The running time almost corresponds to Pyongyang’s statement of 9 minutes 46 seconds.
“The place where the first and second-stage propellants and fairings fell down is similar to the Unha-3 (the North launched in 2012),” the unnamed MND official told the Yonhap News Agency, adding the “material of the propellant stages is similar.”
The first propellant stage and fairing fell in the expected areas, where North Korea had previously notified international organizations, at 9:32 a.m., two minutes after Sunday’s launch.
The second propellant stage’s separation was not accurately detected but the MND assumed it fell to the east side the Philippines’ Luzon Island.
“It’s in orbit but we need to see more to judge whether it is operating normally while there’s no signal detected,” MND spokesperson Kwon Ki-hyun told NK News.
Previously U.S. media outlet CBS News reported that the satellite was “tumbling in orbit,” citing an unnamed U.S. official. But Martyn Williams from North Korea Tech told NK News there had been no confirmation as to whether or not the satellite was broadcasting any signals.
“The only way to verify that is with optical observation and I’m not aware that any amateurs have done that yet,” Williams said.
The MND assumed that North Korea intentionally blew up the first propellant stage into “270 pieces” in order to complicate South Korea’s investigation.
Seoul’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported on Sunday that the satellite weights approximately 200 kg, lawmakers Lee Cheol-woo from the Saenuri Party and Shin Kyeong-min from the Minjoo Party said.
The Kwangmyongsong-4 is reportedly heavier than the satellite deployed in the previous launch, though the lawmakers said its low weight meant it was unlikely to be functional. The NIS judged that North Korea’s rocket launch is designed for a missile launch, saying the satellite must weigh more than 800 kilogram.
But observers familiar with satellite technology said the weight of the orbiting device was not relevant for assessing functionality.
“The South Korean statements about 200kg satellites aren’t correct,” Williams said. “There are plenty of smaller satellites in orbit capable of communications and earth observation that weigh a fraction of that. The weight of a satellite is a poor indication of its capabilities.”
Both the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and MND suspect, however, that Pyongyang’s re-entry technology, the most technically challenging part of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) development, has not been sufficiently developed.
“Putting an object into orbit doesn’t prove they have all the necessary capabilities to conduct a strike with such a missile,” said John Grisafi, NK News director of intelligence.
According to the satellite detecting websites N2YO and Lizard-tail, the satellite is orbiting the planet. It is located 508.18 kilometers (315.9 miles) from the surface, and traveling at a speed of 7.61 kilometers per second.
On the same day as the MND’s announcement, North Korea’s state-run newspaper the Rodong Sinmun revealed a picture of Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, where 150,000 people celebrated the successful launch.
Image: Rodong Sinmun]]>
Minister Igor Morgulov and Ambassador Lee Huei met in Moscow to discuss the DPRK’s most recent satellite launch, with both sides taking the opportunity to call for restraint from all parties.
“We also have identical views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula in the context of North Korea’s nuclear problem and consequences of Pyongyang’s recent nuclear tests,” Morgulov said.
Russia was one of many countries to swiftly joined in the international condemnation of Sunday’s launch, which appears to have successfully placed a satellite in orbit.
Shortly after the launch, the Russian Foreign Ministry published a statement on its website saying North Korea had disregarded international law.
“We strongly protest against the course chosen by Pyongyang. We recommend that Pyongyang leaders consider whether a policy of confrontation with the global community meets the country’s interests,” the statement reads.
However just one day after the launch, Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin gave an interview with the Kommersant news service to deny allegations from Seoul that Russia had transferred rocket technology to the DPRK.
According to Kommersant, the claims had originated from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS).
“We accurately monitor the adherence of non-proliferation of missile technology, an export committee led by me has never given such permits for North Korea,” Rogozin said in comments carried by Sputnik International, also adding the claims were “complete nonsense and drivel.”
Nonetheless the news of Russia and China’s agreement will likely do little to please Washington, who are currently working with South Korea and Japan to bolster sanctions and missile defense in the region.
Following a phone call with South Korea President Park Geun-hye today, the three countries agreed to further press the UN Security Council for action, which has yet to issue any additional sanctions on North Korea in 2016.
