North - South Korea

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November 5, 2018 - US-North Korea talks could impact US Military posture in Korea: Dunford
U.S.-North Korea talks could impact U.S. military posture in Korea: Dunford | Reuters


Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, waves as he is recognized by U.S. President Donald Trump at a reception commemorating the 35th anniversary of the attack on the Beirut Barracks in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, U.S., October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo

The top U.S. military officer said on Monday that the United States would have to start making changes to its military posture on the Korean peninsula over time if talks with North Korea advance.

“The more successful we are in the diplomatic track, the more uncomfortable we will be in the military space,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a forum at Duke University.

“Because over time, this negotiation will take a form where we’re going to have to start making some changes to the military posture on the peninsula. And we’re prepared to do that in support of Secretary Pompeo,” Dunford said. He did not elaborate on what changes might be expected.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in New York on Thursday to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization.

In Washington last week, South Korea’s defense minister said the two countries would decide by December on major joint military exercises for 2019. Vigilant Ace, suspended this month, is one of several such exercises halted to encourage dialogue with Pyongyang, which has criticized joint U.S.-South Korea exercises in the past.

Although larger exercises were suspended, the two countries have continued small-scale drills.

On Monday, U.S. and South Korean marines conducted military drills under the Korean Marine Exchange Program for the first time in months, according to the South Korean ministry of defense.

North Korea has not tested a ballistic missile or nuclear weapon for nearly a year, and has said it has shuttered its main nuclear test site and plans to dismantle several more facilities.

In recent weeks, North Korea has pressed harder for what it sees as reciprocal concessions by the United States and other countries.
 

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Medvedev arrives in Shanghai to meet with Xi Jinping

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has arrived in China’s Shanghai where he will stay on an official visit from November 5 to 7, the press service of the Russian government said on Sunday.

Xi meets Russian prime minister

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who attended the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

Both China and Russia are in a crucial stage in achieving national development and revitalization, Xi said.

Facing an unprecedentedly complex international environment, it is more important to keep bilateral ties at a high level and reinforce strategic coordination between the two countries, Xi said.

He said a priority for the two sides' work in the next phase is to comprehensively implement the consensus between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin on practical cooperation between the two sides.

Xi welcomed Russia to attend the expo as one of the guests of honor.

China and Russia are firm in pursuing peaceful development and are committed to upholding international fairness and justice, reflecting their resolve and responsible attitude as major countries, Xi said, noting that under new circumstances, China is willing to maintain close high-level exchanges with the Russian side and continuously deepen strategic coordination.

Medvedev said Russia is willing to work together with China to implement the important consensus reached by heads of state of the two countries, expand practical cooperation in various areas, carry out closer coordination and cooperation in international affairs, safeguard international rules, and maintain world peace and stability.


Syria participates in China International Import Expo

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday announced the opening of China International Import Expo in Shanghai with the participation of more than 130 states including Syria.

In a speech delivered during the opening ceremony, President Xi described the expo as a pioneer step in the history of developing the international trade.

He affirmed that China’s initiative to broaden the imports isn’t just a temporary experiment, but it is a long-term initiative towards the world and the future which aims at enhancing the joint development.

The Chinese President called upon all the states to adopt a clear stance in which they affirm their adherence to the openness and their rejection of the unilateralism and protectionism and their adherence to the principle of comprehensive development and mutual interests for achieving the joint development.

The five-day expo, in which more than 3000 companies are participating, is the first of its kind in the world as it is specialized in the imports and it embraces expos of states and companies in parallel with holding Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum.

The Forum which accompanies the Expo will be attended by more than 2000 government officials and heads of international organizations, in addition to businessmen and pioneer academics from more than 130 states.


Russian export to China to exceed $50 bln in 2018

Russia’s export to China is on track to reach $50-54 bln in 2018, head of the Russian Export Center (REC) Andrey Slepnev said on Monday.

"Russian exports to China amounted to around $26 bln in the first half of the year, a 43% increase compared with the same period last year. That means it will be over $50 bln, $50-54 bln (by the yearend)," he said.

Overall, the Russian-Chinese mutual trade may reach around $100 bln in 2018, Slepnev said, adding that the result might double in coming years.

"We see ties expanding on traditional goods, such as timber, metals, chemistry and the like, agricultural trade has risen 1.5-fold since the beginning of the year. Green cosmetics and children’s goods are becoming increasingly popular. A big number of energy and high-tech projects are implemented. There are agreements regarding a joint project on heavy helicopters, cooperation is developing in space and energy fields," he said.


Russia, China Unveil Full-Scale Mockup of New Passenger CR929 Aircraft (PHOTOS)

Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) presented for the first time a full-scale prototype of CR929 wide-body long-range aircraft at the Zhuhai Airshow, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene.

"Today's event is an opening of the full-scale mockup of our joint aircraft and the opportunity to personally visit the cockpit, look at the organization of space in the first class, business class, economy class. It shows that we have something to get [potential buyers] interested," UAC President Yury Slyusar told journalists.


