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China called the reports inaccurate, and denied violating any U.N. restriction.
The U.S., which has previously said it took China at its word that it was complying with the sanctions, said Wednesday that in recent weeks it has raised with Beijing allegations that Chinese companies assisted North Korea’s missile program.
According to the Japanese reports, four of the vehicles were shipped from Shanghai to North Korea last August aboard the Harmony Wish, a Cambodian-flagged cargo vessel. Japanese authorities tracked the ship by satellite, and searched it after it had delivered its cargo, when it transited through Japan the following month, the reports said.
Such vehicles — called TELs, for transporter, erector, launcher — became the focus of international attention when North Korea displayed what looked like several of them during a military parade in its capital, Pyongyang, in April.
They are a concern because they could give the North the ability to transport long-range missiles around its territory, making them harder to locate and destroy.
Japan’s top government spokesman declined to confirm the reports Wednesday. But he said that if necessary, Japan would work with the international community to determine if U.N. regulations were violated.
In Beijing, Liu Weimin, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said his country has not violated any restrictions.
“Chinese companies did not violate U.N. and Chinese laws,” he said, calling the reports “inaccurate.” He did not specifically confirm or deny the vehicles were sold, but said China is opposed to proliferation and is “complying with U.N. laws and regulations.”
Although no suspicious vehicles were aboard the ship when it was searched in Japan, authorities found documents detailing the cargo it had unloaded in North Korea, and that included the vehicles, according to the Asahi, a major Japanese newspaper. It cited multiple but unnamed government sources.
It said the exported vehicles were believed to have been the ones used in the military parade, which was held shortly after a North Korea rocket launch that was widely condemned as an attempt to develop its long-range missile technology. The rocket, which North Korea claimed carried a satellite, failed soon after liftoff.
NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, and other media later had similar reports, also citing unnamed government sources.
The Asahi said the evidence was shared with South Korea and the United States, but claimed that Washington requested it not be made public.
On April 19, after press reports on the possible Chinese origin of the launch vehicle displayed in the military parade, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said that China had provided repeated assurances that it was complying with the U.N. sanctions.
“I think we take them at their word,” he said.
But at a news conference Wednesday, department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. in recent weeks has raised with Beijing its concerns over allegations of Chinese entities assisting North Korea’s missile program. She said the U.S. would continue to work with China and others in the international community on enforcing the sanctions. She refused to give further details as it pertained to intelligence, which the department refrains from commenting on.
Asahi identified the Chinese exporter as Wuhan Sanjiang Import Export Co., a subsidiary of state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., and the North Korean importer as Rimmok General Trading, which it said was likely a front company.
Immediately after the parade, private experts said the vehicles probably came from China, citing similarities to Chinese design patterns in the windscreen, the windscreen wiper configuration, the door and handle, the grill, the front bumper lighting configurations, and the cabin steps.
Despite the latest reports, experts say pinning a sanctions-busting charge on Beijing would be difficult because it would be hard to prove that Beijing knowingly approved the exports for military purposes.
With different modifications, the vehicle can also be used in commercial fields. The Asahi report said that China claims the vehicles were to be used to carry lumber.
The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and stepped up sanctions after its second test in 2009 to try to derail the country’s rogue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. The sanctions restrict exports of weapons or technology that could be used to boost those programs.Eric Talmadge
- Reports: NKorea missile launchers came from China (kansascity.com)
- China Sent Missile Launchers to North Korea (theepochtimes.com)
- First batch of 20,000 North Korean workers in China (chinadailymail.com)
General James Thurman, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, met recently with U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno to ask for an additional attack-reconnaissance squadron and “increased capabilities” in missile defense, Thurman told the Association of Republic of Korea Army in Seoul yesterday. …
Thurman’s request would be the first to seek more U.S. forces along the border since Kim took power following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in December. Tension has increased after a failed rocket launch by North Korea in April, a move that prompted speculation the North may conduct a nuclear test to reassert itself. Read original article atNewsmax
The U.S. government has reached an agreement with South Korea on Seoul’s development of longer-range missiles beyond limits set by an international accord.
The deal, expected to be announced this week, will result in South Korea’s military moving ahead with plans to build ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 341 miles from the current range limit of 186 miles set under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The new agreement will also open the way for South Korea to purchase U.S.-made long-range Global Hawk intelligence drones, currently limited for export due to MTCR restrictions.
South Korea has been seeking to purchase Global Hawks for surveillance of North Korea since 2009.
The current U.S.-South Korean missile agreement limits South Korea from building or buying ballistic missiles—those that travel into space and re-enter the atmosphere—with ranges greater than 186 miles. The new agreement modifies that 2001 accord to increase the ballistic missile range limit from 300 kilometers to 550 kilometers, or 341 miles.
The extended range missile accord would give South Korea the ability to attack targets throughout most of North Korea.
Some arms control proponents inside the Obama administration opposed the new arrangement, arguing that it undermines international efforts to limit missile proliferation.
The agreement has been under discussion for the past several months.
A State Department spokesman could not be reached for comment on the agreement.
