PN's Voice 91

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 91, 22-09-2016
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PN's Voice No. 91   22. 09. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace

Activity at N.K. Nuke Site May Indicate Preparations for a Further Test

Heightened activity at North Korea's nuclear test site may indicate that the Pyongyang is readying another test in the near future, military officials here said Wednesday. South Korea's military said it will remain on high alert as the North might launch another long-range missile or conduct a sixth nuclear test or both next month to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea on October 10th.

"The canopy erected to hide the entry way of No. 2 tunnel (where the fifth nuclear test was conducted) has not been removed. Moreover, a giant canopy was set up over the entryway of the No. 3 tunnel where many expect a sixth nuclear test could take place," a military official told Yonhap News Agency. The North's fifth nuclear test was conducted at the No. 2 tunnel in the Punggye-ri area in North Hamgyeong Province. The canopy is not camouflaged, but does prevent accurate observation of the area it covers from the sky.

The North most recent test conducted on September 9th was the strongest to date, After the detonation Pyongyang claimed it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile. Following up on this provocation, the North on Tuesday carried out a "successful" ground test of a new rocket engine that could further bolster its nuclear and missile capabilities. After supervising the engine test, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called on officials, scientists and technicians "to round off the preparations for launching the satellite as soon as possible," hinting at an imminent missile launch.
Source : Yonhap News

S. Korean Lawmakers Pushing for Redeployment of U.S. Nukes

South Korean Lawmakers urged the government to consider requesting the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea, Wednesday, as a countermeasure against North Korea's nuclear provocations.

Ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers renewed their calls for nuclear armament during an interpellation session, saying it would be an "effective measure" to defend the country from the North's accelerating nuclear and missile threats. They claimed redeploying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons can be a feasible option to counter North Korea in a short period of time.

Some opposition lawmakers agreed, saying it is time for the government to overhaul existing measures against North Korea's nuclear program; "It is a matter of South Korea's survival. So, even if the U.S. is reluctant about the idea, we should keep bringing the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons to the negotiating table," said Saenuri Party lawmaker Lee Cheol-woo, the chairman of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee. "We should not remain hesitant in seeking all possible defensive measures in fear of international sanctions or possible discord with China. A chance has come to resolve North Korea's nuclear issue once and for all."

Kim Jin-pyo, a four-term lawmaker of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK), was in accord, saying South Korea needs to respond to the North's advanced nuclear capability with a "balance of terror." "The situation has changed. If North Korea's claim that it has standardized a nuclear warhead is true, that means we have a game changer now. We should seek all possible means to better defend ourselves from the North," he said. Kim added that a joint Seoul-Pyongyang declaration in 1991, which was signed to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, has been meaningless since North Korea broke the pledge.

Other ministers denied any possible move for nuclear armament, reconfirming the government's stance of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "There is no change in the government's stance that supports denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We will abide by international obligations for nuclear non-proliferation while seeking stringent sanctions against North Korea with the international community," said Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.
Source : The Korea Times

Abe: North Korean Threat 'Substantially More Serious' than in the Past

The threat posed by North Korea after its multiple missile and nuclear tests this year is “substantially more serious” than it was in the past and demands an “entirely distinct” response, the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday. In an address to the annual United Nations general assembly, Abe said the world needed to thwart North Korea’s plans and it was time for the UN security council to “indicate an unmistakable attitude to this threat”. The threat has now reached a dimension altogether different from what has transpired until now,” Abe said, adding that it was “substantially more serious than before”.

He said Japan would lead security council discussions on the issue. “We must respond to this in a manner entirely distinct from our responses thus far. We must concentrate our strengths and thwart North Korea’s plans,” he said.

UN diplomats say discussions are under way on a possible new sanctions resolution against North Korea after its latest nuclear test. Analysts and diplomats say much depends on the attitude of China, which is its main ally but has been angered by its repeated missile and nuclear tests and backed tough UN sanctions on Pyongyang in March. China has repeatedly called for a return to international talks to resolve the issue, despite skepticism of other world powers.
Source : The Guardian

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