Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH4h This is going to be interesting to see the reaction of DPRK to shipment being taken and what KCNA will have to say about it.
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH5h @luke_herman @mhanham if anything more likely DPRK trying to get replacement parts for radars in DPRK.
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH5h @luke_herman @mhanham that might be but since the ship was returning from Cuba why was the parts not offloaded..
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH5h @mhanham ship was returning from Cuba, so why was it not offloaded.. DPRK has these but they do need replacement parts perhaps?
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH5h Big question is what did North Korea offer Cuba if indeed parts came from Cuba to go through the risk of getting caught..
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH5h If confirmed missile radar system parts came from Cuba its going to bring scrutiny on Cuba for violating UN arms sanctions on DPRK.
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH5h @luke_herman likely is connected, also this is going to look really bad for Cuba breaking UN sanctions on weapon shipments to DPRK.
(I posted on 6/26 about the trip, but no article at time)
Luke Herman■@luke_herman5h @ISNJH Haven't seen much made of fact that high-level NK mil delegation just left Cuba a few weeks ago http://nkleadershipwatch.wordpress.c...ense-minister/ ů Related?
Retweeted by Nathan J Hunt
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH5h Looking over the video while the picture just showed the one part as being visible in the back one can see there are two SA-75 radar parts.
OccupyURVote■@NeighborhoodFP2h "@YonhapNews: S. Korean fighter jets to make non-stop flight to Alaska for drills http://bit.ly/1aNByd7 "
2013/07/17 09:42 KST
S. Korean fighter jets to make non-stop flight to Alaska for drills
By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's F-15K combat jets will fly nonstop to Alaska through aerial refueling to attend a U.S.-led multinational training exercise slated for next month to improve its pilots in real combat situations, the Air Force said Wednesday.
The Red Flag aerial war game, hosted by the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, will be held in Alaska from Aug. 12-23 to train pilots from the U.S. and other allied countries.
18 July 2013 Last updated at 07:28 ET Share this pageEmail Print Share this pageShareFacebookTwitter.
Panama charges North Korea weapons ship's crew
Prosecutors say the ship breached Panama's internal security
Panama has charged the crew of a North Korean ship detained in Panama after it was found to be carrying weapons.
Prosecutor Javier Caraballo accused the 35 crew members of endangering public security by illegally transporting war material.
The charges came just hours after North Korea urged Panama to release the ship and its crew without delay.
Police found the weapons under bags of sugar. Cuba has said it had sent the weapons to North Korea for repairs.
Panama has asked the UN to investigate whether there has been a breach of the sanctions against North Korea.
Continue reading the main story
Chong Chon Gang's route
1.Departs from Nakhodka in Russian far east (200km east of North Korean border)
2.Arrives at Pacific side of Panama Canal
3.Leaves the Panama Canal on the Caribbean side heading for Havana, but disappears from satellite tracking
4.Arrives back at Panamanian port of Manzanillo; later searched for contraband. Weapons uncovered
The UN sanctions prohibit the supply of arms to Pyongyang in the dispute over its controversial nuclear programme.
"According to its declaration, the ship only carried 10,000 tonnes sugar, it never declared war material and that in itself is a violation of the rules and a grave danger for the transit through the Panama canal," Mr Caraballo said.
He said the crew had remained silent when the charges against them were brought.
They will remain in detention while Panamanian security forces continue to unload the cargo under which the weapons were hidden.
Panama's Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino said the ship and its cargo had broken Panamanian and international law.
"This is not an official or military ship belonging to the North Korean government."
"It's a commercial ship which wanted to pass through the Panama canal with a [cargo] declaration which failed to reflect what it was carrying, turning a blind eye to the fact that its cargo could be violating UN resolutions," he said.
According to the security minister, the search could take days.
"This ship was loaded in a way to make it hard to unload; the effort is enormous," he said.
The cargo seized from the North Korean ship is now guarded by Panamanian soldiers at the port of Colon City
(^^^^ 1 of 5)
Forensic teams have begun examining the contents of the shipping containers seized on Tuesday.
