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Originally posted by expo15
Hey, Vitchilo, thanks for these updates. This is really interesting following this whole ordeal through these small, incremental tidbits of information.
North Korea may have abducted 180,000 people over the last 60 years, according to a new report by a US-based human rights group.
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea says both the scale and reach of Pyongyang's abduction programme is far greater than previously thought.
It said it involves citizens from 14 different countries.
The allegations are almost impossible to verify without free access to North Korea.
Abduction by the North Korean government can come in many ways, the report says, and in many different places.
It cites the cases of a Japanese college student and his girlfriend snatched from a beach in Japan by North Korean agents; more than 3,000 South Korean fishermen forcibly towed into North Korean waters; and students in European cities - including London, it says - lured to the secretive state with the promise of jobs and then denied permission to leave.
In all, the report estimates more than 180,000 people from 14 different countries have been taken by North Korea, in a bid to train its intelligence agents and - more recently - to warn Chinese nationals living along the border against helping its people escape.
Once inside the country, the report says, many abductees are tortured, forced to marry and to work for the regime against their will.
U.S. State Department's Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth is expected to visit South Korea next Monday through Wednesday.
In Seoul, Bosworth will meet with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and chief presidential security aid Chun Yung-woo to discuss inter-Korean relations and sending food aid to the North.
What does history teach us to expect? Previous North Korean behaviour suggests we should be prepared for more bad behaviour. Indeed, there are signs that this might already be underway. Won Sei-hoon, head of South Korea’s intelligence service, recently reported to key national legislative representatives that North Korea appears likely to conduct a third nuclear weapons test out of frustration over the stalled Six Party talks.
China has leaked details of what transpired when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il visited last year, after a North Korean sub sank the South Korean warship Cheonan in March. The Chinese were pretty sure that a North Korean torpedo had sunk the Cheonan, but Kim repeatedly denied it. Chinese leaders kept asking about it, because their diplomats and spies in North Korea reported that the government there was taking credit for sinking the Cheonan, at least unofficially. The official line was that North Korea had nothing to do with it.
To add insult to injury, North Korea asked the Chinese to supply them with 30 Chinese Navy JH-7A bombers, along with the C-801 and C-802 missiles normally carried. China refused, although oil deliveries were increased.
But the JH-7As are in short supply, even for the Chinese. But what really bothered China was that it would appear that China was supporting North Korean recklessness if these Chinese warplanes showed up in North Korea. Even though Kim made another trip to China a few months after the May visit, to mend fences, the Chinese were still unwilling to supply the missile armed JH-7As, and kept pressing Kim to fix his economy (with the same kind of reforms that had made China rich in the last three decades) and tone down the belligerent behavior.
North Korea could use it to attack Japan, something the Chinese don't want.
President Lee Myung-bak says North Korea’s negative response to his offer to invite North Korean Kim Jong-il to Seoul for an international nuclear summit next year can be interpreted in various ways.
The president said that there is no need to accept the North's recent response as being only negative.
Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, held talks with Commander-in- Chief of the Myanmar Defense Service General Min Aung Hlaing here Thursday shortly after Xu's arrival in Myanmar's new capital of Nay Pyi Taw.
Xu said China and Myanmar have long closely exchanged and lived on good term, having forged deep paukphaw (fraternal) friendship and stood the test.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou renewed his call Thursday on the United States to sell F-16 fighter jets to the island, saying he needed leverage as he pursues reconciliation with China.
"We continue to urge the US to provide Taiwan with necessary defensive weaponry such as F-16s and diesel-powered submarines," he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies by video-link from Taipei.
Influential senators called Wednesday on the United States to freeze plans to relocate military bases in Japan and South Korea, describing the moves as politically unfeasible and too costly.
The appeal undercuts an effort by President Barack Obama's administration to press Japan to honor a 2006 plan under which the Futenma base -- a long source of tension as it lies in a crowded part of Okinawa -- would move to a quiet patch on the same island.
The three senators said the two countries should consider moving Futenma's operations to Okinawa's Kadena Air Base and other locations in Japan and the US territory of Guam, ending the need for the contested new facility.
The senators also questioned the Pentagon's plan to allow more of the 28,500 US troops based in South Korea to bring families.