Washington also said it was looking at additional measures and secondary sanctions, similar to those imposed on Banco Delta Asia in Macau in 2005. The stricter sanctions on financial institutions dealing with North Korea could further isolate the Pyongyang from international monetary systems.
“I think the president is going to sign a bill that authorizes that into law. The only question now is whether the president enforces it,” Joshua Stanton, attorney and author of the One Free Korea blog told NK News.]]>
For many decades these developments have been closely linked to the relationship between China and North Korea, or to cataclysmic transformations taking place within Chinese society to which the Chosonjok, in their unique border location, have had to adapt.
Since the 1990s, however, the growth of South Korea as an economic and cultural powerhouse has eclipsed the DPRK, rendering Yanbian’s closest Korean neighbor something of a blank spot in terms of Chosonjok aspiration and interest.
And a measure of the sheer force of South Korea’s relative attractiveness is to be found in the meteorological language used to describe it: Yanbian Koreans are now carried far from DPRK-related concerns by a “Korean wind” and a (better known) “Korean wave.”
NORTH TO SOUTH
Ms. Song’s living room is a large tidy space with a colorful children’s play mat on the floor, a long sideboard supporting a television along one wall, and a large cream-colored sofa opposite. As she relates the story of past trips to North Korea, the 70-year-old Chosonjok former government worker sits on the sofa in her usual pose, legs crossed under her as though she were sitting on the floor.
‘Even during the 1970s some of (the North Korean) products – pens, matches, cigarettes, clothes – were as good as or better than the Chinese things which got all the way out here to Yanbian’
“We used to want to buy all kinds of things from North Korea,” she says. “Even during the 1970s some of their products – pens, matches, cigarettes, clothes – were as good as or better than the Chinese things which got all the way out here to Yanbian.”
Little evidence of this remains, but in one testament to the durability of old-style DPRK goods, a rubbery North Korean-made plastic washbowl has been seeing regular use in Ms. Song’s bathroom since the 1980s. A small North Korean ceramic-lidded pot in the shape of a turtle also graces the sideboard next to her television.
“By the 1980s though, I could see when I went there that things had obviously gotten much worse,” she said. “Some of the children seemed very poor and had no socks on, even in winter.
“Because our goods were better by then, we were able to start selling them stuff. One time I took over a sewing machine which you could get for about 100 RMB in China – it was worth over 1,000 there!”
On that occasion Ms. Song had also taken some decoratively embroidered blankets which she informed customs on the border were for a family wedding. At the time it was still common and very straightforward for Chosonjok to cross to neighboring areas of the DPRK for such reasons. But with the tables having turned as far as the desirability of goods was concerned, trade was her main focus.
She sold the blankets along with the sewing machine in exchange for great sacks of myeongtae fish, squid and giant spider crabs which would make her a great profit when sold on back in landlocked Yanbian.
Regardless of whether they were for family celebrations or business, such trips became increasingly difficult for ordinary Chosonjok as political barriers to cross-border contact grew during the 1990s DPRK economic collapse, the beginnings of which Ms. Song herself witnessed.
But it was at precisely this time that a new realm of possibility was opening for the Chosonjok with a taste for foreign contact. As the song “Wind of Change” by German rock band Scorpions was bidding farewell to Soviet communism (whose demise contributed substantially to the crisis in the DPRK), in Yanbian the first currents of the “Korean wind,” or Hanguk baram, were stirring.
In Yanji I speak to Ms. Pak, among the first Chosonjok to be carried south by the wind and seek their fortunes through links to South rather than North Korea. After the 1992 normalization of relations between China and the ROK it became possible for Chinese citizens, Yanbian Koreans among them, to get a month-long visa. Many went on this basis but remained much longer than their allotted 30 days.
“Yes, I just lived there illegally for a few years until it was possible to apply to stay long-term,” Ms. Pak says, frankly.
A gentle, dignified 61-year-old lady with meticulously permed hair, she lacks the air of a hard-nosed violator of immigration laws. But like many of her generation in China, she had grown up with a steely determination and instincts which lent themselves well to survival, and ultimately considerable success, in Seoul. She spent much of the late 1990s there working in various service industry jobs and saving money.