The ship was carrying what appeared to be an ageing Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles.
Cuba - which owns this deactivated Soviet-era medium-range ballistic missile - said it had sent the weapons to North Korea for repairs.
The North Korean-flagged ship is also being inspected after customs officials found weapons hidden under sacks of sugar in the containers
Continue reading the main story previous slide next slide 1/5
On Wednesday, North Korea asked Panama to release the ship.
"This cargo is nothing but ageing weapons which are to be sent back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract," the North's foreign ministry was quoted as saying by the state-run Central News Agency.
Cuba had earlier admitted being behind the stash of weapons found on board the ship. It said they were Soviet-era arms from Cuba headed for repair in North Korea.
The Cuban foreign ministry said the Chong Chon Gang was carrying 240 tonnes of "obsolete" defensive weapons - two anti-aircraft missile complexes, nine missiles in parts and spares, two MiG-21bis fighter planes and 15 MiG engines.
Havana also reaffirmed its commitment to "peace, disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, and respect for international law".
The Chong Chon Gang left Russia's far east on 12 April and travelled across the Pacific Ocean before entering the canal at the start of June, with Cuba as its stated destination.
It was stopped near Manzanillo on the Atlantic side of the canal last week, but Panama only released details of the find on Tuesday.
The ship disappeared from satellite tracking systems after it left the Caribbean side of the canal, resurfacing on 11 July.
Experts say this may indicate that the crew switched off the system which automatically communicates details of their location.
Panama says it is awaiting the arrival of experts from the United Nations Security Council to inspect the weapons.
North Korea has everything in place for new atom test: U.S. expert
By Fredrik Dahl
VIENNA | Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:13am EDT
(Reuters) - North Korea has strong technical reasons to carry out another nuclear test but may be hesitating because it would anger China, a prominent U.S. scientist who has often visited the reclusive Asian state said on Wednesday.
Stanford University's Siegfried Hecker, who was shown a previously undetected uranium enrichment facility when he was last there three years ago, said the North had "everything in place" for what would be the fourth such explosion since 2006.
The impoverished country conducted its third nuclear test in February, prompting stiffer U.N. sanctions against it.
Like the United States and South Korea, China - North Korea's sole major diplomatic ally - has urged Pyongyang to take steps to end its nuclear program and to return to dialogue.
Hecker said North Korea "needed additional tests in my opinion to miniaturize", referring to the effort to develop a bomb small and robust enough to fit onto a delivery vehicle such as a missile.
The outside world tries to monitor North Korea's nuclear advances largely via satellite images.
Hecker said the North's tunnel preparations had caused speculation that there could be two tests back in February, but this did not happen and one tunnel remained ready.
"There are strong drivers for them to test again," said Hecker, believed to have been the last Westerner to visit North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex. "They have a tunnel that's ready to go if they want to test again," he told a seminar held by an international nuclear-test-ban treaty organization in Vienna.
But China's displeasure was an important reason "why I think they are hesitating now... The price they have to pay is mostly determined by China", Hecker said.
China is North Korea's most important economic and political backer, but the two are uneasy allies and tensions have grown.
Some Chinese banks have frozen out North Korea's main foreign exchange bank amid frustration in Beijing over the North's continued pushing of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured him that Beijing had been "very firm" with Pyongyang on its need to end its nuclear program.
Hecker said he believed the North was weighing the benefits and costs of further testing: "The important part is to increase the cost ... and the Chinese are absolutely key to that".
North Korea said this month it would not give up its nuclear deterrent until Washington ends its "hostile policy" towards Pyongyang, but it was ready to revive international talks on its nuclear program frozen since 2008.
Hecker, a former head of the U.S. Los Alamos National Laboratory, said he was concerned about the possibility of cooperation between North Korea and Iran, which denies Western allegations that it is seeking nuclear weapons capability.
Any sharing of the North's test data would be dangerous, he said, adding: "That would be very, very troublesome and indeed could give the Iranian program a significant boost".
