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The Koreas: News, Discussions & Updates

Discussion in 'China & Asia Pacific' started by lca-fan, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. BMD

    BMD Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    http://www.newsweek.com/north-korea-street-food-kim-jong-un-700963

     
  2. BMD

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    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/th...r-weapons-test-site-appears-dangerously-23064

    North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Test Site Appears Dangerously Contaminated
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    Ryan Pickrell
    November 6, 2017

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    North Korea’s nuclear testing appears to have spread devastation for miles, according to testimony from former residents.

    The Punggye-ri nuclear test site in Kilju County, North Hamgyong Province, where North Korea has conducted a total of six nuclear tests, and the surrounding area have become a wasteland. The most recent test, during which the North detonated a suspected staged thermonuclear bomb with an explosive yield several orders of magnitude larger than anything the regime has previously tested, has reportedly exacerbated the environmental degradation.

    The Research Association of Vision of North Korea interviewed 21 North Korean defectors who recently lived in Kilju. The defectors revealed that tress have stopped growing in certain areas, wells have dried up, and babies are born with abnormal birth defects, according to the Chosun Iblo, a South Korean media outlet.



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    “I heard from a relative in Kilju that deformed babies were born in hospitals there,” one defector revealed. “I spoke on the phone with family members I left behind there, and they told me that all of the underground wells dried up after the sixth nuclear test,” another said. “If you plant trees in the mountains there, 80 percent of them die,” a former forestry worker explained.

    North Korean people drink the water that runs down from Mt. Mantap, under which North Korea conducts its nuclear tests. There are reportedly complaints in the area of a “phantom disease” that appeared after North Korea began conducting regular nuclear tests. Defectors have revealed that residents suffer from unexplained fatigue, headaches, weight loss. Some others have reported an unusually high mortality rate and and nervous system disorders, such as the loss of certain senses, including smell and taste.

    Defectors revealed that North Korean citizens living nearby are not notified prior to the detonation of a nuclear device, making it impossible for them to prepare for the tests, the most recent of which caused earthquakes and landslides.

    Since North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, defectors have testified about the dangers to the local civilian population. Now that North Korea is testing more powerful weaponry, the risks of irradiation and contamination may be much higher. South Korea is now carrying out radiation screening for former residents of Kilju County. Around 30 North Korean defectors will be checked for radiation exposure this year.

    North Korea appears to be worried about contamination as well. After the most recent nuclear test, local residents were barred from visiting Pyongyang. Additionally, North Korea has reportedly established a hospital to treat irradiated soldiers working at the nuclear test site. It is unclear if the North provides such treatment for prisoners brought in to clean up after a nuclear test without proper equipment and protection, but North Korea’s human rights record suggests that such services are not available for these individuals.

    If reports from in country are accurate, it appears that the North Korean people in the area are paying a high price for the regime’s nuclear ambitions.
     
  3. BMD

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    https://www.yahoo.com/news/report-apos-deformed-babies-apos-220347441.html

    Report: 'Deformed babies' born near North Korea's nuclear 'wasteland'
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    Alex Lasker, AOL.com
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    AOL.com•November 7, 2017


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    Report: 'Deformed babies' born near North Korea's nuclear 'wasteland'
    Disturbing reports have emerged from North Korea stating that the country's nuclear program has had a crippling effect on nationals who live near a major testing site.


    The group painted an extremely bleak picture of the current state of the region, claiming that about 80 percent of trees planted in the city die and that all of their underground wells have run dry due to nuclear activity.

    "I heard from a relative in Kilju that deformed babies were born in hospitals there," one defector told the paper.

    Another defector who fled the country in 2010 said that North Korean authorities provided no warning before the nuclear tests and no protection afterward

    "During the first nuclear test (October of 2006) and second one (May of 2009), only family members of soldiers were evacuated to underground shafts," the defector recalled. "Ordinary people were completely unaware of the tests."

    "I personally saw corpses floating down the river with their limbs severed," one added.
     
