DPR Korea raring to go

DPR arrival

Abu Dhabi: DPR Korea are the latest team to have arrived for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, with Kim Yong-jun’s squad touching down in Dubai on Monday.

DPR Korea are paired with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Lebanon in Group E and will be looking to leave their mark in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, after exiting the group stage in 2015.

Chollima’s best performance in the Continental showpiece came in 1980 where they finished fourth and Yong-jun’s charges are raring to go.


Source : Asian Football Confederation Website

DPR Korea ready to conduct nuclear test: military

Flag of North Korea.svg

North Korea appears to have completed preparation for another nuclear test and is ready to carry it out, South Korea’s military said Friday, as the United Nations adopted a statement condemning Pyongyang’s latest military provocations.

“Our assessment is that North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test if they get the go ahead from Kim Jong-un,” said an official from Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff in a meeting with reporters. “We believe they have been preparing for a long period of time.”

Fox News and AFP reported Thursday that the North would conduct a sixth nuclear test within the coming days, citing US officials with knowledge of the matter. The officials said they have seen evidence of imminent nuclear tests, such as the digging of new tunnels around the Punggye-ri test site.

North Korea test-fires a ballistic missile in this undated file photo.

(For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (KCNA-Yonhap)

Although Pyongyang is ready to conduct the nuclear test “at any time,” Seoul’s military has yet to find indications that the North emplaced nuclear devices and monitoring equipment at the Punggye-ri test site, where the North conducted all of its five nuclear tests during the past decade, the JCS official added.

The military assessment coincided with unanimous adoption of the UN Security Council’s press statement against the North, which denounced the regime for conducting a failed missile test Wednesday and a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine last Sunday.

“The members of the council expressed serious concern over the DPRK’s increasingly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council,” the UN said in a press statement, referring to North Korea’s official name.

South Korea and the US held an after-action review of Key Resolve on Friday, bringing an end to the computer-based command post military drill. The allies applied the OPLAN 5015, which focuses on staging a pre-emptive strike against the North’s weapons of mass destruction, such as nukes and missiles.

During the two-week military drills, the allies’ forces reportedly employed an operational guideline to use an US advanced missile shield, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. It was said to be used for intercepting incoming ballistic missiles during the initial phase of a war.

Separately, the allies will stage massive logistics drills near Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, between April 10 and 21 as a part of field-training Foal Eagle exercise, said an official from the US-led Combined Forces Command in Seoul.

“The exercise is aimed to improve (and) integrate the allies’ logistics capability in various domains such as air, ground, sea, space and cyberspace,” said the official. “The exercise will involve 2,500 US soldiers and 1,200 from South Korea.”

Scheduled to continue until the end of next month, the Foal Eagle exercise is expected to be the largest-ever in scale, with the participation of top-notch US strategic assets including a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, stealth fighters and a nuclear bomber.

By Yeo Jun-suk (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)

Source : The Korea Herald

DPR Korea says it will hold national census in 2018

Flag of North Korea.svg

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) — North Korea said Friday it plans to hold a national census next year for the first time in 10 years.

“The DPRK will take the census of its population in 2018 in close cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report monitored here.

DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The KCNA said the North has so far taken two censuses in 1993 and 2008.

“To this end, an experimental survey will be made across the country to acquire experience this year and due measures taken for the successful conduct of census in 2018,” it said.

North Korea, one of the world’s most reclusive nations, is currently said to have a population of around 25 million, roughly half of the 51 million in South Korea.



Source : Yonhap News Agency

DPR Korea appears all set for nuke test: officials

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) — North Korea seems to have finished preparing for another nuclear test, waiting for leader Kim Jong-un’s final decision, South Korean defense officials warned Friday.

“It’s assessed that North Korea is capable of conducting a nuclear test within hours after Kim Jong-un’s order,” an official said on the condition of anonymity. “We are keeping close tabs on its nuclear-related facilities with combined assets with the U.S.”

The warning came in response to foreign news reports that a nuclear provocation, which would be North Korea’s sixth, appears imminent.

Quoting U.S. officials with the “most recent intelligence” from the peninsula, Fox News said the reclusive nation is in the final stages of gearing up for the test.

“The test could come as early as the end of the month,” one official was cited as saying.

An image of North Korea's nuclear program in a photo provided by Yonhap News TV. (Yonhap)

An image of North Korea’s nuclear program in a photo provided by Yonhap News TV. (Yonhap)

U.S. officials, Fox added, have detected evidence that North Korea has finished digging new tunnels around its nuclear site in Punggye-ri. But there have been no indications yet of busy activity of vehicles and equipment there.