An Iranian diplomat in the audience took issue with Hecker's comment, saying Tehran "does not need any nuclear weapon".
Hecker said he believed Iran had developed a nuclear weapon option. "Iran ... has put all the things in place to be able to develop the bomb should it decide to do so," he said.
(Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)
Panama finds weapons on North Korean ship coming from Cuba
Wed, Jul 17 2013
World powers hope to resume Iran talks quickly
Tue, Jul 16 2013
South Korea accuses North of cyber attacks
Tue, Jul 16 2013
New North Korea curbs endanger aid efforts: relief worker
Tue, Jul 16 2013
North Korea says could resume nuclear talks if U.S. ends hostility
Wed, Jul 10 2013
Biden: US ready to engage with N.Korea, but only if talks 'genuine'
Published: 07.18.13, 22:01 / Israel News
The United States is ready to engage in dialogue with North Korea, but only if Pyongyang is prepared for "genuine" negotiations and commits to giving up its nuclear ambitions, Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday.
In a speech on US policy toward the Asia-Pacific region, Biden noted that North Korea had recently called for dialogue with the United States. Biden said the United States would not countenance what he described as a pattern of North Korea invoking crises only to insist on being rewarded for stopping provocative actions. (Reuters)
S. Korean, Russian envoys to discuss N. Korea's nuke programs
SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- Russia's deputy chief nuclear envoy plans to visit Seoul to discuss with his South Korean counterpart ways to cooperate efforts to denuclearize North Korea, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.
Ambassador Grigory Logvinov, set to arrive here later in the day for a two-day visit, is scheduled to sit down Friday for talks with Lee Do-hoon, Seoul's deputy chief envoy to the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, according to the ministry.
Kim Kyong-hui, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's aunt and a key figure behind the throne, has not been seen in public for 80 days.
The 67-year old has not disappeared from public view for such a long time before since she resurfaced in June 2009, an informed source said. She is said to be suffering a variety of diseases.
She was last seen on May 12 alongside Kim Jong-un, his wife Ri Sol-ju, and Jang Song-taek, her husband and eminence grise behind the regime. They were watching a song-and-dance performance in Pyongyang.
But there was no sign of her at the rather more important memorial event at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on July 8 on the 19th anniversary of nation founder Kim Il-sung's death.
Jang's public activities have also been drastically curtailed over the same period. He has been seen in public only three times since his wife's last public appearance on May 12.
This caused some speculation that the couple may have fallen victim to a purge, but it is more likely that his absence is related to his wife's deteriorating health.
"Even Ri Sol-ju has appeared in public only twice since May," the source added. "There is an intelligence report that she is nursing Kim Kyong-hui."
The rumors are likely to be fueled if she fails to attend massive celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice this Saturday.
Kim Kyong-hui has a history of depression and alcoholism, which got worse in the mid-2000s because of her discord with her husband and their daughter Jang Kum-song's suicide in 2006. Even after her comeback as the head of the Workers Party's Light Industry Department after treatment and rehabilitation in June 2009, she reportedly suffered from lower back pain, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes.
She appears to have aged fast after her brother, former leader Kim Jong-il, died in December 2011.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister Yeo-jong has been appointed head of ceremonies in the Workers Party, Radio Free Asia reported Friday citing an unnamed source.
The source told RFA that several officials who attended ceremonies since the death of former leader Kim Jong-il said Yeo-jong was personally organizing ceremonies involving her brother. "It's widely whispered in the party that you have to get on Kim Yeo-jong's good side if you want to invite Kim Jong-un to your ceremony," the source said.
Kim Yeo-jong belongs to the Organization and Guidance Department within the party, which has the power to promote and vet officials in the party, government and military and is considered its inner sanctum.
Her post is usually held by a close confidant of the North Korean leader.