“When I went to South Korea I was quite scared to start with,” Ms. Pak recalls when I ask about her initial impressions of the place.
“I’d been brought up convinced that in capitalist countries all one sees everywhere is the rich oppressing the poor. Probably at least half the Chosonjok going to South Korea when I did had this feeling to start with. But it turned out it wasn’t quite like that, even though I didn’t have much when I went I was able to make money no problem.”
Much higher wages, even in unskilled roles in the restaurant or hospitality sector, continue to this day to draw large numbers of Yanbian Koreans to make the hop to Hanguk, skipping quickly over the much less attractive DPRK.
The sense that North Korea is a cultural and economic blank spot is further heightened by the fact that Yanji-Seoul flights must take a circuitous route avoiding DPRK airspace, a detour which makes the journey around three times longer than it would otherwise be.
Such migrations add to the already extensive list of divided Korean families, for as well as in those split between North and South and between Yanbian and the North, there is a third category wherein relatives are distributed between the ROK and Yanbian.
Here the DPRK serves as a yawning gap between them, a border as wide as a country.
Couples with one partner who sojourns in South Korea for years on end are common, and marital breakdowns and family feuds over how remittances are spent are common in such situations.
Chosonjok university students who remain in Yanbian during school holidays complain of being left isolated because all their friends leave immediately after the semester ends to stay with their “cooler” South Korea-based parent. This is the more painful side of the Hanguk baram.
But the wind blows both ways, and most Chosonjok eventually come back to Yanbian for reasons including the difficulties they face fitting in to South Korean society.
In the years since Ms. Pak’s return she has put her savings to good use, opening two restaurants and buying property. Such ventures often start even before Yanbian Koreans return to China, as the ROK-based partner in a divided couple will send money back for their left-behind husband or wife to invest.
But it is returnees such as Ms. Pak who bring their own cash and start businesses who have utterly transformed the urban scenery and culture of Yanbian’s towns.
Ms. Pak’s restaurants and others like them serve food rich in influence from South Korean cuisine which bears a more Westernized imprint than traditional Yanbian fare. Even in smaller Yanbian towns, old-style local naengmyeon cold noodle restaurants are flanked by takeaways serving bulgogi rice burgers and corn smothered in stringy American cheese.
For several years one wildly popular business project (as well as status symbol) amongst Chosonjok returnees has been opening a South Korean-style coffee shop. Today some streets boast five or six establishments, each with their own take on a style of décor dominated by teddy bears, rustic looking wooden chairs and uncomfortably bulbous cushions.
The return of the Chosonjok is therefore a powerful vehicle for the second major trend in South Korea’s pull over Yanbian, the “Korean Wave” or Hallyu.
This is of course not unique to this region, nor even to China, but because of linguistic and cultural ties and the fact that so many Chosonjok have spent years in South Korea, the intensity of this cultural tsunami is much greater than elsewhere.
Shops stocking exclusively South Korean goods … are almost as ubiquitous as coffee shops
Whilst one might occasionally catch snatches of a Girl’s Generation or Super Junior hit walking down a Beijing or Shanghai street, Yanbian’s coffee shops play a blaring carousel of K-Pop tunes covering a wider timespan and range of artists than is common elsewhere in China.
The August 2015 cancellation of a scheduled show in Yanji by K-Pop megastars Big Bang was greeted locally with a mix of depression and fury in conversations on- and offline.
Many drowned their sorrows by heading instead to Reach, Yanji’s most popular club where much less well known South Korean musical acts rub shoulders with local Chosonjok DJs and dancers fresh back from plastic surgery holidays to Seoul.
Yanbian is also submersed in South Korean cultural world in other ways less readily associated with Hallyu.
Local college girls, Chosonjok and Han Chinese alike, buy much of their makeup from networks of contacts in Korea who transport the products back in packed suitcases. Shops stocking exclusively South Korean goods (although confusingly these are also sometimes labeled as being from the North) are almost as ubiquitous as coffee shops.
Ms. Pak and many others have also found Christianity in South Korea, and numerous organizations including Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church are active in the region. Many Chosonjok apartments also have satellite dishes and avidly watch South Korean television, despite it being illegal in China to receive foreign TV broadcasts in a private home.
