Both Koreas with More Consensus to Improve Bilateral Relations

South Korea and the People''s Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK) achieved today new consensus to put to work joint projects and improve links in sectors such as infrastructure, sports, health and the military.

During the meeting at the border village of Panmunjom, delegations of both countries agreed to start by the end of November or beginning of December this year, the works that will reconnect the border roads and railways.

They also decided to soon hold military dialogues at the level of generals, to hold a meeting of the Red Cross next month centered on the issue of families separated by the war (1950-53) and return to the negotiating table at the end of October to discuss joint organization of the Olympic Games of 2032.

In the talks held this Monday, each country was represented by five-member teams that explored ways to materialize the pacts reached by the leaders of both Koreas in their third Summit of the year, celebratesd by the middle of September in Pyongyang.

Such meeting closed with the signing of a declaration that includes as most outstanding aspect the decision of the North to permanently dismantle its most important nuclear facilities in the presence of foreign experts.

Just at the beginning of this year, the PDRK opened the road to understanding, peace and denuclearization of the península and since them sustain meetings at different levels with South Korea, the United States and China to achieve those purposes.

In that context, reaffirmed its determination to resignj to its advanced nuclear and missile program -of a self-defensive nature and axis of old disputes- always there are real guarantees that threats and pressures against it will end on the part of Washington and allies in the zone.

The international community keeps alert to the process of approach with the expectation that distension is achieved in the Korean península.

  • Published in World

South Korea Plans to Approach DPRK for Hosting 2032 Summer Olympics

The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea, Do Jong-hwan, declared here today that his country plans to run jointly with the Democratic People''s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to host the 2032 Olympics.

According to the official, this initiative is likely to be put forward at the summit to be held this month by the leaders of both countries and the aim is to contribute to lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Do even said that at this Wednesday's meeting in Tokyo with his counterparts from Japan and China he would propose the attendance of a unified Korean delegation to the 2020 Games to be held in the Japanese capital.

DPRK and South Korea marched in a single block under the Unification Flag and formed a women's hockey team during the PyeongChang-2018 Winter Olympics.

This was one of the agreements reached by their governments in early January to coordinate the North's attendance at the event, which was called the Peace Olympics for bringing Seoul and Pyongyang closer together.

Then, the two nations paraded again in the same way at the opening ceremony of the recent 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • Published in Sports

US And South Korea To Suspend Training Exercises Indefinitely

Washington:  The United States and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program training exercises, the Pentagon said on Friday, in the aftermath of the summit earlier this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

"This includes suspending FREEDOM GUARDIAN along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months," White said.

Regarding suspension of the exercises, South Korea's defense ministry said, "South Korea and the U.S. decided to delay two of KMEP (drills) indefinitely, which was going to take place within the next three months.

"This is a part of follow-up measures after the North Korea-U.S. summit and South Korea-North Korea summit. There could be additional measures should North Korea follow suit with productive cooperation."

At a news conference after the meeting with Kim in Singapore, Trump announced that he would halt what he called "very provocative" and expensive regular military exercises that the United States holds with South Korea. North Korea had long sought an end to the war games.

This week, the United States and South Korea said they were suspending planning for August's Freedom Guardian exercise.

Last year, 17,500 American troops and more than 50,000 South Korean troops joined the Freedom Guardian drills, although the exercise is mostly focused on computerized simulations rather than field exercises.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, played down the significance of suspending the Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises, saying they were relatively minor.

Jim Mattis met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Trump's national security adviser John Bolton on Friday, White said.

"In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith," she added, referring to North Korea.

Every spring, the United States and South Korea conduct Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, both of which wrapped up in May.

The decision to halt military exercises with South Korea baffled allies, military officials and lawmakers. The drills help keep U.S. forces at a state of readiness in one of the world's most tense flashpoints.

At the Singapore talks, North Korea also agreed to allow the recovery of the remains of soldiers who went missing in action during the Korean War.

On Saturday, the U.S. military began moving caskets to North Korea for the recovery of some remains, the U.N. Command in South Korea said in a statement.

  • Published in World

Kim, Moon meet at start of historic inter-Korean summit

SEOUL: The leaders of North and South Korea met on Friday (Apr 27) at the Demilitarised Zone that divides their countries for a historic summit, the highest-level encounter yet in a recent whirlwind of nuclear diplomacy.

The meeting on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom - only the third of its kind since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War - is intended to pave the way for a much-anticipated encounter between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in greeted Kim at the concrete blocks that mark the border between the two Koreas in the Demilitarised Zone to begin the rare occasion laden with symbolism. Kim also became the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended 65 years ago.