The South Korean military official also said no unusual signs have been detected yet in the vicinity of the area where the North has carried out five nuclear tests, including two, last year.

Speaking at a National Assembly session last week, South Korea’s defense minister said the North seems all set to explode a nuclear bomb for a test at any time.



Source : Yonhap News Agency

United States says ‘strategic patience’ on DPR Korea is over

Tillerson says military option is on the table, calls China’s THAAD retaliation ‘inappropriate, troubling’

With Washington taking a North Korea policy overhaul, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday declared that the existing “strategic patience” approach is over, saying all options including military action are on the table.

At a joint news conference with Seoul’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Tillerson also urged China to cease its economic retaliation against South Korea over its plan to host a US missile shield here, calling it “unnecessary, inappropriate and troubling.”

“Efforts for North Korea to achieve a peaceful stability for the last two decades have failed to make us safe,” the secretary said.

A North Korean soldier (right) takes a snapshot from outside the window while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (center) listens to USFK Commander Gen. Vincent K. Brooks during his visit to Panmunjeom, the truce village on the inter-Korean border, Friday. (Yonhap)

“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, economic measures. All options are on the table.”

His remarks represent the Donald Trump administration’s strongest signal yet that it would take a much tougher stance than its predecessors including Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” policy.

“Certainly we do not want for things to get to a military conflict, we’re quite clear on that in our communications, but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response,” he said.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table.”

Tillerson has said his maiden Asia tour, which also took him to Tokyo and includes a stop in Beijing from Saturday, is aimed at exchanging views on a “new approach” toward Pyongyang.

Stressing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system’s raison d’etre, he called for China to refrain from taking retaliation against Seoul and join in addressing the threat that “makes THAAD necessary.”

“We also believe it is not the way for a regional power to help resolve what is a serious threat for everyone. So we hope China will alter its position on punishing South Korea,” Tillerson said.

“We hope they will work with us to eliminate the reason THAAD is required.”

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (right) and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hold a joint press conference following their talks at the South Korean Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

Upon his landing at the Osan Air Base earlier in the day, the former Exxon Mobil chief executive took a tour around the Demilitarized Zone near the inter-Korean border and had lunch with soldiers guarding the Joint Security Area. Then he paid a visit to acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn before meeting with Yun.

But Tillerson’s comments may signal a future possible friction with the next leadership of South Korea, which faces a presidential election on May 9.

Many leading contenders including frontrunner Moon Jae-in previously served in the liberal administrations that traditionally favor engagement with North Korea instead of sanctions and pressure, not to mention military measures. They also have shown a reserved stance toward THAAD, while pledging to upend or renegotiate a December 2015 deal between South Korea and Japan on wartime sex slavery, for which Tillerson expressed support in Tokyo on Thursday.

The secretary raised expectations for a “productive relationship” with the next government here, saying he hopes it will “continue to be supportive” of the THAAD deployment plan.

Yun, for his part, echoed the need for a military step against the communist neighbor, saying its threats are “unprecedented, imminent” and require “far more effective and various countermeasures.”

At a separate session with Hwang, Tillerson reaffirmed the “ironclad” alliance that serves as a “linchpin for security and stability” in response to the growing North Korean threats.

The prime minister displayed gratitude for his visit despite “domestic difficulties associated with the leadership transition,” endorsing Trump’s remarks during their earlier phone call that the allies are “100 percent together” on North Korea and other regional and global issues.

Meanwhile, Tillerson’s shortened diplomatic consultations and public events in Seoul spawned a flurry of speculation given a leadership vacuum and political uncertainties.

A joint news conference aside, Tillerson spent almost 2 1/2 hours with Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida including a dinner, and another hour with Prime Minister Abe. But his meetings with Yun and Hwang were each confined to about an hour, without a lunch or dinner gathering. Seoul officials said the US side opted not to have a meal together, citing the secretary’s “fatigue.”