All this is a far cry from a mere few decades ago when Ms. Song was making her trips to the DPRK and this barrage of South Korean cultural influence is a key component in a series of processes which have left North Korea almost completely devoid of interest for many Chosonjok, especially the young.
Ms. Song is more sympathetic than her children or grandchildren, and still wonders what happened to the people she met in the DPRK in the 1980s during what turned out be her last visit.
Nevertheless even she once had South Korean satellite TV like everybody else, although she later decided to cancel her subscription since she found it to offer a curious blend of the unintelligible and the dangerously addictive.
“I couldn’t understand about a third of it, those capitalists just speak English all the time!” she says, almost shouting with astonishment.
“But I still had to watch it, I was spending whole days in front of those dramas. It wasn’t good for my health.”
Nowadays Ms. Song settles down each evening cross-legged on her sofa to watch the Yanbian TV News in Korean at 6:30 p.m., followed by CCTV News from Beijing in Chinese at seven.
Her North Korean turtle pot looks on from its perch, but outside the wind and the wave continue to sweep Yanbian.
By NK News borderlands correspondent. Some names have been changed to protect identities in this article.]]>
High-profile members of the defector community told NK News they were worried about the reliability of defectors’ testimony, while recognizing their contributions to revealing the realities of North Korea. One suggested that more than half of celebrity defectors’ experiences are exaggerated. They generally worry about the distrust caused by false testimonies, saying it might undermine South Koreans’ motivation for unification.
More than one expert said the unstable status of defectors has caused this predicament, saying the inability to settle down in South Korean society makes defectors lie, as does the discrimination that exacerbates the difficulties they face.
In part 33 of a new NK News expert interview series, defector experts interviewed include:
Q33) What are the benefits and disadvantages, in your opinion, of Western and South Korean media making defectors into celebrities?
I think it generally, has, a positive influence. Celebrities can be role models for defectors. It can give them hope that, “I can achieve if I try.” The enthusiasm of successful defectors can improve other defectors’ confidence and self-esteem, since they face constrictions in South Korea.
There are labels for defectors in South Korea, like gang members or drug addicts. But North Koreans are well aware about the lawmaker (and defector) Cho Myung-cheol. The rise of defectors can thus confirm South Korea as a “land of opportunity,” where ordinary people can become lawmakers.
It can confirm South Korea as a “land of opportunity”
I think the negative aspect originates from traditional regionalism, which holds back the Northern people. There is a perception about Northerners as rude, tough and goal-oriented. Plus, for Southern people, it might be unacceptable for North Koreans to take a leading role in society, threatening South Koreans’ established positions.
Since North Korea itself is a mysterious and veiled place, the international community and media treats defectors’ testimonies and autobiographical essays with great importance.
In particular, if one is a survivor of a political prison camp or a high-ranking defector, their testimony (or autobiography) plays an important role in uncovering the inhumane aspects of the North Korean regime for the international community and discussing countermeasures to such happenings in North Korea.
Unscrupulous behavior and a lack of verification leads to suspicion about all defectors’ testimonies and even attacks from the North Korean regime.
There is no doubt that these defectors play an important role, but unscrupulous behavior and a lack of verification leads to suspicion about all defectors’ testimonies and even attacks from the North Korean regime.
All this is to say that the media and international community need a method of verification and caution when dealing with defectors.
Western and South Korean media have exaggerated defectors’ experiences and the reality in North Korea, so it has made them celebrities. This situation gives South Koreans the opinion that we do not need to be unified with those pathetic people, and leads them to misunderstand the real lives of North Koreans. Therefore, it was wrong to cause confusion in society by leaving the public with the wrong opinions.
These exaggerated “created celebrities” will not be able to understand the moral hazards of their actions
These exaggerated “false celebrities” will not be able to understand the moral hazards of their actions. Media companies and broadcasters cannot be held responsible for the results. As liberal democratic society is entirely connected by trust among people, so these exaggerated celebrities from North Korea are responsible for the results.
In fact, at least 50 percent of past experiences shared by famous defectors have been exaggerated through Western and South Korean press and broadcasts. We will recognize that it is exaggerated when we look at the situations and their details through the eyes of normal defectors.