The full-scale mockup includes the cockpit and three classes of passenger compartment layout. The length of the layout is 22 meters (72 feet), it is 6.5 meters high and 5.9 meters wide. The salon is equipped with two rows of first-class seats, three rows of business-class seats and four rows of economy-class seats, including an entertainment system and interior design in Chinese and Russian styles.


The basic CR929-600 version in a three-class layout will be able to carry 280 passengers over a distance of up to 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles). The aircraft family will also consist of a modification with an extended fuselage (CR929-700) and a shortened fuselage (CR929-500).


The CR929 program is currently at the stage of preliminary design and selection of suppliers of basic systems and equipment, which will be completed before 2020, the chief designer of CR929 program from the Russian side Maxim Litvinov recalled.

He also noted that, according to the agreement with COMAC, the engineering center for the development of wide-body long-haul aircraft will be located in Russia.

Russia and China intend to implement plans to build the CR929 aircraft by 2025-2027. The cost of the program is currently estimated at $13-$20 billion. The maiden flight of the aircraft is expected in 2025.

China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition started in the city of Zhuhai on Tuesday and will last through Sunday.


Russia to Deliver Su-35, S-400 to China No Later Than 2020 - Rostec

Russia and China have concluded contracts on deliveries of weapons to be used in operations on the ground, in the air and in the sea, Viktor Kladov, the head of the delegation of Russian state corporation Rostec at the Zhuhai airshow, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"We are actively cooperating with China in all defense sectors: land, air and water. In addition to the successful implementation of two contracts for the S-400 and Su-35, we have a lot of other projects. I would not like to go into details, but I’ll say that we have recently signed three more [weapons] contracts with the Chinese side," the official said.

According to Kladov, Russia will complete the contracted deliveries of 24 Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 air defense complexes to China on time, until 2020.

China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition started in the city of Zhuhai on Tuesday and will last through Sunday.
 

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Russia to showcase latest medium-range air defense missile system at Airshow China

Russia will demonstrate its latest Viking air defense missile system (the export version of the Buk-M3 complex) for the first time abroad at the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai on November 6-11, the press office of Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport reported on Tuesday.

The Russian arms exporter will also demonstrate the latest military hardware from its export list: the Il-78MK-90A aerial refueling tanker and the Il-76MD-90A military transport plane, the press office said.

"In Zhuhai, the latest Viking air defense missile system, a follow-up of the family of the famous Buk surface-to-air missile complexes, is on display for the first time at international exhibitions," Rosoboronexport said in a statement.

Russia’s newest military products for the Air Force include the Su-35 multirole super-maneuverable fighter jet, MiG-29M/M2 multi-purpose fighters, the Su-32 fighter-bomber, and also the new products on Rosoboronexport’s list: the Il-78MK-90A aerial refueling tanker and the Il-76MD-90A military transport plane.

At the Airshow China 2018, Russia will also launch a demonstration tour of Mi-171A2 and Ansat helicopters across South-East Asia, Rosoboronexport said.

"The tour will be held by Russian Helicopters [rotorcraft maker] with Rosoboronexport’s support. The visitors and participants in the exhibition at Zhuhai can see the capabilities of these helicopters and ask any questions about their technical and operational characteristics to representatives of both companies," the company’s press office said.

Overall, the Russian arms exporter will demonstrate over 100 weapon systems at its exhibition stand. The Russian exposition at Zhuhai is one of the most representative and biggest displays of all the international exhibitions, in which the company has taken part," the press office said.

Viking air defense missile system

The Viking air defense missile complex is the export modification of the latest Buk-M3 surface-to-air missile system accepted for service in the Russian Army. The weapon system is a follow-up of medium-range air defense missile systems and is designed to protect troops and infrastructure facilities against modern and future air attack weapons amid jamming and counter-fire.

As compared to its predecessor, the Buk-M2E, the Viking’s firing range has increased by almost 1.5 times to 65 km. The number of simultaneously engaged targets has risen by 1.5 times to six for each self-propelled launcher while the number of ready-for-launch surface-to-air missiles in a firing position of two combat units has increased from 8 to 18.

The Viking air defense missile system features an option of its integration with the Antey-2500 surface-to-air missile complex. The Viking is capable of striking with high accuracy not only aircraft and elements of precision weapons but also tactical ballistic and cruise missiles and also sea and ground targets.


Russia, China wrap up talks on heavy-lift helicopter

Russia and China have completed talks and are ready to ink a contract on creating a heavy-lift helicopter, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy at Russia’s Rostec state hi-tech corporation Viktor Kladov told reporters on Tuesday.

"De facto, the negotiations have been completed. The sides are ready to sign a general contract," Kladov said, noting that this is a contract on the helicopter’s design and after it is signed, the design engineering will begin.

"This will be a Chinese helicopter. Most works will be carried out by a Chinese company, and the Chinese side has tasked Russia with developing some key angles and components," he said.