In April, South Korea’s defense ministry requested $2.1 billion over five years for new missiles. The missile buildup is being sought as a response to North Korea’s development of long-range missiles.
South Korea’s defense ministry on April 19 released video of two new missiles, including a cruise missile with a range of over 620 miles, and a tactical ballistic missile with a range of 186 miles. The old U.S.-South Korea agreement does not limit cruise missile ranges.
The video quoted a South Korean general as saying the new ballistic missile is more powerful than the U.S.-made MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System deployed with South Korean forces.
One defense official said the missile range extension pact is raising new questions about U.S. extended nuclear deterrence for South Korea, which could influence that nation’s decision to remain a non-nuclear power.
Extending the range of ground-launched missiles could be the first step toward developing a South Korean nuclear deterrent to counter the small arsenal in the communist North.
The Obama administration is seeking sharp nuclear force cuts that some specialists say could undermine so-called extended deterrence—the umbrella of U.S. nuclear forces that are designed to counter nuclear powers in Asia and Europe.
An administration Nuclear Posture Review implementation study group was directed to examine the possibility of cutting deployed U.S. strategic nuclear warheads to as low as 300, less than are estimated to be in China’s currently known strategic arsenal.
The agreement follows North Korea’s recent test of a long-range missile and comes amid growing concerns that Pyongyang will follow the launch with a third underground nuclear test, as it did in the past when two nuclear tests followed two long-range missile launches.
Signs of activity have been detected at a North Korean nuclear test site, although China’s government is said to be urging its North Korean ally to avoid further provocation.
Last month, U.S. intelligence agencies detected work that appeared to be improving a North Korean missile launch facility at Musudan-ri, in the northeast part of the country. The construction has fueled new worries about North Korea’s development of a long-range missile.
Also, on April 15 North Korea displayed for the first time a new long-range, road-mobile ICBM deployed on a Chinese-made transporter-erector launcher, highlighting continued Chinese assistance to North Korea’s strategic missile program.
The missile launcher export was traced to a Chinese company and violates United Nations sanctions on North Korea that prohibit the transfer of any goods related to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
Last month, North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported that South Korea’s government is using the North’s test firing of what it claimed is a satellite launch as an excuse to build new missiles in response.
John Tkacik, a former State Department intelligence specialist, said the South Koreans “have reached the end of their collective rope with North Korea” after several deadly military confrontations since 2010.
The recent failed missile test was the last straw, he said, along with the brazen display by the North of the new mobile ICBM launcher.
“Understandably, Korean President Lee and President Obama realize that the United States is no longer in a position to claim any legal, ethical, or logical reason – certainly no arms control reason – to restrain South Korea from developing the types of weapons systems it needs to deter Pyongyang’s viciousness,” Tkacik told the Free Beacon.
“The whole rationale for restraining South Korea’s missile development was to keep a damper on North Korea’s weapons, but it’s just nutty to keep on citing that as a goal. That genie is already long burst from its bottle. However, that’s not to say the nuttier side of the arms-control community won’t argue against South Korea’s ability to defend itself.”
South Korean press reports from April said the missile extension agreement was discussed during the visit to Washington in late April by Kim Tae-hyo, a senior national security aide to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
One report at the time said the new missile accord would not be made public because of concerns that it would undermine agreements between the Untied States and other countries not to develop longer-range missiles.
South Korea in 2001 signed up to the limits of the Missile Technology Control Regime, an informal political understanding that seeks limits on trade in missiles and related technology.
The 2001 New Missile Guidelines prevent South Korea from buying or building complete rocket and unmanned aerial vehicle systems (including ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles, sounding rockets, cruise missiles, target drones, and reconnaissance drones) that can carry payload of at least 500 kg to a range of at least 300 km.
Missile subsystems, including rocket stages, engines, guidance sets, and re-entry vehicles, are banned under the 2001 agreement, as are related software and technology, and production facilities.
According to a State Department cable made public by Wikileaks, South Korea carried out “repeated and continued … development of new missiles systems that are inconsistent with the 2001 U.S.- New Missile Guidelines (NMG) agreement constraining their missile systems to MTCR Category I limits.”
The cable said that if Global Hawks are sold to Seoul, delivery would take place around 2014.
Also, current Global Hawk deployments in Guam do not provide enough intelligence coverage of North Korea.
“The United States understands the ROK’s need for enhanced ISR capabilities and is carefully reviewing the ROK’s request for Global Hawk,” the 2009 cable said.
Another 2009 cable quotes a South Korean official asking the United States to reconsider the MTCR restrictions on exporting space launch technology following a failed South Korean space launch. The request is an indication that South Korea would like to better develop space launchers with U.S.-origin technology. Space launch rocket boosters are very similar to long-range missiles.
An official website seen last night released the text of the constitution following its revision during a parliamentary session on April 13.
The preamble says: ‘National Defence Commission chairman Kim Jong-Il turned our fatherland into an invincible state of political ideology, a nuclear-armed state and an indomitable military power, paving the ground for the construction of a strong and prosperous nation.’
The previous constitution, last revised on April 9, 2010, did not carry the term ‘nuclear-armed state’.