One positive thing is letting North Korea know international society’s opinion of North Korea’s human rights violations.
He will face a temptation to exaggerate the facts
A such, making a defector into a celebrity can be helpful for promoting the issue. However, he will fade from the spotlight quickly, so to arouse attention again, he will face a temptation to exaggerate the facts. This will cause defectors to distort their lives, and sometimes this can harm their lives.
It causes many unprepared defectors to live dishonest lives, succumbing to the strong temptation to pursue only money and glory.
There is no positive aspect to this phenomena. There are more negative aspects than positive.
In South Korea, it is impossible for defectors to earn a high income and become celebrities, so they focus on studying about reunification and North Korean studies so that they can become famous.
But it is difficult to be accepted by the circle of North Korea experts that were already (in South Korea), a group that itself often condemns defectors. In reality, they do not hire defectors who have doctorates. It is thus hard for defectors that study North Korea to become established in the field dealing with North Korea.
Even though defectors hold an advantage in analyzing aspects of North Korea, they are usually not hired. There is the problem of the level (of education) among the defectors, but the reason why they are not accepted is because even when a defector holds a doctorate, they are seen as rivals.
Also, the people that are investigating North Korea do not want to work with people that are from North Korea. Because of this, they are strongly against anyone who could become better off than they are. Even though the defectors are better at analyzing North Korea because they have lived there, experts that are defectors will not be accepted and will be blocked from settling in academia.
There are more negative aspects
It is also more difficult because they do not have connections through schools, regions and blood ties in South Korean society. People usually bring in those they know and this makes it hard for defectors to compete with South Koreans.
Main picture: NK News]]>
However, their calls for “calm” following North Korea’s defiance of the international community and proliferation of technology that threatens the South appear to be finding less and less of a reception in Seoul.
South Korea and the United States announced on Sunday that they would enter into official discussions over the U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, designed to shoot down ballistic missiles of short, medium or long range. The joint announcement came just hours after the North successfully put a satellite into orbit, an act forbidden under UN resolutions as it is considered a cover for a test of the North’s long-range missile technology.
The U.S. has been working to convince the South to adapt THAAD for years but Beijing – along with Moscow – has consistently opposed the deployment, calling THAAD a threat to China.
‘In military terms, it only affects China if China wants to fire missiles upon South Korea’
However, NK News director of intelligence John Grisafi said that THAAD represents no practical danger to China, as it destroys incoming missiles through impact rather than explosives.
“It’s not an offensive weapon,” he said. “In military terms, it only affects China if China wants to fire missiles upon South Korea.”
Because THAAD is designed to intercept missiles in their terminal phase, Grisafi said, THAAD batteries deployed in South Korea wouldn’t even be useful in defending other countries, such as Japan, from Chinese missiles.
China’s opposition, he said, is for a different reason.
“THAAD in Korea increases Seoul’s reliance on the U.S.,” Grisafi said. “Plus, China likely doubts Seoul’s claim that THAAD is only because of North Korea. They likely see deployment of THAAD and other such systems which are integrated in the U.S. missile defense network as part of U.S. attempts to strengthen the American presence in East Asia and contain China.”
No final decision has yet been made on THAAD deployment to South Korea, but should Seoul go ahead with deploying a THAAD battery or batteries, another expert said China may not have a clear option for retaliating.
“Short-term, we’re likely to see a (Chinese) diplomatic protest,” said Sheena Greitens of the Brookings Institution. “As the discussions get underway, I’d expect China to publicly criticize a potential THAAD deployment as unhelpful for stability in the region.
“But I think part of why Beijing has been so anxious about this is that if South Korea adopts THAAD, it’s unclear what China’s subsequent best move is. Unlike some of the other countermeasures South Korea could take, THAAD imposes real costs on China, and if Seoul does decide to go ahead, Beijing’s options in response are limited.”
China is South Korea’s largest trading partner and Seoul is Beijing’s fourth largest, and last year the two countries entered into a historic bilateral free trade agreement. This was just one of the ways in which China’s influence over Seoul had been seen as growing, given the evident closeness of presidents Xi Jinping and Park Geun-hye, and Xi’s relative coldness toward Kim Jong Un.
