North Korea cruise missile fuels proliferation concerns

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 10:35am

North Korea cruise missile fuels proliferation concerns | South China Morning Post

 

 

Agence France-Presse in Seoul

North Korea appears to have acquired a sea-based copy of a Russian cruise missile, the latest step in an effort to enhance its maritime strike capability, a US think-tank said on Tuesday.

A state propaganda film disseminated on social media sites, including YouTube, provides a very brief glimpse of the missile being launched from a naval vessel.

Writing on the closely watched 38 North website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis said the missile would mark “a new and potentially destabilising addition” to North Korea’s military arsenal.

Lewis identified the weapon as a copy of the Russian-produced KH-35 – a sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile developed during the 1980s and 90s.

The possibility that North Korea might sell KH-35 technology to others is not a happy thought Jeffrey Lewis Continue reading “North Korea cruise missile fuels proliferation concerns”

North and South Korean warships exchange fire in disputed area of Yellow Sea

Residents on a nearby island were evacuated to underground shelters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 6:38pm

Associated Press in Seoul

North and South Korean warships exchanged artillery fire yesterday in disputed waters off the western coast of the Korean peninsula, in the latest sign of rising animosity between the bitter rivals in recent weeks.

Officials from the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defence Ministry said a South Korean ship was engaged in a routine patrol near the countries’ disputed maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea when a North Korean ship fired two artillery shells. The shells did not hit the South Korean ship and fell in waters near it, they said. Continue reading “North and South Korean warships exchange fire in disputed area of Yellow Sea”

 North Korea conducts firing drills near a disputed sea border with South Korea / 100 rounds landed south of the border during that drill, prompting South Korea to fire hundreds of rounds

Ju-min Park and James Pearson,

Thomson Reuters April 29, 2014 08:45

More than 100 rounds landed south of the border during that drill, prompting South Korea to fire hundreds of rounds back into the North’s waters.

North Korea conducted live fire drills on Tuesday in two areas near a disputed sea border with South Korea that have been the scene of deadly clashes and where they fired hundreds of artillery rounds only weeks ago.

Map of Korean maritime border, language neutra...

Continue reading ” North Korea conducts firing drills near a disputed sea border with South Korea / 100 rounds landed south of the border during that drill, prompting South Korea to fire hundreds of rounds”

Chinese jet in near miss with North Korean missile

Shenyang-bound flight missed shot by minutes, but could have been hit on rocket’s descent

 UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 11:13pm
 Agencies in Seoul

northmissile_southernairline.jpg

A China Southern Airlines airplane carrying 220 passengers passed through the trajectory of a North Korean rocket (seen on the news in Seoul above). Photos: AP, Reuters

A China Southern Airlines aircraft carrying 220 passengers passed through the trajectory of a rocket launched seven minutes earlier by North Korea, a South Korean official said.

Flight CZ628 was headed to Shenyang in Liaoning province after taking off from Narita airport in Japan when North Korea fired the missile at 4.17pm on Tuesday, South Korean defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said. Continue reading “Chinese jet in near miss with North Korean missile”

China memorial to Korean assassin sparks Japan feud

Politics Jan. 20, 2014 – 02:59PM JST

China memorial to Korean assassin sparks Japan feud
South Korean conservative activists burn placards during a protest to complain against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting the Yasukuni war shrine, in Seoul on Dec 27.AFP

BEIJING —

A new Asian diplomatic row broke out Monday after China unveiled a memorial to a Korean national hero who assassinated a Japanese official a century ago—with Tokyo condemning him as a “terrorist”.

In 1909, Ahn Jung-Geun shot and killed Hirobumi Ito, Japan’s first prime minister and its top official in Japanese-occupied Korea, at the railway station in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin.

Ahn was hanged by Japanese forces the following year, when Korea also formally became a Japanese colony, heralding a brutal occupation that lasted until the end of World War II in 1945. Continue reading “China memorial to Korean assassin sparks Japan feud”

Satellite images show tunnelling at N. Korea test site

AFP Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013

SEOUL – Satellite imagery has revealed new tunnelling work at North Korea’s nuclear test site, but nothing that points to an imminent detonation, a US research institute said Wednesday.

The activity appears to have begun in late April – at the height of a recent surge in inter-Korean tensions – and gathered momentum over the next few months, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University posted on its 38 North web site.

The tunnelling at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site – evidenced by a large new dumpsite – was taking place near the West Portal where the North’s 2009 and possibly 2013 nuclear tests took place.

The purpose of the work was either to construct a new test tunnel that would take several years, or to repair or clean out an existing tunnel, the closely-followed website concluded.

“These activities do not appear to be part of preparations for a nuclear test in the near-term,” it said.

“Rather, they seem to be long-term projects – a conclusion reinforced by the presence of installed cart rails – that may be necessary for the conduct of future tests,” it added.

North Korea conducted its third and most powerful nuclear test at the Punggye-ri site in February this year.

North Korea said the test was of a miniaturised device, and hinted that the fissile material involved may have been uranium, as opposed to the plutonium used in its two previous tests in 2006 and 2009.

Pyongyang has made it clear that it plans to conduct further tests sometime in the future.

The February detonation triggered tightened UN sanctions and a cycle of escalating military tensions on the Korean peninsula that lasted for two months.

 

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20130626-432407.html

North Korea on Wednesday barred a delegation of South Korean businessmen from delivering food and supplies to 200 of their staff inside the closed Kaesong joint industrial zone.

N. Korea bars South delegation from joint zone

South Korean trucks arrive from North Korea’s Kaesong Industrial Complex.

AFP Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013

SEOUL – North Korea on Wednesday barred a delegation of South Korean businessmen from delivering food and supplies to 200 of their staff inside the closed Kaesong joint industrial zone.

Ten representatives of the 123 South Korean firms in Kaesong had applied for permission to visit the zone, two weeks after the North blocked all access amid soaring military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“Moments ago, North Korea informed us that the request for a visit by 10 representatives of the business companies at Kaesong had been turned down,” Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Seok said.

“It is very regrettable that the North has rejected the request and disallowed a humanitarian measure,” Kim said.

Kaesong, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) inside North Korea, was established in 2004 as a shining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Of the nearly 900 South Koreans who were in the zone when the North first cut off access on April 3, around 200 have opted not to leave in an effort to keep their companies running.