Russian tourism agency: Moscow, Beijing completing preparations of new tourism agreement

A new intergovernmental agreement on the Russian-Chinese cooperation in the tourism field is almost ready, Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov said on Tuesday, adding that the document might be signed in the near future.

"We are at the final stage of preparing the intergovernmental agreement. Hopefully the intergovernmental agreement will be signed in the near future," he said, adding that the signing might take place in 2019. "Hopefully it will be signed next year," he said.

Speaking about the working intergovernmental agreement that was signed in 2000, Safonov noted that for many countries it has become a kind of example of organizing tourism cooperation.
 

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Russia, China Can Ink Deal on National Currencies Payments by End of Year - Bank

Russia and China can sign an agreement on settlements in national currencies by the end of the year, the head of the Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, Igor Shuvalov, told reporters on Wednesday.

"We are interested [in this agreement], the Chinese side is no less interested, and perhaps it is even more interested, as yesterday Chinese chairman [President Xi Jinping] said that this agreement should be signed as soon as possible… It would be perfect to be able to sign it by the end of the year," Shuvalov said.

Delivering a speech at the opening of the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he welcomed a further increase in the mutual lending in national currencies, including loans for the implementation of investment projects.

In May, Russia's largest bank, Sberbank announced plans to develop yuan-denominated loans for Russian companies and was considering issuing yuan-denominated obligations.


PM says Russian-Chinese trade turnover may reach $200 bln

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has set a new level for bilateral trade between Russia and China, saying that a level of $200 billion is quite achievable.

"Bilateral trade is actively developing, and this year we will approach the level of $100 billion, which seemed fantastic to us 10 years ago; now we are speaking about other levels, about the possibility of reaching $200 billion of trade turnover, and I believe this figure to be quite realizable for our countries if we actively promote cooperation in the agreed spheres," Medvedev said at a press conference after the 23rd regular meeting between the Russian and Chinese government heads.

The Russian prime minister reported that he agreed with his Chinese counterpart on a number of additional steps for support for small businesses, the development of electronic trade and the development of payment system. Medvedev also promised to continue work to lift barriers in different spheres, not just in the bilateral format. He stressed the importance of linking the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Medvedev added that the two countries have a number of investment projects in the energy, oil, gas and oil refining industries, high technologies, including manned space navigation, the establishment of new materials and the creation of artificial intelligence. It was decided to pay special attention to issues of developing the Far East and wood processing. There are special prospects in agriculture, Medvedev said. "We increased the exports of Russian agricultural products to China, and at the same time the Chinese partners are working in the same direction, and we are definitely interested in implementing new projects, including exporting Russian soybeans to China and a number of other areas, that is the development of transport-logistics capabilities," the prime minister explained.
 

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Russian agency says creating S-300, S-400 maintenance and support center in China viable

Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) believes that it will be economically viable to set up a maintenance center for S-300 and S-400 missile systems in China, FSVTS head Dmitry Shugaev told reporters.

"Considering that China continues to operate S-300 missile systems and given the delivery of new S-400 systems, the creation of a center for the after-sale support of the long-range defense systems would be logical and economically feasible," he noted.

The agency’s director recalled that a maintenance center for the Tor-M1 air defense missile systems had been established last year. "Projects for full service support of helicopters as well as in the field of aircraft engine building are at different stages of development," he added.

According to the FSVTS chief, China has imported a lot of military hardware made in Russia, which is why the creation of a quality, timely and fully convenient after-sale support center is one of the most important issues on the bilateral agenda.

China is hosting a defense exhibition called Airshow China on November 6-11, where Shugaev is heading the Russian delegation.


Russia and China plan to sign contract for joint heavy helicopter soon — source

Russia and China will sign a contract to create a joint Russian-Chinese heavy helicopter AHL (Advanced Heavy Lifter) "in the coming days", a source in the Russian government told TASS.

"The contract will be signed in the coming days. Only technical protocol formalities are left," he said.

First Deputy Chief of the Russian Government Staff Sergei Prikhodko told reporters earlier that Russian Helicopters and China’s Avicopter are expected to sign a framework contract for the development of the AHL (Advanced Heavy Lifter) helicopter.

"It is planned to sign the framework contract and all the sub-contracts on November 7, during the 23rd regular meeting of the Russian and Chinese heads of government," he said in reply to a TASS question.

According to Prikhodko, Russian Helicopters and China’s Avicopter had 24 rounds of talks on a would-be contract in a period from May 2014 to October 2018. In May, the sides initialed all the sub-contracts and finished the work on a master contract and initialed its text in October.

The agreement on the development of the AHL helicopter was signed between Russia and China in June 2016.

Under the agreement, Russian Helicopters Group, part of Russia’s Rostec state hi-tech corporation, will make investments in the program in the form of technologies and design separate systems of the helicopter, while China will be responsible for implementing the program as a whole.

In the summer of 2017, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy at Russia’s Rostec Corporation Viktor Kladov said that at least 200 AHL helicopters would be built under the contract.

