PN's Voice 63

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 63, 03-12-2015
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PN's Voice No. 63  03. 12. 2015 
Small steps, Road to peace

S. Korea Claims N. Korean Missile Test Was Unsuccessful

North Korea conducted a rare test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile over the weekend, but it ended in failure, according to a South Korean lawmaker who attended a closed-door parliamentary briefing by the National Intelligence Service on Monday. Joo Ho-young, a governing party lawmaker and chairman of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee, cited officials from the South’s intelligence service, saying that North Korea had conducted the test on Saturday off Wonsan, a port city east of Pyongyang, with leader Kim Jong-un watching.

However, after intelligence officers briefed his committee, Mr Joo told reporters there was little to suggest that the missile was successfully ejected from the submarine and took off. No rocket trajectory was detected, and what appeared to be debris from a missile was later seen floating on the surface of the sea, he said. The intelligence service declined to comment on the closed-door parliamentary session. On Monday, Kim Min-seok, the main spokesman for the Defence Ministry of South Korea, declined to provide details, saying that information related to “the North’s launching of an S.L.B.M.,” or submarine-launched ballistic missile, remained classified.

Fears in the South of North Korean missile threats have grown since May, when the North claimed that it had successfully test-fired such a weapon and released photographs of Mr. Kim observing a missile soaring out of the water. However, some missile experts have since questioned the claim saying that the photographic “evidence” appeared to have been modified. Missile experts claimed the North was probably still many years away from developing a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which would present a hard-to-detect danger for its enemies in the region. But South Korean officials maintained that the North had successfully fired a submarine-launched missile, which flew nearly 500 feet before falling into the sea and they expected more such tests.

As it vowed to counter the North’s growing missile threat, South Korea said in June that it had successfully test-fired its first ballistic missile with a range great enough to hit any part of North Korea. The South’s president, Park Geun-hye, was said to have watched that test.
Source : The New York Times

Comfort Women Talks Likely to Drag on into Next Year

Negotiations between Korea and Japan over Tokyo's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II are likely to drag on into next year. Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said he was sceptical about striking a deal with Korea over the issue by the end of this year, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday. "Negotiations are still ongoing and nothing has been decided yet although it's certain we're putting efforts in line with a bilateral summit," Kishida was quoted as saying.

President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed at their summit in Seoul on November 2nd to accelerate the ongoing negotiations and conclude a deal by the end of this year. Abe also ordered his aides to speed up the process for an early finalization, according to diplomatic sources. Coincidentally, and perhaps poignantly, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two neighbours.

The two neighbours have held 10 rounds of talks at the director-general level since April 2014 to narrow their differences over war crimes commit by Japan.
Source : The Korea Times

38 North: N. Korea Excavating New Tunnel at Nuclear Test Site

North Korea is believed to be excavating a new tunnel at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site for nuclear testing, 38 North, an American research institute said on Wednesday, citing recent satellite imagery. According to a report on 38 North’s website, the new tunnel is in a new area of the site in addition to the three others where the North has either conducted nuclear tests or excavated tunnels in the past."While there are no indications that a nuclear test is imminent, the new tunnel adds to North Korea's ability to conduct additional detonations at Punggye-ri over the coming years if it chooses to do so," it said.

A review of imagery over the past year shows significant construction in the area beginning in April, and imagery from October and November shows an additional structure and what appear to be significant tailings, indicating excavation of a new tunnel is underway, 38 North said. North Korea has so far conducted three nuclear tests, in 2006, 2009 and 2013, all at the Punggye-ri site.

In the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North's ruling Workers' Party on Oct. 10, fears had grown that the country could conduct its fourth nuclear test or a long-range rocket launch, but no such provocations took place. In October, South Korea's main intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Service, reported to lawmakers that the North is preparing for its fourth nuclear test, although a test is not imminent.
Source : Yonhap News, 38 North

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