"There is an inherent contradiction in planning to increase the number of US military family members in South Korea when there is the real potential that a destabilizing security situation in North Korea could unfold rapidly and unpredictably," Webb said.
Originally posted by ni91ck
reply to post by Vitchilo
Any news when the nuclear test come's???
The US special envoy on North Korea Stephen Bosworth will visit South Korea next week to coordinate policy towards nuclear-armed Pyongyang, diplomatic sources said Friday.
Discussions are likely to focus on stalled nuclear disarmament talks and the issue of providing the hungry communist state with food aid, Yonhap news agency said.
The number of North Korean defectors coming to South Korea topped the 21,000 mark in April in the five months since November last year, government officials said Saturday.
A South Korean programmer is suspected of stealing (for a foreign customer) government software, stuff that he worked on from 2005-10. The suspect, who is still being investigated, was arrested in 2002 for posting pro-North Korean data on web sites. Thus the investigation is seeking to discover if the classified software went to North Korea.
This could be a serious intelligence breach. That's because, for the last decade, South Korea has been planning to take over command of all military forces in South Korea. That would include American troops, and those of any other nation that came to help repel a North Korean invasion. As part of that switch, South Korea had to acquire additional communications capabilities, software and trained officers (both staff and command) that enable them to run the entire operation.
Being in possession of an early version of this new command and control software, including the overall design documents, could be a big help to North Korea, especially if they were planning more military action against South Korea.
Russia and Norway will begin a joint large-scale naval exercise, Pomor-2011, on Wednesday, a spokesman for Russia's Northern Fleet said.
The six-day exercise in the Barents and Norwegian seas will involve Russian Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov from the Northern Fleet, Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen class frigate Helge Ingstad, as well as coastal guard vessels and naval aircraft.
China's unmanned helicopter, the Qingdao Haili V750, successfully completed a brief test flight at Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry's factory in Shandong province.
The sleek rotary black helicopter, which has a take-off weight of 1,670 pounds, hovered for 10 minutes, performed several maneuvers and then landed safely, Chinese media said.
The "medium-sized unmanned helicopter" has a load capacity of more than 170 pounds, Xinhua News Agency said. The speed of the drone is around 100 mph and it can be remote-controlled from up to 95 miles away.
Dozens of people have been injured in China in a petrol bomb attack on a bank, state news agency Xinhua reports.
The Chinese government believes that the larger, and much modernized, Chinese navy is not for threatening neighbors, but for security and diplomatic purposes. In other words, to have the ability to influence distant events the same way Western nations have been using navies for centuries. The Chinese point out that the U.S. uses their navy more for diplomacy, peacekeeping and disaster relief than for waging war. China wishes to emulate this. It is in this spirit that China contributes to the Somalia anti-piracy effort and sends its new hospital ship abroad to serve populations in need of care. India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan all fear that a stronger Chinese fleet would be used to bully them, and coerce compliance in business dealings. For thousands of years, China has used its military power to dominate neighbors, but for the last two centuries China has been too weak for much of this. Now, China appears to be going back in history to find useful examples for future military planning. The neighbors know what that means, and don't like it at all.
China continues to use the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), a mutual defense operation (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are members, with Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Iran as associate members, or "observers") to extend its diplomatic, economic and military influence into Central Asia. This vast area used to be part of Russia (as the Soviet Union). Russia doesn't like this Chinese expansion, but the former parts of the Soviet Union, that are now independent states, like China acting as a counterweight to Russia (which many fear will try to regain its Central Asian territories.)
Although the government has finally agreed to new elections on July 3rd, it has arrested two opposition (red shirt populists) leaders, with more expected to be seized. The red shirts fear that the ruling royalists will again try to fix the elections. The border dispute with Cambodia is seen as another effort by the minority royalist government to stay in power.
On the Cambodian border, two weeks of fighting has killed dozens and wounded over a hundred. Nearly 100,000 civilians have fled the fighting. Ceasefire deals get arranged regularly, only to be quickly broken by troops (usually Thai) opening fire. Officers cannot, or will not, control their troops.
