China Warns Of ‘Complicated’ Situation On Korean Peninsula

China President, Xi Jinping

 

 

China warned on Friday that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was “complicated and sensitive” and called for restraint on all sides after North Korea hinted that it might explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

Beijing’s appeal came as a war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un escalated, with the young North Korean leader calling the 71-year-old American president a “mentally deranged US dotard”.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula now is complicated and sensitive,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing in Beijing.

“All relevant parties should exercise restraint instead of provoking each other,” he said.

“We believe that only if relevant parties meet each other halfway can they really solve the Korean Peninsula issue and truly realise peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

China has repeatedly called for peace talks, suggesting that Pyongyang halt its nuclear activities in return for the United States suspending military drills in the region.

AFP

South Korea Declares ‘No More War On Korean Peninsula’

South Korea Declares 'No More War On Korean Peninsula'
Moon Jae-in

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Monday declared there must be no war on the Korean peninsula.

President Moon also called on the North to halt its threatening behaviour as tensions between Pyongyang and Washington heighten with both hinting at military action.

In the opening remarks at a regular meeting with senior aides and adviser, Moon said there should be no more war on the Korean peninsula and urged to resolve the nuclear situation in North Korea in peace.

“We urge North Korea to stop worsening situation, immediately stop provocations and threatening behaviour. There must be no more war on the Korean peninsula; whatever ups and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully,” he said.

The South Korean President also said he believes the United States will respond to the current situation calmly and responsibly in a stance that is equal to South Korea.

Concern that North Korea is close to achieving its goal of putting the mainland U.S. within the range of a nuclear weapon has underpinned a spike in tensions in recent months.

U.S. President Donald Trump had warned at the weekend that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” if North Korea acted unwisely after last week threat to land missiles near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

U.S. Warships Deployed To Korean Peninsula

Photo: BBC

As tension is brewing around the Korean Peninsula, the U.S Military has ordered a Navy strike group to move towards that region, amid growing concerns about North Korea’s missile programme.

The Navy War Vessel known as Carl Vinson Strike Group, comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships.

The carrier group has the capability to intercept ballistic missiles while having massive striking power.

U.S. pacific command described the deployment, heading towards the western pacific – as a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has said the U.S is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea if China fails to assist in dealing with the issue.

North Korea has carried out several nuclear tests and experts predict more that could be in the offing as the country moves closer towards developing a nuclear warhead with a big enough range to reach the U.S.

Ban Ki-moon Will Not Visit North Korea

ban ki-moonU.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon will not visit North Korea next week, his office said, contrary to earlier news reports.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday that Ban, who is South Korean, was expected to meet North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, among other issues. The news agency said its report was based on an information from a high-level U.N. source.

Although, Ban will not visit North Korea soon, his office said the “Secretary-General has repeatedly said that he is willing to play any constructive role, including traveling to the DPRK, in an effort to work for peace, stability and dialogue on the Korean Peninsula.”

Had the visit taken place as reported, it would have been the first visit by a U.S. Secretary-General to the North Korea in more than two decades.

Only two U.N. Secretaries-General have visited North Korea , Kurt Waldheim in 1979 and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993.

In May, North Korea abruptly cancelled a visit by Mr Ban just a day before he was due to arrive.

North Korea faced heavy UN, EU and US sanctions for its nuclear tests.

Prior to his career at the U.N., Ban served in the South Korea’s ministry of foreign affairs. He joined the department in 1970, rising to Foreign Minister in 2004.

North Korea Might Possess Missiles Submarine Fleet – South Korea

KoreaThe South Korean Government has said that North Korea could possess a submarine fleet capable of launching missiles in less than five years.

This assessment follows North Korea’s test launch of a missile from a submarine last week.

South Korea has described the test as “very serious and concerning”, while North Korea has said it is developing nuclear war-heads.

Following the the launch, North Korean President, Mr Kim Jong-un said his country now possessed a “world-level strategic weapon capable of striking and wiping out in any waters the hostile forces infringing upon (North Korea’s) sovereignty and dignity”, state media reports.

On Monday, the South Korean Defence Ministry Spokesman, Kim Min-seok, urged North Korea to stop the development of the weapons.

“We judge North Korea’s underwater test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile to be very serious and a matter of concern. We urge North Korea to immediately stop developing SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), which hinder the stability of the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.”

A South Korean defense ministry official who declined to be identified also said that North Korea could be capable of building a fully-operational submarine equipped with ballistic missiles within two or three years – a shorter time frame than many analysts say is needed.

US Ambassador Attacked In South Korea

US -Ambassador-to-South-Korea-Mark-LippertThe US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was on Thursday slashed in the face by a Korean nationalist, during a public event at an arts centre in Seoul.