According to data presented earlier, the helicopter will have a maximum takeoff weight of 38.2 tonnes, a service ceiling of 5,700 meters, a range of 630 km (391 miles) and a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). The AHL’s lifting capacity will stand at 10 tons for internal cargo carriage and at 15 tonnes for underslung cargo.


Russia, China to sign contract on AHL helicopter production shortly, says deputy PM

The signing of the state contract with China on production of the Advanced Heavy Lifter (AHL) helicopter is expected in the near future after the Chinese side completes all formalities, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov said Wednesday.

"The situation is absolutely cloudless here, we simply treat the Chinese side’s need to complete all formalities with respect. I expect that in the near future," he said, adding that "there are no unresolved issues on the agreement in the helicopter field."

The Russian-Chinese AHL (Advanced Heavy Lift) helicopter is being co-developed by Russian corporation Russian Helicopters and Chinese corporation AVIC. The machine will have a maximum takeoff weight of 38.2 tonnes, a service ceiling of 5,700 meters, a range of 630 kilometers and a maximum speed of 300 kilometers per hour. The AHL’s lifting capacity will stand at 10 tonnes for internal cargo carriage and at 15 tonnes for underslung cargo.
 

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November 7, 2018 - Russia asks U.N. Security Council to discuss North Korea sanctions Thursday
Russia asks U.N. Security Council to discuss North Korea sanctions Thursday | Reuters

UNITED NATIONS - Russia has asked the United Nations Security Council to discuss North Korea sanctions on Thursday, diplomats said, a move that comes after a planned meeting between top U.S. and North Korean officials in New York this week was postponed.

It was not immediately clear why Russia wanted the council to discuss the issue, though China’s foreign ministry said last month that Beijing, Moscow and Pyongyang believed it necessary to consider adjusting the U.N. sanctions at an appropriate time.

The 15-member Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

China and Russia have said the council should reward Pyongyang for the “positive developments” after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization.

But the United States and other Western powers have said sanctions must be enforced until there is full denuclearization. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has also accused Russia of cheating on U.N. sanctions on North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been due to meet senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in New York on Thursday to try to pave the way for a second summit between Trump and Kim and make progress on denuclearization.

The State Department announced on Wednesday that the talks would be rescheduled, but gave no reason for the delay. North Korea’s U.N. mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the postponement of the talks.

North Korea’s foreign minister told the United Nations in September that continued sanctions were deepening its mistrust of the United States and there was no way the country would give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally under such circumstances.

In July, Russia and China delayed a U.S. push for the Security Council’s sanctions committee to order a halt to refined petroleum exports to North Korea, asking for more detail on a U.S. accusation that Pyongyang had breached sanctions, diplomats said.


November 8, 2018 - South Korea to closely coordinate with British Government on NuGen Nuclear project
South Korea to closely coordinate with British government on NuGen nuclear project | Reuters

South Korea’s energy ministry said on Thursday it will closely coordinate with the British government on the NuGen nuclear project in Britain after Toshiba announced plans to liquidate the project to shed troubled assets.

South Korea’s state-run Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) has been in talks with Toshiba to buy a stake in Britain’s NuGen nuclear project, planned for Moorside in northwest England.

“The ministry plans to closely coordinate with the British government on the Moorside project while monitoring the NuGen liquidation process with KEPCO,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.
 

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Xi meets Russian prime minister

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who attended the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

Both China and Russia are in a crucial stage in achieving national development and revitalization, Xi said.

Facing an unprecedentedly complex international environment, it is more important to keep bilateral ties at a high level and reinforce strategic coordination between the two countries, Xi said.

He said a priority for the two sides' work in the next phase is to comprehensively implement the consensus between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin on practical cooperation between the two sides.

Xi welcomed Russia to attend the expo as one of the guests of honor.

China and Russia are firm in pursuing peaceful development and are committed to upholding international fairness and justice, reflecting their resolve and responsible attitude as major countries, Xi said, noting that under new circumstances, China is willing to maintain close high-level exchanges with the Russian side and continuously deepen strategic coordination.

Medvedev said Russia is willing to work together with China to implement the important consensus reached by heads of state of the two countries, expand practical cooperation in various areas, carry out closer coordination and cooperation in international affairs, safeguard international rules, and maintain world peace and stability.


Syria participates in China International Import Expo

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday announced the opening of China International Import Expo in Shanghai with the participation of more than 130 states including Syria.

In a speech delivered during the opening ceremony, President Xi described the expo as a pioneer step in the history of developing the international trade.

A brief note and recent observation on China ...

Since the announcement of President Trump's "Trade War" with China, the American Press has been working overtime to demonize the Country. The tactics are no different then those used against other Countries, like North Korea or the Philippine's, when they got singled out and found themselves in the cross-hairs of the dominating Political climate in the US. One of the first tactics applied is "Sanction's" while the Press and talking News heads issue accusations targeting "Human Right's violations". The accusations are rarely accompanied by factual documentation or references to a secondary verifiable source. Basically, they are "made-up-lies or gossip" or a combination of both. Neither being - fact based.

