in the same way Charlie Brown tries to kick Lucy’s football,” he said.

S. Korea bans flying of leaflets toward N. Korea by balloon

S. Korea bans flying of leaflets toward N. Korea by balloon

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Intelligence community plays politics in Hunter Biden probe

Quiz: Who said these famous quotes in history?

‘Every single case has been ruled on’: Trump legal team vows to pursue appeals, file new challenges

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Democrats hope wins in Georgia runoffs will spell end to Senate filibuster

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Justice Department, attorneys general careless at best, dangerous at worst

Peter Morici

A Biden commission on judicial reform won’t fix what’s broken

Cheryl K. Chumley

COVID-19 tyrants now set sights on Christmas

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Police officers collect a ballon carrying a banner with images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the late leader Kim Il Sung and Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of Kim Jong Un, released by Fighters For Free North … more >

Print

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

Associated Press

Monday, December 14, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s parliament on Monday approved contentious legislation criminalizing the flying of propaganda leaflets by balloon toward North Korea, despite fierce criticism that the country is sacrificing freedom of expression to improve ties with the rival North.

The legislation passed with the support of 187 lawmakers, mostly governing party members who support President Moon Jae-in’s policy of engagement with North Korea. Outnumbered opposition lawmakers didn’t attend the vote after their attempt at delaying the balloting with nonstop speeches was foiled by governing party lawmakers and their allies who used their three-fifths supermajority to halt the speeches in a separate vote.

It was the first time that South Korea’s parliament has passed a bill formally banning civilians from floating anti-North Korea leaflets across the tense border. South Korea has previously banned such activities only during sensitive times, and has normally allowed activists to exercise their freedom of speech despite repeated protests from North Korea.

TOP STORIES

Forensic auditors find shocking 68% error rate in one Michigan county's votes

Thomas Sowell: Joe Biden win could signal 'point of no return for this country'

Justice Department, attorneys general careless at best, dangerous at worst

Activists and defectors from North Korea have for years used huge helium-filled balloons to carry leaflets criticizing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and human rights record, USB sticks with information about world news, and U.S. dollars. Observers say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un likely saw the leafleting as a threat to his absolute rule over his 25 million people, who mostly have little access to outside information.

Lawmakers aligned with Moon say the legislation is intended to avoid unnecessarily provoking North Korea, to ensure the safety of people who live near the border, and to secure stable relations with the North. Opponents accuse Moon of sympathizing excessively with North Korea or yielding to North Korean threats over the leafleting.

“This is a law that will block the flow of South Korea’s great values, the spirit of democracy, freedom and equality, to North Korea,” conservative opposition lawmaker Tae Yongho said during a 10-hour speech. “It’s a law aimed at joining hands with Kim Jong Un and leaving North Korean residents enslaved for good.”

Tae was a senior North Korean diplomat in London before defecting to South Korea in 2016 and was elected to South Korea’s parliament in April.

The bill will take effect three months after being promulgated by the government, which is regarded as a formality. A lawyers’ group in Seoul earlier said it would file a constitutional appeal if the bill is passed.

Under the legislation, anyone flying leaflets, auxiliary storage devices or money toward North Korea without government permission can be punished by up to three years in prison or a fine of 30 million won ($27,730). The same penalty can also be applied to blaring loudspeaker broadcasts or placement of giant billboards at border areas, but no civilians in South Korea are known to have been involved in such activities.

Moon and Kim agreed to halt Cold War-style psychological warfare and lower animosities when they met in April 2018 at the start of now-stalled global diplomacy on North Korea’s nuclear program. Moon’s government says that agreement must be applied to civilian leafleting, but opponents argue the accord didn’t clearly prohibit it.

The bill’s passage came six months after Kim’s powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, responded furiously over what she called South Korea’s inability to halt civilian leafleting and demanded it ban the activity. She called North Korean defectors involved in the leafleting campaign “human scum” and “mongrel dogs.”

Moon’s government responded that it would introduce an anti-leafleting law and press charges against some activists. But an angry North Korea went ahead with a threat to blow up an unoccupied South Korean-built liaison office on its territory, in its most significant provocation in more than two years.

Tensions further rose in September when North Korean troops fatally shot a South Korean fisheries official found on a floating object in the North’s waters. Kim Jong Un later offered a rare apology for the killing.

After weeks of investigation, Seoul police last month requested that prosecutors indict nine leafleting activists for allegedly violating laws on inter-Korean cooperation, pollution and embezzlement.

Among them is Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector who accused the Moon government of “meanly” passing responsibility for strained inter-Korean ties to him and fellow activists.

“The leaflets that we’ve sent were meant to inform our parents, brothers and sisters that we’ve found after our arrival here that South Korea isn’t a living hell or an American colony like we had been taught there,” Park said. “Is this that wrong?”

In 2014, North Korean troops opened fire at propaganda balloons flying toward their territory, triggering an exchange of fire that caused no known casualties.

It’s unclear whether the bill’s passage might promote ties between the Koreas.

After nuclear diplomacy stalled last year due to wrangling over U.S.-led sanctions, North Korea halted nearly all cooperation with South Korea. It hasn’t responded to a South Korean offer of coronavirus-related cooperation. But observers say North Korea may push for reconciliation with South Korea again when it wants a new round of diplomacy with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

North Korea accused of using virus to crack down on rights

North Korea accused of using virus to crack down on rights

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Red alert: Chinese boast of operatives ‘inside America’s core circle of power’

Quiz: Take the Ultimate Acronym Test (UAT)

Black Lives Matter movement accused of morphing into financial ‘racket’

Quiz: Take the political scandals in U.S. history test

Scientist ties coronavirus spread to Neanderthal retreat

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Cheryl K. Chumley

COVID-19 tyrants now set sights on Christmas

Everett Piper

Thanks Michael Osterholm, but I think we’ll celebrate Christmas after all

Scott Walker

We need a new generation of brave and selfless Americans to fight for liberty

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this June 3, 2020, file photo, Kim Song Ju Primary school students have their temperatures checked before entering the school in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, … more >

Print

By EDITH M. LEDERER

Associated Press

Friday, December 11, 2020

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Eight mainly Western nations accused North Korea on Friday of using the pandemic “to crack down further on the human rights of its own people,” pointing to reports of an uptick in executions related to the coronavirus and strict controls on movements in and around the capital.

Their statement was read virtually after the U.N. Security Council discussed North Korea’s human rights situation behind closed doors. Germany had sought an open meeting but Russia and China, both neighbors of North Korea, objected. Diplomats said the Germans couldn’t muster the nine “yes” votes needed for an open meeting of the 15-member council.

Seven council members — Germany, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, United Kingdom and United States — joined by Japan said in the statement that North Korea was putting nuclear power and military might over its people.

TOP STORIES

Election was 'do or die moment' for America, Biden says; Harris vows 'reckoning on racial justice'

Biden names first female 4-star admiral to Pentagon transition team

Trump wants stimulus checks in coronavirus deal

The government’s decision “to prioritize its weapons programs over the needs of its people and their isolation from the international community, is inevitably worsening the impacts of the pandemic on the North Korean population,” they said.

North Korea sealed its border with China, its biggest trading partner and aid benefactor, as the coronavirus started spreading in January. Kim Jong Un’s government maintains it hasn’t found a single coronavirus case on its soil, a claim disputed by outside experts.

The country’s closure, along with a series of natural disasters over the summer, dealt a heavy blow to the North Korean economy, which has been under punishing U.S.-led sanctions. A major virus outbreak could have dire consequences because its health care system remains crippled and suffers from a chronic lack of medical supplies.

South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers in late November that Kim had ordered at least two people executed, banned fishing and salt production at sea to prevent seawater from being infected with the virus, and locked down Pyongyang as part of frantic efforts to guard against the coronavirus and its economic damage.

According to a lawmaker, a high-profile money changer in Pyongyang was executed in October after being held responsible for a falling exchange rate and a key official was executed in August for violating government regulations restricting goods brought from abroad.

The statement by the eight nations pointed to “the serious threat posed to international peace and security” by North Korea’s “longstanding, systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights.” It cited the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the country, which said North Korea commits crimes against humanity and the gravity and scale of its violations “reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”

North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses. It blames U.N. sanctions for the country’s dire humanitarian situation. The country has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Issuing their statement a day after International Human Rights Day, the eight nations urged North Korea “to end its human rights violations, engage credibly with the international community on its human rights record” and allow U.N. human rights experts to have free and unhindered access to the country.