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    https://www.yahoo.com/news/n-korean-soldier-shot-while-defecting-korea-seoul-081507424.html

    N. Korean soldier shot while defecting to S. Korea: Seoul
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    Hwang Sunghee
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    AFP•November 13, 2017


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    A South Korean soldier (R) watches North Korean soldiers walking towards the military demarcation line separating North and South Korea at the truce village of Panmunjom (AFP Photo/)
    A North Korean soldier was shot and injured by his own side Monday while defecting to South Korea at the border truce village of Panmunjom, the South's military said.

    The soldier, thought to be low ranking, was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was picked up bleeding on the South side of a portion of the border known as the Joint Security Area (JSA).

    It is rare for the North's troops to defect at the truce village, a major tourist attraction bisected by the borderline and the only part of the frontier where forces from the two sides come face-to-face.

    "Our military has taken in a North Korean soldier after he crossed from a North Korea post towards our Freedom House," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement, referring to a building on the South side of the village.

    A JCS official quoted by Yonhap news agency said the South's soldiers heard a gunshot and then retrieved the unarmed soldier in the mid-afternoon.

    He was evacuated to a private hospital by a UN helicopter, the official added, saying the solider had regained consciousness but declining to comment on whether his injuries were life-threatening.

    No personal details have been released but the soldier's uniform suggested he was low-ranking, Yonhap said.

    No tourists were in the Joint Security Area at the time because tours do not run on Mondays, a spokesman for United States Forces Korea, which approves the visits, said.

    There was no exchange of gunfire between the two sides, but the South's military said it has raised its level of alertness against any North Korean provocations.

    Also on Monday, South Korean police arrested an American for entering a restricted zone -- in a separate border area -- with the apparent intention of crossing to the North, Yonhap reported.

    The man, identified only as a 58-year-old from Louisiana, had arrived in South Korea last week and wanted to enter the North for "political purposes", but was reported by a local villager, Yonhap said.

    He is currently under questioning by the South's police, army and spy agency.

    - Tense relations -

    Relations on the peninsula have been tense for months as the North has stepped up its missile tests. In September, it carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test -- of what it described as "a hydrogen bomb".

    Military officials the North and South have used Panmunjom frequently in the past for talks. Unlike the rest of the frontier, Panmunjom is not fortified with minefields and barbed wire and the border is marked only by a low concrete divider.

    Dozens of North Korean soldiers have fled to the South through the DMZ over the decades since the peninsula was divided, including two soldiers who crossed the frontier in June.

    More than 30,000 North Korean civilians have also fled their homeland since the two nations came into being in 1948, but it is rare for civilians to cross the closely guarded border.

    Most flee across the North's porous frontier with China and then move on to a third country to seek passage to South Korea.
     
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    https://www.yahoo.com/news/seoul-n-koreans-fired-40-shots-defector-hit-040458952.html

    Seoul: N. Koreans fired 40 shots at defector, hit him with 5
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    HYUNG-JIN KIM
    ,
    Associated Press•November 14, 2017


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    A South Korean army soldier, second from left, is seen as medical members treat an unidentified injured person, believed to be a North Korean soldier, at a hospital in Suwon, South Korea, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. North Korean soldiers shot at and wounded a fellow soldier who was crossing a jointly controlled area at the heavily guarded border to defect to South Korea on Monday, the South's military said. (Hong Ki-won/Yonhap via AP)

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Four North Korean soldiers fired about 40 rounds at a comrade fleeing into South Korea and hit him five times in the first shooting at the jointly controlled area of the heavily fortified border in more than 30 years, the South's military said Tuesday.

    South Korean soldiers did not fire their weapons, but Monday's incident occurred at a time of high animosity over North Korea's nuclear program. The North has expressed intense anger over past high-profile defections.

    The soldier is being treated at a South Korean hospital after a five-hour operation for the gunshot wounds he suffered during his escape across the Joint Security Area. His personal details and motive for defection are unknown and his exact medical condition is unclear.

    South Korea's military said he suffered injuries in his internal organs but wasn't in a life-threatening condition. But the Ajou University Medical Center near Seoul said the soldier was relying on a breathing machine after the surgery removed the bullets. Lee Guk-jong, a doctor who leads Ajou's medical team for the soldier, described his patient's condition as "very dangerous" and said the next 10 days might determine whether he recovers.