"I am happy to meet you," said Moon to Kim. Moon also briefly stepped into the North before walking back.

"A new history begins now - at the starting point of history and the era of peace," read the message Kim wrote in a guestbook at the Peace House summit venue.
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At Kim's impromptu invitation the two men briefly crossed hand-in-hand into the North before walking to the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom for the summit - only the third of its kind since hostilities ceased in 1953.

Kim was "flooded with emotion", he told Moon as the meeting began.

"I came here determined to send a starting signal at the threshold of a new history," he said, promising a "frank, serious and honest mindset".

With the North's atomic arsenal high on the agenda, Moon responded that he hoped they would reach "a bold agreement so that we may give a big gift to the whole Korean people and the people who want peace".

Kim was flanked by his sister and close adviser Kim Yo Jong and the North's head of inter-Korean relations, while Moon was accompanied by his spy chief and chief of staff.

With helicopters buzzing overhead, President Moon left his Blue House office in a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles along a road lined with well-wishers waving Korean flags.

Before his departure, a smiling Moon stopped to greet supporters and thank police officers.

The North's nuclear arsenal will be high on the agenda at the talks.

Last year, Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear blast, by far its most powerful to date, and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.

Its actions sent tensions soaring as Kim and Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.

Moon seized on the South's Winter Olympics as an opportunity to broker dialogue between them, and has said his meeting with Kim will serve to set up the summit between Pyongyang and Washington.

Trump has demanded the North give up its weapons, and Washington is pressing for it to do so in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

But Seoul played down expectations on Thursday, saying the North's technological advances with its nuclear and missile programmes meant any deal would be "fundamentally different in nature from denuclearisation agreements in 1990s and early 2000s".

"That's what makes this summit all the more difficult," the chief of the South's presidential secretariat Im Jong-seok told reporters.

PEACE AND DENUCLEARISATION

Pyongyang is demanding as yet unspecified security guarantees to discuss its arsenal.

When Kim visited the North's key backer Beijing last month in only his first foreign trip as leader, China's official Xinhua news agency cited him saying that the issue could be resolved, as long as Seoul and Washington take "progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace".

In the past, North Korean support for "denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula has been code for the removal of US troops from the South and the end of its nuclear umbrella over its security ally - prospects unthinkable in Washington.

"The big issues we know are peace and denuclearisation," Yonsei University professor John Delury told AFP.

The two Koreas "can do a lot more on peace than on denuclearisation", he said, but the post-summit statement will give "a lot of chance to analyse every word, reading between the lines, look for things that are there and not there".

Pyongyang announced last week a moratorium on nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missiles, adding it would dismantle its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

But it also said it had completed the development of its weapons and had no need for further tests.

Seoul has also promoted the idea of opening talks towards a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, when hostilities stopped with a ceasefire, leaving the neighbours technically in a state of conflict.

Reunions of families left divided by the war could also be discussed at the summit, and Moon has told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe he will raise the emotive subject of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North.

  • Published in World

Moon-Trump: Mistrust

It’s possible that when these lines come out, US President Donald Trump has already arrived in South Korea, as part of his Asian tour, which started in Japan and should end in China.

Perhaps one could figure out South Korea is on the paper the least disturbing country for the US head of state, but I do not think so, because President Moon Jae-in has been rebellious before his American counterpart, who has had to resort to his own military pressures and Seoul’s Main Staff to prevent the South Korean leader from carrying out his long-standing desire of talks with the authorities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Spanish acronym RPDC), confident, as he has said, it is the only way the peninsula is not destroyed by a nuclear annihilation.

Moon has been clear and sincere with Trump, but the latter downplays the consequent reasons of a head of state who was actually elected by a vast popular majority in the early elections summoned after the removal of the previous president, because of proven corruption cases and abuse of power.

Trump not only almost ignored Moon, when he visited Washington and said he was in favor of a dialogue with Pyongyang, but also made derogatory comments about his South Korean counterpart on a phone conversation with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, for his stance before the DPRK.

"Trump underestimated the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, calling him “beggar”, for insisting in his calls for dialogue with North Korea”, revealed Hankyoreh newspaper, which is edited in Tokyo.

Quoting Japanese television network Fuji TV, the newspaper explained the US president called his South Korean counterpart like that during a phone call with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe, hours later that North Korea launched a missile that passed through Japanese airspace.

Moon “is acting like a beggar”, said Trump to Abe to state his dissatisfaction with Seoul, for its position before the nuclear weapons tests of Pyongyang, said the Japanese daily, besides highlighting that the US head of state asked his partner “not to tell anyone about the need for military pressure on North Korea.”