UPDATED: July 22, 2013 NO. 30 JULY 25, 2013 A New Approach to Nuclear Politics
North Korea could learn from countries that voluntarily abandoned their nuclear programs
By Chen Fengjun
After months of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea began to show signs of openness to settling the nuclear matter through various platforms, including the six-party talks, which involve North Korea, South Korea, China, the United States, Russia and Japan. In the meantime, Pyongyang and Seoul restored communication lines and may soon reopen the joint Kaesong industrial complex. With these favorable new developments, all parties should focus their efforts on making progress in the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula.
Four countries—South Africa, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus—have successfully sought denuclearization.
South Africa laid out its nuclear weapon agenda in the 1970s and went on to produce six nuclear warheads. However, under both domestic and international pressure brought on by its racial apartheid policy, the South African Government decided to remove its nuclear facilities in 1989. In September 1993, the International Atomic Energy Agency completed its nuclear inspections in South Africa and confirmed the complete denuclearization of the country. Independently destroying one's own nuclear weapons was dubbed the "South African denuclearization mode."
Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus became nuclear weapon nations following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The numbers of nuclear warheads the three countries held were 5,000, 1,400 and 81 respectively. But in the mid-1990s, the three countries decided to dismantle their nuclear weapons and deliver them together with nuclear materials to Russia for disposal. Moving nuclear weapons to other countries for destruction was then named the "Ukrainian denuclearization mode."
The two modes have different characteristics and backgrounds, but they can offer useful examples for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The four countries initially believed that nuclear weapons would bring them national security and enhance their positions as military powers. But they soon found more harm was brought than good from their nuclear weapon programs. From the perspective of national security, a nuclear power status put those countries at risk. They not only needed to be concerned with the safety of their own nuclear facilities and weapons, but also became the potential nuclear attack targets of other nuclear powers. Moreover, from an economic perspective, the development and maintenance of nuclear arms were incredibly costly. They also invited the possibility of severe international sanctions, which could have a crippling effect on their economies.
Since denuclearization, the four countries have made much progress in economic development. South Africa is now a promising emerging economy and a member of the influential BRICS group, which also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China. Likewise, the other three countries have been gradually moving away from their past problems of economic recession, social unrest and political instability. Kazakhstan, in particular, has made great strides in economic development. From 2000 to 2012, the average annual growth rate of Kazakhstan reached 8 percent, making it one of the three fastest-growing economies in the world next to China and India. Its per-capita GDP is as high as $12,000.
Though all four countries faced pressure from the international community, they chose to denuclearize voluntarily through political dialogue on the basis of mutual trust. After rounds of negotiations and consultations, they agreed to give up nuclear weapons completely and dealt with follow-up issues properly. In the meantime, the four countries all improved their diplomatic relations with the United States. They also received considerable compensation and assistance for economic development.
The experience of the four countries can serve as positive examples for North Korean leaders should they seek the path of denuclearization.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said when meeting with North Korean special envoy Choe Ryong Hae in May that denuclearization and long-lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula are common aspirations shared by all people in the region. North Korean should pay close attention.
The United States and South Korea should also draw upon the lessons mentioned above. The external security environment of North Korea is different from the four previously denuclearized countries. As North Korea faces a grim external security situation, persuading Pyongyang to pursue denuclearization will require Washington and Seoul to take major steps for cooperation.
Washington ought to take the initiative in easing military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. U.S. troops on the peninsula and military exercises targeting North Korea are certainly not helpful for Pyongyang's denuclearization. Military deterrence can only increase Pyongyang's sense of insecurity and enhance its determination to pursue nuclear arms. The United States and South Korea are far superior to North Korea in terms of military might; therefore, it is reasonable for the former two to make conciliatory gestures first. In the meantime, Washington should coordinate actively with Moscow and Beijing, making concrete steps to guarantee the security of Pyongyang after its denuclearization. Once Pyongyang feels confident in its own security, the denuclearization of the Northeast Asian country should not be far behind.
Washington should also give up its double standards. The United States' tacit consent to the nuclear development of India, Pakistan and Israel has not been good for denuclearization. Washington should adjust its nuclear policies and temper its accusations against North Korea.