But the North’s action has left them without supplies of daily necessities, as well as raw materials.

“We again strongly urge the North Korean authorities to take responsible measures for meeting the most basic needs of the staff at Kaesong,” Kim said. The North withdrew all its 53,000 workers and suspended operations in Kaesong on April 8.

Seoul’s offers of dialogue to resolve the situation have been dismissed by the North as a “crafty trick”.

On Tuesday, North Korea said the South was seeking to shift responsibility for Kaesong’s closure, which Pyongyang insists was forced by Seoul’s policy of “confrontation” and its “war-mongering” statements.

“The puppet regime can never escape from the criminal responsibility for putting Kaesong in this grave situation”, the North’s state body in charge of special economic zones said in a statement.

The South is “clinging to sanctions against the North, while bringing in massive volumes of new war machines and madly engaging in exercises for a war of aggression while prattling about dialogue,” the statement said.

Neither of the Koreas has allowed previous crises to significantly affect the complex, which is seen as a bellwether of stability on the Korean peninsula and is a key source of hard currency for the North.

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20130417-416516.html

 

Russia concerned about security of its citizens in both Koreas

мид РФ здание политика
Russian Foreign Ministry

© Flickr.com/Dezhur/cc-by

Russia hopes that the leaders of the two Koreas will be wise enough not to let the current sharpening of relations between their countries grow into a war.

 A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry says that in such worsening situation, Russia will try to take care of their citizens in both Koreas.

 On Friday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry suggested that foreign embassies in Pyongyang, including the Russian one, and other foreign organizations in North Korea should send their workers back home.

 Russia keeps in touch with world powers on N. Korea evacuation offer

 Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he is keeping in touch with China, South Korea, Japan and the United States after Pyongyang suggested world powers should pull their embassy staff from North Korea.

 Mr. Lavrov told journalists he was keeping the group of six international mediators posted and added Russia was concerned about belligerent rhetoric that has been fanning the conflict throughout past weeks.

 He said Russia was probing into the motives behind this proposal, but added Pyongyang made it clear that this was a mere offer, not a warning.

 Russia puzzled over N Korea’s proposal to pull out embassy staff

 Moscow is going to clarify the motives behind North Korea’s surprise proposal to evacuate Russia’s diplomatic mission, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

 Mr. Lavrov underscored that similar offers had been made to all Pyongyang-based foreign diplomatic missions.

 Ria-Novosti news agency had a phone talk with a member of the Russian embassy in Pyongyang who confirmed that North Korea’s foreign ministry suggested that Moscow consider pulling out its diplomatic corps from Korea following the crisis that has been spinning out of hand over the week.

 Russia concerns about safety of citizens in North Korea

 The safety of Russian nationals remains the utmost priority for Moscow, a source with the country’s Foreign Office has said commenting on North Korea’s proposal to draw up a roadmap for evacuation of the Russian embassy.

 The offer came in the light of the recent escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang’s threat to strike at the US.

 The situation is spinning out of control, the source said, adding the conflict moved the security of Russian citizens in North Korea on the front burner.

 N Korea’s Foreign Ministry suggests that Russia consider evacuation issue

 The North Korean Foreign Ministry has suggested that Russia consider the issue of evacuating the Russian embassy personnel in view of the worsening of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, a representative of the Russian embassy in Pyongyang told RIA Novosti by phone.

 According to him Russia has taken this into account.

 This information was given to the other diplomatic missions in Pyongyang as well, he said.

 At the moment the Russian embassy is working normally, everything is quiet, and there is no tension, the diplomat said.

 Voice of Russia, RIA, Interfax, TASS

 

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_04_05/Russia-concerned-about-security-of-its-citizens-in-both-Koreas/

Hacking group Anonymous_Korea takes down N.Korea’s official websites

2012 апрель коллаж Anonymous Анонимус хакер хакеры взлом

© Collage “The Voice of Russia”

Hacking group Anonymous_Korea claimed they have taken down five of North Korea’s official websites, including the country’s official web portal and the foreign relations committee’s site.

 The hacktivist group Anonymous_Korea published a list of the five government websites they claimed to have put out of action on their Twitter feed under the hash tag ‘Tangodown.’

 The group later tweeted the attack was still under way, but they had not managed to bring down The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s site.

 Pyongyang stepped up its warmongering rhetoric on Friday night and declared it was “entering a state of war” with its southern neighbor.

 North Korea said on Saturday it was entering a “state of war” with South Koreain a continuing escalation of tough rhetoric against Seoul and Washington after coming under international sanctions for its nuclear test. Here is what Twitter users from all over the world think about it.

 JaeSweetheart: This is so sad North Korea is ready to launch an attack on South Korea and America and go to WW3.

Felipe Sahagún: North Korea has been in state of war since 1950. To repeat it today does not deserve headlines, maybe a brief in page 50.
Solo: North Korea just wanna see if we gonna pull the hammer first. Whether we do or don’t we can still blame the war on them.
Snowie: Any conflict on the Korean border and N.Korea will open up full conflict and nuclear war. one slip on a trigger and millions will die. Tense.
Edrick Sulistio: I suppose the beginning of WWIII is near as N. Korea enters war with S. Korea.
All Jet, No Lag: N. & S. Korea haven’t been at war nor at peace for decades. This ‘declaration of war’ has been a long time coming. Just sit, wait & watch.
Bob Reiss: I actually had a fascinating discussion as few weeks ago with a guy about how N Korea should focus on building a colony on the moon.
Daniel Woods: What’s the difference between the England football team and North Korea? None. They both have there fair share of trash talk.
Libertarian Ray: Why should what tiny country like North Korea matter? We cannot control what they might do. It’s inconsequential.
David Kaib: It’s really funny that people think Iran, North Korea and Syria are the ones who want unfettered arms trade.
Bishop Council Nedd: North Korea’s Kim is making U.S. officials nervous.
InterAksyon: North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un orders military: Prepare for ‘merciless strike’ on US mainland.
The Korean: The disparity bw today’s tweets ABOUT Korea and tweets FROM Korea cannot be greater. SKoreans are just living their lives; all panic in US.
BuzzFeed News: North Korea: “This will not be a 3 day-war but a blitz war through which KPA will occupy all areas of S. Korea…”
Danny: America would demolish North Korea in a war..
Jim Roberts: US worried much more about cyberattacks from North Korea than overt military action.
Lacey… Sass-ball: Maybe if Obama wasn’t so stupid North Korea wouldn’t wanna nuke us. So who wants to move to the moon with me.
tsundere gaybu: So, North Korea is ending the 50-year “ceasefire” with South Korea and hostilities will take place again? D: This isn’t good at all.
Alexander James: North Korea is that kid on the playground who didn’t get picked for kickball, and then threatens nuclear warfare on everyone playing.