Kim’s sister slams Seoul over questioning zero-virus claim

Kim Jong-un’s sister slams Seoul over questioning zero-coronavirus claim

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Red alert: Chinese boast of operatives ‘inside America’s core circle of power’

Quiz: Take the Ultimate Acronym Test (UAT)

Black Lives Matter movement accused of morphing into financial ‘racket’

Quiz: Take the political scandals in U.S. history test

Scientist ties coronavirus spread to Neanderthal retreat

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Joseph Curl

Neera Tanden just a sacrificial lamb for other Biden picks

Peter Morici

Why forgiving student debt makes sense

Charles Hurt

Waiting for Kraken

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Sept. 19, 2018, file photo, Kim Yo-jong, right, helps her brother North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sign a joint statement following the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea. … more >

Print

By Hyung-jin Kim

Associated Press

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-in lambasted South Korea’s foreign minister for questioning the North’s claim to be coronavirus free, warning Wednesday of potential consequences for the comments.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said over the weekend that it’s hard to believe North Korea’s claim that there has been no virus outbreak on its soil. She added that the North has been unresponsive to South Korea’s offer for cooperation to jointly tackle the pandemic.

The North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, responded in a statement carried by state media.

TOP STORIES

Trump says he'll join Texas' election challenge at Supreme Court

Thomas Jefferson, George Mason schools to be renamed in Va. district so everyone can 'feel safe'

Eric Swalwell now thinks Trump colluded with Axios

“It can be seen from the reckless remarks made by her without any consideration of the consequences that she is too eager to further chill the frozen relations between North and South Korea,” she said.

“Her real intention is very clear. We will never forget her words and she might have to pay dearly for it,” Kim said.

The remarks show how sensitive North Korea is to what it considers any outside attempt to tarnish its image as it steps up its efforts to guard against the pandemic and the economic fallout.

Despite its zero-virus case claim, North Korea’s state media have repeatedly said there is a “maximum emergency” anti-epidemic campaign in which it has closed its international borders, flown out diplomats and isolated residents with suspected symptoms.

North Korea’s border closure with China, it’s biggest trading partner, is wrecking its already fragile economy. The country has admitted it is facing “multiple crises” due to the pandemic, a spate of natural disasters last summer and persistent U.S.-led sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

Experts have said a major disease outbreak in North Korea could cause a humanitarian disaster because of its broken healthcare system.

Kang, the South Korean foreign minister, told a forum in Bahrain on Saturday that the pandemic had “made North Korea more North Korea – that is, more closed, very top-down decision-making process where there is very little debate on their measures in dealing with COVID-19.”

“They still say they do not have any cases, which is hard to believe,” Kang said. “So, all signs are the regime is very intensely focused on controlling the disease that they say they do not have.”

Also this week, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, the top U.S. official on North Korea, is in Seoul for talks on North Korea and other issues.

South Korea’s spy agency recently told lawmakers that Kim Jong-un had ordered diplomats overseas to refrain from any acts that could provoke Washington because it is worried about President-elect Joe Biden’s expected new approach toward North Korea.

Some observers say North Korea could still do something provocative to try to draw Biden’s attention and create the need to restart stalled nuclear talks in which it could win concessions.

Thousands die in secret North Korea COVID camps: Report

Thousands dying in secret North Korean COVID camps: Report

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Red alert: Chinese boast of operatives ‘inside America’s core circle of power’

Quiz: Take the Ultimate Acronym Test (UAT)

Black Lives Matter movement accused of morphing into financial ‘racket’

Quiz: Take the political scandals in U.S. history test

Scientist ties coronavirus spread to Neanderthal retreat

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cal Thomas

Trump is still winning on the economy

Michael McKenna

What’s at stake in Georgia Senate runoffs

Peter Morici

Republicans must move to the center to win the midterm elections

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump take his election challenge to the Supreme Court?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends the 21st meeting of the Political Bureau of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea Sunday, Nov. 29, … more >

Print

By Guy Taylor

The Washington Times

Sunday, December 6, 2020

South Korea cast fresh doubt over the weekend on North Korea’s assertions that it has not recorded a single case of COVID-19, while reports swirled of tens of thousands dying in secret quarantine camps run by the ruling regime in Pyongyang.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told the audience at a major security conference in the Middle on Saturday that she finds it “hard to believe” there has been no outbreak in North Korea.

“All signs are that the regime is very intensely focused on controlling the disease that they say they don’t have,” Mrs. Kang said at the annual International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Dialogue in Bahrain.

TOP STORIES

Arizona Supreme Court agrees to weigh election challenge

Biden endorses another round of direct stimulus payments

Red alert: Chinese boast of operatives 'inside America's core circle of power'

“It’s a bit of an odd situation,” she said, according to a report by Channel News Asia.

The comments came a day after a South Korea-based news outlet claimed more than 50,000 people have died in “COVID-19 quarantine facilities” set by the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The web-based publication Daily NK — an outfit run mostly by North Korean defectors known to be highly critical of the Kim regime — claimed nearly 4,200 North Korean military personnel have been among those who’ve died in the alleged camps, many of which the publication claimed are run by the military.

The Washington Times was unable to verify the report, although one respected North Korea analyst said it should be viewed with a mix of skepticism and seriousness.

“We have to be skeptical of these reports but if true we need to be vigilant,” said David Maxwell, a former U.S. Special Forces officer with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

“These conditions could lead to significant instability inside [N]orth Korea and crisis action decision making by Kim Jong-un,” Mr. Maxwell said in comments circulated via email on Sunday.

The claim about secret quarantine camps coincides reports that North Korea is running an elaborate cyberespionage operation aimed at hacking companies developing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, including the U.S. pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

Sources involved in investigating the alleged hacking say it began in August and September, as the race to develop vaccines gained full steam among American, British, South Korean and other research firms, according to reports by Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

The Kim regime has not confirmed a single coronavirus case in his isolated nation. However, South Korean and U.S. officials say there is an outbreak of unknown proportions in North Korea, which was engaged in significant trade and cross-border activities with China prior to closing the border between the two shortly after the virus was found to be spreading on the Chinese side in early 2020.

In a related development this week, a report citing Japanese intelligence claimed Mr. Kim and other high-level members of the North Korean regime have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by the Chinese government. The report by the online publication “19FortyFive” claimed two Japanese intelligence sources said Mr. Kim and “multiple other” regime officials were given the vaccine “within the last two to three weeks.”

S. Korea agency says N. Korea executed people, shut capital

South Korea agency says North Korea executed people, shut capital

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘One kind of fraud’: Biden won thousands of illegal votes by noncitizens, study shows

Quiz: Can you pass the Declaration of Independence test?

Climate legislation ‘to fix a problem that doesn’t exist’ imperils livelihood of towns

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Trump plotting his ultimate revenge: Getting the last laugh in 2024

SPONSORED CONTENT

Don’t Leave Contact Lens Patients on the Wrong End of a Raw Deal

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Joe Biden and the ‘Strolling Bones’

Scott Walker

COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder to return to faith and family

Michael McKenna

Thanksgiving should be about gratitude to our Creator

View all

Question of the Day

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Nov. 15, 2020, file photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Politburo in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim ordered at least two people executed, banned fishing … more >

Print

By Hyung-jin Kim

Associated Press

Friday, November 27, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered at least two people executed, banned fishing at sea and locked down the capital, Pyongyang, as part of frantic efforts to guard against the coronavirus and its economic damage, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Friday.

Kim’s government also ordered diplomats overseas to refrain from any acts that could provoke the United States because it is worried about President-elect Joe Biden’s expected new approach toward North Korea, lawmakers told reporters after attending a private briefing by the National Intelligence Service.

One of the lawmakers, Ha Tae-keung, quoted the NIS as saying Kim is displaying “excessive anger” and taking “irrational measures” over the pandemic and its economic impact.

TOP STORIES

Eric Clapton joins Van Morrison's anti-lockdown campaign with new song, 'Stand and Deliver'

Surprise: Andrew Cuomo lashes out at reporters who disrespect Trump

Dominion software manipulated votes — 289K in Michigan, 96K in Georgia, lawsuits claim

Ha said the NIS told lawmakers that North Korea executed a high-profile money changer in Pyongyang last month after holding the person responsible for a falling exchange rate. He quoted the NIS as saying that North Korea also executed a key official in August for violating government regulations restricting goods brought from abroad. The two people weren’t identified by name.

North Korea has also banned fishing and salt production at sea to prevent seawater from being infected with the virus, the NIS told lawmakers.

North Korea recently placed Pyongyang and northern Jagang province under lockdown over virus concerns. Earlier this month, it imposed lockdown measures in other areas where officials found unauthorized goods and foreign currencies that were brought in, Ha cited the NIS as saying.

North Korea also made an unsuccessful hacking attempt on at least one South Korean pharmaceutical company that was trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the NIS said.

The agency has a mixed record in confirming developments in North Korea, one of the world’s most secretive nations. The NIS said it couldn’t immediately confirm the lawmakers’ accounts.

North Korea has maintained that it hasn’t found a single coronavirus case on its soil, a claim disputed by outside experts, although it says it is making all-out efforts to prevent the virus’s spread. A major outbreak could have dire consequences because the North’s health care system remains crippled and suffers from a chronic lack of medical supplies.

The pandemic forced North Korea to seal its border with China, its biggest trading partner and aid benefactor, in January. The closure, along with a series of natural disasters over the summer, dealt a heavy blow to the North’s economy, which has been under punishing U.S.-led sanctions.

