U.S., South Korea, Japan condemn North Korean missile firing in joint statement

UNTV News   •   February 17, 2017   •   2871

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (R) talk before a meeting at the World Conference Center February 16, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

The United States, South Korea and Japan issued a joint statement on Thursday condemning North Korea’s test firing of a ballistic missile and saying Pyongyang should face an “even stronger” international response for violating U.N. resolutions.

The statement, which also condemned Pyongyang’s human rights abuses, was released after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 foreign ministers.

“The ministers condemned in the strongest terms North Korea’s February 12, 2017 ballistic missile test, noting North Korea’s flagrant disregard for multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that expressly prohibit its ballistic missile and nuclear programs,” the statement said.

North Korea on Wednesday rejected a U.N. Security Council statement that denounced its missile launch and said it was exercising a sovereign right to self-defense.

The U.S., South Korean and Japanese ministers agreed to press on with their security cooperation, to defend the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and to respond firmly to any further violations by North Korea.

Tillerson reaffirmed Washington’s “steadfast” commitment to defend Japan and South Korea, “backed by the full range of its nuclear and conventional defense capabilities”.

Tillerson and the other ministers did not respond when asked at the start of their meeting whether the United States would send a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to bolster Japan’s defenses.

The U.S. military is already deploying the Lockheed Martin Corp system and its powerful Raytheon Co radar to South Korea, a move that has greatly angered China.

The three ministers vowed to continue to focus global attention on what they called “the systemic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in North Korea”.

The three allies also agreed to hold consultations in the coming days on the ballistic missile and nuclear challenges posed by North Korea.

The South Korean minister met Tillerson separately before the group session, saying he viewed the discussion as “a good opportunity at this critical juncture”.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Gareth Jones)

Tokyo residents welcome end of state of emergency

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

People in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday (May 26) woke up to their first day with loosened social distancing curbs, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for all areas in the country on Monday (May 25).

Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, as well as Hokkaido were the last remaining areas under emergency.

Many residents welcomed the government’s decision to end the emergency, though most said they are still alert for the virus since more people are out on the streets.

“I’m still a bit worried. There may be a second wave of an epidemic so we still need to be alert,” said 45-year-old Naoto Furuki who said the trains were a lot more crowded with commuters this morning.

With the emergency order lifted, Tokyo will move into “stage one” of loosening restrictions, allowing libraries and museums to reopen, and restaurants to stay open until later in the evening. Subsequent stages would see theatres, cinemas and fairgrounds reopen.

Company employee Daisuke Tominaga is happy that the emergency state is over, saying that the Japanese economy will collapse if businesses and people have to continue to live under restrictions.

“I want to go out drinking and attend concerts,” he said enthusiastically.

Many shops and restaurants have restarted operations since the government began lifting the emergency in rural and suburban areas earlier this month, but some stores remain closed. (Reuters)

(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto, Travis Teo)

Korean Air introduces social distancing measures for passengers

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

South Korea’s largest airline Korean Air has enacted social distancing measures to protect travelers to allow for a return to the skies during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Starting from Monday (May 18), the airline has made it necessary for all passengers and staff on board to wear face masks, but other social distancing measures such as leaving empty seats between passengers began on March 9.

On Tuesday (May 19) hundreds of domestic travelers were seen in Seoul’s Gimpo Airport wearing face masks and scanning their own boarding passes during boarding.

South Korea’s aviation regulator is also requiring travelers’ temperatures be checked in airports. Airport authorities are also asking travelers to stand at least 1 meter (3 ft) apart and regularly apply hand sanitizer. (Reuters)

(Production: Dogyun Kim, Minwoo Park, Heejung Jung)

South Korea scrambles to contain new coronavirus outbreak threatening Seoul

UNTV News   •   May 11, 2020

South Korean officials scrambled on Monday (May 11) to contain a new coronavirus outbreak that is threatening to spread throughout the densely populated capital city of Seoul, leading the country to reconsider plans to reopen schools.

Officials reported 35 new infections across the country as of midnight on Sunday (May 10), the second consecutive day of new cases of that magnitude and the highest numbers in more than a month, reinforcing fears the country could be entering a second wave outbreak.

Most of the new cases were linked to an outbreak at several Seoul nightclubs and bars. Authorities had tested 4,000 people who had patronised the night spots, but were still trying to track down around 3,000 more.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon pleaded with clubgoers to be tested, warning that people caught evading testing could be fined.

“If Seoul was infiltrated, the Republic of Korea will be infiltrated,” he said, noting the city currently has fewer than 700 of the nation’s 10,909 cases, which include 256 deaths.

The spike in cases comes just as the South Korean government was easing some social distancing restrictions and moving to fully reopen schools and businesses, in a transition from intensive social distancing to “distancing in daily life.” (Reuters)

(Production: Minwoo Park, Hyunyoung Yi)

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