North Korea stages large-scale artillery drill as U.S. submarine docks in South

UNTV News   •   April 25, 2017   •   3048

 


The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), front, leads the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112 and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), in the Indian ocean April 14, 2017.U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Danny Kelley/Handout via REUTERS

North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military as a U.S. submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

The port call by the USS Michigan came as a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group steamed toward Korean waters and as top envoys for North Korea policy from South Korea, Japan and the United States met in Tokyo.

Fears have risen in recent weeks that North Korea would conduct another nuclear test or long-range missile launch in defiance of U.N. sanctions, perhaps on the Tuesday anniversary of the founding of its military.

But instead of a nuclear test or big missile launch, North Korea deployed a large number of long-range artillery units in the region of Wonsan on its east coast for a live-fire drill, South Korea’s military said. North Korea has an air base in Wonsan and missiles have also been tested there.

“North Korea is conducting a large-scale firing drill in Wonsan areas this afternoon,” the South’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The South Korean military was monitoring the situation and “firmly maintaining readiness”, it said.

The South’s Yonhap News Agency said earlier the exercise was possibly supervised by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea’s state media was defiant in a commentary marking the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army, saying its military was prepared “to bring to closure the history of U.S. scheming and nuclear blackmail”.

“There is no limit to the strike power of the People’s Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial.

North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threat is perhaps the most serious security challenge confronting U.S. President Donald Trump. He has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile and has said all options are on the table, including a military strike.

Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group for exercises off the Korean peninsula as a warning to North Korea and a show of solidarity with U.S. allies.

South Korea’s navy said it was conducting a live-fire exercise with U.S. destroyers in waters west of the Korean peninsula and would soon join the carrier strike group approaching the region.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally which nevertheless objects to its weapons development, has repeatedly called for calm, and its envoy for Korean affairs, Wu Dawei, was in Tokyo on Tuesday.

“We hope that all parties, including Japan, can work with China to promote an early peaceful resolution of the issue, and play the role, put forth the effort, and assume the responsibility that they should,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.

Japan’s envoy on North Korea, Kenji Kanasugi, said after talks with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts that they agreed China should take a concrete role to resolve the crisis and it could use an oil embargo as a tool to press the North.

“We believe China has a very, very important role to play,” said the U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun.

South Korea’s envoy, Kim Hong-kyun, said they had also discussed how to get Russia’s help to press North Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 27, the Kremlin said. It did not elaborate.

RARE SENATE BRIEFING

Matching the flurry of diplomatic and military activity in Asia, the State Department in Washington said on Monday U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would chair a special ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council on North Korea on Friday.

Tillerson, along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford, would also hold a rare briefing for the entire U.S. Senate on North Korea on Wednesday, Senate aides said.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said those meetings called by U.S. officials clearly reflected the U.S. pressure that could “ignite a full-out war” on the Korean peninsula.

“The reality of today again proves the decision to strengthen nuclear power in quality and quantity under the banner of pursuing economic development and nuclear power was the correct one,” the unidentified spokesman said in a statement issued by the North’s state media.

On Monday, Trump called for tougher U.N. sanctions on the North, saying it was a global threat and “a problem that we have to finally solve”.

“The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable,” Trump told a meeting with the 15 U.N. Security Council ambassadors, including China and Russia, at the White House. “The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

The official China Daily said it was time for Pyongyang and Washington to take a step back from harsh rhetoric and heed calls for a peaceful resolution.

“Judging from their recent words and deeds, policymakers in Pyongyang have seriously misread the U.N. sanctions, which are aimed at its nuclear/missile provocations, not its system or leadership,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“They are at once perilously overestimating their own strength and underestimating the hazards they are brewing for themselves.”

The nuclear-powered submarine the USS Michigan, which arrived in the South Korean port of Busan, is built to carry and launch ballistic missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles. —  By Ju-min Park | SEOUL

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina in BEIJING, Kaori Kaneko, Linda Sieg, Elaine Lies and Tim Kelly in TOKYO, and Steve Holland, Matt Spetalnick, Susan Heavey and David Brunnstrom in WASHINGTON, Vladimir Soldatkin in MOSCOW; Writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

PCG aids 34 seafarers after fire incident in fishing vessel’s engine room

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021

CEBU, Philippines—The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) assisted 34 seafarers who abandoned their fishing vessel after an engine fire.

A fire incident broke out inside the engine room of Korean fishing vessel, FV No. 96 Oyang on Tuesday (January 26). The vessel was at the vicinity waters off Panganiban, Catanduanes.

The crew, composed of 22 Indonesians, 10 Koreans, and two Filipinos ‘abandoned ship’ following the captain’s orders. Rescue operations were immediately conducted.

The PCG assisting the seafarers arrived at the Port of Cebu on Wednesday (January 27) and were transported into a quarantine facility after taking swab tests.

The survivors are being monitored by their ship company’s representative, in coordination with IATF – Region VII and South Korea Consulate based in Cebu City. AAC

DND wants to acquire helicopters from South Korea

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday expressed his department’s intention to acquire helicopters from South Korea.

In a statement, Lorenzana said the DND is looking to acquire South Korean UH-1H and MD500 helicopters.

He, however, said the acquisition project is still in the “exploratory stage.”

Its details, including the timeline and quantity of the assets to be acquired, have yet to be finalized, he added.

In a congratulatory letter to newly-appointed Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Suh Wook, Lorenzana also bared DND’s plan to conduct a Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The team will be composed of representatives from the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Lorenzana assured that the JVI will be conducted following strict biosafety protocols amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Filipinos who get COVID-19 in South Korea to shoulder full treatment cost starting August 24

Marje Pelayo   •   August 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines has advised Filipinos of the policy change covering subsidies for foreigners who get infected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to the existing policy, the South Korean government has been shouldering all medical expenses of foreign nationals who get sick of COVID-19. However, starting August 24, all foreigners who get infected in South Korea within 14 days from entry must be responsible for their own medical expenses.

Currently, the Phillippine government supports treatment costs for Korean nationals who tested positive for COVID-19 and who were confined in government hospitals and other medical facilities in the country.

In exchange for this gesture, the Korean government will subsidize the hospital room charges for Filipinos in South Korea but they have to pay for their own food on top of the treatment costs.

“Therefore, we hereby recommend all Filipinos to secure private health insurance that could cover treatments received in foreign countries like Korea before entering,” the Embassy said.

In addition to this, the Embassy noted that “mutual agreements can be made in the event that the Philippine government will enlarge its financial support coverage for Koreans in the Philippines.” 

However, the Korean Embassy warned that “irresponsible foreigners and people who disobey Korean government’s quarantine policy shall shoulder all the medical costs starting from August 17, 2020.”

Among the offenses mentioned include submitting fake medical certificates and/or violating quarantine or isolation orders. 

<Public Statement on policy change of subsidizing Covid-19 positive Filipinos in Korea>○ Up to the present, the Korean…

Posted by Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines on Monday, 17 August 2020

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