In addition, South Korea should play its unique role in the denuclearization of the peninsula. Mutual trust between Pyongyang and Seoul is the political premise for settlement of the issue. New South Korean President Park Geun Hye called for North Korea's denuclearization and enhanced mutual trust between the two countries when she was sworn in. South Korea needs to have consideration for North Korea's security situation and refrain from attempts to demonize the latter. Though the behavior of Pyongyang is unstable, it has made much progress. Therefore, Seoul should offer more tolerance to its brother in the north for the sake of improving relations.
On the denuclearization of the peninsula, South Korea should not blindly follow in the footsteps of the United States because Washington's East Asia strategy has other focuses apart from curbing North Korea. Seoul should become an independent new force in promoting the stability of Northeast Asia. It ought not to pursue security at the cost of the insecurity of Pyongyang. During her latest visit to China, President Park took a positive step toward the settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue when she reiterated Seoul's commitment to a denuclearized peninsula. In the final analysis, the future of the peninsula is in the hands of South and North Korea.
The author is a professor with the School of International Studies, Peking University
Did Panama Just Narrowly Keep North Korea From Finalizing Nuclear Artillery?
World 8 hours ago
Did Panama Just Narrowly Keep North Korea From Finalizing Nuclear Artillery?
On July 16, Panama detained the Chong Chon Gang, a North Korean freighter passing through the Panama Canal en route from Cuba to North Korea. Officials had gained intelligence about suspicious contraband on the vessel and their search revealed armaments concealed under a cargo of sugar. Thus, this transaction indicates that North Korea may be increasing its acquisition of missile technology, furthering its nuclear artillery program.
Officials found a radar system aboard the Chong Chon Gang, increasing suspicions about North Korea. The system was identified as the SNR-75 "Fan Song" Fire Control Radar, which is a key component in guiding missiles to targets. The East Asian country is known for its experimentation with missile technology and nuclear artillery, trying to develop missiles that could target the United States. Nuclear artillery, on the other hand, has direct battlefield applications and could be used to attack South Korea or an invading force. If the Chong Chon Gang had reached its destination, North Korea could have gained the final component for its nuclear artillery program.
"The fire control radar equipment could have been en route to North Korea to augment Pyongyang's existing air defense network," said IHS Jane's Intelligence, a defense consultancy. "North Korea's air defense network is arguably one of the densest in the world, but it is also based on obsolete weapons, missiles and radars."
This raises greater curiosity and suspicion as President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama and his officials contemplate this transaction between North Korea and Cuba. The theory offered by the IHS Jane's Intelligence weighs heavily on the reason behind this transaction as Cuba stated that the armaments aboard the freighter were obsolete and sent to North Korea for further modifications and enhancements. The cargo of sugar served as a payment for the East Asian country's services. Although this theory is plausible, the notion of North Korea attempting to augment their air defense network and further its nuclear artillery program weighs more heavily on the global consciousness.
"Honestly, this kind of military equipment can't go through the country while declaring that it is something else, especially hiding it as you can see here," said Martinelli. "We will continue to empty the entire ship to see what's in it, and the relevant authorities will determine what exactly is on this ship."
Another contributing element to the suspicions and main belief is the resistance from the crewmen. Officials ordered the crewmen to dock the freighter at the Port of Manzanillo, but the crewmen refused and conflict arose between the two groups. The conflict was avoidable since the crewmen could have cooperated with the officials, but insisted on defending the armaments. The conflict ended with Jose Raul Mulino, the Minister of Security for Panama, confirming that the crewmen were arrested and was detained for further investigation. This implies that acquiring this radar system for North Korea might have been the true mission for the crewmen. Refusing to witness its confiscation, the crewmen assumed that resistance was the only solution.
The "icing on the cake" is that the Chong Chon Gang was noticed and investigated after its departure from Cuba, but not before. "Matthew Godsey, editor of the Risk Report, a publication of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, said the Chong Chon Gang may have traveled in the region undetected previously by turning off its satellite transponder, used by tracking services to monitor vessels for their own safety," said CNN.
