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“Heavy casualties” in tour bus crash in N. Korea, says Chinese foreign ministry

“Heavy casualties” in tour bus crash in N. Korea, says Chinese foreign ministry, By Oliver Hotham

Beijing reports 32 Chinese nationals, four North Koreans killed in accident.

Update at 1500 KST: The article and headline has been amended to reflect comments by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). It was further updated at 1715 KST to include further comments by the ministry. A tour bus crash in North Korea last night lead to “heavy casualties,” a report carried by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

North Korea's test freeze pledge: reading between the lines

North Korea’s test freeze pledge: reading between the lines, By Scott LaFoy
Many points of contention remain as Pyongyang prepares for two historic summits.

Kim Jong Un made a series of statements at the 3rd Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea that indicate the nuclear and ICBM programs may be slowing down. These statements did not include a robust commitment to denuclearization, but are potentially positive steps towards an arms control treaty.

Kim Jong Un, chairman of the WPK, guided the plenary meeting. Attending the meeting were Presidium members, members and alternate members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK and members and alternate members of the C.C., WPK and members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK. Present as observers were members of the WPK Central Committee and party and administrative officials of ministries, national institutions, provinces, cities and counties, major industrial establishments and institutions and co-operative farms and members of the armed forces organs. The plenary meeting dealt with the following agenda items: 1. On tasks of our party to further accelerate socialist construction as required by a fresh high stage of the developing revolution 2. On bringing about a revolutionary turn in science and education 3. Organizational matter.


Two Koreas agree on schedule, broadcasting, and joint banquet for Friday’s summit

Two Koreas agree on schedule, broadcasting, and joint banquet for Friday’s summit, By Dagyum Ji

Pyongyang and Seoul come to “final agreement” on logistics for Friday’s Kim-Moon meeting.

Pyongyang and Seoul at working-level talks on Monday agreed on the main schedule for Friday’s inter-Korean summit, as well as on the live-broadcasting of the event, the South Korean Presidential office announced. DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and ROK President Moon Jae-in will also hold a banquet before one-on-one talks begin. Just eight days to go now until the leaders of the two Koreas meet at their summit. And we’ll be able to watch history unfold as they shake hands. Seoul and Pyongyang have agreed that parts of the summit can be broadcast live around the world. Our Cha Sang-mi has more. South Korean officials who travelled to the North Korean side of the border village of Panmunjom for the second round of working-level talks between the two Koreas to prepare for the 2018 inter-Korean summit returned to Seoul on Wednesday after an over five-hour meeting earlier on the same day.
The working-level talks were on security, protocol and media coverage of the historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next week. And, news has it… the two Koreas have agreed to allow live television broadcasts for parts of the April 27th summit meeting between the two leaders. The two sides at the working-level talks today, agreed to broadcast live to the entire world the historic inter-Korean summit, starting with the two leaders’ first hand shake to all key moments of the summit’s agenda. The Presidential Blue House said the live coverage will also include other events of the unprecedented meeting, but did not give specific details.
The inter-Korean summit next Friday will only be the third meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas since the end of the 1950 to 1953 Korean War and analysts view it as a crucial step in the global diplomatic push to resolve the North Korean nuclear standoff. It’s also highly symbolic in that it will be the first summit ever to take place on South Korean soil… and to be followed by the first-ever summit between North Korea and the United States… expected for the end of May or early June. Seoul’s top office said working-level officials from the two Koreas will hold additional meetings before the April 27th summit to fine tune the details.

Hasil gambar untuk South Korean military suspends loudspeaker broadcasts at inter-Korean border

South Korean military suspends loudspeaker broadcasts at inter-Korean border, By Dagyum Ji
Decision intended to ease tensions ahead of Friday’s summit, ROK army says .

The South Korean military has suspended broadcasts of propaganda from loudspeakers on the inter-Korean border, the country’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on Monday. The defense ministry said the decision was made to “ease military tensions between the South and the North and to create the atmosphere for the peaceful talks on the occasion
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Planned visit to Europe by senior North Korean diplomat canceled: sources

Planned visit to Europe by senior North Korean diplomat canceled: sources, By Dagyum Ji

Ri Su Yong’s trip would have seen him visit Berlin, Bern, Brussels, and Stockholm.