    On Monday, he first drove a military jeep but left the vehicle when one of its wheels fell into a ditch. He then fled across the JSA, with fellow soldiers chasing and firing at him, South Korea's military said, citing unspecified surveillance systems installed in the area.

    Suh Wook, chief director of operations for the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers that North Korea fired a total of about 40 rounds in a shooting that his office suggested started while the soldier was in the jeep.

    The solider was found beneath a pile of leaves on the southern side of the JSA and South Korean troops crawled there to recover him. A U.N. Command helicopter later transported him to the Ajou medical center, according to South Korean officials.

    The North's official media haven't reported the case as of Tuesday afternoon. They have previously accused South Korea of kidnapping or enticing North Koreans to defect. About 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea, mostly via China, since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

    The JSA is jointly overseen by the American-led U.N. Command and by North Korea, with South Korean and North Korean border guards facing each other only meters (feet) apart. It is located inside the 4-kilometer-wide (2 1/2-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone, which forms the de facto border between the Koreas since the Korean War. While both sides of the DMZ are guarded by barbed wire fences, mines and tank traps, the JSA includes the truce village of Panmunjom which provides the site for rare talks and draws curious tourists.

    Monday's incident was the first shooting at the Joint Security Area since North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire when a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the JSA in 1984. A North Korean soldier defected there in 1998 and another in 2007 but neither of those events involved gunfire between the rivals, according to South Korea's military.

    The 1984 exchange of gunfire happened after North Korean soldiers crossed the border and fired, according to the U.N. Command. In Monday's incident, it wasn't known if the North continued firing after the defector was officially in the southern part of the Joint Security Area. The U.N. Command said Tuesday that an investigation into the incident was underway.

    The Joint Security Area was the site of some bloodshed during the Cold War but there hasn't been major violence there in recent years. In 1976, North Korean soldiers axed two American army officers to death and the United States responded by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate the North.
     
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    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-says-hes-declaring-north-korea-terrorism-sponsor-174605423.html

    Trump says he’s declaring North Korea a terrorism sponsor
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    Olivier Knox
    Chief Washington Correspondent
    ,
    Yahoo News•November 20, 2017


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    A man watches a TV screen showing President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo: Ahn Young-joon/AP)
    WASHINGTON — President Trump announced Monday that his administration is putting North Korea back on a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, a mostly symbolic blow meant to deepen the diplomatic isolation of Kim Jong Un’s regime in Pyongyang.

    Speaking to reporters as he opened a meeting with his Cabinet, Trump said the designation would trigger “further sanctions and penalties” and that it “supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime.” The president added that the Treasury Department on Tuesday would announce additional punitive measures, part of a campaign “over the next two weeks” to tighten the economic and diplomatic vise on North Korea.



    Trump’s announcement came amid concerns that escalating tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs could spiral into war.

    In his remarks, the president alluded to several factors behind the decision. He referred to North Korea carrying out assassinations on foreign soil. That appeared to be a reference to the Feb. 13 killing of Kim’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, dispatched at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, widely believed to be the work of North Korean agents. And cited the death of American student Otto Warmbier, jailed during a Jan 2016 trip to North Korea, and released in June 2017 while in a coma. He died a few days later.

    “As we take this action today, our thoughts turn to Otto Warmbier, wonderful young man, and the countless others brutally affected by the North Korean oppression,” the president said.

    Trump said the designation “should have happened years ago.”
     
  7. BMD

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    https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-military-conduct-drills-nnear-150703691.html

    U.S. Military To Conduct Drills Nnear North Korea Involving 230 Warplanes And 12,000 Soldiers
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    John Haltiwanger
    ,
    Newsweek•November 24, 2017


    The U.S. and South Korean militaries are set to hold a massive drill on the Korean Peninsula in early December amid heightened tensions with Kim Jong Un's regime over its nuclear program — but China has called on the allies to halt such exercises.



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