This action indicates that this transaction may have been for North Korea's nuclear artillery program and air defense network as opposed to modifying and enhancing armaments for Cuba. Further investigation into this ordeal will reveal the true reason behind this transaction.
Pyongyang, July 24 (KCNA) -- Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, met the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic led by Abdullah al-Ahmar, deputy general secretary of the Syria's Baath Arab Socialist Party, on Wednesday.
The delegation is visiting the DPRK to participate in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Korean people's victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War.
Present there were members of the delegation and Haissam Saad, charge d' affaires ad interim of the Syrian embassy here.
Kim Ki Nam and Kim Yang Gon, secretaries of the Central Committee of the WPK, and Kim Kye Gwan, first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, were present there.
Kim Jong Un cordially met with the Syrian guests and had a talk with them.
The deputy general secretary conveyed the warm greetings of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to Kim Jong Un.
He offered warmest congratulations to Marshal Kim Jong Un and the friendly Korean people on behalf of President Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian people on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War and expressed best wishes for Kim Jong Un's good health and happiness and for the Korean people's success in the efforts to build a thriving nation.
He expressed belief that the relations of friendship and cooperation that exist between the Syrian Arab Republic and the DPRK would continue growing strong in the interests of the two peoples.
Kim Jong Un warmly welcomed the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic which made a long trip to come to the DPRK for taking part in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War and extended a militant salute to President Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian people.
Saying he was pleased to meet with the deputy general secretary who was received by President Kim Il Sung several times, Kim Jong Un noted it is a great encouragement to the Korean people that the party and government of Syria dispatched the delegation to the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the war.
He exchanged with the guests views on the issue of boosting the bilateral relations and other issues of mutual concern including the regional situation.
The conversation proceeded in a friendly and amicable atmosphere.
Kim Jong Un was presented with a gift of best wishes by the deputy general secretary.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's aunt Kim Kyong-hui, a key figure behind the throne, attended the opening ceremony of a military cemetery in Pyongyang on Thursday. She has been rumored to be gravely ill.
She appeared in public for the first time since May 12.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) salutes as he and his aunt Kim Kyong-hui (left) and Premier Pak Pong-ju attend the opening ceremony of a cemetery in Pyongyang on Thursday. /Reuters-Newsis
A Unification Ministry official said there has been a familiar pattern of Kim Kyong-hui disappearing from view and then resurfacing if rumors that she is seriously ill get too persistent.
"She has out of the public eye for such a long time that there has been an abundance of intelligence reports on her health," another government official said. "She must have been really unwell to have missed the 19th anniversary of the death of her father," nation founder Kim Il-sung, on July 8.
Finally an article to go along with above (above link only goes to short news brief).
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH25 Jul Its likely if further talks fail that in August when ROK / US conduct joint drills DPRK could announce start of preliminary move on Kaesong
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH25 Jul #DPRK in latest talks on reopening of Kaesong factory park has again threatened redeployment of KPA to area.. [url]http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2013/07/25/0200000000AEN20130725009100315.html[/url] ů
2013/07/25 21:45 KST
(LEAD) Talks on shuttered inter-Korean factory park rupture, Seoul warns it can take grave action if N.K. fails to accepts safeguards
(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with more details throughout)
SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- Weeks-long inter-Korean talks aimed at reopening a shuttered industrial park in North Korea faced collapse Thursday, with both delegates exchanging sharp accusations.
After the latest round of talks ended without progress, North Korea threatened to re-position its military at the factory park in its border city of Kaesong. The zone was opened in 2004 after North Korea had relocated its military units stationed there.
Kim Kiwoong, right, the head of South Korea's working-level delegation, walks with his North Korean counterpart Park Chol Su, second from left, before their meeting at Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee in Kaesong, North Korea, Thursday, July 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Korea Pool via Yonhap) KOREA OUT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea on Thursday threatened to re-station troops at a stalled inter-Korean factory park located just across the tense border separating the two Koreas, as minor scuffles reportedly broke out between delegates from the rivals after failed talks meant to restart the complex.