 

 Voice of Russia, RT

 

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_03_30/Hacking-group-Anonymous-Korea-takes-down-N-Koreas-official-websites-206/

N.Korea says to enter “state of war” against South Korea – KCNA

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 00:21 GMT

Reuters

 

SEOUL, March 30 (Reuters) – North Korea said on Saturday it was entering a “state of war” with South Korea in a continuing escalation of tough rhetoric against Seoul and Washington after coming under international sanctions for its nuclear test.

“From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly,” a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

KCNA said the statement was issued jointly by the North’s government, ruling party and other organizations.

North Korea has been threatening to attack the South and U.S. military bases almost on a daily basis since the beginning of March, when U.S. and South Korean militaries started routine drills, and has ordered its armed forces on the highest alert.

But the impoverished state has kept a joint industrial zone that is the source of hard currency where hundreds of South Korean workers and vehicles cross enter daily after crossing the rival Koreas’ heavily armed border.

Few believe North Korea will risk starting a full-out war.

The two Koreas have been in a technical state of war because their 1950-53 conflict ended under an armistice and not a peace treaty, although Pyongyang earlier in March declared the truce no longer valid.  (Reporting by Sung-won Shim; Editing by Jack Kim)

Russia warns tensions are ‘slipping out of control’ as North Korea ‘readies rockets to attack United States targets’

Kim Jong-un responded to use of the B-2 bombers by the United States by saying his rocket forces were ready ‘to settle accounts with the US’

Rob Williams

Friday, 29 March 2013

Russia has warned that tensions between North Korea, South Korea and the United States are slipping out of control after Pyongyang said it was placing its missile units on stand-by.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that military activity near North Korea risked slipping into a “vicious cycle” that could get out of control.

The comments were seen as implicit criticism of US bomber flights that followed threats from Pyongyang. Russia also warned that North Korea should cool down, calling on “all sides not to flex their military muscle” and avoid the danger of a belligerent response.

“We are concerned that alongside the adequate, collective reaction of the U.N. Security Council, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Earlier today China, the only major ally of the North Korean regime, called for calm as tensions continued to simmer in the peninsula.

The statement came as North Korea responded furiously to the announcement by the US that nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers had been used during military drills over South Korea.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un responded to use of the bombers, which dropped dummy munitions on an uninhabited South Korean island during then drill, by saying his rocket forces were ready “to settle accounts with the US.”

According to the North Korean state news agency, KCNA, Kim Jong-un signed an order to put missile units on stand-by to attack US targets at a late night meeting of top generals.

Kim “convened an urgent operation meeting” with his senior generals, signed a rocket preparation plan and ordered his forces on standby to strike the US mainland, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii, state media reported.

The news agency quoted him as saying that the time had come to “settle accounts” with the US, KCNA also quoted him as saying the B-2 flights were an “ultimatum”.

Pyongyang has been angered by joint military drills carried out jointly by South Korea and the US in response to months of bellicose and belligerant language from the North Korean regime.

Earlier this month the UN voted to approve fresh sanctions against North Korea after they carried out an underground nuclear test in February, its third after tests in 2006 and 2009.

The regime in North Korea responded furiously to the imposition of new sanctions announcing on the 7th of March that it has the right to a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” on the US.

US and South Korea military drills began just days later.

Yesterday US Forces Korea said that B-2 stealth bombers flew from a US air base in Missouri and dropped dummy munitions on an uninhabited South Korean island range before returning home.

The Pentagon said this was the first time a B-2 had dropped dummy munitions over South Korea, but later added that it was unclear whether there had ever been any B-2 flights there.

The statement follows an earlier US announcement that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers participated in the joint military drills.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. was making sure its defenses were “appropriate and strong” as North Korea continues to test and seeks to extend the reach of its weaponry.

China, today called for an easing of tensions in the region. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comments at a daily news briefing.

Despite the seeming seriousness of the threats from North Korea any sort of strike is seen as extremely unlikely. Experts suggest that the fiery rhetoric is an attempt by the North to get South Korea to soften its policies, win direct talks and aid from Washington, and strengthen the Kim Jong-un’s credentials and image at home.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/russia-warns-tensions-are-slipping-out-of-control-as-north-korea-readies-rockets-to-attack-united-states-targets-8554260.html#

N. Korea Says Nukes Are Not A Bargaining Chip For Aid

Mar. 17, 2013 – 12:58PM   |
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |

SEOUL — North Korea said Sunday it would never trade its nuclear weapons program for aid and stressed its “unshakeable” stance to retain the deterrent, following a third atomic test last month.

The North’s foreign ministry, in a statement carried by state TV, rejected suggestions that the impoverished state was using its weapons program as a way of bullying neighbors into offering much-needed aid.

“The U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks that the (North) had access to nukes as a bargaining chip to barter them for what it called economic reward,” it said.

The comments came days after the U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said Washington was willing to hold “authentic negotiations” with the North if it changed its behavior.

“To get the assistance it desperately needs and the respect it claims it wants, North Korea will have to change course,” he said last week.

But the North on Sunday called its atomic weaponry a “treasured sword” to protect itself from what it called a hostile U.S. policy.

The U.S. “temptation” may work on other countries “but it sounds nonsensical” to the North, the foreign ministry statement said.

“The (North) would like to re-clarify its unshakeable principled stand on its nuclear deterrence for self-defense.”

Last month’s test, its most powerful to date, prompted the United Nations to further tighten sanctions imposed following previous nuclear tests and long-range rocket launches in 2006 and 2009.

The tougher sanctions, and an ongoing South Korean-U.S. military exercise, sparked an angry response from Pyongyang, which said it was tearing up the armistice that ended the Korean War and ending non-aggression pacts with Seoul.

The country has suffered chronic food and fuel shortages for decades, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts, mismanagement and global sanctions.

