Kim Jong-un attends power plant dedication ceremony

N.K. leader attends power plant dedication ceremony

Fireworks explode in the night sky as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the North’s senior officials attend a ceremony to celebrate the dedication of a hydroelectric power plant on Mount Paektu in Paekam, the North’s Yangang Province bordering China, on Oct. 3, 2015, in this photo provided the next day by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency. The station, which started being built in 2002, was named the Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station. (Yonhap) (END)

 

Yonhap News

Seoul hopes top Chinese official’s visit to Pyongyang will help ease tension

https://i0.wp.com/securityaffairs.co/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/south-korea-north-korea-e1324282550184.jpg

The Unification Ministry voiced hope Monday that a planned visit by a ranking Chinese official to North Korea this week could help ease tension on the Korean Peninsula as the North threatens to conduct a missile or nuclear test.

North Korea said Sunday that a Chinese delegation to be led by Liu Yunshan, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, will attend the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which falls this Saturday.

“The government hopes that this round of exchanges between China and North Korea will contribute to easing heightened tension on the peninsula and maintaining stability,” Jeong Joon-hee, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

He also expressed hope that the move could help make progress toward efforts to denuclearize North Korea, and bring peace and stability to Northeast Asia.

It will mark the first time that a Chinese member of the standing committee of the communist party will visit Pyongyang under the regime of the North’s leader Kim Jong-un.

“Exchanges of high-level officials between North Korea and China are meaningful,” Jeong said without elaborating.

Relations between China and North Korea have been sharply strained since the North’s nuclear test in early 2013.

The hard-won conciliatory mood on the peninsula recently flared up amid speculation that North Korea would launch a long-range rocket or conduct a fourth nuclear test around its anniversary.

The North said it has the right to launch satellites for peaceful purposes, but South Korea and the United States viewed it as a cover for a ballistic missile test.

China, the North’s only treaty ally, has also expressed its opposition to North Korea’s possible provocations.

President Park Geun-hye and her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, jointly “voiced opposition to any act that could escalate tensions” at a summit in early September. (Yonhap)

 

The Korea Herald

Pyongyang to repatriate S. Korean NYU student

North Korea will repatriate a 21-year-old South Korean student who has been detained there since April, the Unification Ministry said Monday, in what could be a conciliatory gesture by the North to South Korea.

North Korea will repatriate a 21-year-old South Korean student who has been detained there since April, the Unification Ministry said Monday, in what could be a conciliatory gesture by the North to South Korea.

Joo Won-moon from New York University. (Yonhap)

The communist  nation will repatriate Joo Won-moon, a New York University student alleged to have attempted to illegally cross the border from China, through the truce village of Panmunjom at 5:30 p.m. today, according to a ministry official. The North informed the South of the plan via fax.

“It’s a relief that North Korea has decided to repatriate our national, Joo,” the official noted, adding that the North should also send back home three other South Koreans now held in the country.

The move comes as North Korea has ratcheted up its missile and nuclear threats, raising tension on the Korean Peninsula following the hard-won conciliatory mood over long-strained inter-Korean ties.

South and North Korea reached a landmark deal on Aug. 25 to defuse military tension and resume the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

But the North has vowed to launch a long-range rocket or hinted at conducting a fourth nuclear test as it is preparing for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, which falls on this Saturday.

In an interview with U.S. news cable network CNN in May, Joo admitted that he had intentionally entered the North on the belief that his arrest could have a good effect on inter-Korean relations.

With the repatriation of Joo, the North is holding three South Koreans — missionary Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil.

The North has held the 52-year-old Kim Jung-wook in captivity since October 2013, calling him a spy for South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, who sneaked into the country with the purpose of inciting dissent. He was sentenced to hard labor for life in May 2014.

In June, the North handed down the same sentence to the other two South Koreans for spying for the South’s intelligence agency. (Yonhap) from New York University. (Yonhap)

The communist  nation will repatriate Joo Won-moon, a New York University student alleged to have attempted to illegally cross the border from China, through the truce village of Panmunjom at 5:30 p.m. today, according to a ministry official. The North informed the South of the plan via fax.

“It’s a relief that North Korea has decided to repatriate our national, Joo,” the official noted, adding that the North should also send back home three other South Koreans now held in the country.

The move comes as North Korea has ratcheted up its missile and nuclear threats, raising tension on the Korean Peninsula following the hard-won conciliatory mood over long-strained inter-Korean ties.

South and North Korea reached a landmark deal on Aug. 25 to defuse military tension and resume the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

But the North has vowed to launch a long-range rocket or hinted at conducting a fourth nuclear test as it is preparing for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, which falls on this Saturday.

In an interview with U.S. news cable network CNN in May, Joo admitted that he had intentionally entered the North on the belief that his arrest could have a good effect on inter-Korean relations.

With the repatriation of Joo, the North is holding three South Koreans — missionary Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil.

The North has held the 52-year-old Kim Jung-wook in captivity since October 2013, calling him a spy for South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, who sneaked into the country with the purpose of inciting dissent. He was sentenced to hard labor for life in May 2014.

In June, the North handed down the same sentence to the other two South Koreans for spying for the South’s intelligence agency. (Yonhap)

 

The Korea Herald

North Korean rocket or nuclear test around October 10 anniversary impossible: 38 North

https://i0.wp.com/www.v3.co.uk/IMG/789/254789/north-korea-flag.jpg

 

Recent satellite imagery shows no signs of North Korea making rocket or nuclear test preparations, rendering it impossible for such a test to happen on or before a key national holiday this week, a U.S. research institute said Monday.

Concerns have persisted that the North could conduct such tests around the 70th anniversary on Oct. 10 of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions after Pyongyang strongly hinted at such possibilities.

But commercial satellite imagery, taken as recently as Sept.

27, shows that there is no such preparation going on at the North’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station or the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, making it impossible for such tests to take place this week, said Joel Wit, editor of the website 38 North.

“I think the bottom line here is that all these reports about possible long-range rocket or nuclear tests on or before Oct. 10th are just all wrong, all speculation. No evidence to support it whatsoever,” Wit said at a press briefing.

“I would even go as far to say that the North Koreans are probably having a lot of fun with their periodic interviews, talking about how it’s their right to launch a space-launch vehicle and explore space and everyone runs off and writes a story about it as if it’s going to happen tomorrow and it isn’t,” he said.

Wit said, however, that it’s important to note that the North has been constructing new buildings at its rocket engine test site, possibly to test larger engines that could be used in larger rockets.

“It’s very clear that these buildings are for fuel and oxidizer and they are much larger than the buildings that were at this facility before. What does that mean? It means that the North Koreans are getting ready to test much larger rocket engines than they have tested in the past.

“What does that mean? It means much larger rocket engines mean larger rockets. It may be ones with longer ranges. It’s very clear,” he said.

Wit said, however, that it would take time for the North to test-fire a rocket with a larger engine. If Pyongyang conducts a new long-range rocket launch in the not-too-distant future, it would likely involve the existing Unha-3 rocket, he said.

North Korea says its rocket launches are aimed at putting satellites into orbit, claiming it has the right to peaceful use of space. But Pyongyang is banned from such launches under U.N. Security Council resolutions as it has been accused of using them as a cover for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Experts say long-range rockets and ICBMs are basically the same with differences only in payloads. (Yonhap)

 

The Korea Herald