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Vietnamese woman accused of killing Kim Jong Un half-brother returns to hometown

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, May 4th, 2019

A woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reunites with family in Vietnam. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

A Vietnamese woman who spent more than two years in a Malaysian prison on suspicion of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was released from jail and returned to Vietnam on Friday (May 3) night.

Doan Thi Huong arrived back to her family home, a small town in the province of Nam Dinh, 130 km (80 miles) from Hanoi, in the early hours of Saturday (May 4).

“I want to thank Nam Dinh province and the police of my home town for supporting me and protecting me safely to come back home,” she said.

The 30-year-old was charged along with an Indonesian woman with poisoning Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against Huong last month after she pleaded guilty to an alternate charge of causing harm. (REUTERS)

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‘How can we harass them, their boat is bigger’—rescued fisherman

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

One of the rescued fishermen has belied the statement of the Chinese Embassy in Manila claiming that the Chinese vessel was “besieged by 7 or 8 Filipino fishing boats.”

Justin Pacaul expressed dismay by the statement saying they almost lost their lives due to the incident.

“Bakit kami pa ang baliktarin na nang-harass sa kanila? Kung kami man mang-harass sa kanila hindi namin kakayanin, malaki bangka nila at marami sila sa amin (Why will they reverse [the story] saying we harassed them? If we did, we won’t be able to do it. Their boat is bigger and they outnumber us),” he said.

Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Chinese vessel may not have intentionally rammed the Filipino vessel. He also added that there is a need to thoroughly review the incident since it involves another country.

“Ang masasabi natin this really is an accident that happened. Kasi sasabihin natin kung talagang babanggain, sabihin natin napakabulok naman nung babangga, daplis lang. Siyempre kung meant to kill, siyempre diretso mo na (What we can say, this is really an accident. Because if they intentionally rammed it, and let’s say the boat is dilapidated—it was just a scratch. Of course, if it is meant to kill they should have gone for it),” he said.

Meanwhile, the wives of the 22 fishermen were happy to see their husbands safely return home. However, they are now concerned about their livelihood.

“Hindi po namin alam kung paano namin masu-solusyunan pang araw-araw dahil wala na pong bangka na paglalautan sila (We do not know how we can solve our daily expenses since they no longer have a boat to sail),” according to Mailyn Pacaul, Justin’s wife.

Cecille Gregorio also worries about the livelihood of her husband.

“Masaya nang makita ko siya na okay naman. Ang tanging kinalulungkot namin ngayon, wala kaming kabuhayan ngayon. Wala siyang hanapbuhay (I am happy to see him safe. Our worry now is we don’t have any livelihood),” she said.(with reports from Sherwin Culubong)

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Senators on West PH Sea collision: ‘A huge insult’ to Filipinos

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Several senators have condemned the reported collision of a Chinese vessel and a Filipino vessel on Sunday (June 9), deeming it ‘a huge insult’ to Filipinos.

Sen. Joel Villanueva called the actions of the Chinese crew as irresponsible after they left the 22 Filipino crewmen in the West Philippine Sea.

“We strongly condemn the irresponsible actions of the Chinese vessel’s crew. Saving the lives of fellow seafarers should be top priority regardless of nationality or flag. The incident shows the need for greater accountability and enforcement of international laws in the West Philippine Sea,” he said in his statement.

READ: Locsin files diplomatic protest vs China after West PH Sea collision

Senators Franklin Drilon shares the same sentiment with Senator Panfilo Lacson. They are both questioning the friendly relationship between China and the Philippines.

Senator Lacson calls for a talk between the country’s leaders.

“This incident calls for a leader-to-leader talk. As I said, nothing short of serious punitive action by the Chinese government against those responsible can convince us of a real friendly relationship between our peoples,” he said.

According to Director, Institute for Maritime Affairs & Law of the Sea- University of the Philippines Prof. Jay Batongbacal this is not the first time a Chinese vessel hit another country’s fishing vessel.

“Marami itong beses na nangyari sa Vietnam binabangga ng mga Chinese vessel iyong mga Vietnamese fishing vessel, (It had occurred numerous times in Vietnam where a Chinese vessel hit a Vietnamese fishing vessel)” he said.

Batongbacal also seeks accountability for what happened. He said that the Filipino crewmen should be given compensation.

“Kung hindi tayo aalma, kung palalampasin natin ito baka ang susunod na diyan lahat ng ating mga mangingisda diyan sa West Philippine sea ay gaganyanin din, babanggain, iha-harass hanggang sa umalis na tayo sa West Philippine Sea, (If we will not protest, they might also target other fishermen in the West Philippine Sea. They might harass us until we leave the West Philippine Sea)” Batongbacal added.(with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Putin, Kim hold historic summit in Vladivostok

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in the port City of Vladivostok for their first ever summit on April 25. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met on Thursday (April 25) for their first ever summit.

The two shook hands on Russky island near the Port City of Vladivostok, in Russia’s far east.

Putin told Kim he expected his visit to Russia would help the two countries understand how to reach settlement over the Korean peninsula and develop bilateral ties.

“I am sure that your visit to Russia today will help to develop bilateral relations and will help us understand how to reach settlement over the Korean peninsula, what can we do together, what Russia can do to support the positive processes that are going on right now. We welcome your efforts to develop the inter-Korean dialogue and to normalize North Korean-U.S. relationship,” Putin said.

“I, too, hope that our meeting with you, Mr. President, will be useful for strengthening and development of traditional friendly relations between DPRK and Russia which run deep. And I would like to say that situation on Korean peninsula is attracting interest of the whole world society. I hope that our talks will become an important milestone to sum up the situation, exchange opinions about it and to negotiate resolution together,” Kim said.

Kim and Putin met for their unprecedented summit, where Kim is likely to seek support from the Russian leader as nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States are hanging in limbo.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Mr. Kim met in Hanoi, Vietnam earlier this year without reaching an agreement.

According to Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the U.S.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment. That’s why it’s hardly possible to abstract away from this mechanism (the six-party talks). But on the other hand, you know that settlement efforts are being made by other countries as well. All efforts deserve support if they truly pursue the goal of denuclearizing society,” Peskov said.

The summit — the first ever between Putin and Kim — provides Pyongyang with an opportunity to seek support from a new quarter, Russia, and possible relief from the sanctions hurting its economy.

For the Kremlin, the summit is a chance to show it is a global diplomatic player, despite efforts by the united states and other western states to isolate it. REUTERS

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