International food aid, especially from South Korea and the U.S., has been drastically cut over the past several years amid tensions over the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

A six-nation aid-for-denuclearization forum on the North, involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, the U.S. and Russia, have been at a standstill since the last meeting in December 2008.

Almost 28 percent of the North’s children under age 5 are stunted from malnutrition, a 2012 U.N. national nutrition survey showed.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130317/DEFREG02/303170006/N-Korea-Says-Nukes-Not-Bargaining-Chip-Aid?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

N. Korea voids non-aggression pacts with South

08   Mar 2013
SEOUL (AFP)

North Korea announced Friday it was voiding non-aggression pacts with South Korea and severing a hotline with Seoul, hours after the UN Security Council adopted tough new sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea “abrogates all agreements on non-aggression reached between the North and the South,” the state-run Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement.

“It notifies the South side that it will immediately cut off the North-South hotline,” said the statement, which was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/n-korea-voids-non-aggression-pacts-south

 

North Korea may stage two more nuclear tests this year, source says

Fourth test would be much larger than third, staged this week, and there could also be another rocket launch

 

    • Reuters in Beijing
    • guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 February 2013 09.37 EST
North Korea nuclear test celebration

North Korean soldiers and civilians in Pyongyang celebrate the success of the country’s third nuclear test. Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media

North Korea has told its key ally China that it is prepared to stage one or two more nuclear tests this year in an effort to force the United States into diplomatic talks, a source said.

There could also be another rocket launch, said the source, who has direct access to the top levels of government in both Beijing and Pyongyang.

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday, drawing a stern warning from the US that it was a provocation.

“It’s all ready. A fourth and fifth nuclear test and a rocket launch could be conducted soon, possibly this year,” the source said, adding that the fourth nuclear test would be much larger than the third at an equivalent of 10 kilotons of TNT.

The source said the tests would be undertaken unless Washington held talks with North Korea and abandoned its policy of what Pyongyang sees as attempts at regime change.

North Korea also reiterated its longstanding desire for the US to sign a final peace agreement with it and establish diplomatic relations, the source said. The North remains technically at war with both the US and South Korea after the Korean war ended in 1953 with a truce.

Initial estimates of this week’s test from South Korea’s military put its yield at the equivalent of 6-7 kilotons, although a final assessment of yield and what material was used in the explosion may be weeks away.

The test, North Korea’s third since 2006, prompted warnings from Washington and others that more sanctions would be imposed. The UN security council has only just tightened sanctions after Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket in December. The North is banned under UN sanctions from developing missile or nuclear technology.

North Korea worked to ready its nuclear test site, about 60 miles from its border with China, throughout last year, according to commercially available satellite imagery. The images show that it may have already prepared for at least one more test.

“Based on satellite imagery that showed there were the same activities in two tunnels, they have one tunnel left after the latest test,” said Kune Y Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University.

Analysis of satellite imagery released on Friday by the specialist North Korea website 38North showed activity at a rocket site that appeared to indicate it was being prepared for an upcoming launch.

The North has said the test this week was a reaction to what it called “US hostility” following its rocket launch in December. Critics say the rocket launch was aimed at developing technology for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“[North] Korea is not afraid of [further] sanctions,” the source said. “It is confident agricultural and economic reforms will boost grain harvests this year, reducing its food reliance on China.”

China signed up for sanctions after the North’s nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 and for a UN security council resolution passed in January to condemn the latest rocket launch. However, Beijing has stopped short of abandoning all support for Pyongyang.

Sanctions have not discouraged North Korea from pursuing its nuclear ambitions, analysts said. “It is like watching the same movie over and over again,” said Lee Woo-young, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “The idea that stronger sanctions make North Korea stop developing nuclear programmes isn’t effective in my view.”

The source with ties to Beijing and Pyongyang said China would again support UN sanctions. He declined to comment on what level of sanctions Beijing would be willing to endorse.

“When China supported UN sanctions … [North] Korea angrily called China a puppet of the United States,” he said. “There will be new sanctions which will be harsh. China is likely to agree to it,” he said, without elaborating.

He said Beijing would not cut food and fuel supplies to North Korea, a measure that it reportedly took after a previous nuclear test. The source said North Korea’s actions were a distraction for China’s leadership, which was concerned the escalations could inflame public opinion in China and hasten military buildups in the region.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/15/north-korea-more-nuclear-tests

 

Seoul ready for preemptive strike on N. Korea if it attacks – military commander

Feb 6, 2013 16:19 Moscow Time

северная Корея Южная корея флаг Северная корея

© Collage “The Voice of Russia”

South Korea’s top military commander Gen. Jung Seung-jo has hinted at a possible “preemptive strike” against North Korea if Pyongyang shows signs of preparing to attack the South with nuclear weapons ahead of the third atom test.

Speaking at a parliamentary defense meeting, the South Korean commander said the attack would be made even at the risk of a full-scale war with the North.

The announcement came as Pyongyang warned to take “harsher measures” against “hostile forces that are trying to trigger a nuclear war,” instead of a nuclear test.

Gen. Jung Seung-jo also said the military were not yet going to wipe out North Korea’s nuclear test site in the country’s northeast, although the final decision would be made based on how the situation develops.

Voice of Russia, TASS


Heightened tensions in the DPRK as war of words escalates: Pyongyang to respond aggressively

John Robles

Surrounded by enemy forces, besieged by sanctions, demonized by the Western propaganda machine, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea says it will fight back and that anyone who encroaches upon its dignity and sovereignty with any form of “sanctions” will not be able to avoid deadly retaliation. The media is rife with speculation as to what that retaliation may be but one thing is certain, unless pushed into a corner, the DPRK will never launch a first strike. That would be literal suicide.

In response to new sanctions and more threats from the West North Korea has said that they would be forced to take more serious measures than a simple nuclear test. Although there was no exact description what those measures would be, the West has ramped up the anti-Korean propaganda to new levels, forcing the North to issue numerous responses.

The Russian Federation has urged North Korea to show restraint despite the heightened level of confrontation evident in the latest escalation of tensions between North Korea and South Korea, the United States and their allies.

North Korea continues to be pushed into a corner with dozens of statements being released by various officials and committees of the People’s Republic of North Korea. The Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) issued a press release on the second of February full of extremely strong language against the South and the United States.