I could probably pull up a half dozen or more articles on China, currently circulating the various news sites, that allude to Civil and Human Right's violations. We don't live in a perfect World, so I don't totally discount - that there might be some accurate accounts but some reports are outright devious and defy simple logic - like this one ...

November 8, 2018 - Underperforming Chinese workers made to drink urine, eat bugs
Underperforming Chinese workers made to drink urine, eat bugs | Reuters

BEIJING - Workers at a Chinese home renovation company who failed to complete their tasks had to drink urine, eat cockroaches or get whipped by a belt.

Others had to shave their heads or drink water from a toilet bowl and had their salaries withheld by a month, according to images and videos on Chinese social media cited by state media.

The punishments were all publicly meted out in the presence of other staff, state media said, citing workers who had quit the company in the southwestern province of Guizhou.

Forgetful staff who did not wear leather shoes to work or failed to turn up in formal attire were given 50 yuan ($7.20) fines.

Their misdemeanors were duly recorded in little white slips.

But most staff chose to stay despite the punishments, which started this year, state media said.

Three managers at the company were jailed from five to 10 days on the charge of humiliating others, according to a social media post by the local public security bureau.

Labor conditions in China have often been described by activists as harsh and unforgiving, with workers having to work excessive hours and live in cramped quarters on meager wages.

At the Guizhou company, many of the punished showed little outward sign of unhappiness, according to state media, choosing instead to accept their fate.
 

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South Korean president vows to support trilateral cooperation with Russia and North Korea

The Republic of Korea will work to create a basis for trilateral economic cooperation with Russia and North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said during the first Russian-Korean Summit on Interregional Cooperation that was held on Thursday in the city of Pohang.

"The government will lay a stable foundation for economic cooperation in the triangle South Korea - North Korea - Russia. It will help establish peace on the whole Korean Peninsula," the president stressed. He also noted that North Gyeongsang Province will become a key region in trade relations with South Korea’s northern partners.

Moon Jae-in alto thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for "unfailing strong support for the movement toward peace on the Korean Peninsula." He reiterated that the two countries’ leaders agreed during the previously held meeting to establish a forum for the development of bilateral cooperation. Russia’s Far East should play the central role in it.

"Today is the historic day when the first move in this direction was made," Moon Jae-in said. "It will become a turning point in the development of comprehensive cooperation between the regional and central governments of Russia and Korea."

The president stressed that Seoul and Moscow have waited for this day for almost 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. He noted that the regions may play a crucial role in the galvanization of economic ties.

The first Russian-Korean Summit on Interregional Cooperation was launched in Pohang on Wednesday and will run until November 9. It involves representatives for nine entities of Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District and 17 regions of the Republic of Korea. At the forum representatives for regional governments, experts and businessmen are discussing prospects for the development of bilateral economic cooperation.


Regular ferry line to link Vladivostok and South Korea’s Pohang

South Korea’s city of Pohang and Russia’s Vladivostok may be linked by a ferry in the near future, Pohang Mayor Lee Kang-Deok said on Thursday at the first Russian-Korean Forum of Interregional Cooperation.

"A direct ferry line is to open soon between Pohang and Vladivostok. It will link these two cities with North Korea’s ports in the future, which will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and help all countries develop mutually beneficial economic cooperation," the city mayor stressed.

He noted that the Korean side considers the organization of transport communication between these two ports a major item of interregional cooperation. In particular, it will make it possible to deliver Russian coal for the steel works POSCO, which is located in Pohang, and link the South Korean city with the Northeast Passage.

Lee Kang-Deok called on the South Korean and Russian authorities to create a bilateral platform for constant communication, for example in the form of a secretariat which would make it possible to quickly solve arising issues and problems. The Pohang mayor also noted the necessity to change from raw material trading, which prevails in the bilateral trade turnover, to the joint processing and exports of finished products.

Pohang, a city of 530,000, is located in the south-east of the Republic of Korea. It is the largest steel production center in the country. The city’s commercial seaport provides cargo turnover of 50 million tonnes.

The official part of the forum was launched on November 8. It involves nine entities of the Russian Far Eastern Federal District and 17 regions of the Republic of Korea. At the event representatives for regional governments, experts and businessmen are discussing prospects for the development of bilateral economic cooperation.


China Unveils Stealth Drone for First Time at Zhuhai Airshow (PHOTOS)

Stealth Drone.jpg

On display at the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, otherwise known as the Zhuhai Airshow, is a model of the country's new CH-7 unmanned aerial vehicle ‒ a stealth drone expected to be the first to hit global markets.

Built by the state-owned Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the drone is expected begin test flights sometime in 2019, with mass production starting in 2022 if all goes well.

China's new-generation stealth drone.jpg
In this Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, China's new-generation stealth unmanned combat aircraft prototype, the CH-7, is displayed during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2018, in Zhuhai city, south China's Guangdong province / © AP PHOTO/ KIN CHEUNG

Shi Wen, the CH-7's chief designer, told the AP on Wednesday that the aircraft can "fly long hours, scout and strike the target when necessary."