Following Kim Jong-Il’s death last December, the country revised the charter to consecrate achievements of the late leader, who was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-Un.
The North has been developing nuclear weapons for decades. Its official position has been that it needs them for self-defence against a U.S. nuclear threat, but that it is willing in principle to scrap the atomic weaponry.
Under a September 2005 deal reached during six-nation negotiations, Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its nuclear programmes in return for economic and diplomatic benefits and security guarantees.
But six-party talks on implementing the deal have been stalled since December 2008. The North has staged two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.
Cheon Sung-Whun of the state Korea Institute for National Unification said: ‘This makes it clear that the North has little intention of giving up nuclear programmes under any circumstances.
‘If there is a demand at the negotiation table to give up nuclear weapons, the North Koreans would say it would be a breach of the constitution,’ he said.
A South Korean woman watches a TV news report showing a computer generated image of North Korea’s long-range rocket at Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea
NORTH KOREA’S BID TO GO NUCLEAR
2002 – North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it would immediately end a freeze on its nuclear power plant in response to an allied decision to suspend oil aid to Pyongyang.
2003 – North Korea withdraws from the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As a result the six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns.
2006 – North Korea reveals it has tested its first long range missiles in Punggye-r, in the north-east of the country.
2007 – After five rounds of talks there is little progress in the six-party group, until the third phase of the fifth round when North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities in exchange for fuel aid.
2009 – Continued international criticism of the 2006 long-range rocket launch prompts Pyongyang to walk away from nuclear disarmament negotiations and, weeks later, conduct its second nuclear test.
2011 – Longtime leader and state founderKim Jong Il dies, and is replaced by his sonKim Jong Un.
2012 - North Korea suffers spectacular failure of its latest long-range missile, which blew up moments after launch.
North Korea has long been in confrontation with the U.S. and its allies over its nuclear and missile programmes.
Its April 13 long-range rocket launch, purportedly a peaceful mission to put a satellite into orbit, further dimmed prospects for a diplomatic settlement.
The rocket broke into pieces shortly after liftoff.
The revised constitution ‘is certainly bad news for participants in the six-party talks’, said Professor Kim Keun-Sik at Kyungnam University in Changwon.
‘It will make it harder to persuade the North to give up nuclear weapons through diplomacy.’
But Kim cautioned against reading too much into what was intended as part of a eulogy for Kim Jong-Il.
‘The North has been touting its nuclear status as one of the key achievements accredited to the late leader and the new constitution factors this in,’ he said.
‘This can hardly be interpreted as a message that it will stick to its nuclear weapons no matter what.’
Kim also said the North’s constitution can easily be amended once its ruler decides to do so, noting it was revised twice in as many years.
The six-party talks which began in 2003 are chaired by China and also include the two Koreas, the United States, Russia and Japan.
May 30. 2012 – SOUTH KOREA – The wastage of food has been drastically reduced through the use of RFID technology in Korea. SK Telecom, with headquarters in South Korea has introduced an RFID disposable management system, which will encourage citizens to reduce the daily amount of food waste and also encourage them to recycle. The way the bin works is someone must tap the bin leading it to open up as a result of a reader attached to it. The reader reads the RFID-enabled card and the lid opens up. The waste can be thrown in after which the bin weighs the food waste letting the individual know the subsequent fee. The credit card, which is linked processes the payment amount automatically and it appears on the individuals bill. Fifty million Koreans create an estimated 170,000 tons of food waste daily. That is an approximate 350 grams per person per day, according to the Korean government. The current cost for food waste in Korea per year is over $600 million and it is continuing to rise. -RFID world
Watching the public execution of his mother and older brother, Shin Dong-Hyuk thought the punishment was just. They had planned to escape the North Korean labor camp they were being held in until Shin overheard them and reported them to the prison guards.
Just 14-years old, Shin says he felt no guilt in condemning them to death. One of the very few North Koreans to be born inside one of the brutal prison camps, he says the concept of family that exists in the outside world did not exist in Camp 14.…
Those, like Shin, who have tried to escape a North Korean political or hard labor camp and have survived to tell the tale, talk of starvation, torture, betrayal and executions. By informing on others, many say inmates could hope for more food or less beatings.
U.S. Army Gen. Neil Tolley, commander of U.S. Special Operations Forces in South Korea, told an audience in Tampa that U.S. and South Korean forces have been sent into North Korea to spy on the communist country’s vast collection of underground tunnels and military installations.
The extraordinary admission, which went unreported by U.S. media, came on May 22 during the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. Tolley said his command has identified 20 airfields and 180 munitions factories that are partially underground, along with thousands of subterranean artillery positions.
In its annual study, Amnesty International claimed that in addition to the 30 who died in purges last year, a further 200 were rounded up in January this year by the State Security Agency as Pyongyang carried out the transfer of power from Kim Jong Il, who died of an apparent heart attack in December, and his 29-year-old son, Kim Jong Un. …
The 30 men executed for failing to improve Pyongyang’s ties with Seoul are considered scapegoats for the new low point in inter-Korean ties.