Lippert, 42, was assaulted during a breakfast conference as he was preparing to give a lecture about prospects for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The ambassador was bleeding from wounds to his face and wrist, but was able to walk after the attack.

The US embassy said Lippert was in stable condition after surgery at a Seoul hospital. Hours after the attack Lippert tweeted that he was “Doing well and in great spirits”.

The assailant, identified by police as Kim Ki-jong, 55 was immediately arrested at the scene.

Police said Kim had tried to attack the then Japanese ambassador to Seoul by hurling a piece of concrete and was given a suspended jail term in 2010.

A District Police Chief, Yoon Myung-soon, said “We have detained him and are investigating the cause of the attack and other circumstances”.

Witnesses and police said Kim used a small fruit knife in the attack, which took place inside a large government arts center across the street from the heavily guarded U.S. embassy on the South Korean capital’s main ceremonial thoroughfare.

According to a witness, he repeatedly shouted “No drills for war.” He was apparently referring to the ongoing large-scale South Korea-US military exercise, which occurs every year about this time.

“We strongly condemn this act of violence,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

A White House official said the US President, Barack Obama, had also called Lippert to wish him a speedy recovery.

Kim was dressed in traditional Korean clothing and shouted that North and South Korea should be reunited just before he attacked Lippert.

He is said to be the head of a relatively small civic organisation that has been calling for peace and reconciliation with North Korea.

North Korea Internet Service Restored After Over Nine-Hour Outage

0,,18091772_303,00Some internet services have been restored in North Korea after a more than nine-hour outage, amid a cyber security row with the US.

The disruption came amid an escalating war of words between the United States and North Korea over a massive cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

Though there has been no comment from the authorities in Pyongyang, US experts reported the restoration.

Some analysts say the country’s web access was cut entirely for a time.

Washington said that it would launch a proportional response to a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, which made a comedy about North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un but U.S. officials said Washington was not involved.

Officials would not comment on any US involvement in the current outages.

CEO of U.S.-based CloudFlare which protects websites from web-based attacks, Matthew Prince, said the fact that North Korea’s Internet was back up “is pretty good evidence that the outage wasn’t caused by a state-sponsored attack, otherwise it’d likely still be down for the count”.

Almost all of North Korea’s Internet links and traffic pass through China and it dismissed any suggestion that it was involved as “irresponsible”.

U.S. President, Barack Obama, told CNN on Sunday that the hack was “an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive” but that he didn’t consider it an act of war.

He had previously said that the United States would “respond proportionally” to the attack on Sony, without giving specifics.

The outage brought down sites run by the Korean Central News Agency and the Rodong Sinmun — major mouthpieces for the regime — according to the South Korean news agency, Yonhap.

Meanwhile, South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North, said it could not rule out the involvement of its isolated neighbour in a cyberattack on its nuclear power plant operator. It said that only non-critical data was stolen and operations were not at risk, but had asked for U.S. help in investigating.

China’s permanent representative to the United Nations has called for all sides to avoid an escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula after the UN security council put the North’s human rights record on its agenda.

The United States asked China to identify any North Korean hackers operating in China and, if found, send them back to North Korea. It wants China to send a strong message to Pyongyang that such acts would not be tolerated, the officials said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday it opposed all forms of cyberattacks but there was no proof that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hacking.

North Korea has denied it was behind the cyberattack on Sony and has vowed to hit back against any U.S. retaliation, threatening the White House and the Pentagon.

The hackers said they were incensed by a Sony comedy about a fictional assassination of North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, which the movie studio has now pulled from general release.

China is North Korea’s only major ally and would be central to any U.S. efforts to crack down on the isolated state. But the United States has also accused China of cyber spying in the past and a U.S. official has said that the attack on Sony could have used Chinese servers to mask its origin.

North Korea Calls For Reconciliation

In a rather surprising turn of events, North Korea has sent an open letter to the South calling for reconciliation and an end to hostile military acts.

The letter, published in North Korea’s state media, comes weeks before South Korea is due to hold joint military drills with the US.

The letter from the National Defence Commission said “What is important for paving a wide avenue for mending North-South relations is to make a bold decision to stop all hostile military acts, the biggest hurdle stoking distrust and confrontation”.

South Korea is however, not letting her guard down or buying into the gesture, but have dismissed the letter as having a “hidden motive”.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula usually escalate ahead of the annual drills, which Pyongyang has condemned as provocative.

The military drills scheduled for next month are a source of great annoyance to the North, which sees them as aggressive preparations for war.

Analysts have also voiced scepticism over the North’s recent charm offensives, noting its proclivity for offering conciliatory gestures ahead of an act of provocation.