PN's Voice 75

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 75, 10-03-2016
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PN's Voice No. 75   10. 03. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace


N. Korea Claims Nuclear Militarization

Kim Jong-un says North Korean scientists have developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles. State media published images showing the North's leader standing next to what it claimed was a miniaturized weapon. This claim is impossible to verify from the images alone and experts have long cast doubt on such assertions. This is the latest example of the North stepping up its bellicose rhetoric in response to the UN imposing some of its toughest sanctions in response to the North’s 4th nuclear test.
In recent days, Pyongyang has threatened to launch an "indiscriminate" nuclear strike on the US and South Korea, as they began their largest ever round of annual military exercises. "The nuclear warheads have been standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles by miniaturizing them," state news agency KCNA quoted Kim Jong-un as saying. "This can be called true nuclear deterrent," he added.

If the claim is true and North Korea can put nuclear warheads on to the tips of its ballistic weapons, it would represent a clear threat to the North's neighbours and the US. In October 2014, the commander of US forces in South Korea, Gen Curtis Scaparrotti, told reporters that he believed the North had the capability to miniaturize a nuclear device. However, the validity of the nuclear boasts has been widely questioned. Experts also still doubt the North's claim that the nuclear test it conducted in January was of a hydrogen bomb.
Source : BBC News, The Guardian, The Korea Times

N. Korea Fires 2 Ballistic Missiles into East Sea

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Thursday morning. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the missiles, assumed to be Scuds, were fired at 5:20 a.m. from North Hwanghae Province towards Wonsan, Gangwon Province, flying about 500 kilometers.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was monitoring the situation and is prepared to react to any provocations from the North.The South's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is reviewing ways to respond and whether the latest incident violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 1695 that bans Pyongyang from firing any projectile using ballistic missile technology.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was monitoring the situation and is prepared to react to any provocations from the North.The South's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is reviewing ways to respond and whether the latest incident violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 1695 that bans Pyongyang from firing any projectile using ballistic missile technology.
Source : Voice of America, Yonhap News, Yonhap News

Panetta: THAAD an Old Issue Between Seoul & Washington

An interview with former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta broadcast on Voice of America has triggered controversy in South Korea. Panetta said in an interview that the U.S. discussed with South Korea, the possibility of deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on Korean soil, while he was in office between. He served as the Pentagon chief from July 2011 to February 2013. Before that he was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from February 2009 to June 2011.

Until recently, the South Korean defense ministry had maintained its “3 nos” stance; that no decision was made about THAAD, there were no consultations with the U.S,, and there was no request from Washington. Panetta’s remarks indicate that the defense ministry did in fact hold talks with the U.S. and lied about it.
Seoul and Washington recently began working-level discussions about deploying a THAAD battery in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea's growing missile threats. Before that, Seoul maintained strategic ambiguity over the issue, out of concern that the advanced missile system may anger China, which claims that the existence of a THAAD battery in South Korea could be a threat to Beijing's security.

Regarding Panetta's interview, the ministry said it is attempting to confirm the validity of his remarks. "The defense ministry is now checking whether his remarks from the interview are true or not. It may take some time before the ministry releases its statement on the matter," said Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun.

In the interview, Panetta concluded by saying he expected that the THAAD system is likely to be deployed here within a year.
Source : The Korea Times


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