PN's Voice 68

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 68, 21-01-2016
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PN's Voice No. 68  21. 01. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace

Top U.S. Diplomat Urges China to 'Show Leadership' on N. Korean Nuclear Issue

Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the number 2 U.S. diplomat, urged China on Wednesday to "show leadership" on the North Korean nuclear issue, saying Beijing has more leverage over Pyongyang than any other country.

Blinken, currently on in Seoul on a two-day visit to coordinate the allies' response to North Korea's fourth nuclear test, said that "China shares our commitment and our conviction that North Korea must denuclearize…We believe that China has a special role to play, given the special relationship that it has with North Korea." "It has more influence and more leverage over North Korea than any other country because virtually all of North Korea's trade goes to, from or through China," Blinken said. "We are looking to China to show leadership on this issue."

Beijing has shown a lukewarm stance toward tough sanctions on Pyongyang out of concerns about its own national interests. But China's role will be critical in drawing a strong sanctions resolution from the U.N. Security Council, as it is one of five permanent veto-wielding members. Blinken said he will discuss the issue with Chinese officials when he visits Beijing later in the day.
Source : Yonhap News

Pyongyang Proposed Civilian Exchanges After Nuke Test

A government official has said North Korea proposed meetings with South Korean civilian organizations a day after its fourth nuclear weapons test conducted earlier this month.

The official said North Korea’s chapter of the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation had proposed exchanges with South Korean religious groups and humanitarian organizations through a fax message sent one day after North Korea’s nuclear test on January sixth.

The official explained the North seems to be engaged in a carrot-and-stick strategy, suggesting civilian exchanges behind the scenes following an armed provocation. South Korea cut all civilian exchanges with the North after the recent nuclear test.
Source : KBS News

Gates: N.K. Will Eventually Succeed in SLBM Development

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday he believes that North Korea will eventually succeed in developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles. "They're working on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and that capability. And they have the successive failures, but eventually they're going to get it right and that's going to be a very dangerous situation, all of which is diagnosis without a prescription for how you solve the problem," Gates said during a Council on Foreign Relations seminar.

The North is believed to have conducted at least three SLBM tests in May, November and December last year, but experts and officials say that the North is still many years away from mastering SLBM capabilities.

Gates highlighted the danger the North’s erratic leader Kim Jong-un carries; "I think this is a very dangerous situation. This guy is developing a road-mobile ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile). He wants to develop a hydrogen weapon -- my guess is he doesn't have one yet. And so, it's a very difficult situation," he said.
Source : Yonhap News

Inter-Korean Trade Hits Record High in 2015 Despite Cool Ties

Trade volume between South and North Korea reached an all-time high in 2015 despite strained inter-Korean ties over the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons, a trade association in Seoul said today.

Trade between the two Koreas came to US$2.71 billion last year, up 15.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the data provided by the Korea International Trade Association. The figure was the largest ever on record.

The trade, however, has been swayed by the ups and downs in relations between the two countries, which technically remain at war after the 1950-53 war ended in a truce.
Source : Yonhap News

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