The language of the CPRK’s statement titled, “DPRK Will Retaliate against Provokers: CPRK Secretariat” was unusually strong. In the statement they called Chon Yong U, chief of Diplomacy and Security in Chongwadae, Ryu U Ik, the Minister of Unification, confrontation maniacs of South Korea who along with others had said that “the north should choose one, either survival or nuclear weapons” and “stronger sanctions that the north can hardly hold off have to be imposed”.

The almost open threat by the South to destroy the DPRK was a sign of the increasing assertiveness of the South, something that has been stoked by the US Forces in the region and the new sanctions that have been imposed on North Korea by the United Nations.

With regards to the statements made by Official Seoul the CPRK stated the following: “The U.S. and the south Korean regime do not hesitate to make such outbursts as calling for not ruling out even military ‘sanctions’. Warmongers are inciting war fever while touring units in the forefront areas.”

The CPRK called intensified confrontation a “racket on the part of the U.S., the Lee group and other hostile forces” and that, “… the UN “resolution on sanctions” against the DPRK is a product of the deliberate and planned intrigues to escalate the hostile steps against it to bar it from building an economic giant, and to isolate and stifle it. But they are seriously mistaken.”

In equally threatening language the CPRK echoed calls made by other official representatives for unspecified moves in response to what it sees as deliberate actions to destroy the DPRK and a hint at just how bad the new sanctions may be affecting the North Korean people: “The “sanctions” of the enemies further hardened the will and strength of all service personnel and people of the DPRK to defend their just cause and build the most powerful nation, a highly-civilized socialist nation under the banner of justice.”

“The DPRK is fully ready for both economic and military “sanctions”, and anyone who encroaches upon its dignity and sovereignty even a bit with any form of “sanctions” will not be able to avoid deadly retaliation.”

Again what that retaliation is, is not clear.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing media reports from the DPRK: “North Korea will “ruthlessly strike” back if the United States launches preemptive attacks on its nuclear facilities.”

Yonhap quoted the Minju Chosun, a newspaper published by the North’s Cabinet and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying: “If the United States and warmongers attack and try to weaken us, such expectations will be a huge miscalculation…” and “…if North Korea is attacked, its military and people will rise up and mercilessly repel the perpetrators and start a victorious war of national unification.”

Meanwhile amid reports that a third North Korean nuclear test is soon to take place Sky News reported that a strange video appeared on You Tube, showing a North Korean dreaming of an attack on the United States of America. According to Sky News “The video was released via a website linked to the North Korean state news agency.”

The official DPRK news agency KCNA issued a statement which read: “The DPRK has drawn a final conclusion that it will have to take a measure stronger than a nuclear test to cope with the hostile forces’ nuclear war moves that have become ever more undisguised.”

The South has reported that the DPRK may stage a double nuclear test but has not provided details to support the claim and the South Korean Ambassador to the United Nations said a North Korean nuclear test “seems to be imminent.”

North Korea which is struggling under intense sanctions and whose people are paying the price for, the “sanctions” imposed on the country, sees the development of its nuclear program as a right and a necessity. A right, the same as any country has, to develop cheap and efficient nuclear power, and a necessity, to protect its sovereignty and its territory from attack and invasion by the South and the United States, two countries who continually hound and provoke it.

North Korea knows that one of the few things stopping the West and the South from launching a full scale invasion is the fact that they are afraid that the DPRK may in fact have a nuclear weapon which it may use to defend itself. After the disarming or Iraq, Libya and other countries which were then invaded, the DPRK knows that it cannot afford to stop its nuclear program, it is the main deterrent they have.

The DPRK also knows and has been very careful in not making initial provocative statements but continues to respond aggressively to threats from the South, it is also aware that any first strike would be suicide as it has seen the US building up its forces all over the region.

In the latest scandal the West is following the same old script we have seen time and time again, namely: while provoking and carrying out aggressive in-your-face- policies, imposing sanctions and building up military forces near a country’s borders, this time the DPRK, the West claims the DPRK is the aggressor and must be dealt with.

North Korea is wise enough and mature enough to refrain from any act of aggression against the South and the West, but it must walk a fine line between showing it has might and can defend itself and making sure it does nothing that can provoke an open military confrontation, hence the aggressive statements in its own defense.

While South Korea enjoys a relatively prosperous existence and is comfortable that it has the United States to defend it, the North sees itself as more and more being pushed into the corner and the people as well as the sate are ready to fight to the end in what for them is a do or die situation. Sanctions are not softening the resolve of the DPRK, but the opposite is quite true. The DPRK is growing harder as South Korea is growing softer.

With the United States attempting to consolidate its power and bring the entire region under its sphere of military and economic influence, the DPRK is country that they believe has to go. As does any country that follows independent and robust foreign and internal polices and as with any communist country.

The DPRK has the right to defend itself and to defend its sovereignty, but it is complete nonsense to believe that they would launch any kind of a first strike.

 

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_06/Seoul-ready-for-preemptive-strike-on-N-Korea-if-it-attacks-military-commander/

North Korea release video showing US city in flames

‘9/11 style’ clip posted on YouTube by rogue state  shows ‘the nest of wickedness’ ablaze

LAST UPDATED AT 15:33 ON Tue 5 Feb  2013

NORTH KOREA has posted a YouTube video showing a sleeping youth dreaming of  an unidentified American city in flames as the pop hit We Are The  World plays.

The eerie clip was uploaded to YouTube by the rogue state’s official website  Uriminzokkiri. It emerged hours after a warning that North Korea was planning a  new nuclear test.

The three-minute animated video begins innocently as its young subject boards  a rocket and journeys into space. As he orbits around the earth, the camera  zooms in on various countries.

Then a close-up of US flag appears before we cut to a city on fire, with  skyscrapers crumbling in scenes described by The Guardian as “reminiscent of 9/11”.

The caption, in North Korean, reads: “Somewhere in the United States, black  clouds of smoke are billowing. It seems that the nest of wickedness is  ablaze.”

At end of the clip, says the Daily Telegraph, a caption tells us that the young man’s  dream will “surely come true”. Another caption reads: “Despite all kinds of  attempts by imperialists to isolate and crush us… never will anyone be able to  stop the people marching toward a final victory.”

Earlier today Kim Sook, South Korea’s ambassador to the UN, said a North  Korea nuclear test appeared imminent.

