Lockdown orders issued in Pyongyang due to ‘national problem’: Source | NK News
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North Korean residents in the capital seen scrambling to get home after the unexpected order
Residents in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang were abruptly ordered indoors on Tuesday afternoon, multiple informed sources told NK News. One source described the cause as being due to a “nationwide lockdown” while another referred to an unspecified “national problem.”
The order sparked a rush to get home, said the source, with long lines of people waiting at bus stops in the capital city Tuesday afternoon, while other residents could be seen hurrying home on foot.
North Korean authorities apparently instructed citizens not to go outside their buildings and did not specify when the order would be reversed, one source said. NK News understands the orders were likely issued nationwide, although people could still be seen farming alongside the inter-Korean border near Paju on Tuesday around 5 p.m. KST.
People tending fields in a village near the inter-Korean border, May 10, 2022 | Image: NK NewsA North Korean pulls a cart down a dirt road in a village near the inter-Korean border, May 10, 2022 | Image: NK News
The apparent lockdown orders come weeks after North Korea and China suspended overland trade following a surge in COVID-19 cases in Liaoning and Jilin Province that border North Korea.
However, a foreign diplomat who worked in Pyongyang told NK News that short-term instructions to stay inside are not unusual, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
Authorities also ordered residents indoors on short notice last week, but sources in Pyongyang told NK News that lockdown was linked to severe levels of airborne particulate matter, commonly referred to as “yellow dust.”
NK News has previously reported on multiple occasions when citizens in the capital were told to stay indoors due to fears about COVID-19 arriving in the country in dust storms from overseas.
Ethan Jewell contributed to this report. Edited by Arius Derr
Residents in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang were abruptly ordered indoors on Tuesday afternoon, multiple informed sources told NK News. One source described the cause as being due to a “nationwide lockdown” while another referred to an unspecified “national problem.” The order sparked a...www.nknews.org
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Biden says he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan
U.S. president's comments appear to be a departure from existing U.S. policy of so-called strategic ambiguity
Thomson Reuters · Posted: May 23, 2022 3:08 AM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo Monday. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, rallying support on his first trip to Asia since taking office for U.S. opposition to China's growing assertiveness across the region.
Biden's comments appeared to be a departure from existing U.S. policy of so-called strategic ambiguity on its position on the self-governed island that China considers its territory and says is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States.
When asked by a reporter in Tokyo if the United States would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China, the president answered: "Yes."
"That's the commitment we made.... We agree with a one-China policy. We've signed on to it and all the intended agreements made from there. But the idea that, that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not, is just not appropriate."
Comments overshadow economic plans
He added that it was his expectation that such an event would not happen or be attempted.
While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
Biden made a similar comment about defending Taiwan in October. At that time, a White House spokesperson said Biden was not announcing any change in U.S. policy.
Taiwanese airmen listen as President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during her visit to an airbase in Hsinchu City, northern Taiwan, in April. (Chiang Ying-ying/The Associated Press)
The comments about Taiwan are likely to overshadow the centerpiece of Biden's visit, the launch of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a broad plan providing an economic pillar for U.S. engagement with Asia.
His visit also includes meetings with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, in the "Quad" group of countries.
Worries about China's growing might and the possibility that it could invade Taiwan have emboldened Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party on defence, eroding some of the traditional wariness among many Japanese about taking a more robust defence posture.
'A force for good'
Kishida said that he told Biden that Japan would consider various options to boost its defence capabilities, including the ability to retaliate, signalling a potential shift in Japan's defence policy.
"A strong Japan, and a strong U.S.-Japan alliance, is a force for good in the region," Biden said in a news conference following their discussions.
Kishida said that he had gained support from Biden on Japan's becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council amid growing calls for reform of the council. China and Russia are permanent members.
"President Biden expressed the necessity of reforming and strengthening the United Nations, including the Security Council, which bears a major responsibility for the peace and security of the international community," Kishida said.
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"President Biden expressed his support for Japan to become a permanent member of the reformed Security Council."
Worries are growing in Asia about an increasingly assertive China, particularly in light of its close ties to Russia, and tension has risen over self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
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Test imminent according to several news outlets.
#NorthKorea about to conduct a nuclear test, and a #USAF B52 chillin off the coast of #Japan, super fun