Korea DPR hostilities appear designed to gain leverage

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The recent series of provocative moves by North Korea appear to be aimed at raising pressure on the South to settle bilateral security issues including the issue of anti-Pyongyang leaflets in its own favor, analysts said Monday.

From violating the Northern Limit Line, a de facto sea border, to shooting at balloons filled with anti-North Korea leaflets and launched by South Korean civic groups, the North’s aggressive military responses in recent weeks have sharply raised tensions on the peninsula.

“What is worrisome is that the North is pushing for (the resolution of) its own security agenda in a very aggressive manner, while calling for an end to the South-U.S. military drills and reducing tensions in its own terms,” said Chang Yong-seok, an analyst at the Institute of Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University.

“Based on its pride and belief that with nuclear arms and missiles it is militarily superior to the South, the North appears to be dangerously seeking to take the lead in inter-Korean relations to its own benefit,” he added, warning that the North’s saber-rattling could escalate into a low-intensity conflict.

On Oct. 7, the North violated the NLL in the West Sea, leading to an exchange of fire between the two navies. Three days later, the two Koreas traded fire again near the inter-Korean land border after the North fired shots at balloons carrying anti-North Korea leaflets.

North Korea’s media reported Sunday that its leader Kim Jong-un inspected an air base. (Yonhap)

Further escalating tensions, North Korean troops approached the Military Demarcation Line, a line separating the two Koreas within the Demilitarized Zone, last Saturday and Sunday, despite warning shots from the South Korean side.

The provocative moves came as the South is hoping to hold a second round of high-level talks with the North. The South proposed holding the talks, which have been stalled since February due to strained relations, in the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom on Oct. 30, but the North has yet to respond.

Some observers assumed that the North’s recent actions might be intended to show its displeasure over Seoul’s stepped-up pressure on it to improve its human rights record and give up nuclear arms. President Park Geun-hye has repeatedly raised the two issues during overseas trips including last week at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Italy.

Seoul’s Defense Ministry said that North Korean troops’ recent approaches to the MDL might be part of routine checks of the border areas or could be a premeditated move to raise tensions to aggressively push for the resolution of pending security issues.

“What is different from the past North Korean responses to our warning shots is that in the past, the North retreated when we fired warning shots near the MDL, but recently, the North began firing back,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok told reporters during a regular press briefing.

“This could be part of the North’s preparations to aggressively respond when the South launches counterstrikes.”

Kim urged the North to stop raising tensions and to refrain from any additional “reckless” provocations, stressing that those moves contravened the Armistice Agreement.

Amid rising tensions, Seoul has expressed its desire for the resumption of high-level talks. On Sunday, the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said that the talks would be held as agreed by the two sides.

Observers say that for the Park administration, this year is crucial to push for a turnaround to break the inter-Korean impasse as its policy drive could lose traction in the latter part of Park’s five-year term, which began in February 2013.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)

Source : The Korea Herald

Korea DPR believed to have acquired new type of submarine: U.S. think tank

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North Korea is believed to have acquired a new type of submarine, a U.S. think tank said Sunday, citing an analysis of years of satellite imagery of the communist nation’s submarine bases and shipyards.

The new submarine was moored in the secured boat basin at the Sinpo South Shipyard on the North’s northeast coast, according to a review of satellite imagery from 2010 until the present, according to the 38 North website run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

“The newly identified submarine has a length of approximately 67 meters and a beam of 6.6 meters, possesses a rounded bow, a conning tower located amidships, and no visible diving planes,” it said. “These dimensions suggest a dived displacement in the 900-1,500 ton range.”

The shipyard is the primary manufacturing facility for the North‘s submarines and the headquarters of the Maritime Research Institute of the Academy of the National Defense Science, which is responsible for research and development of naval vessels and submarines, and naval-related armaments and missiles, it said.

The origins of the submarine are unclear, it said.

“While the boat bears a superficial resemblance to the Russian kilo or lada class patrol submarines, it lacks the teardrop hull-shape of the former and the conning tower mounted diving planes of the later,” the think tank said.

But the new submarine also closely resembles in size and shape the former Yugoslavian sava and heroj class submarines, it said.

“A Yugoslavian origin for the design would not be unusual since the North Koreans acquired a number of submarine designs from that nation during the 1970s and used them as the basis for several experimental designs as well as the yugo class of midget submarines,” it said.

(Yonhap)

Source : The Korea Herald

Korea-Australia free trade pact hangs in the balance

 

South Korea’s legislature is likely to pass the Korea-Australia free trade agreement in the coming months, Seoul officials said Monday, although multiple political and legislative factors could delay its final ratification to sometime next year.