"[We] can see the CH-7 flying in the blue skies, gradually being a practical and usable product in the future," the designer told the news outlet, adding that the drone will likely be sold abroad. It's unclear what countries might be on the list of potential buyers.

CH-7 China new-generation stealth unmanned combat aircraft.jpg
CH-7 China new-generation stealth unmanned combat aircraft prototype is displayed during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2018, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Zhuhai city, south China's Guangdong province / © AP PHOTO/ KIN CHEUNG

The single-engine model, which is capable of flying at the speeds of a commercial jet plane, has a wingspan of roughly 72 feet and measures at a length of 33 feet, CBS News reported.

Although other countries are working on developing their own versions of stealth drones, experts have indicated that China's low prices and willingness to share its technology are attracting more attention from interested buyers. According to China Daily, if the CH-7 stays on track with its flight tests, China's UAVs will be the first on the market and the "sole option for buyers wanting to field stealth combat drones."

"It would represent an area of Chinese arms export offerings which no other country offers," aviation expert Justin Bronk told AP.

Also showcased at the outdoor portion of the airshow was China's J-20 stealth fighter and J-10B fighter. And that's not all, folks. Inside was a replica of Beijing's future space station, Heavenly Palace, which is set to replace the International Space Station once it retires in 2024.


China plans to buy six Mi-171A2 helicopters

China plans to buy six Russian Mi-171A2 multipurpose helicopters by 2022, a spokesperson of the Russian Helicopters holding told reporters on Thursday at the AirShow China.

"China General Aviation Service confirmed the intention to buy a batch of Mi-171A2 helicopters," the spokesperson said.

"Deliveries in interests of such a large operator will definitely facilitate awarding further orders," Chief Executive Officer of the holding Andrei Boginsky said. Validation of the certificate for Mi-171A2 in China is underway, the company said.

The multipurpose Mi-171A2 helicopter is a deliverable of deep upgrade of Mi-8/17 helicopter family, with more than 80 changes made in its design. The aircraft can operate day and night, in the environment of high mountains, high and low temperature, higher humidity, and above water surface. Mi-171A2 are fitted with a "glass cabin" avionics package. The crew consists of two persons.


Russian hi-tech firm to team up with China to develop liquid rocket propellants

Russian liquid-fuel rocket engines produced by Energomash.jpg
Russian liquid-fuel rocket engines produced by Energomash / © Alexei Filippov/TASS

Russia’s rocket engine producer Energomash and the Sixth Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation have signed a protocol of cooperation in the development and manufacture of liquid rocket propellants, the Energomash press office reported on Thursday.

The document was signed at the Airshow China 2018 aerospace exhibition, Energomash said.

Under the protocol, both sides can cooperate in the field of rocket engines by developing liquid rocket propellants using the oxygen-kerosene, oxygen-hydrogen and oxygen-methane propellant components," the Energomash said in a statement.

Until the end of 2018, the Chinese side will send technical work requirements to Energomash and in January 2019 both sides will hold consultations to formulate their final version. After that, Energomash will draft and submit a package of documents to Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos for a government resolution on the possibility of cooperation in this area, the statement says.

"The negotiations with the Chinese side lasted several years. But we were restrained in our negotiating process until the end of 2017 as the agreement between the governments of Russia and China, ‘On Measures for Technology Protection in View of Cooperation in the Exploration and the Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes, the Development and the Operation of Launch Vehicles and the Ground-Based Space Infrastructure,’ was not ratified," Energomash CEO Igor Arbuzov said.

"Beginning from 2018, our discussions became substantive and today’s protocol is a switchover of our relations to the practical realm," he added.

The areas of cooperation in the sphere of rocket engines were defined by the protocols of sessions of the Russian-Chinese commission for cooperation in carrier rockets and rocket engines held in 2018 and were approved on September 28, 2018 in Beijing by a protocol of the 19th session of the sub-commission for interaction in outer space of the Russian -Chinese commission for preparing regular meetings of the heads of governments.


China purchases 20 Ansat aircraft at Airshow China

Russian Helicopters inked a contract for supply of 20 Ansat helicopters to the China Association of Emergency Medicine at the Airshow China exhibition, a spokesman of the Russian holding told reporters on Thursday.

"The Russian Helicopters holding made a contract for delivery of 20 Ansat helicopters in the interests of the Association of Emergency Medicine of the People’s Republic of China within the framework of the Airshow China international air show," he said.

Russian Helicopters plan to "validate a certificate in China and supply all helicopters under this contract in 2019-2020," Chief Executive Officer of the holding Andrei Boginsky said.

Helicopters will be handed over to the customer in a multipurpose build. Purchased Ansat helicopters when fitted with a medical module can be used to provide first aid and perform emergency evacuation of patients, including from areas with a hostile terrain.