Hasil gambar untuk Planned visit to Europe by senior North Korean diplomat canceled

A scheduled trip by high-ranking North Korean diplomat Ri Su Yong to Europe was canceled at the last minute, three sources familiar with the issue confirmed to NK News.A diplomatic source confirmed to NK News earlier last week that Ri was due to kick off a trip to Europe on Saturday, and the reason for 

the sudden cancelation remains unclear.

Ri, who serves as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) and politburo member of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), was reportedly scheduled to visit European countries for 10 days before returning to Pyongyang on May 1.Ri was due to visit Berlin, Bern, Brussels, and Stockholm during his trip.

Hasil gambar untuk Planned visit to Europe by senior North Korean diplomat canceled

The DPRK diplomat was set to meet with former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, one source said, as well as Catherine Ashton, who served as the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy from 2009 to 2014.One source told NK News that Wolfgang Nowak, former advisor to German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, had been involved in Ri’s visit to the European countries.

Nowak visited Pyongyang and met with Ri in November last year, following a letter sent by the DPRK diplomat to former East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow.Modrow told Yonhap News that Ri had in the letter asked him to ensure Germany could “play a positive role in easing tensions between South and North Korea and solving pending issues.”


Conclusion on North Korea “a long way” off: Trump

Conclusion on North Korea “a long way” off: Trump, By Leo Byrne
U.S. President says Washington hasn’t conceded anything to Pyongyang.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to social media on Sunday to say that Washington was still “a long way” from solving the threat posed by North Korea’s weapons programs. Apparently reacting to comments made by a journalist working for NBC news, Trump also criticised his detractors on Twitter. “We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea despite regime’s.”

Kim Jong Un says no further nuclear, ICBM tests needed

Kim Jong Un says no further nuclear, ICBM tests needed, By Leo Byrne

At ruling party meeting, DPRK leader says nuke program has completed its mission.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday said there was no longer any need for nuclear or missile tests, during a plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang. During a speech at the event, Kim praised the scientists who worked on the North’s nuclear program.

 


U.S. calls N. Korea a force for “instability” due to poor human rights

U.S. calls N. Korea a force for “instability” due to poor human rights, By Leo Byrne

Washington says DPRK, China, Russia, and Iran are “morally reprehensible”

The U.S. State Department on Friday called North Korea along with China, Russia, and Iran “morally reprehensible” and labeled them as “forces for instability” due to their poor human rights records. As a part of its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017, the State Department singled out the four countries as they performed badly morally .

Mandate for a meeting? The third inter-Korean summit and ROK public opinion

Mandate for a meeting? The third inter-Korean summit and ROK public opinion, By Peter Ward

Seoul continues to enjoy majority support for its policy of rapprochement – though that may not last

As he prepares for a much-anticipated meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un this week, analysis of the polling data reveals Moon Jae-in remains popular – more so than any South Korean President at this point in their presidency. Even usually more conservatively-inclined demographics like the old remain largely supportive, and his party also remains of policy of rapprochement.

The much anticipated summit is now just over a week away, and the South Korean government is welcoming the renewed dialogue between the two Koreas. But what about the South Korean public? According to a survey by the Korea Society Opinion Institute, conducted between March 16th and 17th,… a majority of South Koreans favored holding the inter-Korean summit. And when asked whether the talks would be productive,… more than half of them said ‘yes’. “I think it’s great that the two Koreas are holding the summit. I’m hoping that South and North Korea will unite someday,… and the renewed exchange will have a positive impact.” “Watching the two countries interact after a long standstill makes me feel like things are beginning to clear up.” “I’m very much in favor of the inter-Korean summit. Regardless of whether or not there is a favorable outcome,… embracing them will someday lead to unification. I support the government for making such an effort to resume the talks.” “South Koreans generally appear to have positive opinions towards holding the inter-Korean summit. But on whether the talks will have the desired outcome of bringing North Korea to denuclearize,… they’re not so sure.” In a survey of over one-thousand respondents by Gallup Korea from March 13th to March 15th,… more than half the respondents said they think North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons. Only 22 percent said it will, eventually. “I believe there’s a very low chance of North Korea denuclearizing. The Kim Jong-un regime knows very well that it cannot exist without nuclear weapons. I think we should take this opportunity to identify North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.” “It’s hard to know for sure, but I’m skeptical about whether North Korea will change its attitude,… which is why I’m not so supportive of the inter-Korean summit.” And aside from denuclearization,… people also wished for the talks to lead to further discussions on other important issues, including restarting the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Geumgangsan Mountain tours. But a more urgent issue for the public– is conducting reunions for separated families,… as it’s a matter where time is of the essence.