North Korea’s trade with China in the first 10 months of this year totaled $530 million, about 25% of the corresponding figure last year. The price of sugar and seasoning has shot up four times, Ha quoted the NIS as saying.

North Korea monitoring groups in Seoul said the North Korean won-to-dollar exchange rate has recently fallen significantly because people found few places to use foreign currency after smuggling was largely cut off following the closure of the China border.

According to the NIS briefing, North Korea ordered overseas diplomatic missions not to provoke the United States, warning their ambassadors of consequences if their comments or acts related to the U.S. cause any trouble in ties with Washington.

North Korea’s government has remained silent over Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump, with whom Kim held three summits in 2018-19 over the North’s nuclear arsenal. While the diplomacy eventually stalled, the meetings helped Kim and Trump build up personal ties and stop the crude insults and threats of destruction they had previously exchanged.

Lawmaker Kim Byung-kee cited the NIS as saying that North Korea is displaying anxiety as its friendly ties with Trump become useless and it has to start from scratch in dealing with the incoming Biden administration.

Experts have been debating whether North Korea will resume major missile tests soon to try to get Biden’s attention. During past government changes in the U.S., North Korea often conducted big weapons launches in an attempt to increase its leverage in negotiations with a new U.S. administration.

The NIS expects North Korea will hold a military parade ahead of a ruling party congress in January in a show of force timed with Biden’s inauguration. North Korea is also likely to use the Workers’ Party congress to lay out its basic policies toward the U.S., Kim Byung-kee cited the NIS as saying.

Kim Jong Un has said the congress, the first of its kind in four years, will set new state objectives for the next five years. In a highly unusual admission of its policy failure in August, the Workers’ Party said North Korea’s economy had not improved due to severe internal and external barriers and that its previous developmental goals had been seriously delayed.

___

This story has been corrected to show that North Korea closed its border with China in January, not June.

‘Rally of Hope’ draws million attendees seeking Korean peace

‘Rally of Hope’ draws 1 million attendees seeking peace for Korean peninsula

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘One kind of fraud’: Biden won thousands of illegal votes by noncitizens, study shows

Quiz: Can you pass the Declaration of Independence test?

Climate legislation ‘to fix a problem that doesn’t exist’ imperils livelihood of towns

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Trump plotting his ultimate revenge: Getting the last laugh in 2024

SPONSORED CONTENT

Don’t Leave Contact Lens Patients on the Wrong End of a Raw Deal

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cal Thomas

The unraveling of Trump’s voter fraud case

Richard W. Rahn

Let the COVID-19 vaccine wars begin

Michael McKenna

For distracted Republicans, it’s time to refocus on Georgia Senate races

View all

Question of the Day

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Members of North Korea’s military divisions attend a meeting to pay respect to late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol … more >

Print

By Ben Wolfgang

The Washington Times

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Divisions remain between North and South Korea 70 years after war broke out, but love, compassion and a mutual respect for friends and foes alike can heal old wounds and finally restore unity on the Korean Peninsula, current and former heads of state and prominent U.S. political figures said Saturday at a major international rally.

The “Rally of Hope,” organized by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), drew more than 1 million participants from around the world and offered a powerful virtual platform for the global fight against oppression, poverty and racial discrimination.

This month’s rally — the third such event since August, with a fourth scheduled for December — marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, which claimed millions of lives, divided families and sparked seven decades of distrust between Seoul and Pyongyang.

TOP STORIES

'Anonymous' Trump critic Miles Taylor identified as witness in Flynn probe

Voices opposing government COVID-19 restrictions must be heard

Michigan board poised to certify election for Biden, key GOP member says it's their 'duty'

But speakers at Saturday’s event struck an optimistic tone and argued that despite the heavy barriers that still stand in the way of peace and reunification, there is real reason for hope.

Former Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who served in the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division during the Korean War, said his own personal experience should serve as a reminder that periods of violence and struggle can ultimately give way to something positive.

Mr. Rangel recounted how his unit was encircled by Chinese forces near the Yalu River, and how he was one of the few who came home.

“I was wounded, left for dead, yet survived,” he said. “And when I left Korea, I said to myself, ‘I never, never want to return to this situation that brought so much misery and pain to me.’ But over the years, as I served in Congress and visited the great leaders in South Korea, I was able to see that the country that I left, that was reduced to ashes, hopelessness and pain, grew out of these ashes to become a symbol of democracy, freedom, and economic expansion, and [an] ally to the great United States of America.”

In addition to Mr. Rangel and other North American officials, a host of influential world leaders also spoke at Saturday’s rally, including Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and German Alcides Blanco Alvarez, speaker of the Colombian parliament.

In her address, Ms. Zewde spoke about broad themes of unity, human rights and respect for all people, all of which were central tenets of Saturday’s rally.
“Let us work to heal the broken trust that has fractured societies. Let us encourage facts and truth instead of hatred and bigotry,” she said. “Let us protect marginalized and vulnerable populations. And let us all strive to create fair, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient societies.”

Those goals also have been a driving force in the life of UPF co-founder Hak Ja Han Moon, the leader of the Unification Church and wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The two devoted their lives to the promotion of world peace and the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

In a nod to global cooperation, the Rally of Hope featured a performance by the Little Angels Folk Ballet of Korea, which performed a special tribute to the 16 United Nations members that provided troops and support to South Korea during the Korean War.

In her own remarks at the event, Mrs. Moon said the soldiers that defended South Korea 70 years ago were fighting for a truly noble cause.

“How incredible it is that the 16 member U.N. nations sent their gallant and valiant young soldiers, many of them in their teens and 20s, to come and protect Korea’s freedom and democracy,” she said. “The young men and women who came to aid Korea’s freedom and democracy were truly the children of God … We can see through this that God the creator is working with us.”

Reuniting Korea is a key pillar of the Unification movement that grew from the Unification Church that the Rev. Moon founded in 1954. Mrs. Moon has led the movement since a few years before the 2012 death of the Rev. Moon, whose ministry grew from a tiny, embattled church in South Korea to a global spiritual movement and an affiliated commercial empire comprising real estate, manufacturing and agricultural operations, as well as media properties including The Washington Times.

‘Every person has a role’

One hurdle in the way of that reunification goal is Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, which the U.S. and its allies consider a threat not only to the region but to the entire world.

Denuclearization of the peninsula has been a top foreign policy priority for President Trump, who has held three historic in-person meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The White House tried to strike a deal in which Pyongyang would give up all its nuclear weapons ambitions in exchange for a massive influx of economic aid and investment, but that deal never materialized.

It’s unclear exactly what tack presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden, a Democrat, will take on North Korea. He’s been highly critical of Mr. Trump’s decision to meet in person with Mr. Kim, dubbing the North Korean leader a “thug” and stressing that China must be a central player in any talks with Pyongyang.

Former top American officials say diplomacy will, as always, be crucial. But they also said that everyone — not just politicians — can offer something to the cause of peace.

“I do hope as we look forward through this meeting and many others that we can continue to move forward in our understanding of what needs to be done, how we can overcome this division, how we can make a world that is safe for all of us,” said Christopher Hill, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

“To be sure, diplomacy has to play an important role, but I think every person has a role to play in trying to bridge divisions,” he said.

World leaders argued that it is only by bridging divisions and pursuing peace that humanity can address its most daunting challenges.

“Without peace, we cannot mitigate climate change. We cannot fight the COVID-19 pandemic or even think of addressing global poverty,” said Mr. Mayardit, the South Sudanese leader. “The environment of perpetual conflict is the prime enemy of human progress. We all know that war drains both material and human resources and diverts attention away from present national priorities, and it prevents countries from achieving their potential.”

Achieving the goal of Korean reunification may seem far off, but former heads of state found reasons to be hopeful. Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for example, pointed to the recent Abraham Accords as fresh evidence of how historic divisions can crumble and new friendships emerge, and he suggested that similar breakthroughs can take place elsewhere around the world.

The Abraham Accords, a landmark achievement of the Trump administration, established formal diplomatic ties between Israel, Bahrain the United Arab Emirates for the first time. The agreement is widely viewed as a potential first step toward broader Arab recognition and diplomatic engagement with Israel.

“We have witnessed one of the most unifying developments of modern times,” Mr. Harper said. “In the Middle East, nations long and profoundly divided, have put aside their differences with the signing of the Abraham Accords.”

“They have not only achieved an unprecedented peace, they’ve also demonstrated that faith and the common quest for reconciliation between man and God can be a great unifier of humanity,” he said.

China’s Xi takes jabs at US in Korean War commemoration

China’s Xi takes jabs at US in Korean War commemoration

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Thin blue line lining up behind Trump: ‘This is make-or-break for law enforcement’

Quiz: How much do you know about U.S. presidents?

‘America’s Forgotten’: Democrat director discovers horrors of illegal immigration while making film

Quiz: Can you name the actors who played these 1980s TV characters?

North Korea’s tyrant threatens Trump with new ballistic missile capable of targeting U.S.