Read more:  http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/north-korea/51365/north-korea-release-video-showing-us-city-flames#ixzz2K2ggvWLW

North Korea threatens to go beyond nuclear testing

Feb 5, 2013 17:29 Moscow Time

кндр флаг северная корея

© Collage “The Voice of Russia”

North Korea has threatened to go beyond carrying out its promised third nuclear test, KCNA state news agency reported.

“The DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, or North Korea) has drawn a final conclusion that it will have to take a measure stronger than a nuclear test to cope with the hostile forces’ nuclear war moves that have become ever more undisguised,” the media agency said.

Pyongyang did not spell out which actions it would take.

It comes after sanctions were placed on North Korea following a December long-range rocket launch.

The launch was in violation of UN resolutions which banned the country from developing missile or nuclear technology after nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Pyongyang says that it has the right to launch rockets for peaceful purposes.

It was originally speculated that the third nuclear test was announced in response to the sanctions, although satellite pictures indicate that the country has been readying its nuclear test site for more than a year.

While most experts believe the North will stage a test, the timing is not known. Many believe it could come around February 16, the anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il’s birth.

The South Korean President feels that North Korea may conduct two nuclear tests at a time shortly. Lee Myung-bak said as much in an interview carried in today’s issue of the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

Lee Myung-bak cited no facts that would prove his assumption. But he also opined that Pyongyang may, besides, test a compact nuclear warhead for a ballistic missile.

North Korea successfully launched a carrier-rocket in December last year, triggering a negative reaction from the rest of the world.

Experts feel Pyongyang test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile.

 

South Korea warns about a new nuclear test allegedly being prepared by Pyongyang.

South Korea’s UN envoy said on Monday that such new provocations by the North should not go unanswered by the international community.

He reminded of last December’s launch of a North Korean space satellite in violation of pertinent resolutions by the UN Security Council, which prompted additional economic sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korea carried out two underground nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

 

Moscow hasn’t confirmed that North Korea has already planted the nuclear bomb as part of its anticipated nuke test, a Russian diplomat said.

“A number of countries and international non-proliferation organizations have been warning that the test facility has been put on standby [ahead of the nuclear test],” Russia’s nuclear envoy Grigory Logvinov said.

“We have no actual proof that the charge has been planted. I doubt that anyone, apart from North Koreans, can know this for sure,” he added.

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered preparations for the planned nuclear test to come to a conclusion and imposed martial law in the country, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper has cited an unnamed South Korean source as saying Thursday.

According to the source, the test may be carried out earlier than expected. Some experts name February 16, the birthday of Kim Jong-il, or the inauguration of South Korea’s president-elect Park Chung-hee on January 25 as a possible launch date.

 

North Korea has renewed its threat to carry out a third nuclear test in its latest warning sparked by a tightening of UN sanctions, saying it is the “demand of the people.”

The comments on Saturday come a day after Pyongyang said the sanctions adopted earlier this week amounted to a “declaration of war”, threatening the South with unspecified “physical counter-measures”.

“A nuclear test is the demand of the people,” said the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily newspaper of the ruling communist party in a signed commentary titled “We have no other option”.

“The people’s demand is that we must do something even greater than a nuclear test. The United Nations Security Council has left us with no other options,” it said.

The current upsurge in tensions has its roots in Pyongyang’s defiant decision to push ahead with a long-range rocket launch on December 12 – insisting it was a peaceful mission to place a satellite in orbit.

The rest of the world saw it as a banned ballistic missile test and on Tuesday the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that expanded the number of North Korean entities on an international blacklist.

The United States, supported by Japan and South Korea, spearheaded the UN resolution.

Voice of Russia, RIA, Interfax, TASS, RT

 

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_05/North-Korea-threatens-to-go-beyond-nuclear-testing/

N.Korea capable of building ICBM, says Seoul

 

Song Sang-ho

 

The Korea Herald

 

Publication Date : 22-01-2013

 

Debris also shows parts from four European countries

 

North Korea has secured technologies to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles and key components with ranges of around 10,000 kilometres, the defence ministry concluded yesterday.

 

Announcing its final analysis of North Korean rocket debris retrieved from the West Sea last month, the ministry said Pyongyang had imported 10 ancillary parts from China and four European Union countries to make the three-stage rocket.

 

The ministry did not disclose the names of the EU countries out of concern of possible diplomatic difficulties with them. The parts can also be used commercially and there were no parts made in Middle East states, it added.

 

The authorities are investigating whether the exports contravene UN resolutions and other international rules of arms control that ban any missile-related transactions with the North.

 

“Most of the core components for the long-range rocket were indigenously produced. But the North used imported secondary parts such as the temperature sensor, direct-current converter, pressure sensor and electrical wires,” a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

 

“Despite international sanctions that restrict its efforts to introduce advanced technology and components from overseas, it has greatly advanced its missile technology based on the experience from many experiments.”

 

More than 50 experts including those from the US have analysed six pieces of the rocket’s first-stage engine parts since December 14. The state-funded Agency for Defence Development, the Korea Defence Intelligence Command, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and other related agencies participated in the analysis.

 

The debris was recovered in waters some 160 km away from Gunsan, North Jeolla Province after the successful rocket launch on December 12.

 

Seoul officials believe there are no imported parts of the rocket that violate the Missile Technology Control Regime.

 

The MTCR bans the export of any missile or unmanned aerial vehicle with a range of 300 km and a payload weighing more than 500 kg. Seoul joined the programme in 2001, becoming the 33rd official member of the US-led programme.

 

Observers said that the international community could discuss whether the parts the North imported to build missiles or anything under the name of satellite development should be added to the list of items controlled under the MTCR.

 

Seoul authorities are also looking into whether the foreign countries from which the North imported some of the parts violated UN Resolution 1874 that bans arms transactions with the North.

 

As there were no weapons or parts that breach the MTCR, observers say that it is unlikely that those countries had violated the resolution.

 

The North’s satellite launch in December has deepened security concerns on the peninsula and beyond as it showed it is closer to developing delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads.

 

Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have been seeking to adopt stronger international sanctions against the North.