But such pressure, as one can assume when it is about Democratic Korea, made that country remark it would defend its nuclear development “in the face of the hostilities of U.S. and its puppets.”

Trump has said he’s “100% with Shinzo”, and highlighted that Tokyo should help Washington in case “it is attacked by Pyongyang”, and indirectly confirmed that Washington is pressing Seoul, geared at taking war actions against its northern neighbor; as many countries believe that keeping the pressures against North Korea would lead to a military catastrophe.

Shortly before the American head of state started his Asian tour, Moon has asserted that a war in the Korean Peninsula is something that will never happen again, and claimed that United States would not undertake any military action against the North without the consent of the South. In addition, he thinks that Trump’s statements sought to increase pressure on Pyongyang and did not indicate an imminent attack.

Of course, the South Korean authorities do not trust these statements, because of the controversial personality of Trump, and reiterated that their tests are based on their right for self-defense before the frequent joint military exercises of Washington and Seoul in the peninsula.

NOT ONLY WAR PRESSURE, BUT COMMERCIAL AS WELL

Tensions with Pyongyang promise to lead the first meeting between Trump and Moon in Seoul, where thousands of people rallied against the presence of the US magnate and demanded a peace policy toward the North. The protesters also rejected the insistence of the US president to renegotiate the trade deal with South Korea, partly due to his concerns about alleged imbalances in the steel and car exchange.

"We’re renegotiating a trade deal with South Korea right now, and hope it would be equitable. It will be a fair deal for both parties. It has been a tough deal for the United States”, Trump said.

The US president, who slammed during his electoral campaign the trade deal inked by his predecessor Barack Obama, first referred to its renegotiation and claimed he would seek a “new deal”.

Trump’s statement surprised members of the South Korean government and business leaders in Seoul, who did not expect the possibility of renegotiation to be on the table in the meeting, the Wall Street Journal said today.

Months earlier, in Washington, Moon had only talked about bilateral ties: “We will promote economic growth and job creation to ensure our peoples enjoy greater mutual benefits through the collective efforts we have committed to make.”

Standing by his side, Trump had just slammed the trade deal, popularly known as Korus FTA, by denouncing that since its entry into effect to 2016, the US trade deficit with South Korea had increased by over $11 billion”, nearing $28 billion.

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had previously stated that the main cause of the trade imbalance is “the car trade”, that is mainly carried out “based on South Korean standards”, and added there is another problem with the trade of “steel” products” from South Korea to the United States, because part of them come from China and are sold below their market price”.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

Russia Rejects Deployment of US Anti-Missile System in South Korea

Moscow, Mar 7 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected today the deployment of elements of the THAAD U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, after warning about the possibility of creating more tension in that area.

The presence of THAAD elements will only serve to further tensions in the Korean peninsula, a statement from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

An American C-17 Globamaster III transport plane arrived at the Osan's South Korean base with components of the U.S. anti-missile system, with an announced defensive purpose, but puts Russia's strategic deterrence at risk.

According to Washington, the measure responds to the launch on the eve of four missiles by Pyongyang to the Sea of Japan.

However, Moscow recalls that the White House has used other arguments in the past to justify its intentions to establish a joint defense zone with Japan, on that occasion, allegedly related to China's actions in the region.

  • Published in World

Secret 13ft Robot inspired by Avatar

Scientists have programmed a monster one-tonne robot that can walk and mimic human movements resembling something from Avatar .

The METHOD-1 machine is four metres tall and when it stomps it leaves the ground “shaking”, according to designer Vitaly Bulgarov.

The giant robot, built in South Korea, works by repeating the actions of its pilot sitting inside by moving its enormous arms and legs up and down.

In astonishing video the sinister machine can be seen walking across a laboratory floor using its mechanical joints.

A control room just big enough for a human operator to squeeze in sits where the robot’s chest should be.

It was created by Seoul-based Korea Future Technology but it is unclear how it will be used.

 The designer modelled his high-tech creation after working on Hollywood blockbusters including Robocop, Transformers 4 and Terminator Genisys.

Vitaly is remaining tight-lipped about the robot, but said it could be used to “solve problems” rather than for evil.

He wrote on Facebook: “I’ll just say for now that from a mechanical/software/hardware/electric engineering stand point it was quite an ambitious project that required developing and enhancing a lot of technologies along the way.

“That growth opens up many real world applications where everything we have been learning so far on this robot can be applied to solve real world problems.”

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