SPONSORED CONTENT

This unique, American-made survival rifle is perfect for your go-bag

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Scott Walker

What swing voters want in this election

Charles Hurt

Meet the Bidens, the one family who made a fortune in the Obama economy

Michael R. Pompeo

Every generation responsible for securing America’s freedom

View all

Question of the Day

Who won the final presidential debate?

Question of the Day

 
Joseph R. Biden

 
Donald J. Trump

 
Tie

  View results

Story TOpics

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the U.S. army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. … more >

Print

By

Associated Press

Friday, October 23, 2020

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese leader Xi Jinping condemned “unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism” in a jab at the United States made during a rally Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War.

China refers to the conflict, in which it sent troops to aid North Korean forces against a United Nations coalition led by America, as the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.”

Although fighting ended in a stalemate, the war established China as a major player on the world stage and Friday’s commemorations closely fit with Xi’s drive to promote patriotism and the unquestioned leadership of the ruling Communist Party.

TOP STORIES

Kamala Harris gains momentum among Democrats with proposal to legalize prostitution

Shark attack ends after pregnant woman jumps into water 'without hesitation' to save husband

Judge in Michael Flynn case scolds DOJ for turning over altered FBI notes

“In today’s world, the pursuit of unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism leads nowhere,” Xi told an audience of government and party leaders, veterans and family members of those who served in what China calls the Chinese People’s Volunteers.

“Arrogance, always doing as one pleases, acts of hegemony, overbearance or bullying will lead nowhere,” Xi said, according to comments released by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The anniversary comes as China’s relations with the U.S. have sunk to their lowest level in decades as the sides feud over trade, human rights, allegations of spying and Chinese policies regarding Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Beijing, meanwhile, remains North Korea’s most important diplomatic ally and trading partner, and has pushed back at U.S. efforts to bring economic pressure on Pyongyang to prompt it to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

U.S. relations with North Korea featured briefly in Thursday’s presidential debate, with President Donald Trump saying the Obama administration left him a “mess” to deal with in terms of tempering relations with North Korea.

Trump said he had warded off a war that could have threatened millions of lives, and that former President Barack Obama had told him he viewed potential danger from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as among the greatest national security threats.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Trump had “legitimized” a “thug” by meeting and forging a relationship with Kim.

Trump countered that Kim “didn’t like Obama” and insisted, “Having a good relationship with other countries is a good thing.”

North Korea didn’t immediately react to the U.S. presidential debate.

Many North Korea watchers say Kim would prefer for Trump be reelected to get a chance to restart stalled nuclear negotiations in exchange for badly needed sanctions relief.

Last year, the North’s state media called Biden a “rabid dog” that “must be beaten to death with a stick,” after he described Kim as a tyrant. North Korea had once called Trump a “dotard” among other crude insults, but halted such rhetoric after Kim entered talks with Trump in 2018 on the fate of his advancing nuclear arsenal.

Despite the impasse, Kim has not resumed testing major weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles in an apparent effort to keep diplomacy with the U.S. alive.

The North’s state media reported Thursday that Kim paid his respects to Chinese soldiers at a cemetery north of Pyongyang, accompanied by top deputies. Kim said that “every part of our country is closely associated with the red blood shed by the service personnel of the Chinese People’s Volunteers” and that his government would never forget “their noble soul and lofty self-sacrificing spirit.”

The visit was Kim’s first to the cemetery on the October anniversary of China’s entry into the war, adding to speculation that he wishes to strengthen ties with Beijing while preparing for new dealings with the U.S. after the Nov. 3 elections.

Since taking power in late 2011, Kim has visited the cemetery on only two occasions, in 2013 and 2018, both on the July 27 anniversary of the signing of the 1953 armistice, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.

___

Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

North Korea unveils new weapons at military parade

North Korea unveils new weapons at military parade

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

How Treasury Dept. tracked overseas cash pocketed by Hunter Biden

Quiz: Do you remember the 2000s?

China ramps up campaign of bribes and economic extortion in global power play

Quiz: Can you pass a U.S. state capitals test?

‘Not plausible’: Flynn-Russian female agent rumor doubted early on by FBI whistleblower

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Were COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns worse than doing nothing?

Robert Knight

Judge Barrett hearing promises bigoted “Handmaid” harridans cheering on Dems

Everett Piper

‘Democrats are a party of hate and death. And they admit it’

View all

Question of the Day

Should the remaining presidential debates be cancelled?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Delegates head to watch a performance of Samjiyon Orchestra for a celebration of the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea at the Samjiyon Theater in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo Cha Song Ho). more >

Print

By KIM TONG-HYUNG

Associated Press

Friday, October 9, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned that his country would “fully mobilize” its nuclear force if threatened as he took center stage at a military parade that unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile and other weapons.

Kim, however, avoided direct criticism of Washington during Saturday’s event, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the ruling party and took place less than four weeks before the U.S. presidential election. Instead, he focused on a domestic message urging his people to remain firm in the face of “tremendous challenges” posed by the coronavirus pandemic and crippling U.S.-led sanctions over his nuclear program.

Kim described the North’s continuing efforts to develop its nuclear deterrent as necessary for its defense and said it wasn’t targeting any specific country.

TOP STORIES

Netflix indicted on child porn charges over 'Cuties'

How CIA tried to wave FBI off Trump-Russia conspiracy as it pointed the finger at Hillary Clinton

Ignoring current problems, California's Newsom signs illogical reparations bill

But “if any force harms the safety of our nation, we will fully mobilize the strongest offensive might in a preemptive manner to punish them,” he said.

Kim’s speech was punctuated by thousands of goose-stepping troops, tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers and a broad range of ballistic missiles rolled out in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square.

The weapons included what was possibly the North’s biggest-yet ICBM, which was mounted on an 11-axel launch vehicle that was also seen for the first time. The North also displayed a variety of solid-fuel weapon systems, including what could be an advanced version of its Pukguksong family of missiles designed to be fired from submarines or land mobile launchers.

The missiles highlighted how the North has continued to expand its military capabilities during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.

Kim had previously expressed frustration over the slow diplomacy, pledging in December that he would continue to bolster his nuclear arsenal in the face of U.S. pressure and soon unveil a “new strategic weapon to the world.” He then said the North was no longer obligated to maintain a self-imposed suspension on nuclear weapon and ICBM tests, which President Donald Trump touted as a major foreign policy achievement.

The probable ICBM paraded Saturday was clearly the new strategic weapon Kim had promised to show, said Melissa Hanham, deputy director of the Austria-based Open Nuclear Network. North Korea had already demonstrated a potential ability to reach deep into the U.S. mainland with a flight test of its Hwasong-15 ICBM in 2017, and developing a larger missile possibly means the country is trying to arm its long-range weapons with more warheads, she said.

“North Korea is pushing ahead with its nuclear strategy regardless of the tough year that it has had with regard to diplomatic talks, flooding from typhoons and COVID-19,” Hanham said in a telephone interview. “I also think that this is a message to the United States – he has already declared he no longer holds himself to the moratorium and he has something new as well he may wish to test.”

The celebratory event, which began late Friday, was not broadcast by North Korean state television until Saturday evening, when it aired a taped broadcast.

Goose-stepping troops were seen marching in the streets in front of a brightly illuminated Kim Il Sung Square, as a military band performed while moving in formation, shaping “10.10,” “1945,” and “2020” in honor of the party anniversary.

The performers and tens of thousands of spectators roared as Kim, dressed in a gray suit and tie, appeared from a building as the clock struck midnight. Kim, flanked with senior officials and smiling widely, waved to the crowd and kissed children who presented him with flowers before taking his spot on a balcony.

During his speech, Kim seemed to tear up at one point as he repeatedly thanked his “great people” and military for overcoming “unexpected” burdens and carrying out anti-virus measures imposed by the ruling party and government to keep the country free of COVID-19, a claim that has been widely questioned by outside observers.

He also extended an olive branch to rival South Korea, expressing hope that the countries can repair ties once the threat of the pandemic is over. The North had suspended virtually all cooperation with the South during a freeze in larger talks with the United States.

After the speech, Kim waved and watched with binoculars as the military hardware was rolled out in the square. He saluted as fighter jets flew in formation, using fireworks to form the Workers’ Party’s symbol – a hammer, brush and sickle – and the number 75 in the sky.

Earlier Saturday, masked citizens lined up to lay flowers at the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the father of the current ruler, at Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill. A huge street poster read “Best glory to our great party.”

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said residents in Kaesong and other regions who had lost their homes to recent natural disasters marked the party anniversary by moving into newly built houses and that they praised Kim Jong Un for looking after them as “their father.”

This year’s anniversary comes amid deadlocked negotiations with the Trump administration and deepening economic woes that analysts say are shaping up as one of the biggest tests of Kim’s leadership since he took power in 2011.

But many analysts believe North Korea will avoid serious negotiations or provocations before the U.S. presidential election because of the chance that the U.S. government could change.

North Korean leader berates officials over hospital project

North Korean leader berates officials over hospital project

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Eastern Oregon residents eye revolt to join Idaho amid daily protests in Portland

Quiz: Who said these famous quotes in history?