The Ansat is a lightweight twin-engine multipurpose helicopter. It can carry up to nine people depending on the modification.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
November 10, 2018 - Seoul says 2 Koreas complete disarming 22 guard posts
Seoul says 2 Koreas complete disarming 22 guard posts

The Koreas plan to destroy 20 of the structures by the end of November, while symbolically leaving one demilitarized guard post on each side.


South Korean Defense Ministry shows South Korea’s chief delegate Major General Kim Do-gyun shaking hands, amid talks between the two countries to ease longstanding tension. (File/AFP)

SEOUL, South Korea: A South Korean Defense Ministry official says the North and South Korean militaries have completed withdrawing troops and firearms from 22 front-line guard posts as they continue to implement a wide-ranging agreement reached in September to reduce tensions.

The official says soldiers on Saturday completed disarming 11 guard posts on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas.

The official says the ministry believes the North has also finished withdrawing personnel and weapons from 11 guard posts on the northern side of the DMZ.

The Koreas plan to destroy 20 of the structures by the end of November, while symbolically leaving one demilitarized guard post on each side. They plan to jointly verify the results in December.


November 11, 2018 - North and South Korea begin destroying border guard posts
North and South Korea begin destroying border guard posts

  • The moves come as a diplomatic thaw between the former wartime foes gathers pace
  • The militaries on Sunday began destroying the 20 border guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas
SEOUL: The two Koreas began destroying 20 guard posts along their heavily-fortified frontier Sunday under a plan to reduce tensions on the border.

Under an agreement made between their generals in late October, North and South Korea agreed to each remove 10 posts and preserve one on either side of the frontier.

The militaries on Sunday began destroying the 20 border guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas after withdrawing troops and equipment from them, Yonhap news agency reported, citing Seoul’s defense ministry.

South Korea has around 60 such posts along the rest of the border while the North has about 160, Yonhap said.

The border truce village of Panmunjom — or the Joint Security Area (JSA) — is the only spot along the tense, 250-kilometer (155-mile) frontier where soldiers from the two Koreas and the US-led UN Command stand face to face.

But as part of the latest reconciliatory gesture, the two Koreas last month removed all firearms and guard posts from the area, leaving it manned by 35 unarmed personnel from each side.

The moves come as a diplomatic thaw between the former wartime foes gathers pace.

Under dovish South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Seoul has pursued a policy of engagement with its isolated, nuclear-armed neighbor, in contrast with the US which insists pressure should be maintained on Pyongyang until it denuclearizes.

Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed on a broad plan to ease tensions along the border during their third summit in Pyongyang in September.

The two nations technically remain at war after the 1950-53 Korean War that sealed the division of the peninsula and ended with a cease-fire instead of a peace treaty.

But ties improved markedly this year as Moon and Kim took a series of reconciliatory gestures.

Kim and US President Donald Trump also held a historic summit in June in Singapore and signed a vaguely worded deal on denuclearization, but little progress has been made since then, with the two countries sparring over the exact meaning of the agreement.

Planned talks between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and one of Kim’s right-hand men, Kim Yong Chol, were also delayed this week.


November 11, 2018 - Summit bears fruit as South Korea flies tangerines to North
Summit bears fruit as South Korea flies tangerines to North

  • The present comes after the North Koreans gave South Korean President Moon Jae-in two tons of pricey pine mushrooms after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang in September
  • North Korean leader Kim faces continued international pressure over his weapons programs
SEOUL: South Korean military transport aircraft began a tangerine airlift to North Korea on Sunday, the first of a gift of 200 tons of the fruit from the southern island of Jeju, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said.

The present comes after the North Koreans gave South Korean President Moon Jae-in two tons of pricey pine mushrooms after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang in September.

North Korea has pursued nuclear and missile programs in defiance of UN sanctions and South Korean officials said last week they had tested the mushrooms for radiation after an opposition lawmaker complained.

The Jeju tangerines were packed in 20,000 boxes and will be flown to Pyongyang by four C-130 aircraft during multiple flights on Sunday and Monday, the Blue House said in a statement.

Several senior South Korean officials, including Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung and presidential secretary for unification policy Suh Ho, flew to Pyongyang to deliver the first shipment.

North Korean leader Kim faces continued international pressure over his weapons programs.

He vowed to work toward denuclearization during his historic June summit with US President Donald Trump, but Pyongyang’s actions have fallen short of US demands for irreversible steps to scrap its arsenal, including a full disclosure of nuclear facilities and materials.

That has left inter-Korean efforts limited by international and unilateral sanctions that bar many forms of economic interaction with North Korea.

But South and North Korea have conducted a number of inter-Korean projects designed to lower tensions, including joint sports and cultural events, closing some guardposts along their shared border, and regular high-level negotiations.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
North Korea to Expel US Citizen Detained for Illegally Entering State - Reports

The North Korean authorities have decided to expel a US citizen who was detained in October for illegally entering the country, South Korean Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

The US national, named Bruce Byron Lowrance, was detained in North Korea in October after he illegally crossed the border from China, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reported, citing a message carried by the North Korean state-run News Agency (KCNA).

