Sunday, December 19, 2010

U.S. Pushes Korean Peninsula Towards War

S. Koreans Urge Repeal of Military's Projected Shelling

Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) -- Civic and public organizations in south Korea called a press conference in Seoul on December 17 to protest against the warmongers' provocative scheme for shelling.

They included the Solidarity for Progress, the Confederation of Trade Unions, the Solidarity for Democracy, People's Life, Peaceful Reunification and Sovereignty and the People for Achieving Peace and Reunification.

Speakers at the conference said that the military's scheme for shelling in Yonphyong Island is bound to face a severe punishment by the people as it will drive the Korean Peninsula to the flames of war.

If a military conflict occurs again between the south and the north, it will lead to an overall war rather than a limited warfare, they said, demanding that the Lee Myung Bak "government" stop action of bringing horror of war to the people.

What the "government" should do is to come out to the south-north dialogue for peace on the peninsula, far from staging the shelling drill which might spark off a military conflict, they said.

They demanded the prompt repeal of the reckless projected shelling aimed to divert elsewhere the people's anti-"government" sentiment over the railroading of the budget bill for next year at the "National Assembly".

Copyright (C) KOREA NEWS SERVICE(KNS) All Rights Reserved.

Rodong Sinmun Warns of Danger of Japan's Militarism

Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) -- Japan, a defeated state in the Second World War, has run the whole gamut of ploy to paint itself as a "pacifist state" but this more strikingly revealed its dirty colors as a war state and aggressor before the international community, says Rodong Sinmun, a major newspaper of the DPRK.

In a by-lined article on Sunday the newspaper cites facts to prove that this year Japan has done wrongdoings which can be done only by a war state.

The DPRK becomes a target of the Japanese reactionaries who are working to turn Japan into a military giant for overseas expansion, the article pointes out.

The article goes on to say:

"Their call for 'securing the capability for attack on the enemy's bases' was prompted by Japan's intention for reinvasion. The 'enemy' mentioned by them means the DPRK. The Japanese warmongers' call for 'attack' is just a slogan for staging a comeback to Korea and a prelude to a war."

"This is well evidenced by the fact that they have been getting hell-bent on the anti-DPRK campaign as soon as an unexpected incident occurred on the Korean Peninsula."

"The Japanese militarist forces go reckless in a bid to realize their ambition for reinvasion on a war chariot of their American master under the pretext of 'military cooperation.' The involvement of the mobile strike forces of the 'Self-Defense Forces' in the naval joint exercises of the U.S. and south Korea shows how hard they have worked to round off the preparations for reinvasion of Korea this year."

"The Japanese militarist forces' scheme for reinvasion is put into practice, going beyond the danger line. The existence of a dangerous war state in the vicinity of Korea itself is a serious threat to the DPRK."

South Korea Prepares for Live Fire Artillery Exercises Near Border

VOA News 19 December 2010

South Korean Marines patrolled on Yeonpyeong island, South Korea, ahead of expected live-fire artillery exercises, Dec. 20, 2010.

UN Security Council in Emergency Talks on Korean Tensions
S. Korea Reaffirms Intent to Conduct Live Fire Drill; North Vows Retaliation

China Steps Up Pressure on Koreas

Saber Rattling Leaves Korean Peninsula on Edge

The United Nations Security Council's emergency talks on easing Korean tensions have ended without an agreement, just hours before South Korea was due to begin an artillery exercise on the border island that North Korean guns attacked last month.

North Korea has warned there could be "catastrophic" effects if the South Korean military goes ahead with its plans in the disputed area around Yeonpyeong Island.

As preparations went ahead Monday for the live-fire drill - a military exercise using live ammunition - the South Korean military ordered everyone on Yeonpyeong and adjacent islands into air-raid shelters.

There were unconfirmed reports that the artillery exercise would be delayed several hours, until the afternoon, due to foggy weather.

The focus of the crisis shifted to the Korean peninsula after diplomatic efforts collapsed at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Russian U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin emerged from hours of talks late Sunday and told reporters that Security Council members could not agree on wording of a statement urging the two Koreas to exercise "extreme restraint." Churkin said it would be better if South Korea did not hold military drills at this time, but at that moment journalists and others on the islands were already being ordered to take shelter.

The U.S. ambassador at the U.N., Susan Rice, said most Security Council members wanted a strongly worded condemnation of North Korea's two attacks on the South this year. However, Rice said several nations - presumably including China, North Korea's closest ally - would not agree.

The U.S. envoy, speaking separately after the Security Council session ended, also reiterated Washington's view that South Korea has the right to conduct military drills in the Yellow Sea, and has done so without any deception.

Seoul says hostile action by North Korea has killed at least 50 of its citizens this year.

North Korea's November 23 attack on Yeonpyeong Island killed four people, including two civilians, and an explosion on March 26 that sank a South Korean warship in the same area killed 46 sailors. An international investigation concluded the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, but Pyongyang has vehemently denied any role in the sinking.

During the emergency talks at the U.N. Sunday, Churkin said Security Council members discussed appointing an international envoy to begin diplomatic talks with both sides. The Russian diplomat said the talks started too late to pursue that goal, and that too many members were unable to act without consulting their governments about the wording of any statement.

Rice said she would not expect the Council to agree on a joint statement regardless how long the meeting lasted.

No one would name the countries to which they were referring.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson has been in North Korea trying to resolve the tense situation, and he told a reporter (for CNN) Sunday that his talks in Pyongyang had made "some progress." Specifically, Richardson, said a North Korean general was receptive to his proposal for setting up a hotline between North and South Korean forces.

Richardson's four-day trip to North Korea was due to end Monday.