How Kim Jong Un’s testing moratorium may impact upcoming summits

How Kim Jong Un’s testing moratorium may impact upcoming summits, By Stephan Haggard
North Korea’s pledge is a big deal, but what will Trump offer in return?

What is most striking about Kim Jong Un’s announcement of a nuclear and missile test moratorium is the mile-wide gap between the headlines and what the statement actually promises. Anna Fifield at the Washington Post takes only a few short paragraphs to get to the point: that the moratorium primarily reflects North Korea’s satisfaction that a nuclear and missile test.North Korea has previously announced nuclear and missile moratoriums only to rescind them and Kim may have multiple motives for publicly announcing the temporary suspension. He could be seeking sanctions relief from President Moon Jae-in and Trump or ensuring that it is not seen later as a concession wrested by Trump. He could also be simply laying the groundwork to blame others for failed summits. Also Kim’s Korean Central News Agency reported that “No nuclear test or intermediate-range or ICBM test fire are necessary now, given that the work for mounting nuclear warheads are finished.” Essentially declaring that it won’t test because it no longer needs to. That’s far different from abandoning testing before ridding itself of nuclear weapons all together.

Top MHI-NK Stories from around the web:

Trump praises North Korea’s ‘progress’ as expert warns against optimism (The Guardian) Donald Trump has saluted Pyongyang’s suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests ahead of planned talks with the US as “very good news for North Korea and the world”. A leading Korean-American expert on the region, however, was among those to sound a note of caution.

The suspensions went into immediate effect on Saturday, according to the state-run KCNA news agency. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is due to meet his South Korean counterpart next week, with a summit with Trump pencilled in to occur by June. Trump confirmed this week that CIA director and secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo recently met Kim in North Korea.

On Friday night, Trump tweeted: “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.

“A message from Kim Jong Un: ‘North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.’ Also will ‘Shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s Northern Side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear tests.’ Progress being made for all!”Speaking on Saturday at an informal working meeting of the UN security council ambassadors, Haley said UN pressure and sanctions had enabled the isolation of North Korea “until they had a good behaviour, and now we are seeing they want to come to the table”.UN secretary general Antonio Guterres told reporters “the path is open for the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”.


 Hasil gambar untuk North Korea Says Will Stop Nuclear Tests, Scrap Test Site

North Korea Says Will Stop Nuclear Tests, Scrap Test Site (New York Times) North Korea said on Saturday it would immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests, scrap its nuclear test site and instead pursue economic growth and peace, ahead of planned summits with South Korea and the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country no longer needed to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had completed its goal of developing the weapons, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

A testing freeze and commitment to close the test site alone would fall short of Washington’s demand that Pyongyang completely dismantle all its nuclear weapons and missiles.But announcing the concessions now, rather than during summit meetings, shows Kim is serious about denuclearisation talks, experts say.

“The northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK will be dismantled to transparently guarantee the discontinuance of the nuclear test,” KCNA said after Kim convened a plenary session of the Central Committee of the ruling Worker’s Party on Friday.The North’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).The Pyunggye-ri site is North Korea’s only known nuclear test site. All of its six underground tests were conducted there, including the last and largest in September.

“North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit,” Trump said on Twitter.


 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets Chinese envoy Song Tao

North Korea undergoes an image change ahead of summits (BBC News) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have undergone a minor media makeover as he prepares for a series of meetings with former sworn enemies.

He’s due to meet South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next week for the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade, and US President Donald Trump within the next couple of months.North Korean state media are toning down their traditionally hostile rhetoric, and presenting the North Korean leader as a warmer man, with a cleaner image.

The once ever-present cigarette between Mr Kim’s fingers is now conspicuous by its absence, and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, may be set to play a more active role in the traditionally male-dominated regime, now being referred to as the “First Lady”.Perhaps in attempt to show the North’s sincerity ahead of next week’s peace talks, nuclear missiles have also virtually disappeared from the country’s TV screens.