Kabul, May 13: Afghanistan National Intelligence Agency spokesperson Lutfullah Mashal has said that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) hired two men to kill the Indian Consul General of Jalalabad province.
Mashal said the two men confessed that ISI hired and paid them to kill the Indian Consul General.
Despite huge increases in the defense budget, and promises of nearly a trillion dollars more in the next decade, efforts to rebuild and reform the armed forces has not gone well. The main problem is with the officers, as too many of them cling to Soviet era practices that cause the problems. In short, there are too many officers and too many of them are incompetent. Efforts to get rid of a lot of these losers have been sabotaged. Corruption and inability to fix problems and innovate has been a constant with the officers, and the government is facing the fact that it will take a decade or more to flush the poison out of the officers corps. This involves things like changing primary and high school curriculum, to include more emphasis on honesty and public service, including military service. Meanwhile, the military will remain ineffective. For this reason, more emphasis is being put on nuclear weapons, which can provide a compelling threat against potential enemies.
Systems to protect Europe from missile attack risk being ineffective and a threat to stability if they do not include Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev warned Saturday.
The Kremlin said Medvedev has written a letter to NATO heads of states to make clear Russia's position on missile defence amid continued tensions with the West over the longstanding dispute.
The letter appears to be a sign of growing frustration from Moscow that it is being sidelined by the West in discussions on the issue despite signs of progress late last year.
"A European missile defence system can only be genuinely effective and viable if Russia participates in an equal way," the Kremlin quoted Medvedev as saying.
China has tried to suppress a report at the United Nations suggesting that North Korea and Iran have been routinely sharing ballistic missile technology, United Nations diplomats said Saturday, expressing concern that Beijing was again working to shield the North.
North Korea on Sunday denied its involvement in the sinking of a South Korean warship last year that killed 46 sailors, again claiming the Seoul government was making up stories to raise tension and direct the attention of the South Korean public away from its own failures or wrongdoings.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has recently begun sporting his trademark high-heeled shoes again, a development that could raise an intriguing question about whether his health has improved.
South Korea's military launched major drills on Monday to enhance their capability for beach assaults and landings, military officials said, as tensions with North Korea persist over two deadly attacks last year.
Tensions between the US and Pakistan over the killing of Osama bin Laden and a speedier US withdrawal from Afghanistan are likely to reinforce China and Pakistan's already strong ties, analysts say.
From chic styles to cuisine, from cinema to comics, Taiwan is trying to project its soft power across the globe in an effort to step out of China's shadow.
The island of 23 million people is forced to keep its endeavour at a modest level, but it is crucial for its long-term prospects of being seen as an entity in its own right, analysts said.
"Soft power is Taiwan's weapon of the weak given its limited military, economic and political resources," said Lu Yeh-chung, a political scientist at Taipei's National Chengchi University.
"It's very important for Taiwan to employ soft power as a tool to attract support from other countries."
Five Latin American leaders have decided to stay away from Paraguay's independence's day celebration due to Taiwan's participation to avoid upsetting China, Taiwanese media said Saturday.
For the first time, India has officially sought full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the central Asian grouping dominated by China and Russia, looked upon by many as an emerging counter-weight to NATO.
India will vie for full membership with rival Pakistan — which officially applied much earlier and has China's backing — at the SCO summit meet next month in Kazakhstan's Astana where the group will take up the expansion issue.
Writing in Newsweek magazine, Abdul Qadeer Khan said that Pakistan's nuclear weapons had prevented war with historic rival India, which he accused of pursuing a "massive program" due to ambitions of superpower status.
"Don't overlook the fact that no nuclear-capable country has been subjected to aggression or occupied, or had its borders redrawn. Had Iraq and Libya been nuclear powers, they wouldn't have been destroyed in the way we have seen recently," Khan said.
While Khan said he was not familiar with the latest developments in Pakistan's nuclear program, Newsweek published a commercial satellite image that appeared to show expedited construction at the country's Khushab nuclear site.
The Institute for Science and International Security, which assessed the image, said it showed "significant progress" on a fourth reactor. A frame of a building was now visible, which did not appear in a picture taken in January.
The Washington-based think-tank said that plutonium from the new reactors would allow a "dramatic increase" in production, potentially allowing Pakistan to double its annual production of nuclear weapons.