NIH’s ‘Shark Tank’-style competition helps develop rapid coronavirus test

Quiz: Can you pass a European history test?

War footing: Trump takes on Putin, China in international power battle

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Remember John Lewis

Richard W. Rahn

Supporters of Black Lives Matter in denial of real-world consequences

Michael McKenna

Biden presidency would push expensive climate plan

View all

Question of the Day

Should schools re-open in the fall?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea Saturday, July 18, 2020. Independent … more >

Print

By KIM TONG-HYUNG

Associated Press

Sunday, July 19, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un berated construction managers for unspecified problems in building a showpiece hospital in comments reported Monday that may indicate the country is struggling to secure the supplies amid U.S.-led sanctions and a coronavirus lockdown.

During a visit to the construction site in Pyongyang, Kim lamented that his ambitious project of building a new general hospital was being carried out in a “careless manner” and without a proper budget and ordered all officials responsible to be replaced, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

The report said Kim accused construction managers of making a “serious digression” from the ruling party’s policy over the supply of materials and equipment by “burdening the people by encouraging all kinds of ‘assistance,’’’ which apparently indicated rising complaints among people who were mobilized for its construction.

TOP STORIES

Eastern Oregon residents eye revolt to join Idaho amid daily protests in Portland

Trump releases new ad attacking Biden over police funding

Church sues California Gov. Gavin Newsom over ban against at-home Bible studies

The KCNA report didn’t say when Kim visited the site and didn’t mention any comments by Kim over stalled nuclear diplomacy with the Trump administration or international sanctions over his nuclear weapons program.

In announcing the plans to build the hospital in March, Kim made a rare acknowledgement that his country lacks modern medical facilities and called for urgent improvements in the country’s health care system.

However, the country hasn’t directly linked the hospital project to the coronavirus pandemic and has steadfastly maintained that no one in its territory has been sickened by COVID-19, a claim many foreign experts doubt.

Experts say the pandemic has hurt the North’s economy, already battered by stringent U.S.-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Kim desperately sought sanctions relief during a flurry of diplomacy with the United States in 2018 and 2019. But talks have faltered since his second summit with President Donald Trump in February 2019.

Experts say the COVID-19 crisis likely thwarted some of Kim’s major economic goals by forcing the country into a lockdown that shut the border with China, its major ally and economic lifeline, and potentially hampered his ability to mobilize people for labor.

Japan says coronavirus adds to security threat by China

Japan says coronavirus adds to security threat by China

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Rise of Kim Jong-un’s sister marks increase North Korean cyberattacks

Quiz: Can you pass a U.S. Constitution test?

New St. Andrews College president under fire after ‘we know science’ bathroom video

Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grader?

Not so Top Gun: Navy’s newest $13 billion supercarrier plagued by mechanical woes

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

Insignificant Never Trumpers have no reason to vote for Biden

Cal Thomas

Roger Stone finds Jesus

Robert Knight

Race hustlers take ‘diversity’ scam to new levels by enforcing leftist agenda

View all

Question of the Day

Should schools re-open in the fall?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this June 18, 2020, file photo, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo. The Abe government’s Defense White Paper 2020 highlights what are potential Chinese and … more >

Print

By MARI YAMAGUCHI

Associated Press

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

TOKYO (AP) – China is pushing harder to make territorial claims in the regional seas and even using the coronavirus pandemic to expand its influence and take strategic superiority, posing a greater threat to Japan and the region, Japan’s government said.

The report highlighting the government’s defense priorities was adopted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet on Tuesday, less than a day after the Trump administration rejected outright nearly all of Beijing’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea in a statement likely to deepen the U.S.-China rift.

The Abe government’s Defense White Paper 2020 highlights what are potential Chinese and North Korean threats as Japan tries to further increase its defense capability. Under Abe, Japan has steadily increased its defense budget and capability and purchased costly American arsenals.

TOP STORIES

Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history

Federal employees can support Black Lives Matter on the job, Office of Special Counsel rules

'We need to shut down': Texas Democrats call on Greg Abbott to issue stay-at-home order

Defense Minister Taro Kono recently scrapped the deployment of a pair of costly U.S. land-based missile intercepting systems due to technical issues, and Abe quickly announced his intention to revise Japan’s defense guidelines, possibly allowing Japan to go beyond its conventional defense-only role under the Japan-U.S. security alliance, including discussing a possibility of acquiring a preemptive strike capability.

The White Paper accused China of using propaganda, including spreading disinformation, about the spread of the coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may expose and intensify strategic competition among countries intending to create international and regional orders more preferable to themselves and to expand their influence,” the report said. “We need to closely watch their move with serious concern affecting the national security.”

As evidence, a Japanese Defense Ministry official noted that a Chinese Foreign Ministry official had posted on Twitter in March an accusation that the U.S. military had spread the coronavirus in Wuhan and that Chinese media have touted herbal medicine as effective COVID-19 treatments. He spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing department rules.

The annual report said China has “relentlessly” pushed to “change the status quo” in the Asian seas, including sending 3,000-ton class government vessels into Japanese waters around Japan-controlled disputed East China Sea islands called Senkaku in Japanese. Beijing also claim the islands and call them Diaoyu.

China is also pursuing its unilateral attempt in the South China Sea even more aggressively and even expanding its area of activity into more distant seas, a concern shared by the international community, the report said. The South China Sea problem “directly affects peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”

“As China now boasts its capability and makes attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in many places, we must closely grasp what China’s intentions are,” Kono told a news conference Tuesday.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that Japan’s defense paper is full of prejudice and false information against China, and that it tried its best to hype the so-called “China threat.”

China has always firmly maintained its sovereignty, security and development interests. All attack or discredit on China are futile,” Zhao said. He urged Japan to stop deliberately intensifying tensions and get along with China.

The report also cited North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and other weapons programs.

The North is “relentlessly pursuing increasingly complex and diverse modes of attack and is steadily strengthening and improving its attack capabilities,” the report said. It said North Korea since May 2019 has launched three types of new short-range ballistic missiles that use solid fuel and fly at lower altitudes than their conventional missiles that can breach Japanese missile defense system.

As Japan’s relations with South Korea have plunged to their lowest levels recently over wartime history, export control and territorial issues, the report prompted Seoul to protest Japan’s claims over a set of small South Korea-controlled islets between the countries. The report mentions the islands as part of Japanese territories that remain unresolved.

Foreign ministry spokesman Kim In-chul issued a statement urging Tokyo to “immediately” remove such claims from the report, saying that the islets called Dokdo in the Koreas and Takeshima in Japan are South Korean territory by international law.

___

Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, and researcher Liu Zheng in Beijing contributed to this report.

___

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

S Korea asks senior US envoy to try to revive N Korea talks

S Korea asks senior US envoy to try to revive N Korea talks

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Strategic considerations’: John Roberts’ swing votes all about politics, court watchers say

Quiz: Can you pass the Declaration of Independence test?

Misguided ‘defund police’ movement undercuts effort to change culture, experts warn

Quiz: Do you remember the 2000s?

Mayflower Hotel speech drove liberal media overkill, empty Russia scandal

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

The Unbearable Whiteness of Being … Joe Biden

Scott Walker

How to fix the U.S. debt crisis

Cal Thomas

Democrats want to impose socialism, and worse, on America

View all

Question of the Day

Should Bubba Wallace apologize, as Trump suggested?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, left, walks with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon after their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Biegun is in Seoul to hold talks with South Korean officials … more >

Print

By

Associated Press

Thursday, July 9, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea on Thursday asked a visiting senior U.S. envoy to try to revive stalled nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, which has refused to resume talks because of what it calls hostile U.S. policies.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, the top U.S. official on North Korea, has been in Seoul for talks since Tuesday. He was to travel on to Japan later Thursday.

During a meeting with South Korea’s newly appointed presidential national security adviser, Suh Hoon, Biegun stressed the important of a resumption of talks between Washington and Pyongyang and agreed to maintain close coordination with Seoul, the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

TOP STORIES

Blackburn blasts Ilhan Omar, calls for resignation over her 'dismantling the whole system' remark

Ilhan Omar vows 'whole system' of U.S. economy must be gutted due to 'oppression'

Tucker Carlson dusts off 2013 clip of CNN's Don Lemon blasting 'thug' culture, 'absent fathers'

Suh appraised Biegun’s efforts to restart the U.S.-North Korean diplomacy and asked him to continue those efforts, the statement said.

After meeting with other Seoul officials on Wednesday, Biegun suggested that Washington remains open to talks with Pyongyang. But he also accused a senior North Korean nuclear negotiator who had blamed the deadlocked talks on American hostility of being “locked in an old way of thinking.” This indicated that Washington won’t likely make concessions to resume the talks despite the North’s pressure.

North Korea has previously demanded the U.S. lift international sanctions and provide security guarantee if it’s truly committed to talks.