Kim Jong-un smoking a cigarette next to a bus

South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo noticed this week that Mr Kim hasn’t been seen in public with a cigarette for some time, speculating that this is part of a softening of his image.Known to be a heavy smoker, Mr Kim was last photographed smoking in early February while taking a midnight bus ride around Pyongyang.Recent newspaper photos show him without a cigarette, and ashtrays are no longer provided for him at official functions.

North Korean first lady Ri Sol-ju at the theatre

Also coming to the fore is Mr Kim’s wife, Ri Sol-ju.Her first solo state engagement this week, accompanying a visiting Chinese envoy to the ballet, afforded her the titles “First lady of the DPRK” and “Respected Madame Ri Sol-ju” for the first time on television and in print media.In previous appearances, Ms Ri has been relegated to the background and simply referred to as “his wife”.

But Central TV this week has placed Ms Ri centre stage, and dressed in pink, while watching a ballet performance of Giselle by visiting Chinese dancers.This marked the first time in 45 years that any North Korean first lady has taken the limelight in such a way.


Gambar terkait

South Korean Youths’ Perceptions of North Korea and Unification (Asan Institute) One of the most controversial issues in the run up to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was the formation of an inter-Korean women’s ice hockey team. .The idea of an inter-Korean team had often been discussed between the two Koreas during past Olympics, but it had always fallen through. The Moon administration viewed the unified team as the perfect opportunity to deescalate tension on the Korean Peninsula, while marketing the games as the “Peace Olympics.” On January 17, South and North Korean negotiators pushed the idea through during a vice-ministerial level dialogue and agreed to compete together in women’s ice hockey.

Table 1. Likelihood of War on the Korean Peninsula by Age (%):

Table 1

South Koreans’ perception of the North Korean threat directly affects their perception of North Korea and unification. In order to examine the perception of the North Korean threat, we analyzed South Koreans’ evaluations of the possibility of a war breaking out on the Korean Peninsula. Although no significant changes in perception took place over the past seven years, breakdown by age cohorts tells a more interesting story.

Table 2. Negative Attitude toward North Korean Economic Aid by Age (%):

Table 2

Compared to other age groups, a much higher percentage among those in their 20s and the elderly believed a war between the two Koreas could break out. Each year, the 20s consistently recorded the highest rates, followed by the 60+, with an exception in 2017. Throughout 2011 to 2017, at least 55.5% of South Koreans in their 20s believed that another war could break out on the Korean Peninsula [min=55.5% (2015), max=66.2% (2013, 2016)]. These results throughout the years confirmed that the two age groups perceived the North Korean threat much more seriously than other age groups and also explain their conservative tendencies regarding security issues.

Table 3. Indifference in Unification by Age (%):

Table 3

Another important point is that the number of respondents in their 20s that have opposed providing economic aid to North Korea has continuously risen since 2011. Those who negatively viewed providing economic aid to North Korea in their 20s increased by 10.1% points since 2011 (2011= 78.4%, 2017=88.5%). As expected, the next biggest increase came from those in their 60s and older (9.4% p).

Table 4. Preferred Pace of Unification by Age (%):

Table 4


Hasil gambar untuk A glimpse of how Kim is moving to shore up support base at 30s level

A glimpse of how Kim is moving to shore up support base at 30s level (Asahi Shimbun) North Korea took the bizarre step of vetting an audience for a sense of worldliness so members would not be overawed by a historic entertainment extravaganza in Pyongyang featuring the best of South Korean K-pop.

Hasil gambar untuk South Korean groups perform during a rehearsal in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Seat priority for the “Coming of Spring” show April 1 was given to those in their 30s who are the offspring of high-ranking officials of the ruling Workers’ Party who had lived abroad, either in Beijing or Moscow, sources said.

Held at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater, a venue normally associated with events to glorify the regime, it was the first time South Korean entertainers had performed in the reclusive country since 2005.The show’s guests of honor were Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju.The authorities wanted to ensure that everything went off without a hitch, hence the focus on spectators who were savvy with foreign cultures.Sources said the event was an opportunity for Kim to demonstrate his determination to lead younger generations who will form the backbone of support for his regime in coming years.

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The occasion, the prequel to one expected to be held in South Korea this autumn featuring acts from North Korea, involved 160 or so performers, among them South Korean superstar Cho Yong-pil, the K-pop female idol group Red Velvet and a host of others.The performance ended with the song, “Our Wish Is Reunification,” state media reported.


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