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SoKor says NoKor expresses commitment to ‘complete denuclearization’

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018

FILE PHOTOS: (Left-Right) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (REUTERS)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will sit down at the border “truce village” of Panmunjom to discuss a range of issues, including Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Days before the upcoming summit, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said the North has expressed its commitment to “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions.

Moon also explained that the North has not attached any conditions that the US cannot accept, like the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea.

“Now, North Korea is expressing a will to seek a complete denuclearisation to the international society. Also, they are showing us a will to have dialogues,” said the South Korean president.

North Korea has defended its nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, as a necessary deterrent against perceived US hostility.

The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war.

North Korea has said over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States will its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.

However, in the latest development, Moon revealed that Pyongyang has expressed willingness to drop its demand that the United States withdraw troops stationed in the South in exchange for denuclearization.

This comes after President Donald Trump announced he is willing to leave the meeting with Kim if it falls short of his expectations. -Reuters

 

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S. Korea probes trash shipment to PH, vows to take it back ‘as soon as possible’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

Tons of garbage from South Korea

MANILA, Philippines – The South Korean government has initiated an investigation into the shipment of over 5,000 tons of trash discovered in Misamis Oriental some two weeks ago.

In a statement posted on its website on Thursday (November 22), the South Korean Embassy in the Philippines said concerned home agencies has already launched an investigation on the Korean exporter who happened to misdeclare the contents of the shipment.

“The Ministry of Environment on November 21 initiated legal procedure to have the wastes in question in the Philippines be brought back in accordance with Article 20 of the Law on Cross-border movement and Disposal of Wastes—Prior Notice of Repatriation Order—and embarked on investigation of the violation of Article 18-2 of the said law—False Export Declaration,” the statement reads.

It added that the South Korean government vowed to “take measures to have the wastes in question be brought back to Korea as soon as possible” and promised “to prevent the recurrence of the problem” in the future. – Marje Pelayo

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Importer says shipment from S.Korea free of toxic substance

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

 

Tons of garbage from South Korea

MANILA, Philippines – A shipment from South Korea is now being scrutinized for allegedly containing toxic substances harmful to human health.

But the importer Verde Soko II Industrial Corporation maintained that the items, mostly plastic trash, were made of natural materials and none have hazardous chemical ingredients.

According to the firm’s president, Neil Alburo, the items are all recyclable with some containing wood and plastic pipes.

The shipment arrived in the country on June 24.

So, in the first place, why would we do such things if these are… these products are not so … as what people are claiming? There are so many issues but definitely, we’re not that kind of company, we’re not shipping those products,” explained Alburo.

According to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Cagayan de Oro, the shipment lacks import clearance and the items are not purely synthetic plastic flakes as declared.

Atty. Roswald Joseph Paque, the deputy collector for Administration of BOC Region 10 added, however, that there was no battery or something toxic inside the shipment, contrary to earlier reports that it contains hospital wastes.

Nevertheless, Paque assured that the investigation will resume to further verify if the shipment is safe.

“We still have to verify it on the ground, kasi iba yung nakita ng mga examiner namin,yung nakita siguro nung ibang agencies especially DENR. Sila lang maka determine doon,” he said.

The importer vows to help the government in resolving the issue to eventually clear their name from the controversy. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Weng Fernandez)

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North Korea’s new ‘tactical’ weapon test highlights military modernization

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: South Korean soldiers stand guard as construction equipment destroy a guard post in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas in Cheorwon on November 15, 2018. Jung Yeon-je/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s claim last week that it had tested an unidentified “ultramodern tactical weapon” highlighted its desire to upgrade its conventional arms and reassure its military even as talks are under way to end its nuclear program, analysts said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un witnessed the test of a newly developed tactical weapon that could serve as a “steel wall”, state media reported on Friday, without giving details of the weapon.

It was Kim’s first observation of a weapons test this year and could complicate already stalled nuclear talks with the United States, although Washington and Seoul downplayed the development in an apparent effort not to derail negotiations.

Experts say the test was part of Kim’s initiative to shift the mainstay of the conventional military power from a nearly 1.3 million-strong army to high-tech weapons.

“This is sort of like the North Korean version of military reform,” said Choi Kang, vice president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

“If we have to find an underlying message to the outside world, it’s ‘Don’t underestimate us, we are modernizing too.’”

New advanced weapons might be even more crucial if the country were to abandon at least some of its nuclear arsenal.

Although heavily-sanctioned Pyongyang is easily outspent in defense funding by Seoul and Washington, the North’s forward-deployed troops, guns and multiple-launch artillery rocket systems (MLRS) pose a significant threat to the allies.

The North Korean military has nearly 5,500 MLRS, 4,300 tanks, 2,500 armored vehicles, 810 fighter jets, 430 combatant vessels and 70 submarines, according to a 2016 assessment by the South’s defense ministry.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies said last week it has identified at least 13 undeclared missile bases inside North Korea.

The Washington-based think tank has also said Pyongyang has been developing hovercraft units for its 200,000-strong special forces as part of the military modernization drive.

Kim has been pushing to modernize production lines at munitions factories and replace aging weapons and technology since he took power in late 2011.

“The defense industry should develop and manufacture powerful strategic weapons and military hardware of our style, perfect its Juche-oriented production structure and modernize its production lines on the basis of cutting-edge science and technology,” he said in his 2018 New Year speech, referring to the long-held principle of self-reliance.

The two Koreas agreed during their September summit in Pyongyang to significantly reduce military tensions along the border, and the North has begun deactivating artillery deployed along the skirmish-prone western shore, Seoul’s defense ministry said.

But the pact did not include any removal of MLRS from forward-deployed areas, where some long-range guns and rocket launchers can still reach Seoul.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the newly tested weapon was a new model of MLRS, citing an unnamed military source familiar with intelligence. Other experts suggested it might be a new, short-range missile.

Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, said by touting a modernized weapon, Kim could seek to reassure hard-line military generals and the public in North Korea who may be worried about a nuclear-free future.

“With Kim having publicly declared the economy a new priority and saying the North would denuclearise, many in the military who saw a decline in interest and support could be doubtful and anxious because he has not secured significant concessions like an end-of-war declaration,” Kim, the professor said.

“It could have been necessary for him to consolidate the nation even though such a field guidance would give a negative signal to the outside.”

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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