 

Reports say that the UN Security Council could increase the number of North Korean organisations and individuals subject to anti-Pyongyang sanctions and make additional provisions that toughen economic and financial sanctions against the communist state.

http://www.asianewsnet.net/N-Korea-capable-of-building-ICBM-says-Seoul-41747.html

N. Korea tells China planning nuclear test: report

AFP Saturday, Jan 12, 2013

SEOUL – A North Korean official has apparently told Chinese authorities that the communist state is planning to conduct a third nuclear test in the coming week, a news report said Saturday.

“We’ve heard a North Korean official in Beijing told the Chinese side that the North planned to carry out a nuclear test between January 13-20,” the Joongang Ilbo daily quoted an unidentified Seoul official as saying.

South Korean officials have a policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

“We’re now stepping up surveillance over the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” the official said in reference to the North’s only nuclear test site, where tests were carried out in 2006 and 2009.

With the UN Security Council still debating possible sanctions against the North following the launch of a long-range rocket last month, there has been widespread speculation that Pyongyang may carry out a third nuclear test.

However, Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said there were “no signs of a nuclear test being imminent”.

“Chances are slim that the North might push ahead with a nuclear test in this winter season, especially when China is insisting on a moderated response to the rocket launch to prevent a third nuclear test taking place,” Yang told AFP.

Last month a US think-tank citing satellite photos said the North had repaired extensive rain damage at the nuclear test site in the northeast of the country and could conduct a detonation on two weeks’ notice.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said satellite photos as recent as December 13 showed Pyongyang was determined to maintain a state of readiness at Punggye-ri.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Yu Woo-Ik told a parliamentary committee last month it was “highly probable” the North would likely follow up the successful rocket launch with another nuclear test.

“Judging from analysis of intelligence, significant preparations have been made,” he said.

North Korea had a track record of conducting nuclear tests following missile launches, which were aimed at developing a delivery system for nuclear warheads, Yu said.

The North’s previous nuclear tests were both carried out within months of long-range rocket launches.

Pyongyang insists the launch was a purely scientific mission aimed at placing a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite in space, but most of the world saw it as a disguised ballistic missile test.

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20130112-395079.html

 

Korean Cyber espionage attack Targets Russia

espionage

Ask an expert on cyber espionage and he for sure he will speak of China, the most active and advanced country in this sector, this time a clamorous campaign apparently originated from Korea has been discovered.

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Security company FireEye collected evidences of a cyber espionage campaign, named “Sanny“, attributable to Korea. FireEye hasn’t revealed the real origin of the offensive, it’s a mystery which Korea is responsible between North or South Korea, but it confirmed that 80% of victims are Russian organizations and companies belonging to space research industry, information, education and telecommunication.
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According Ali Islam, security researcher at FireEye declared “Though we don’t have full concrete evidence, we have identified many indicators leading to Korea as a possible origin of attack.”
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The following are the indicators we have so far:
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1. The SMTP mail server and CnC are in Korea
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2. The fonts “Batang” and “KP CheongPong” used in the document are Korean
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3. The fact that the attacker chose a Korean message board as the CnC shows that either he/she is a native speaker or is at least very comfortable with the Korean language
4. Some searching on “jbaksanny” (the Yahoo email used) leads to a Korean Wikipedia page created by the user named Jbaksan. The page is auto-filled and has nothing in the edit history except the creation of this user.
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The unique certainly seems to be that experts have detected a state-sponsored attack and that the attackers have demonstrated great cyber capabilities.
Ali Islam added Once you have that information, you have access to employees’ emails even from outside, and that means a lot of official information,” Islam says. “It also steals other accounts credentials, all user passwords stored by Firefox for auto login.”
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The schema of infection is classic, victims received a phishing message containing a malware hidden in a document, apparently proposing information related to a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,  that exploits a Microsoft Word vulnerability to steal data.
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The figure below reports a document written with Cyrillic character set demonstrating the real targets of attacks.
Korean Cyber espionage attack Targets Russia
The most singular characteristic of the cyber attacks is the use of a public forum to collect the stolen information, data is sent to the board that does not require authentication mechanisms that make the victims visible.
hacked
Today the C&C server is still active and the attackers are monitoring it to check new victims and stolen data every couple of days deleting data once acquired.
Investigations are still ongoing.

About Author:

photoPierluigi Paganini is Company Director, Researcher, Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer. Security expert with over 20 years experience in the field. Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led me to found the security blog ‘Security Affairs‘ He is also Author of the book “The Deep Dark Web“. Follow him @ Facebook |   Google | Email | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

http://thehackernews.com/2012/12/korean-cyber-espionage-attack-targets.html

 

Russian space research org targeted by mystery malware attack

Korean message forum becomes cyber-espionage hub

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 12th December 2012 10:03 GMT

Free whitepaper – A Paradigm Shift in Digital Asset Storage

Security researchers have discovered a targeted attack against Russian hi-tech firm that appears to originate in Korea.

The “Sanny” attack* is malware-based and geared towards stealing login information from Russian telecommunications, information technology and space research organisations. The first stage of the assault features a malicious Russian language MS Word document designed to drop malware onto compromised PCs. This establishes a backdoor on infected machines, establishing a botnet in the process.

The Command and Control channel for this botnet is embedded on a legitimate page, a Korean message board called “nboard.net”, according to an analysis of the attack by web security firm FireEye. The malware sends messages to two pre-programmed Yahoo! webmail address, one in Korea, if the board becomes unavailable.

Extracted data is normally sent to a public message board that does not require authentication, so details of victims are visible. Stolen data includes Outlook login credentials as well as username/passwords that Firefox remembers for different online services such as Hotmail, Facebook, etc. Apart from login credentials, the malware also profiles the victims, for example by victim_locale, victim_region, and other relevant information from the Windows REGISTRY of infected computers. This information is then posted to the Korean message board before been extracted and purged over a two day cycle by the unidentified attacker.

Apparent victims include a Russian Space Science research unit at a Russian University and ITAR-TASS, the Russian state-owned news agency.

Although it doesn’t have proof, FireEye reckons that a Korean is the most likely perpetrator of the attack.

“Though we don’t have full concrete evidence, we have identified many indicators leading to Korea as a possible origin of attack.” FireEye researchers Alex Lanstein and Ali Islam conclude in a jointly authored blog post on the attack.

More technical details can be found in a blog post by FireEye here [1]. ®

* So named by the security researchers for one of the email addresses used by the attackers.