Another intelligence official said several Pakistani helicopters took off from Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, toward the site of the attack. The purpose of the Pakistani mobilization was unclear.
Moscow formally demanded defence safeguards from Washington on May 3 after the United States reached an agreement to station anti-missile interceptors in Romania.
The United States argues that the shield is aimed at protecting Europe from missile attacks from countries such as Iran and would have no effect against Russia's vast nuclear arsenal.
But Moscow fears the shield could one day be deployed into a space-based weapon that could strike western and southern Russia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday that the United States had informed it that it had no plans to provide the security safeguards Russia sought.
"We are disappointed with Washington's reaction," news agencies quoted the Russian diplomat as saying.
The world, the United States in particular, is lucky to have Manmohan Singh as Indian Prime Minister who has taken personal risk to avoid confrontation along the western border despite provocations, but that might not be the same if there is another terror attack, a former Obama aide has said.
"We are lucky to have (Indian) Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh who has taken personal risk along the Pakistani-Indian border to make sure that there's no provocation.
W7VOA Steve Herman
Kyodo says it has obtained an 81-page UN report which concludes #DPRK could enrich uranium "relatively quickly" to weapons-grade levels.
The military is closely watching North Korea’s movements as multiple rocket launchers directed against South Korea have been observed.
A military official said that the South Korean military detected on Tuesday afternoon four 240-millimeter multiple rocket launchers at a North Korean artillery position near the border pointed at the South.
The United States will soon decide whether to send a team of officials to North Korea to look into food shortages in the communist country, a senior U.S. envoy said Tuesday, a development that may enhance the mood for restarting dialogue.
"We will be making a decision on that in the next few days and it will be announced from Washington,"
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth says that South Korea and the U.S. have "reached a common view" on North Korea's request for food aid.
Nat'l Council of Churches of (S.) Korea confirms to VOA its unauthorized food aid entering DPRK today from Dandong, PRC.
#ROK Unification Ministry says after discussing the defiant act with NCCK it will take "necessary measures" against the Christian group.
The aid from NCCK to #DPRK consists of 172 tons of flour. (I'll have a full VOA radio report soon).
Taiwan’s Central Election Commission says the island will hold legislative and presidential elections together on January 14, 2012, the first time the polls have coincided since direct presidential elections began in 1996.
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens said that a North Korea-U.S. summit is possible if the North dismantles its nuclear program.
Ultimately, Stephens added that North Korea is on a dead-end road without denuclearization. She stressed that the U.S. has made it clear to North Korea that another provocation against regulations in the international community would certainly result in unfavorable results.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun says his country is ready to launch efforts toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Fox News says North Korea has fostered more than 30-thousand specialists for cyber attacks.
The report said North Korean defectors said on Tuesday that the North’s military has amassed as many as 30-thousand electronic warfare specialists and that have become the elite core of the military.
President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday warned the West it would face a new Cold War if it failed to address Russia's concerns over a proposed missile defence shield for Europe.
Medvedev told reporters that the US decision to push ahead with construction of the missile defence system despite Russia's objections will force Moscow "to take retaliatory measures -- something that we would very much rather not do."
"We would then be talking about developing the offensive potential of our nuclear capabilities. This would be a very bad scenario."
In a thinly-disguised message to NATO, which remains uncommitted to the idea of co-operating with Russia in a European missile defense system, the commander of Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RSVN) said its ICBMs will soon be “invincible”.
According to the commander of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces (RSVN), Lt. Gen. Sergey Karakayev, Russia's RS-24 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) will be capable of defeating any possible missile defense system within the next 15-20 years.
The Chinese Navy has converted its 2nd Bomber Division into a unit for its growing fleet of specialized aircraft. These include H-6 tankers, float planes, and several types of EW (Electronic Warfare) aircraft. Most of these aircraft are apparently for supporting the growing number of H-6 bombers armed with anti-ship missiles. Here, China is imitating a Russian tactic developed during the 1980s.
Russian bombers armed with cruise missiles were seen as a major threat by the U.S. Navy during the Cold War. China appears to be copying the Russian playbook.
The Unification Ministry in Seoul says that resuming food aid to North Korea is not only a humanitarian issue and that policy decisions regarding inter-Korean ties must also be considered.