Pyongyang has warned Seoul before that it would bring back the military units that were stationed at the North Korean border city of Kaesong before the factory park was set up there in 2004 during a previous period of detente between the rivals.
Analysts said the latest threat was an effort to pressure Seoul to agree to a quick reopening of the industrial complex, which provided badly needed hard currency to Pyongyang. The complex was shut in April amid dueling threats of war following U.N. sanctions against North Korea's February nuclear test.
The talks Thursday, the sixth round of meetings this month, came as North Korea held ceremonies ahead of Saturday's 60th anniversary of the Korean War's end. The Korean Peninsula is still technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.
Pool reports from South Korean media stationed outside the closed-door meeting at Kaesong between the Koreas said frustrated North Koreans issued the warning directly to South Korean reporters after the talks ended without a breakthrough. The reports said that brief scuffles erupted as Seoul officials tried to stop North Koreans from talking to journalists.
The pool reports said the North Korean delegates also distributed documents about speeches and proposals they made during the talks with South Korea. South Korean officials tried to retrieve the documents from South Korean reporters, triggering protests from the reporters, the reports said.
South Korean officials took the North Korean delegates out of the room, and a North Korean delegate insulted South Korean officials, reportedly calling them bums and gangsters. Chief North Korean delegate Pak Chol Su told reporters that North Korea made "sincere efforts" to resume operations at the complex, according to the pool reports.
Later Thursday, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk told reporters that Seoul would "make a grave decision" if North Korea doesn't provide a guarantee that it won't engineer future unilateral Kaesong shutdowns. He didn't elaborate, but said he believes Kaesong's fate is now at a "serious crossroads" after the end of Thursday's talks.
Chief South Korean delegate Kim Kiwoong told reporters that there were big differences between the Koreas on the matter of Seoul's desire for the guarantee.
Associated Press writer Elizabeth Shim contributed to this report.
PYONGYANG, July 26 23:59 KST (KCNA) Ś Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, met heads of delegations of different countries staying in the DPRK to take part in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War on Friday.
Among them were Li Yuanchao, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and vice-president of the People's Republic of China;
Abdullah al-Ahmar, deputy general secretary of the Syria's Baath Arab Socialist Party;
Edward Kiwanuka Ssekand, vice-president of the Republic of Uganda;
Guy Scott, vice-president of the Republic of Zambia;
Marie-Madeleine Mienze, deputy general secretary the People's Party for the Reconstruction and Democracy of Democratic Congo;
Manuel Francisco Tuta, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Popular Liberation Movement of Angola;
Paolo Romani, vice-president of the Senate Group from the Popular Liberty of Italy;
Jose Ramon Balaguer, head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba;
Tran Quoc Vuong, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam;
Cheuang Sombounkhan, secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party;
Yu Zhenwu, former commander of the Air Force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army;
Sayed Hamidreza Tabatabaei, deputy commander-in-chief of the Army of Iran;
Luong Cong, deputy head of the General Political Department of the Vietnam People's Army;
Ya. V. Kanov, vice-chairman of the Korean War Veterans' Council of Russia;
Li Xiubao, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army;
Avirmed Battor, vice-minister of Defence of Mongolia;
Agostinho Salvador Mondlane, vice-minister of Defense of Mozambique;
Odongo Jeje, minister of state for the Ministry of Defense of Uganda.
Present there were Kim Yong Nam, Pak Pong Ju, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Kyok Sik, Jang Jong Nam, Kim Kyong Hui and Kim Ki Nam.
The guests warmly congratulated Kim Jong Un on the 60th anniversary of the victory in the war and wished him good health and greater successes in his work.
Kim Jong Un expressed thanks for this.
He welcomed the foreign guests on a visit to the DPRK to take part in the celebrations of the anniversary and hoped that they would spend comfortable and joyful days here.
