PN's Voice 92

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 92, 29-09-2016
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PN's Voice No. 92   29. 09. 2016 
Small steps, Road to peace

Clinton and Trump Clash on Korean Issues

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump showed their opposing positions on issues regarding the Korean Peninsula during the first televised debate on September 26th. While neither candidate veered from their existing stance on Korean issues, the debate provided a more detailed insight into the minds of the presidential hopefuls.

Trump and Clinton also pointedly clashed on the issue of the Commander-in-Chief‘s authority to decide on the use of nuclear weapons. Clinton said Trump had “repeatedly said that he didn’t care if other nations got nuclear weapons - Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia.” Meanwhile, Clinton herself reiterated the US’ commitment to “to everything we could to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons.” In response, Trump restated his desire for the US to seek “fair pay” for it services, or let other nations defend themselves; “We defend Japan, we defend Germany, we defend South Korea, we defend Saudi Arabia, we defend countries. They do not pay us…If they don’t pay a fair share . . . we can’t defend Japan [or other allies].” Along the same lines, Trump also reiterated his isolationist foreign policy position; “I want to help all of our allies, but we . . . cannot be the policemen of the world,” he said. “We cannot protect countries all over the world.”

In contrast, Clinton countered Trump’s isolationist calls for recalibrating the US‘s alliances by saying she “want[s] to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them.” But although she did not mention it in the debate, she agrees in principle with demanding a large share of US troop stationing costs from allies.

Trump also made reference to North Korea issues; “[If] you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there,” he said. “China should solve that problem for us.” In this, he differed little from the argument for a greater role from Beijing that has become the mainstream view in Washington - including from Clinton.

There is a popular notion among some conservative South Koreans that hypothesizes that a Trump presidency might spell good news for peace building on the Korean Peninsula due to his calls to pull out troops based in South Korea. The logic being that North Korea has often viewed the stationing of US troops in South Korea as a threat and has used to legitimise their nuclear weapons development. However, the call to get China to deal with North Korea is an old one that hasn’t really born much fruit thus far.
Source : The Hankyoreh

N. Korea Claims to Have 'Completed' Nukes Program

The North Korean Embassy in Russia claimed on Tuesday that the North has "basically completed" development of its nuclear weapons, saying it will continue a qualitative and quantitative build-up of them, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. In a statement, the embassy quoted the North's nuclear weapons institute as saying that the latest nuclear test conducted earlier this month was a final check of the structures, features and performance of a nuclear warhead that had been standardized to be mounted onto a ballistic missile. "This is an expression of confidence in the fact that the country has basically completed the study and the development of nuclear weapons," the statement read. The statement went on to say; "We will continue to take measures for the qualitative and quantitative build-up of North Korea's nuclear forces, designed to protect the country's dignity, the right to exist and peace in the light of the increasing U.S. threat."

The statement stressed that the regime had so far disclosed details of the nuclear tests through state media, but this time, the nuclear weapons institute, which has kept strictly silent, officially released them. This proves the regime's confidence in its nuclear program, it added.

On September 9th, the North conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test, claiming to have successfully detonated a miniaturized warhead that could be mounted on a ballistic missile. The test followed a series of launches of short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles in recent months. In the wake of the test, observers here say the North is now apparently in the final stages of completing its nuclear and missile programs.
Source : The Korea Times

U.S. Asks Countries to Downgrade Relations with N. Korea

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said on Wednesday that the U.S. "instructed" countries around the world to "downgrade or sever" their diplomatic relations with North Korea. The remarks indicate Washington’s strategy to isolate the North for pushing ahead with its nuclear program that is posing a threat to the world.

Russel, speaking on Wednesday at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that North Korea views diplomatic meetings and visits as "important markers of its international legitimacy." He added, therefore, the U.S. "instructed" its embassies around the world to ask host governments to condemn the regime's recent nuclear test and take further additional actions to downgrade or sever diplomatic and economic ties. He said as a result, 75 countries have already issued a statement denouncing Pyongyang's nuclear tests and several countries canceled or downgraded meetings or other diplomatic events scheduled with North Korea. Russel specified other measures the U.S. is taking in order to put pressure on the North, such as addressing loopholes in previous UN Security Council resolutions.

The assistant secretary's statements are in line with comments made by the U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner to tail off threats posed by the regime. Toner said, “So I think we are working with a number of countries in the region on possible steps and initiatives we can take in response to that challenge.”

The Wednesday hearing came shortly after the U.S. Treasury Department announced earlier in the week that it slapped sanctions on China's Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Company as a key illicit network supporting Pyongyang's weapons proliferation.
Source : KBS News

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