However, Seoul appears to be growing impatient with China’s unwillingness to take stricter measures with the North. One month after the North’s fourth nuclear test the UN Security Council has yet to sanction Pyongyang, largely because Beijing continues to differ from Washington and Seoul over the severity of proposed sanctions. While China insists it does favor sanctions and has condemned both the nuclear test and the satellite launch, the difference in how Beijing and Seoul have spoken of measures to be taken is telling: While Seoul has spoken in favor of “bone-numbing” measures against the North, China continues to warn against “escalation of tensions.”
One South Korea-based expert said that China, through its hands-off approach to the North, has squandered its chances to make the improvement in relations with South Korea last, and can look forward to not only THAAD deployment but a very pro-U.S. president emerging from the ruling Saenuri Party in next year’s elections.
“Too many South Koreans already thought (Park) was toadying to Xi, and now she’s got two (North Korean) tests in a month to show for her efforts and nothing from China beyond recycled, do-nothing boilerplate about ‘everyone keeping calm,’” said Robert Kelly of Pusan National University. “I’d imagine (Park) is rightfully furious. There’s no way she’ll go back to China now, and no one in next year’s Saenuri primary will endorse such a pro-Sinic stance after this humiliation.
“Righties have been saying for awhile that Xi is a boorish nationalist convinced of China’s right to regional hegemony, rather than cooperation. This sure looks like that.”]]>
South Korean military authorities revealed that a North Korean patrol boat crossed south of the Northern Limit Line – the de facto maritime border between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea – near the South Korean island of Socheong-do at around 6:55 a.m. Monday, Korean time.
The South Korean navy responded to the violation with multiple warnings before firing five rounds from a 76mm naval gun as warning shots. The North Korean patrol boat spent about 20 minutes south of the NLL before returning North Korean territorial waters at 7:15 a.m.
The South Korean military has increased surveillance and readiness in the region to respond to any potential provocations by North Korea, South Korean military authorities revealed.
Violations of the NLL sometimes occur intentionally, other times by accident. Fishing boats sometimes cross the NLL as do naval vessels. The North Korean military may cross the NLL to test South Korea’s responsiveness, raise tensions or both.
Monday’s crossing of the NLL occurred less than 24 hours after North Korea launched the Kwangmyongsong-4 earth observation satellite into orbit, an act which South Korea considers a provocation and views as a disguised test of ballistic missile technology.
Featured image: North Korean T-class patrol boat, Wikimedia Commons]]>
But despite the majority of China’s oil exports to North Korea disappearing from the trade figures, there have been no reports of fuel shortages or price hikes within the country, with some sources indicating increasing levels of fuel consumption in the DPRK.
The news also comes as China’s oil exports found themselves in the public spotlight.
Following North Korea’s January nuclear test, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed for stronger sanctions on the DPRK. The U.S. proposal included calling for Beijing’s backing in curtailing oil supplies to North Korea, which if China’s customs agencies are to be believed, have already dropped by 60 percent since 2013.
If Chinese crude oil exports really have stopped, how is North Korea obtaining a supply of the commodity?
Login to NK Pro to read the full story
Featured image: Green Oil by XcBiker (Flickr)]]>
“Whether you call it a satellite launch, this is the clear preparation for the long-range missile itself and it is a clear violation of the past Security Council resolutions,” Japanese Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa told reporters after the meeting.
Council Resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2008) prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missile technology.
“This is clearly a direct threat to the security of Japan along with the Republic of Korea and also (countries) like the Philippines, whose so-called drop zone is in the vicinity,” he said, flanked by the ambassadors of the U.S. and South Korea. “We also know that this is the area where there is a very dense maritime and air transportation which had also been disrupted.”
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said President Barack Obama had been on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying that the two men “agreed on the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea’s illegal actions, including through an impactful UN Security Council resolution.”
The Council’s Press Statement on Sunday said that in light of “the gravity of this most recent violation, the members of the Security Council will adopt expeditiously a new Security Council resolution with such measures in response to this dangerous and serious violation.”
As French Ambassador Francois Delattre was saying much the same thing on the stairs leading to the Security Council chamber, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi squeezed past him and the media. Responding to questions shouted in his direction, Liu said, “We are greatly concerned, we are working with the council.”