That they allowed so many reporters in is, I believe, unusual.
I have seen other comments that the normal big missiles, ect. were not present (or at least in any of the pics/video anyone has seen so far). Unusual...so where are they? Lined up in position somewhre and ready to fire? Or, were they just not allowed to be shown?
Some of one reporters tweets/observations (seems a little overly impressed?).................
Mark Stone■@Stone_SkyNews2h N.Korea & Iran are accused of helping each other with nuclear programmes. The officer I spoke to said he wasn't interested in Korean weapons
Mark Stone■@Stone_SkyNews2h An Iranian Army officer at N.Korea celebrations. He told me he was very impressed with the military display. pic.twitter.com/WlRcCTxGCD
Mark Stone■@Stone_SkyNews3h I wonder who this Land Rover belongs to and how it got to N Korea? Sanctions mean nearly everything from west banned pic.twitter.com/BQJfpnKTZE
Kalashnikitty■@CustosDivini7h #Panama Finds Possible #Missile Control Vehicles in N. Korean Freighter http://bit.ly/13zpDpC #Korea #DPRK
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH7h @CustosDivini would be nice if they could release an update photo of all thats been newly found..
8:44 AM - 31 Jul 13 Ě Details
Kalashnikitty■@CustosDivini7h @ISNJH give it time, they're still finding things. One thing is very clear, that ship was designed for smuggling, there are rooms on rooms
Nathan J Hunt■@ISNJH6h @CustosDivini x2.
posted for fair use
Panama Finds Possible Missile Control Vehicles in N. Korean Freighter
July 31, 2013
A naval police officer stands on Tuesday near a Russian-made jet engine taken from the North Korean-flagged freighter Chong Chon Gang. The ship seized in Panama earlier this month reportedly contained five vehicles that might include missile control features (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco).
Panamanian authorities have uncovered five vehicles that might feature missile control systems in the hold of the North Korean cargo ship that was interdicted earlier this month as it tried to pass through the Panama Canal, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The Cuban government has said the freighter Chong Chon Gang was transporting a cargo of undeclared and outdated Soviet-era weaponry, including MiG fighter planes and parts, to North Korea where they were to be overhauled and then shipped back to Cuba.
With the U.N. Security Council slated to investigate the smuggling incident, Panama has requested that U.N. specialists postpone traveling to the Central American nation until Aug. 12 as authorities are still removing all of the ship's cargo. The freight includes 100,000 tons of sugar that was apparently to be Pyongyang's payment for fixing the obsolete weapons.
Meanwhile, the general officer nominated to take over command of U.S. military personnel stationed on the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday said he favors the current schedule for handing wartime control of South Korean troops back to Seoul, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
The U.S. military is slated to transfer wartime authority to the South in December 2015, but the South Korean Defense Ministry has requested the timing of the handover be reconsidered due to concerns that its armed forces are not ready.
"I think it's a good plan," Army Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said during his Senate confirmation hearing. "I think we should move forward with it." Still, the handover will not happen if South Korean forces are determined to have not met certain capability requirements, he suggested.
Those milestones include acquiring more intelligence and monitoring capabilities, certain weapons, and command and control technology, the Pentagon previously said.
Pyongyang's state-controlled media on Wednesday criticized a planned U.S.-South Korea armed forces exercise scheduled for next month, saying "if it takes place, conditions in the region will become unpredictable and escalate to the brink of war," Yonhap reported.
North Korea routinely objects to the joint exercises staged by the two allies. Scaparrotti, however, said the drills have great utility.
"They're essential in terms of the integration that we're trying to attain and the improvement in both our forces and the Republic of Korea forces," he was quoted in a Defense Department press release as saying.
Pyongyang this spring responded to one such joint exercise by dramatically threatening to launch nuclear-armed missiles at South Korea and the United States. The North is understood to have been particularly incensed by the involvement of U.S. heavy bombers in the drill. The U.S. military has defended the participation of the nuclear-capable aircraft, arguing they actually reduced tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
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