“It appears the deal will be passed sooner or later as the agreement is not causing as much social friction as the free trade accord with the U.S.,” a parliamentary official in Seoul said.

A busy schedule at Seoul’s National Assembly, however, may push the agreement’s final approval to 2015.

Multiple Assembly sources have said that lawmakers will have their hands full until Dec. 2, suggesting ratification of KAFTA would likely take place sometime after that date. KAFTA requires endorsement by both legislatures in Canberra and Seoul to take effect. Australia has finished major parts of its approval process while South Korea has kept the agreement pending in the Assembly since Sept. 16.

Until Oct. 27, Seoul legislators will be preoccupied with annual parliamentary audits of the government. Once the audits end, floor leaders of the main parties must agree to the schedules of each parliamentary committee, a process that could end in a few days, although an unforeseen political issue could hijack the agreement to a later date.

Once the meeting schedules are set, lawmakers will finally begin reviewing over 7,000 draft bills that have been in the backlog since May due to the recent partisan deadlock over the special Sewol bill.

After that, legislators are expected to be busy reviewing the 2015 government budget. The budget must be forwarded to a plenary session by Dec. 2, in accordance with a 2012 amendment to the National Assembly Act.

“This means KAFTA could be endorsed in 2015,” an official at the National Assembly Research Service said.

Governing Saenuri Party Rep. Yoo Ki-june, chair of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, told The Korea Herald earlier this month that KAFTA’s ratification appeared unlikely in 2014. Yoo wasn’t available for comment as he is out of the country until Tuesday.

The outlook is worrying many industry officials eager to have the trade agreement take effect this year. Tariff cuts resulting from the agreement begin once the treaty comes into force, with another cut beginning on Jan. 1 2015 if the free trade deal takes effect this year. Officials of Australia’s beef industry, South Korea’s automobile industry, and steelmaker POSCO are rumored to be keen on this timetable.

Another obstacle that could push the pact’s final clearance into 2015 is the possible opposition by South Korean beef producers, officials said.

A farmers’ association has vowed to stage a protest rally in Seoul’s parliament on Thursday against the FTA.

“If beef producers here in Korea are unsatisfied with the trade deal, it could prolong KAFTA’s ratification as lawmakers won’t be able to ignore their claims,” an opposition member said earlier Monday.

The opposition official suspected that the lower-than-expected compensation by the government to beef and agricultural producers following previous free trade deals has heightened farmers’ wariness toward international agreements.

By Jeong Hunny (hj257@heraldcorp.com)

 

Source : The Korea Herald

Korea Republic expects high-level talks with Korea DPR this month

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SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) — South Korea still hopes for the resumption of high-level talks with North Korea late this month despite sharp military tensions and Pyongyang’s reticence about Seoul’s dialogue offer, an official here said Monday.

The North has not responded to the South’s proposal that another round of vice ministerial talks be held on Oct. 30, according to unification ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol.

“Our government expects the second South-North high-level contact to be held on Oct. 30 as we suggested on Oct. 13,” he said at a press briefing.

He pointed out that the two sides have already agreed to hold the meeting between late October and early November.

Lim’s comments reflect the Park Geun-hye administration’s resolve to press ahead with dialogue with the communist neighbor in spite of its continued provocative acts.

The North’s troops repeatedly approached the border over the weekend, triggering warning shots from the South and exchanges of gunfire.

Pyongyang also threatened to break the deal to hold high-level talks, taking issue with the South’s attitude in their rare military talks last week.

Another unification ministry official said there needs to be a response from the North within this week in order to open the talks on Oct. 30, given the time for preparations.

“We do not rule out the possibility that the North will continue its silence for the time being,” he said.

Experts said the North is apparently seeking to gain the upper hand in its tumultuous ties with the South by ratcheting up pressure on its neighbor.

South Korea wants to focus first on the family reunion issue but North Korea is more interested in re-drawing the Yellow Sea border and stopping the spread of leaflets critical of its leaders and political system.

“It would be difficult to open the second round of high-level contact if the South Korean government maintains its current stance,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Seoul’s Dongguk University.

He said inter-Korean relations are at a critical juncture.

“If the South and the North lose this opportunity for dialogue, it would be hard to create another dialogue phase,” he said.

The unification ministry, meanwhile, reaffirmed that it would not take any forcible measure to block activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

A group of conservative activists here said it will fly balloons carrying 100,000 leaflets from Imjingak, a park in Paju just south of the border, on Saturday.

“We are instead asking civilian groups to act carefully and wisely in consideration of the safety and security of the people as North Korea’s threats grow,” the ministry spokesman said.