S.Korea says forged nuclear certificates from unnamed parties

  •   Wed, 7 Nov 2012 02:31 GMT
  •   Source: reuters

SEOUL, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Most of the forged safety certificates submitted by eight firms under investigation for falsifying documents for equipment used in two South Korean nuclear reactors, purported to come from certifying body UCI, were from unnamed parties, South Korean officials said on Wednesday.

Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo Hong told a parliamentary committee that most of the documents that appeared to have been issued by UCI were forgeries.

A senior economy ministry official told Reuters that UCI was one of 12 U.S. certifiers, but was not one of the 8 firms under investigation.

South Korea shut down two nuclear reactors on Monday due to safety concerns over parts.

Hong did not name the companies that submitted the fake documentation

S. Korea shuts down 2 nuclear reactors for substandard parts ( unapproved parts )

The Korea Herald/Asia News Network Tuesday, Nov 06, 2012

SOUTH KOREA – The government shut down unit 5 and unit 6 of the nuclear power plant in Yeonggwang County, South Jeolla Province, on Monday, after finding a number of “substandard” components in the two nuclear reactors.

The government’s announcement of the use of unapproved parts in the nuclear power plants shocked the public, raising concerns over safety and power shortages during the upcoming winter.

Speaking at a press briefing, Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo said eight part suppliers have faked 60 warranties for 234 parts since 2003 and so supplied 7,682 unqualified items worth 820 million won (S$920,000) to the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., KHNP, the state-run operator of the nation’s 23 nuclear reactors nationwide.

Of the total substandard items, 5,233 have actually been installed in five nuclear reactors and about 99 per cent of them were used in unit 5 and unit 6 of the nuclear power plant in Yeonggwang, which is located some 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

Minister Hong said, “The ministry decided to shut down the two reactors as part of preventive measures. The two reactors will continue to be stopped until the replacement of poor parts is completed by the end of this year.” He added that the ministry will exchange faulty parts of three other reactors, while operating them.

The ministry claimed that it hadn’t found any evidence for a possible radiation leak due to the use of unqualified parts.

Ministry officials said an anonymous outsider tipped them off with the information on the use of unqualified parts at the end of October. It is not clear yet that the KHNP has been directly involved in the scandal.

The closure of the two nuclear reactors for more than a month is expected to deal a blow to the nation’s power supply in winter, given the fact that both are reactors with the capacity of generating one million kilowatts per hour.

Industry watchers said a partial blackout is a possible scenario in January and February next year, if the resumption of the closed two reactors is pushed back to early next year or other reactors are also shut down.

Nuclear power plants are one of the major power sources in Korea, taking about 30 per cent of the nation’s total power generation.

As a follow-up measure to cope with the power supply in the winter, the ministry said it has launched a contingency team and will soon discuss measures with businesses consuming massive power.

The ministry is also under fire for its mismanagement of nuclear power plants due to a series of breakdowns. Nine cases, including those of unit 5 and unit 6 of the nuclear plant in Yeonggwang, have been reported this year, a hike from 4 cases from a year earlier.

Nuclear-related businesses also raised concern over the impact of the incident on their exporting business. Korea has sought to become a major world nuclear energy country, exporting its technology. It won a US$20 billion (S$ 25 billion) contract to supply four nuclear reactors to UAE last year.

Korea to watch China’s drone use for territory claims: China Mobilizing Drones to go after Korea’s island of Ieodo

Lee calls top security meeting to discuss N.K., regional tension

 

 

Territorial tension is brewing again between Korea and China after Beijing reportedly devised a plan to mobilize drones to monitor areas outside its jurisdiction, including Korea’s island of Ieodo.

 

Ieodo, or Socotra Rock, has often been a source of diplomatic spats in recent years as it lies in the overlapping section of the exclusive economic zones of Korea and China.

 

“We’re currently verifying the news reports. While the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea ensures the freedom of navigation and fly overs, confirmation of the purpose of the flight should precede them,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Cho Tai-young told a regular press briefing.

 

“The government will make its utmost efforts in the operation of the Ieodo Ocean Research Station. It will vigorously respond if there is a problem exercising jurisdiction over Ieodo.”

 

President Lee Myung-bak will convene a top security meeting Wednesday to discuss North Korea and other pending issues, presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha said. The session will be attended by the unification and defense ministers, the first vice foreign minister, the head of the National Intelligence Service and the senior presidential security advisor.

 

Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan (right) meets with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi during their talks in New York on Monday. (Yonhap News)

 

China plans to use drones to carry out marine surveillance and boost the country’s presence by 2015, primarily over disputed islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, and the Scarborough Shoal or Huangyan Island claimed by both the Philippines and Beijing.

 

The submerged rock, located south of Jeju Island and 4.6 meters below sea level, is the foundation for the Ocean Research Station, which was launched in 2003 by the Korean government to study ocean currents and collect data for weather forecasts, and fishery and environmental conservation.

 

China’s State Oceanic Administration said it completed a pilot program on Sunday in which it deployed the unmanned aerial vehicles in Lianyungang, a coastal city in eastern Jiangsu Province.

 

The agency plans to establish regulations for full-fledged operation and monitoring bases along the country’s coastline by 2015, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said, citing Yu Qingsong, chief of a related division.

 

In March, the ministry summoned Beijing’s ambassador to Korea, Zhang Xinsen, to lodge a complaint after Liu Cigui, the director of the SOA, renewed assertion over Ieodo and said his agency would patrol the area with ships and aircraft.

 

In July 2011, China sent three patrol boats to the waters near Ieodo where Korean workers were trying to pull out a sunken bulk carrier, urging them not to operate in what it claims as its EEZ.

 

Tension escalated again in December after Beijing announced plans to mobilize a 3,000-ton monitoring ship to the area.

 

The drone program comes at the height of a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo. The Japanese government’s purchase of the Senkaku early this month from private owners triggered sometimes violent public protests across China. Japanese companies

 

in China such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan are being threatened with boycotts and scaling back output.

 

With signs of fallout amplifying, Tokyo dispatched Chikao Kawai, vice foreign minister, to Beijing for talks with his counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, Tuesday.

 

In New York, Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan agreed with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, to speed up talks to draw a borderline between the two countries’ EEZs as they held a bilateral meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

 

Japan’s claim over the Korean easternmost islets of Dokdo has also been a constant thorn in bilateral relations.

 

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)