But after the meeting ended, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin indicated that his country has yet to see any draft of a resolution.
Image: Matthew Russell Lee]]>
Japan’s Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Sunday that North Korea’s rocket launch is “unacceptable” in that the provocation threatens Japan’s and international society’s peace and security.
The statement from the cabinet also points out that North Korea violated UN Security Council Resolution 2094, Japan and North Korea’s joint declaration from their 2002 summit and the original intent of the Six-Party Talks.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also ordered that his government cooperate with the U.S., South Korea, China and Russia in responding to it. Abe also called for firm action to press North Korea.
Japan in summer 2014 eased economic sanctions against North Korea in consultations held in Stockholm, but an expert said Japan would likely return to its original North Korea measures prior to 2014.
“As of now, Japan is likely to pressure North Korea with its original measures,” Cho Se-young, director of Dongseo University’s Japan Center told NK News, adding that restrictions on travel and money transfers would be restored.
How Japan deals with third countries to economically pressure the North is another matter. One Japanese government official cast doubt on Japan taking the risk of a “secondary boycott” against North Korea. Unlike the U.S., which has previously moved to cut off North Korea’s access to funds by freezing Banco Delta Asia, “Japan cannot exercise such influence.”
“In the case of the U.S., the government had a restriction on a third country to trade or do business with Iran. But in the case of Japan it is different. If Japan takes such an action, it will involve the Chinese market or banks,” an official speaking on condition of anonymity told NK News.
“It’s not going to be plan A for the Japanese government since Japan-China relations have recently recovered.”
Japan-China relations have improved since last year, allowing for further cooperation in a range of fields.
In terms of trade, China is Japan’s second-largest market for exports. According to the Japanese Foreign Trade Council’s report, trade with China amounted to 13.4 trillion yen (about $115 billion) as of 2014, the highest amount ever.
Japan’s public opinion is another factor making Japan hesitate to damage the relations with China. Genron NPO’s analysis reads that 74.7 percent of Japanese responded as “China is an important neighboring country” or that “cooperation with China is crucial for peace in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The official said Japan would not act against its economic advantages and national opinion.
“The Japanese government has no reason to take such an extreme risk if the public doesn’t want it,” the official said.
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons]]>
The U.S. has sought to convince South Korea to deploy THAAD – short for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense – a sophisticated missile defense system, for years to counteract North Korea’s weapons proliferation. South Korea has thus far weighed the U.S.’s wishes against those of China and Russia, who view THAAD deployment in a neighboring country as a threat.
The announcement did not confirm that South Korea would adopt THAAD, or announce a specific date for the talks, but at a joint press conference the allies announced that official discussions on possible deployment would begin in light of the North’s “advancing threats.”
The satellite launch – which is considered a test of equipment that would be used in a long-range missile launch and is prohibited under UN resolutions – follows North Korea’s fourth nuclear test one month ago. To date, China and the U.S. have failed to reach an agreement on new sanctions at the UN level.
In this light, observers suggested that China’s objections to the THAAD deployment may no longer work.
“While it is obvious China will oppose the deployment, as North Korea has tested its nuclear weapon and launched the rocket, South Koreans’ calls for self-defense capability will get louder,” said Lee Jung-nam of the Asiatic Research Institute at Korea University.
“It is threatening move to China, as the country has been pouring lots of efforts to turn South Korea more pro-China, and distance itself from the U.S. … (so) deployment of THAAD will be seen as an action that brings back the strong old ROK-U.S. alliance, making Chinese leader Xi (Jinping)’s effort into nothing.”
“If South Korean government really decides to deploy THAAD, China will of course oppose it,” said Jeong Jae-heung of the Sejong Institute.
“But I don’t think, at this moment, China would first speak out against THAAD deployment, but wait and see to mediate how the country should react to the ROK-U.S. (decision).”
South Korea’s opposition Minjoo Party, however, did not speak in support of the meeting, and questioned the timing of the announcement.
In addition to THAAD talks, Seoul has also announced that it is expanding the use of propaganda broadcasts at the DMZ, extending their hours and possibly adding more speakers.
JH Ahn contributed to this report.]]>