The government will deploy police to Imjingak, if necessary, in case of clashes between activists and local residents, he said.

The North’s state-controlled media has continued to condemn the South for doing nothing to block the leaflets.

“Any smear campaign against the other side is the root cause of the chill in the atmosphere for dialogue and improved relations,” said the Rodong Simmun, an organ of the Workers’ Party of Korea. “Explicitly speaking once again, if the north and the south are to have dialogue and improve relations, it is necessary to remove hurdles lying in the way of them doing so, first of all.”

lcd@yna.co.kr

leechidong@gmail.com

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Source : Yonhap

Ceará Sporting Club não sabe jogar na defensiva

03635-1227507792199176Contra Ponte Preta e Joinville, Sérgio Soares mudou o esquema para ter mais um volante, mas viu seu time falhar

O Ceará do técnico Sérgio Soares tem um DNA ofensivo. São raras as oportunidades em que o treinador abre mão de uma proposta de jogo, com apenas um volante de ofício, João Marcos, e três meias – entre eles um recuado Ricardinho – que auxiliam na marcação e recomposição do sistema defensivo.

Só que recentemente, em dois confrontos fora de casa pela Série B, ante a Ponte Preta, e no último sábado, contra o Joinville, o treinador escalou uma equipe mais fechada, com mais um volante de ofício – Amaral contra os paulistas e Michel diante dos catarinenses – com o intuito de se proteger ainda mais diante dos adversários diretos pelo acesso, mas a estratégia não vingou.

Nos dois jogos, o Vovô foi amplamente dominado e saiu atrás no placar ainda no primeiro tempo, retornando a proposta ofensiva para buscar o empate, porém, acabou sofrendo mais gols.

Contra a Ponte, o início de jogo foi um pouco melhor, mas com 20 minutos, Adrianinho fez 1 a 0, e sete minutos depois, a equipe de Campinas marcou o segundo gol, já sem o volante Amaral, substituído pelo meia Nikão. A partida acabou 3 a 1 para o atual líder da Série B.

Ante o Coelho catarinense, no último sábado, Sérgio Soares escalou o volante Michel no lugar de um dos meias, mas sofreu o gol logo com um minuto de jogo.

Ao sofrer o segundo com 25 minutos, o treinador voltou ao seu esquema preferido, sacando o volante João Marcos e lançando o meia Eduardo.

Mas a equipe não reagiu, e acabou sofrendo o terceiro gol na etapa complementar.

O técnico alvinegro lamentou mais uma vez, que a estratégia de jogo tenha ido por água abaixo por um gol sofrido.

“Tínhamos uma estratégia de jogo, com o Michel mantido no setor de marcação e o Lulinha, um jogador mais agudo, mudando um pouco daquilo que estamos acostumados a fazer. Era uma formação boa. Mas quando se toma um gol, com um minuto, muda tudo. Não tem como não mudar”, defendeu ele.

O comandante do Vovô não quis comparar as nuances das duas partidas, contra a Ponte e Joinville, porém ressaltou os erros de sua equipe em ambas.

“Contra o Joinville foi algo diferente. O gol sofrido foi com um minuto. Contra a Ponte, até tomarmos o gol com 20 minutos, o jogo estava equilibrado. Mas a partir do momento em que se toma os gols, o adversário fica superior e faz o resultado em cima de lances de erros nossos”.

 

Diário do Nordeste – Jogada – 20/10/2014

Unified Korea’s per capita income would exceed US$70,000 in 2050: professor

SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) — The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of a unified Korea could reach US$70,000 in 2050, marking the second-highest level among the Group of 20 (G20) major economies, a professor said Monday.

The forecast comes as South Korea has been pushing to lay the groundwork for unification under the current administration of President Park Geun-hye. Park has said unification would be a “bonanza” for both Koreas and a blessing for neighboring countries as it would open up new opportunities through the marriage of South Korea’s capital and technology with the North’s rich natural resources.

Pyongyang has long suspected that Seoul could be plotting to absorb the communist nation.

In a report for a seminar hosted by the presidential preparatory committee for unification, Kim Byung-yeon, a committee member and professor of Seoul National University, estimated that a unified Korea would have a GDP per capita of $73,747 and grow at an annual rate of 4.51 percent by 2050.

The GDP figure would be the second-highest among the G20 member nations, after the United States.

Kim stressed that North Korea’s transition to a market economy would be crucial to the economic growth of a unified Korea, saying that the total GDP after 10 years would be 45 percent less after a chaotic unification than after a peaceful unification.

hague@yna.co.kr

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Source : The Korea Herald