The nuclear diplomacy has yielded little progress since the breakdown of a second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in early 2019. South Korea’s liberal government, which earlier facilitated the early parts of the nuclear diplomacy, has said it’ll push for the talks’ resumption to achieve a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea says it has no plans for talks with US

North Korea says it has no plans for talks with US

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Morale is lower with White officers’ in wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

Grim math of the border: Media hypes ‘haunting’ deaths, ignores thousands of rescues

Quiz: Can you match the nickname to the Major League Baseball player?

Benjamin Netanyahu maintaining vow to annex West Bank land by July 1

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cheryl K. Chumley

America groans under the weight of disunity

Everett Piper

Al Gore, U.N. secretary-general and other elitists call for a ‘great reset’ of the global economy

Robert Knight

Left-wing activist wants to replace ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ with Lennon’s ‘Imagine’

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By KIM TONG-HYUNG

Associated Press

Saturday, July 4, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea on Saturday reiterated it has no immediate plans to resume nuclear negotiations with the United States unless Washington discards what it describes as “hostile” polices toward Pyongyang.

The statement by North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui came after President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters in New York Thursday that Trump might seek another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as an “October surprise” ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who had lobbied hard to help set up the now-stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, also expressed hope that Trump and Kim would meet again before the election in a video conference with European leaders on Tuesday.

TOP STORIES

Antifa 'ringleader' arrested in attempted destruction of Andrew Jackson statue: 'They had acid'

Hydroxychloroquine is effective, 'helped save lives,' new peer-reviewed study finds

Barr orders legal action against governors whose COVID-19 actions infringe on civil rights

Kim and Trump have met three times since embarking on their high-stakes nuclear diplomacy in 2018, but negotiations have faltered since their second summit in February last year in Vietnam, where the Americans rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capability.

Kim entered 2020 vowing to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of “gangster-like” U.S. sanctions and pressure. Choe’s statement followed a series of similar declarations by the North that it would no longer gift Trump with high-profile meetings he could boast of as his foreign policy achievements unless it gets something substantial in return.

“Is it possible to hold dialogue or have any dealings with the U.S. which persists in the hostile policy toward the DPRK in disregard of the agreements already made at the past summit?” Choe said, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We do not feel any need to sit face-to-face with the U.S., as it does not consider the DPRK-U.S. dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis,” she said.

Some analysts believe North Korea would avoid serious negotiations with the United States at least until the November presidential election as there’s a chance U.S. leadership could change.

Choe said the North has already established a “detailed strategic timetable” for managing what she described as U.S. threats.

“The U.S. is mistaken if it thinks things like negotiations would still work on us,” she said.

The North in recent months have also been ramping up pressure against South Korea, blowing up an inter-Korean liaison office in its territory and threatening to abandon a bilateral military agreement aimed at reducing tensions. It follows months of frustration over Seoul’s unwillingness to defy U.S.-led sanctions and restart joint economic projects that would breathe life into the North’s broken economy.

The North’s state media on Friday said that Kim, while supervising a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on Thursday, discussed “import issues related to the external affairs” but didn’t specify what they were.

South Korean police raid office of anti-North activist

South Korean police raid office of anti-North activist

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘A fundamental challenge’: William Barr says U.S. is cracking down on Chinese spying

Quiz: Do you remember these popular TV couples?

EXCLUSIVE: U.K. assassination attempt reveals illegal Russian chemical weapons push

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Trump says Biden weaker than Hillary Clinton; predicts historic economic recovery

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Everett Piper

Welcome to the neo-Marxist ‘Church of Holy Wokeness’

Charles Hurt

The Democrats’ ‘Bonfire of Inanities’

Scott Walker

Ignorant rioters take violence to Madison and leftist Democrats do nothing

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

A banner with images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, the late leader Kim Il Sung, center, and Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of Kim Jong Un, released by Fighters For Free North Korea, is seen in … more >

Print

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

Associated Press

Friday, June 26, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea police on Friday raided the office of an activist whose anti-North Korea leafleting campaign has intensified tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Police said officers visited the Seoul office of Park Sang-hak to confiscate leaflets, account books and other related materials. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that Park will be summoned soon for an investigation.

Park, a North Korean refugee who has launched balloons carrying propaganda leaflets toward North Korea for years, has been in the spotlight after North Korea abruptly used his campaign as a justification for a series of provocative steps against South Korea. Among them was blowing up an empty liaison office built by South Korea on the North’s territory.

TOP STORIES

'We are trained Marxists': Black Lives Matter co-founder featured in GOP ad

The Democrats' 'Bonfire of Inanities'

Washington governor announces misdemeanor charges for people who don't wear masks

South Korean officials later demanded police investigate Park for allegedly raising animosities with North Korea and potentially endangering residents living near the border.

Authorities in Gyeonggi province, which borders North Korea, requested a separate investigation of several activist groups, including Park’s, for alleged fraud, embezzlement and other charges over their donation activities.

Park said Monday that his leafleting was only aimed at informing North Korean residents of the truth about their government and that he would keep sending balloons to them.

The pressure on activists has led to criticism that the liberal government of President Moon Jae-in is sacrificing democratic principles to salvage its faltering efforts for reconciliation with North Korea. The governor of Gyeonggi province is affiliated with Moon’s ruling party.

A police agency official involved in the case said officers also raided the office of Park’s brother, Park Jung-oh, who has floated plastic bottles filled with rice toward North Korea across the sea boundary. The official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said police plan to summon Park Jung-oh too.

Voice of the Martyrs Korea, a Seoul-based Christian nonprofit group, said in a statement Friday that it flew four balloons carrying an unspecified number of Bibles toward North Korea on Thursday. Seoul’s Unification Ministry expressed regret over the activities and said authorities have already been investigating the organization over its past balloon launches.

Earlier this week, Park Sang-hak said his organization covertly launched huge balloons carrying 500,000 leaflets toward North Korea, despite the repeated warnings from both Koreas not to do so. The South Korean government expressed regret over Park’s activities, but it wasn’t independently confirmed whether all his balloons reached North Korean territory. One was later found in South Korea.

Tensions between the Koreas temporarily eased on Wednesday, when North Korea announced it would put off steps to avenge the South Korean leafleting, such as sending its own anti-Seoul flyers, resuming military exercises and reestablishing guard posts at the border in violation of 2018 agreements to reduce tensions.

Some experts say North Korea’s saber rattling is aimed at extracting outside concessions in the face of crippling U.S.-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

South Korea: John Bolton book could ‘severely damage’ negotiations with the North

South Korea: John Bolton book could ‘severely damage’ negotiations with the North

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘A fundamental challenge’: William Barr says U.S. is cracking down on Chinese spying

Quiz: Do you remember these popular TV couples?

EXCLUSIVE: U.K. assassination attempt reveals illegal Russian chemical weapons push

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Trump says Biden weaker than Hillary Clinton; predicts historic economic recovery

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cal Thomas

Toxic in Tulsa: Trump misses opportunity to heal and unify a divided nation

Richard W. Rahn

Google and NBC try to censor free speech with ad bans for The Federalist and Zero Hedge

Michael McKenna

U.S. treating China like Russia after the Cold War was a big mistake

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting with top presidential advisers at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, June 15, 2020. (Lee Jin-wook/Yonhap via AP) ** FILE ** more >

Print

By Lauren Meier

The Washington Times

Monday, June 22, 2020

A top South Korean national security adviser on Monday said that John R. Bolton’s account of conversations between President Trump and the leaders of both North and South Korea in his upcoming book is “seriously distorted” and could damage progress made between the neighboring countries.

In his forthcoming book, “The Room Where it Happened,” Mr. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, alleges that South Korean President Moon Jae-in prioritized furthering his “unification” agenda and referred to his decisions with North Korea as “schizophrenic.” According to excerpts of the book, Mr. Bolton also claims that Mr. Moon insisted on accompanying Mr. Trump to his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un despite requests by the U.S. and the North for only its leaders to participate.

“Former adviser John Bolton describes negotiations between the leaders of Korea and the US, and North Korea and related situations from his point of view,” Chung Eui-yong, the head of South Korea’s National Security Office, said in a statement Monday.

SEE ALSO: North Korea reinstalling massive propaganda speakers along DMZ

“[The book] does not reflect accurate facts. Also, the truth is seriously distorted in large parts.”

While stopping short of naming specific inaccuracies in the book, Mr. Chung said he hopes the U.S. government will “take appropriate measures to prevent such a dangerous precedent.”

“Such inappropriate actions could seriously damage the efforts to strengthen the two countries’ security interests,” he continued. “Unilaterally publishing consultations made based on mutual trust violates the basic principles of diplomacy and could severely damage future negotiations.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have not met in person since a brief visit by the U.S. leader to the Korean demilitarized zone roughly a year ago, and few expect a major diplomatic breakthrough before the U.S. elections in November.

Denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang broke down early last year during a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim in Vietnam, after both sides seemingly had made progress on an agreement earlier.

Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim, meanwhile, participated in three rounds of summit talks in 2018. But the diplomacy has stalled since denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang also stalled.

