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PN's Voice 38, 16-04-2015
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PN's Voice No. 38, 16.04.2015
Small steps, Road to peace
USFK Commander Repeats Call for the Necessity of THAAD
Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), says deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery on Korean soil would strengthen defense against North Korea. During a U.S. House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, General Scaparrotti said the deployment of a THAAD battery "would give us a high-tier defense and so therefore rather we would have a layered defense and those systems would enhance the capability of our present Patriot systems that are on the peninsula today."
Scaparrotti was the first one to bring up the need for a THAAD battery in South Korea in June of last year. The proposal has since become one of the most sensitive defense and political issues in Seoul as China and Russia have expressed strong opposition to such a deployment. Supporters say the advanced missile defense unit is necessary to meet ever-growing missile and nuclear threats from North Korea, while opponents claim mid- and lower-altitude missile interceptors are enough as the North is unlikely to attack the South with such high-altitude missiles.
Regarding North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities, Scaparrotti said he assumes the isolated nation already has the capability to deliver a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead. "They claim to have a capability to deliver a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. They paraded it and they've shown it to us. But they haven't tested it," he said. "But I, as a commander, I have to be prudent and assume that they can deliver one and act on that basis."
Christine Wormuth, under secretary of defense for policy, also told the committee that the U.S. is concerned about the North's nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction capabilities, even though some of its capabilities have not been tested. "We don't yet fully know what they are able to do in terms of their ability to miniaturize, for example, a nuclear weapon. But it's our assessment that it is prudent to plan for the worst case scenario," Wormuth said. That is why "we made the investment to expand the number of ground-based interceptors from 30 to 44 to try to make sure that we're keeping track with that threat," she said.
Source : KBS News, Yonhap News
Former Sex Slaves to Demand Japanese Apology in U.S.
Lee Yong-Soo, a 87-year-old victim of Japan's wartime mobilization of sex slaves, will hold a press conference and attend a rally demanding an apology in Washington, D.C. when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gives a speech before Congress. Abe meets U.S. President Barack Obama on April 28 and addresses a joint session of Congress the following day.
Back in April 2007, Lee staged a protest demanding an apology for former sex slaves near the White House during Abe's first visit to the U.S. Earlier, in February of that year, she testified about Japanese atrocities including her conscription as a sex slave at age 16, at the first hearing on the so-called “comfort women” in Congress. In July 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution demanding the Japanese government admit to and apologize for the atrocity.
Representative Mike Honda, one of the proponents of the resolution, will likely join Lee at the rally.
Source : Chosun Ilbo
Lippert Doubtful of N. Korea’s Sincerity on Denuclearization
Mark Lippert, the top U.S. envoy to South Korea, expressed his disappointment yesterday at North Korea’s lack of sincerity toward denuclearization talks. “[The Obama] administration has engaged in talks with Iran, talks with Cuba, talks with Myanmar, because … this administration firmly believes principle diplomacy, in which a partner or interlocutor on the other side of the table is interested in trying to solve complicated problems, can lead to good results,” Lippert said in an address at a defense forum in central Seoul. “The track record is pretty clear, and we are interested in North Korea negotiations.”
The United States, he said, has “reiterated many times that we are willing to engage in talks with North Korea, but the government in Pyongyang must demonstrate that they are ready to engage in authentic and credible negotiations that lead to denuclearization.” “We are disappointed in the behavior of Pyongyang,” he added, “but we are constantly hoping for better days.”
Lippert went on to point out that North Korea is “more isolated than ever before.” “The sanctions are tougher than they’ve been, and other parties of the six party talks are more unified,” he continued, referring to the long-stalled dialogue on denuclearizing Pyongyang that involves China, Japan, Russia, the United States and both Koreas. He added that economic development in Pyongyang cannot come without denuclearization.
The ambassador also discussed the tense relations between Seoul and Tokyo due to historical issues, and addressed a reporter’s question about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s upcoming address to the U.S. Congress on April 29 in Washington. Washington does not play a “formal mediation role,” Lippert said, “but we do encourage both sides ... to find a solution that satisfies the people here in Seoul and the people in Tokyo.”
Lippert was attacked on March 5th by a radical activist wielding a knife during a breakfast function in central Seoul and suffered injuries to his face and hand.
Source : Joongang Daily
S. Korea to Stay Firm on Historical Issues with Japan, but Seek Cooperation on Other Issues
South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-Yong said Seoul will continue to take a "stern" position on historical issues with Japan while trying to increase cooperation with the neighboring nation on other matters. Cho spoke to reporters upon arriving in Washington for a trilateral meeting set for Thursday with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki, where historical tensions between Seoul and Tokyo are expected to be discussed.
"We've been maintaining a clear, stern and consistent position on history issues. Through this, we are making diplomatic efforts to get Japan to act based on a correct perception of history," Cho said at the airport. "At the same time, we are promoting cooperation with Japan on issues where we should increase our national interests, such as the North Korean nuclear issue." Thursday's talks would mark the first vice foreign ministerial talks between the three countries. The meeting appears to reflect Washington’s opinion that the need for improvement in Korea-Japan ties is an urgent one.
The two countries have not held a formal bilateral summit of their leaders since 2012 as Tokyo has refused to accept Seoul's demand that it formally apologize to and compensate the sexual slavery victims, known as "comfort women." Frayed relations between the two allies have been a key cause for concern for the U.S. as it seeks to bolster three-way security cooperation seen as a key pillar for President Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia" initiative aimed in part at keeping a rising China in check.
Source : Yonhap News
Our readers may also be interested in the following articles:
The BBC’s exploration into whether a new nuclear arms race is starting:BBC
38 North’s look into what would happen to North Korea’s WMDs if the country were to collapse:38 North
Finally, today marks the one year anniversary of the Sewol tragedy that killed over 300 people, many of whom were high school students. The media is full of articles covering the anniversary of the event and the anger that has ensued in the fallout due to a perceived lack of progress or change in the year since the Sewol sunk. The Sewol remains on the bottom of the ocean, 9 bodies remain undiscovered and a coherent, transparent investigation hasn’t yet materialized. Below you can find a very small selection of the scores of articles on this subject - 잊지 않 겠습니다:
The New York Times’ timeline of the tragedy and aftermath: The New York Times
The Kyunghyang Shinmun’s critique of the government’s response to the tragedy:The Kyunghyang Shinmun
The Wall Street Journal’s article on the growing distrust between Koreans and their government post-Sewol: The Wall Street Journal
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