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)

Source : Korea Herald

DPR Korea threatens ‘physical action’ against THAAD deployment

N. Korea threatens 'physical action' against THAAD deployment

In this photo taken from an observatory in the South Korean border city of Paju on July 10, 2016, North Korean residents are at work on a field in Kaepung on the North’s western front-line. North Korea on July 11, 2016, warned it will take “physical action” against South Korea and the United States over the allies’ decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. North Korea’s military said it will strike the moment the two countries decide on where to place the system in South Korea, according to the Korean Central News Agency. (Yonhap) (END)


Source : Yonhap News Agency

DPR Korea says two Koryo royal tombs discovered

N. Korea says two Koryo royal tombs discovered

The North’s Korean Central News Agency released this photo on June 28, 2016, claiming two royal tombs dated to the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) were recently discovered in the country. The tombs were found in the border city of Kaesong, and the architectural style suggests they belong to the 9th and 10th kings of the dynasty, the report said. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap) (END)


Source : Yonhap News Agency

DPR Korea and Korea Republic reach deal on land use fee at Gaeseong complex

South and North Korea have reached an agreement on the land use fee amount for South Korean firms operating a joint industrial park across the border, the Unification Ministry announced Thursday.

The deal calls for South Korean firms at Gaeseong Industrial Complex to pay $0.64 per square meter every year, it said.

The complex in the North’s border city of Gaeseong opened in 2004 as a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation. A total of 124 South Korean firms are running factories with about 54,000 North Koreans working in them.

Kaesong has served as a major revenue source for the cash-strapped North, while South Korea has benefited from cheap but skilled North Korean labor.

The South’s firms were exempted from land use fees for a decade under a 2004 deal. The two sides launched talks over the issue again in late 2014.

“The government hopes that the agreement will help South Korean firms focus on their businesses in a stable manner,” said a ministry official, asking not to be named.

The North initially claimed that the South should pay $1 per square meter for all areas that were supposed to be developed under the 2004 agreement, according to an industry source.

But Seoul insisted that it will pay only around half of the North’s offered price for the land that the South’s firms are actually using. They are currently using about 25 percent of the 1 million square meter land.

“The government hopes that the two Koreas could resolve other pending issues related to the operation of the factory zone through dialogue,” the official added.

The operation of the complex has been affected by the ups and downs of inter-Korean ties. In April 2013, the North abruptly suspended the operation of the complex for about five months, citing inter-Korean tensions.

Ending a months-long wage dispute, the two sides agreed in August to raise the minimum wage for the North’s workers by 5 percent to $73.87 per month. (Yonhap)

Source : The Korea Herald

DPR Korea ruling party to hold 1st congress in 36 years in 2016

Flag of North Korea.svg

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s ruling party plans to convene the congress for the first time in more than three decades in early May, Pyongyang’s state media said Friday, in what could be the latest move to strengthen leader Kim Jong-un’s grip on power.

The political bureau of the central committee of Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) has decided to hold the seventh congress of the party in May, the Korean Central News Agency said, without providing a specific date or agenda.

It marks the first party congress since October 1980, as well as the first since Kim took power in late 2011.

“We are faced with the heavy yet sacred task to bring about a great upswing in the building of a thriving socialist nation,” the party’s political bureau said, according to the KCNA.

A South Korean official said on condition of anonymity the North’s move seems to be aimed at assessing its accomplishments and to set a line of policy.

“The government is closely watching the North’s decision. North Korea seemed to make such a decision by taking into account its internal affairs and foreign relations,” ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said in a regular press briefing.

Former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the late father of the current leader, advocated a military-first, or “songun,” policy by operating the National Defense Commission as the main decision-making body.

But the young leader has shifted his focus to the party since inheriting power in 2011 following the sudden death of his father.

Kim is pursuing a dual policy of developing nuclear weapons and boosting the country’s ailing economy, a policy South Korea and the U.S. have warned is a dead end for the country.

The North conducted a massive military parade on Oct. 10 to mark the party’s 70th anniversary. Kim delivered a rare public speech ahead of the parade where the North Korean leader showed his care for people.

Experts said that the move could herald the full-fledged start of Kim’s era amid prospects that the North’s leader is likely to unveil his new polices or conduct a major reshuffle, based on his consolidated power.

“Kim is expected to push for an overhaul for the party’s leadership and personnel reshuffle at next year’s congress,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute. “His grip on power will likely be strengthened further.”

The first party congress was held in August 1946 under the regime of Kim Il-sung, the North’s late founder and the current leader’s grandfather.

North Korea used the WPK’s congress as a chance to announce new policy lines, including the five-year plan for economic development in 1956. At the sixth congress in 1980, Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, was confirmed as a successor to the North’s founder.

North Korea has seen its isolation deepening as it is under heavy sanctions by the U.N. Security Council due to its nuclear and missile tests.

On the diplomacy front, North Korea’s relations with China have been frayed since the North’s nuclear test in early 2013.

But the North and its treaty ally China displayed a show of solidarity during the military parade as Liu Yunshan, a top Chinese official, attended it in Pyongyang, standing next to Kim.




Yonhao News Agency