December 19, 2010

South Korea Prepares for Military Drill as Tensions Rise

New York Times

PYONGYANG, North Korea — South Korea insisted that it would conduct live-fire artillery exercises on Monday, escalating the possibility of a military confrontation with the North even as American officials continued emergency meetings here in the North Korean capital for a third day.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council ended an all-day emergency session on Sunday with no statement on the situation, unable to call on the South to halt its exercises because the members could not agree on how to refer to the North’s shelling of a South Korean island last month. China opposed the majority of the other Security Council members over whether there would be a specific condemnation of the North.

In Seoul on Monday morning, an official with the Defense Ministry said, “The drills will be held today, sometime today, on Yeonpyeong Island.” The official asked not to be named because of the tension and delicacy of the situation.

Yeonpyeong Island was fired on last month by North Korea when the South was conducting similar exercises. It is a garrison island that is also home to a fishing village; the North Korean shells killed two South Korean civilians and two South Korean service members, fomenting a rare surge of popular demands for revenge in the South.

The North considers all the waters around Yeonpyeong and four other nearby islands to be its territory. The government has promised to respond fiercely if the South fires into those waters, no matter which direction the guns aim. About two dozen United States military personnel were expected to take part in the artillery drill, in support roles and as observers. The North said the Americans were being used as a “human shield.”

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a former United States envoy to North Korea, was to meet Monday with the North Korean vice president and members of the Foreign Ministry. Over the weekend, he met with military officials to propose measures to increase international communication. His trip was approved by the State Department, although he stressed that he was not an official administration envoy.

North Korea often issues bellicose warnings. But Tony Namkung, a senior adviser to Mr. Richardson, said that he did not think the North was posturing.

“In 20 years of following the North, I’ve never seen such unequivocal statements,” Mr. Namkung said Monday. “There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a response. The only issue is whether they will once again target civilians, or deliberately try to avoid hitting civilian targets.”

“The Foreign Ministry has clearly stated that the matter is now entirely in the hands of the military,” he said, “and the military has said there can be no forgiveness, period.”

The North Korean military is more confrontational than the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Namkung said. But he also said that the North still hoped to avoid another exchange of fire with the South.

“The bottom line is that they would like to put this crisis behind them,” he said.

While Russia and China called on Seoul to hold off on the drills, the Security Council proved unable to agree on a statement.

More than six hours of talks were held behind closed doors, The ambassadors of both North and South Korea addressed the council.

Sin Son-ho, the North Korean ambassador, warned that if war broke out it would not be limited to the peninsula and could easily spread worldwide, diplomats said. He stressed that live fire exercises near the disputed North-South maritime border were a violation of North Korean territory and called it “gangster-like” behavior, according to diplomats in the meeting.

Park In-kook, the South Korean ambassador, noted that the line had been established in 1953 and that North Korea had accepted it under a 1992 agreement, diplomats said. Mr. Park also pointed out that South Korea had repeatedly conducted similar exercises over decades and, as this time, had always given notice, diplomats said.

Russia, which called the special session, released a text noting “dangerous aggravation” on the Korean Peninsula. China endorsed that position, diplomats said, but South Korea’s allies, including the United States and Japan, considered it a veiled criticism of Seoul’s continued military maneuvers.

“They are implying the South Koreans are doing something which they should not, while we view the drills as perfectly within their rights and something they have done countless times,” said one Western diplomat, speaking on ground rules of anonymity.

In the Obama administration’s view, the tensions are almost entirely the North’s, starting with the sinking this spring of the Cheonan, a South Korean warship, which killed 46.

The North denies responsibility for the sinking, and in the case of Yeonpyeong, maintains that the shelling was self-defense. China, interested largely in stability and maintaining some semblance of influence with its troublesome ally, has chosen to make no public judgments.

Meanwhile, President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea finds himself in a political bind. He chose not to respond militarily to the Cheonan sinking, and was criticized harshly at home for not responding more strongly to the shelling of the island. His new defense chief has promised a strong response, including the use of fighter jets, if the North fires on the South again. To back down could be politically fatal for the South Korean administration; to respond too strongly could trigger an escalation.

Sharon LaFraniere reported from Pyongyang, and Neil MacFarquhar from New York. Mark McDonald contributed reporting from Seoul, South Korea, and David E. Sanger from Boston.

Minju Joson Brands US as Mastermind of Nuclear Proliferation

Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) -- Germany's proposal calling for the withdrawal of the U.S. nukes from NATO member countries was supported by Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Luxemburg in October.

Commenting on the fact, a news analyst of Minju Joson, a leading newspaper of the DPRK, says on Sunday:

This demand growing in Europe reflects the unanimous desire of humankind for prevention of a nuclear war and shows that it is ripe in political and diplomatic aspect for Europe to raise this matter.

The U.S. moves to keep nukes in European countries are a challenge to the trend of the present times toward disarmament against nuclear war.

It is the ambition and nuclear strategy of the U.S. to put the world under its domination by holding monopoly over nukes and supremacy in strategic striking weapons.

To attain this criminal purpose, the U.S. deployed huge nuclear armed forces in strategic vantages of the world. And it spends a large amount of money for the modernization of nuclear weapons every year and steadily poses a nuclear threat to its rivals and "potential enemies" while proliferating nuclear technology to its followers.

This year alone, the U.S. openly designated the DPRK and other anti-imperialist and independent countries as the targets of its preemptive nuclear attack in its "nuclear posture review."

The reality goes to clearly prove that the U.S. is chiefly to blame for nuclear threat and proliferation in the world. Serious nuclear arms race and increased danger of nuclear war worldwide are entirely attributable to the U.S. nuclear policy.

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