The possibility of renewed dialogue has appeared particularly dim since March, when North Korea launched nine short-range ballistic missiles. On April 14, the North launched a number of cruise missiles, on the eve of parliamentary elections in South Korea.

Last week, the North blew up a joint liaison office with South Korea to dramatize crumbling bilateral relations.

However, South Korean officials have hinted in recent weeks that an inter-Korean summit is still possible this year despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Pyongyang has not reported a single confirmed case of COVID-19, despite sharing an 880-mile border with China, where the outbreak began.

Pompeo to meet top Chinese official in Hawaii amid tensions

Pompeo to meet top Chinese official in Hawaii amid tensions

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Trump on renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate officers: No way!

Quiz: Can you name the actors who played these 1980s TV characters?

FBI picked most outlandish anti-Trump dossier claims for official U.S.-Russia report

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Summer spike? Experts warn of ‘reverse’ seasonal effect on coronavirus

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Joseph Curl

Democrats can’t stand Americans protesting lockdown, but all in for rioting, looting

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

In a world of designer fake news, Donald Trump can do nothing right

Michael McKenna

Flight from Democratic stronghold cities accelerates

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump rally-goers in Tulsa wear face masks

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks as Attorney General William Barr listens, during a joint briefing, Thursday, June 11, 2020 at the State Department in Washington, on an executive order signed by President Donald Trump aimed at the International Criminal … more >

Print

By MATTHEW LEE

Associated Press

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is making a brief trip to Hawaii for closed-door talks with a senior Chinese official, as relations between the two nations have plummeted over numerous disputes.

The State Department said Pompeo and his deputy Stephen Biegun left Tuesday for Hawaii but offered no additional detail about his plans. People familiar with the trip said Pompeo and Biegun will meet on Wednesday with a Chinese delegation led by Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Communist Party’s top foreign affairs official.

The private discussions are set to take place at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu and will cover the wide range of issues that have set the world’s two largest economies on a collision path, according to the people familiar with the trip, who were not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

TOP STORIES

FBI picked most outlandish anti-Trump dossier claims for official U.S.-Russia report

Trump team should get 'a lot of credit' for fast coronavirus stimulus: CBO

Four St. Louis police officers charged with beating undercover colleague

Washington and Beijing are at odds over trade, China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, human rights, the status of Hong Kong and increasing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. China has become key element in the 2020 presidential campaign with President Donald Trump and his supporters seeking to make the administration’s tough stance with Beijing a main foreign policy selling point.

Last month, Trump and Pompeo announced that the U.S. would be rescinding special trade and economic privileges it had extended to Hong Kong after the former British territory reverted to Chinese control in 1997. The move was in response to Beijing’s decision to impose strict new national security laws limiting the right to free speech and assembly similar to those on the mainland.

And, since last year, both sides have ramped up hostile rhetoric against the other and taken reciprocal steps to expel journalists and restrict diplomats’ ability to travel.

The presence of Biegun, who is also the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, on the trip suggested that the stalemate in the Trump administration’s diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang would also be on the agenda.

Earlier Tuesday, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office building just north of the heavily armed border with South Korea, in a carefully choreographed, largely symbolic display of anger that puts pressure on Washington and Seoul as nuclear diplomacy remains deadlocked. The last face-to-face meeting between the two sides was in October outside Stockholm, Sweden.

In a brief statement acknowledging the destruction of the office, the State Department said “the United States fully supports the ROK’s efforts on inter-Korean relations and urges the DPRK to refrain from further counterproductive actions.” ROK refers to South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea, and DPRK is shorthand for the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The destruction came after the North marked the two-year anniversary of Trump’s first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week with defiant statements vowing never again to give the president anything he could present as a foreign policy success without significant concessions.

S Korea urges North to uphold deals amid rising animosities

S Korea urges North to uphold deals amid rising animosities

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

U.S. seeks role as China, India face off at border

Quiz: Name the famous inventors of these revolutionary products

Rod Rosenstein says he was led to believe the Carter Page FISA applications were accurate

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Antifa planned anti-government insurgency for months, law enforcement official says

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Everett Piper

Evangelical pastors pander to radical Black Lives Matter

Cheryl K. Chumley

Seattle anarchists and their lunatic fringe list of demands

Charles Hurt

Trump and the riot of political plagues

View all

Question of the Day

Should Confederate names be taken off U.S. military bases?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this March 2, 2019, file photo, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam. The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un … more >

Print

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

Associated Press

Saturday, June 13, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea on Sunday convened an emergency security meeting and urged North Korea to uphold reconciliation agreements, hours after the North threatened to demolish a liaison office and take military action against its rival.

There’s concern that North Korea could turn to provocation to bolster its internal unity and wrest outside concessions as nuclear talks with the United States remain deadlocked. Observers say North Korea desperately needs sanctions relief in the face of harsh U.S.-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

South Korea’s national security director, Chung Eui-yong, held an emergency video conference with ministers in charge of security and military generals on Sunday morning to discuss the latest situation on the Korean Peninsula and the government’s possible steps, the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

TOP STORIES

Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history

Trump campaign says ticket requests for Oklahoma rally surpass 800,000

Ben Carson: Trump may address racial justice, civil unrest at Oklahoma rally

The Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, later said that both Koreas must strive to abide by all agreements they have reached. The Defense Ministry said separately it closely monitors North Korea’s military and maintains a firm military readiness.

Both ministries said the South Korean government “views the current situation as grave.”

On Saturday night, Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warned that Seoul will soon witness “a tragic scene of the useless North-South liaison office (in North Korea) being completely collapsed.” She also said she would leave to North Korea’s military the right to take the next step of retaliation against South Korea.

North Korea earlier suspended communication lines with South Korea and threatened to nullify 2018 agreements that led the Koreas to halt firing exercises, remove some land mines and tear down guard posts in front-line areas.

The North has linked its recent series of threats to Seoul’s failure to prevent activists from launching propaganda leaflets across their border. But some experts say North Korea is deeply frustrated that South Korea hasn’t done enough to revive lucrative joint economic projects as well as over a lack of progress in its nuclear talks with Washington.

The negotiations have made little progress since a second summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in early 2019 fell apart because of disputes over how much sanctions should be lifted in return for Kim’s dismantling his main nuclear complex.

Kim later vowed to expand his nuclear arsenal, introduce a new strategic weapon and overcome the U.S.-led sanctions that he said “stifles” his country’s economy.

He also pushed South Korea to resume the operations of the two big inter-Korean projects – a factory park and a tourism site, both in North Korea – but South Korea was unable to do so due to the sanctions.

Kim’s struggle to address economic woes has likely faced setbacks as the coronavirus pandemic forced North Korea to close its border with China, its biggest trading partner. North Korea says it hasn’t reported a single outbreak but foreign experts question that claim and warn a pandemic in the North could be dire due to its fragile heath care system.

Some observers say the end of the 2018 deals could allow North Korea to send ships across the disputed sea boundary, float down mines on a border river or take other provocative steps at the border area. The South Korean Defense Ministry statement said the 2018 deals must be maintained to prevent accidental armed clashes and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

But it’s still unclear if the North would go ahead with its threat to destroy the liaison office, which was built at a North Korean border town following a 2018 summit between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Such a move could deepen anti-Pyongyang sentiments and make it difficult for the North to restore ties with South Korea when needed.

South Korea to charge defector groups over North leaflets

South Korea to charge defector groups over North leaflets

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

U.S. seeks role as China, India face off at border

Quiz: Name the famous inventors of these revolutionary products

Rod Rosenstein says he was led to believe the Carter Page FISA applications were accurate

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Antifa planned anti-government insurgency for months, law enforcement official says

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Victor Davis Hanson

The bitter irony of COVID-19 and the George Floyd revolution

Cal Thomas

Eliminate police officers and who stops criminals?

Michael McKenna

Signs good in Montana for GOP keeping control of Senate

View all

Question of the Day

Was Gen. Mattis right to speak out about Trump's leadership?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

South Korea’s Unification Ministry’s spokesman Yoh Sang-key speaks during a briefing at the government complex in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, June 10, 2020. South Korea’s government on Wednesday said it will sue two activist groups that have sent anti-Pyongyang leaflets … more >

Print

By KIM TONG-HYUNG

Associated Press

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s government said Wednesday that it will press charges against two activist groups that have been floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets and bottles filled with rice to North Korea.

Any action against the groups is likely to trigger a debate over freedom of expression in South Korea, and whether President Moon Jae-in’s liberal government is sacrificing democratic principles to keep alive his ambitions for inter-Korean engagement.

The announcement by Seoul’s Unification Ministry came a day after North Korea said it was cutting off all communication channels with South Korea over its inability to prevent North Korean defectors and other activists from flying the leaflets across the border.

TOP STORIES

Seattle protesters demand city abolish police, hire black doctors to treat black patients

'Bigger than life': George Floyd known for big heart, good works, struggles with drugs, crime

Trump on renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate officers: No way!

One of the targeted defector-activists condemned what he described as a “treacherous” move by Seoul and vowed to launch even more leaflets across the border in coming weeks, using not only balloons but also drones.