South Korea’s new ambassador to the United Nations has downplayed claims that Seoul will miss the opportunity to hold talks with North Korea if inter-Korean dialogue is further delayed.
A top Chinese general said Wednesday that further US arms sales to Taiwan could damage fledgling military ties between Washington and Beijing, and that it amounted to American meddling.
When asked by a reporter if US weapons sales to Taiwan would affect defense relations between the two economic powers, China's Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde said: "My answer is affirmative. It will."
"As to how bad the impact will be, it will depend on the nature of the weapons sold to Taiwan,"
Chen said that in his talks with US lawmakers, some members of Congress agreed that it was time to repeal legislation that calls for arms sales to Taiwan.
Ukraine is seeking consultations with Bucharest and Washington on the proposed deployment of US missile interceptors in Romania, Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko said Wednesday.
"In the context of the steps taken to consolidate security, we think that the aim should be to reinforce security of Europe as a whole and to take into account all political aspects of this issue," Gryshchenko told a press conference in Bucharest.
"We are interested in having consultations with both our Romanian and our American partners," he added.
Ukraine shares a 650-kilometre (300-mile) border with Romania.
Bucharest and Washington two weeks ago concluded talks on the deployment of 24 missile interceptors in a former airbase in southern Romania, Deveselu.
They insisted they would be part of a purely defensive system.
China's Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday told his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani their nations would stay friends "forever", as Islamabad faces US pressure after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
China "never intends to challenge the US" and welcomes its role maintaining peace in the Asia-Pacific region, People's Liberation Army Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde told US military officers Wednesday.
Ukraine shares a 650-kilometre (300-mile) border with Romania.
Ukraine will never annoy Russia. Romania will be on an emotional high for a little bit of comeuppance. They are like the intermediary.
President Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday warned of a new Cold War era if Russia and the West failed to agree on missile defence, in the first major news conference of his presidency.
On Friday, May 20, Gen. Andrei Tretyak, head of the Armed Forces General Staff Main Operations Directorate (GOU), confirmed Russia's position that the deployment of U.S. missile defense system poses a real threat to Russia's nuclear deterrent.
The general said the threat to Russia's nuclear deterrent will emerge after 2015, when the United States modifies its SM-3 anti-missiles and brings its seaborne missile defense group to 40 ships with 400 interceptor missiles.
Tretyak put special emphasis on the threat posed by missile defense elements on Polish territory.
We merely demand guarantees that this system will not be directed against Russia's nuclear capabilities. But when it comes to Poland or the Czech Republic, the situation is very different - we are ready to prove with figures at hand that this system will enable the United States to intercept missiles from western Russia."
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday was to meet China's president at the end of a visit full of praise for ties with Beijing, amid a crisis with the US over Osama bin Laden's killing.
China on Thursday said the international community "must respect" Pakistan's sovereignty, tacitly confirming reports that it has asked the US not to violate Islamabad's territorial integrity, following the killing of Osama bin Laden .
Asked about reports that China has asked US during its recently concluded strategic dialogue with Washington to respect Pakistan's sovereignty as Islamabad came under heavy pressure after bin Laden's killing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu told media here that "sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan must be respected."
China has "warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China", The News daily quoted diplomatic sources as saying.
China has agreed to immediately provide 50 JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan, a major outcome of a visit by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to Beijing this week, Pakistani officials said Thursday.
The latest jet fighters would be paid for by China, they said.
New Delhi: A WikiLeaks cable, which NDTV has exclusive access to, says Pakistan's airmen were being radicalised and were sabotaging Pakistani F-16s deployed for security operations along the Afghan border. (Read Cable: Pakistan cable on visiting US officials being briefed on F-16s)
A former journalist told a Seoul court that North Korea kidnapped two South Korean colonel-level officers and arrested two others in 1999 when they apparently were on secret missions in China and the North, court officials said Friday.
India's Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) has discussed the country's progress toward creating a fully-fledged nuclear triad, the Times of India said on Tuesday.
An NCA meeting on Monday, presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, focused on the testing of the first domestically-built nuclear submarine and the development of a long-range ballistic missile, the paper said.