Yoh Sang-key, the ministry’s spokesman, told reporters the two organizations facing charges had “created tensions between the South and North and brought danger to the lives and safety of (South Korean) residents in border areas.”

The ministry said last week that the government would push new laws to ban activists from flying the leaflets across the border, after the North threatened to end an inter-Korean military agreement reached in 2018 to reduce tensions if Seoul failed to prevent the protests.

Aside from severing government and military communication channels, the North also said it would permanently shut down a liaison office and a factory park in the border town of Kaesong, which have been major symbols of reconciliation.

For years, activists have floated huge balloons into North Korea carrying leaflets criticizing leader Kim Jong Un over his nuclear ambitions and dismal human rights record. The leafleting has sometimes triggered a furious response from North Korea, which bristles at any attempt to undermine its leadership.

In 2014, soldiers exchanged fire after South Korean activists released propaganda balloons across the Demilitarized Zone, but no casualties were reported.

While Seoul has sometimes sent police officers to block the activists during sensitive times, it had previously resisted North Korea’s calls to fully ban them, saying they were exercising their freedom.

Yoh said that the two groups, led by North Korean defector Park Sang-hak and his brother Park Jung-oh, violated a law governing inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation by sending unauthorized materials to the North. The ministry confirmed it was the first time the law, which is designed to prevent South Korean organizations from providing unauthorized goods to North Korea, was being used against defectors’ anti-Pyongyang activities.

Park Sang-hak’s Fighters for a Free North Korea has launched balloons with anti-Pyongyang leaflets for years. Park Jung-oh leads the group Keun Saem, which on Monday unsuccessfully tried to float rice-filled bottles into North Korea from a border town before being blocked by South Korean police.

“Since when has the Ministry of Unification become the ministry of treason?” Park Sang-hak told The Associated Press. “We will respond not with words but with action, by flying even more leaflets to North Korean people.”

Park said he will also try to use drones so that he “could drop the leaflets on Kim Jong Un’s head.” He didn’t say when the launches will happen, but that he was ready “whenever the winds are good.”

The ministry didn’t say whether it was planning to take similar legal action against another group led by Lee Min-bok, also a North Korean defector who has been flying leaflets into the North for years.

Experts say North Korea’s move to cut off communication channels was likely more than just about leafleting as it comes after months of frustration over Seoul’s unwillingness to defy U.S.-led sanctions and resume inter-Korean economic projects that would breathe life into the North’s broken economy.

North Korea has suspended virtually all cooperation with South Korea in recent months amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations with Washington. The talks faltered last year with the Americans rejecting the North’s demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

South Korea’s government and military said officials tried to contact their North Korean counterparts via several channels after the North’s announcement on Tuesday but got no answer. Yoh said Wednesday his ministry will stop trying before the Koreas agree to resume the channels.

The liaison office in Kaesong has been closed since late January after the Koreas agreed to temporarily shut it until the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled.

North Korea lashes out, says it will cut ties with South Korea

North Korea lashes out, says it will cut ties with South Korea

Impatience over sanctions reflects stalled diplomacy

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

U.S. seeks role as China, India face off at border

Quiz: Name the famous inventors of these revolutionary products

Rod Rosenstein says he was led to believe the Carter Page FISA applications were accurate

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Antifa planned anti-government insurgency for months, law enforcement official says

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Victor Davis Hanson

The bitter irony of COVID-19 and the George Floyd revolution

Cal Thomas

Eliminate police officers and who stops criminals?

Michael McKenna

Signs good in Montana for GOP keeping control of Senate

View all

Question of the Day

Was Gen. Mattis right to speak out about Trump's leadership?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this March 2, 2019, file photo, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam. North Korea has threatened to end an inter-Korean military agreement … more >

Print

By Guy Taylor

The Washington Times

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

North Korea lashed out despite South Korea’s calls for new talks Tuesday, saying it was freezing all communication channels and vowing to treat Seoul as an “enemy” in what analysts say may be the opening of a belligerent wave of provocations from Pyongyang.

The assertiveness, a blow to the detente policy pursued by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, may be tied to the rise of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, who has been increasingly visible in Pyongyang since Mr. Kim’s roughly month-long disappearance from public view in April amid a suspected health scare.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Tuesday’s decision to sever all communications with Seoul was made by Kim Yo Jong in coordination with former North Korean spy chief Kim Yong Chol, 72, a notoriously anti-Seoul hardliner in the Pyongyang hierarchy.

TOP STORIES

Trump on renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate officers: No way!

HBO Max pulls 'Gone With the Wind'

Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history

Kim Yo Jong in recent days has threatened to permanently shut a liaison office established with Seoul and to shutter a joint factory park in the border town of Kaesong, symbols of reconciliation between the two countries. South Korean officials say the North refused to answer a daily call on the countries’ joint military hotline this week for the first time in two years.

Some experts say Kim Yo Jong, 32, is being given more power should her overweight, heart disease-prone older brother fall seriously ill or die suddenly.

“It seems like Kim Jong-un is placing some of the key levers of power in Kim Yo Jong’s hands,” David Maxwell, a retired U.S. Special Forces colonel and North Korea expert with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in comments circulated to reporters this week. “Maybe she is being groomed for eventual leadership.”

The regime has clearly lost patience in recent weeks, claiming Seoul has failed — after nearly two years of U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks — to revive lucrative inter-Korean economic projects and to persuade the Trump administration to ease crippling sanctions on Pyongyang.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have not met in person since a brief visit by the U.S. leader to the Korean demilitarized zone nearly a year ago, and few expect a major diplomatic breakthrough before the U.S. elections in November.

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea warned Tuesday that “widespread food shortages and malnutrition” in North Korea has been exacerbated by economic sanctions.

However, Tuesday’s KCNA statement said the decision to freeze all cross-border communications was a response to what it said was the Moon government’s failure to halt South Korean activists from floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North.

“The South Korean authorities connived at the hostile acts against [North Korea] by the riff-raff, while trying to dodge heavy responsibility with nasty excuses,” said the statement, which specifically quoted Kim Yo Jong as referring to the leaflet activists as “human scum” and “mongrel dogs.”

The comments came despite recent overtures by South Korean officials, who have said recently that they hoped a peaceful inter-Korean diplomatic summit could be held with the North soon, even amid ongoing regional concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday’s KCNA statement ignored Seoul’s overtures, focusing instead on conservative South Korean activists — including many North Korean defectors in the South — who have for years floated balloons into the North with leaflets criticizing the Kim regime’s nuclear ambitions and human rights abuses.

The leaflet issue has been seized upon by the regime in the past as a pretext for expressing anger and discontentment over other matters.

“The North Koreans have been trying to find something they can use to express their dissatisfaction and distrust against South Korea,” Kim Dong-yub, an analyst from Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, told The Associated Press. “They’ve now got the leaftleting issue, so I don’t think we can simply resolve [tensions] even if we address issues related to the leafleting.”

He added that Tuesday’s KCNA statement appeared also aimed at strengthening internal unity in Pyongyang and signaling the North’s resolve not to make concessions in any possible future nuclear talks.

Lauren Meier contributed to this story, which is based in part on wire service reports.

Hostel at North Korean embassy in Berlin closed for good

Hostel at North Korean embassy in Berlin closed for good

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Mueller prosecutor held secret meetings targeting Paul Manafort before Russia probe: IG

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

‘A fair chance’: Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Rebel Democrats in battleground states could be good sign for Trump

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Robert Knight

Liberal media takes ghoulish delight linking Trump to COVID-19 deaths

Charles Hurt

Joe Biden’s racism a Democratic Party tradition

Scott Walker

Vouchers, scholarships and tax credits will help low-income families implement school choice

View all

Question of the Day

Will you rush to eat at restaurants when they re-open?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By

Associated Press

Friday, May 29, 2020

BERLIN (AP) – A hostel on the grounds of the North Korean embassy in Berlin accused of helping finance the East Asian country in violation of international sanctions has been closed, a city official said Friday.

Stephan von Dassel, the head of the central district that is home to the embassy and neighboring City Hostel Berlin, told the dpa news agency that an administrative court had rejected its final appeal against closure.

The hostel was said to have been a significant source of foreign income for North Korea – estimated at one point by city officials to have been 38,000 euros ($42,000) per month – in breach of U.N. Security Council sanctions and European Union regulations intended to stop the flow of hard currency to the country.

TOP STORIES

Asphyxiation not the cause of George Floyd's death: Autopsy

Amy Klobuchar missed chance to prosecute Minneapolis cop now at center of George Floyd death

Trump pulls U.S. out of World Health Organization, slaps penalties on China over Hong Kong action

The hostel’s operators claimed they stopped paying rent to the embassy in April 2017, but in January the administrative court rejected their bid to stop the closure, noting that an EU directive forbids any use of North Korean territory other than for diplomatic or consular purposes.

The appeal of that decision was rejected Thursday, von Dassel said.

“For us, the legal case is closed,” he said.