Lowrance reportedly later confessed that he acted under the guidance of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

No information has been provided about the deportation deadline, according to Yonhap.

In May, North Korea released three US detainees ahead of the June summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.


New North Korea's tactical weapon took over seven years to develop — media

North Korea’s advanced tactical weapon, successfully tested recently, took over seven years to develop, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday, adding that the development effort had started under the country’s late leader Kim Jong-il.

According to the agency, incumbent North Korean leader Kim Jong-un witnessed the weapon’s test conducted at a testing ground belonging to the country’s Academy of Defense Science. KCNA stressed that the newly developed weapon, based on cutting-edge technologies, would ensure a rapid growth in North Korea’s defense capabilities. However, the news agency did not provide any details as to what kind of weapon had been tested and whether its development was part of the country’s nuclear program.

KCNA also released photos of Kim Jong-un surrounded by high-ranking military officers, which had been taken at the testing ground.

In April 2018, North Korea announced the suspension of nuclear and missile tests, seeking to shift priority to the country's economic development and efforts to improve living standards. In May, Pyongyang dismantled the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where six underground nuclear tests had been carried out.

On June 12, Singapore hosted a historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. The parties signed a joint document, in which Pyongyang committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula in return for US security guarantees. However, talks on the implementation of the agreements reached by Pyongyang and Washington have come to a standstill in the past few weeks as US officials said on numerous occasions that Washington was unwilling to lift its trade blockade until North Korea completely destroyed its nuclear capabilities.


S Korean Soldier Found With Fatal Gunshot Wound on Border With N Korea - Reports

A South Korean soldier was found on Friday with a fatal gunshot wound to his head at a restroom of the guard post on the border with North Korea, Yonhap reported citing military officials.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, the 21-year-old private first class was still alive when he was found but succumbed to his wound at about 5:38 p.m. local time (08:00 GMT) on the way to a hospital.

An investigation is set to be launched into the incident.

The relations between Seoul and Pyongyang have been showing signs of detente since the beginning of 2018. In January, North Korea reopened a border hotline with the South that had been closed for almost two years, while on April 27, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at the Panmunjom truce village, where they signed a joint declaration agreeing to renew economic cooperation in several areas.


China, Russia hail positive cooperation, seek 'new achievements'

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Russian President Vladimir Putin have applauded an expansion of mutual ties after meeting on the sidelines the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore.

"Thanks to the efforts of our governments, trade and economic ties are developing at a noticeable and impressing rate, creating a good basis for our special strategic partnership," said Putin on Thursday.

The Russian president urged regular top-level communication between the countries to be further maintained to advance cooperation in fields of energy, aviation, space, science and technology as well as digital economy.

The Chinese premier, on his part, conveyed President Xi Jinping's greetings to Putin, highlighting the positive outcomes of the two presidents' meetings earlier this year.

Li noted that the China-Russia strategic partnership has been functioning positively at high administration levels and called for added investment opportunities and a reduction of trade restrictions.

Putin and Jinping are expected to meet at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November as the two countries expand ties in the face of heightening aggressive behavior on the part of the United States.

The US has increased troop presence in Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific in a bid to "contain" what it describes as a growing threat from the two countries.

Subsequently, heavy American naval buildup in the South China Sea has occasionally led to potentially dangerous standoffs with Chinese forces. Observers believe the US seeks to further exert control over the area's oil and gas-rich waterways.

Speaking at the ASEAN summit on Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence Pentagon indirectly denounced Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific, saying that "empire and aggression have no place" in the region.

The US along with NATO have also increased military garrisons and drills around Russia in the past four years, deploying missile systems along the Russian border.

Moreover, Pentagon officials recently announced the withdrawal of thousands of troops from their Africa-based "counter-terrorism operations" in order to relocate more resources to "countering Russia and China".

Russia and China have, however, denied the American maneuvers as destabilizing provocations.


PM says China ready to boost energy cooperation with Russia

Beijing is ready to boost energy and innovation cooperation with Moscow, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore on November 15, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

"China is ready to boost energy, innovation, finance and trade cooperation with Russia," Li Keqiang said. "We are interested in expanding the two countries’ access to each other's markets," he added.

According to the Chinese prime minister, Beijing seeks to increase trade and investment cooperation with Moscow and enhance ties in the field of cutting-edge technologies and advanced development. "It will improve the welfare of the people of China and Russia," Li Keqiang pointed out.

He also said that 2018 marked an important stage in high-level relations between China and Russia. The Chinese prime minister was hopeful that the two countries would achieve even more success in their development efforts by boosting bilateral cooperation.


China hopes to strengthen ties with Russia — diplomat

The Chinese authorities express hope for intensifying cooperation with Russia against the backdrop of closer contacts between the two countries’ leadership, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Friday when asked by a TASS correspondent to comment on a recent meeting between Premier of China’s State Council Li Keqiang and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"As for the meeting between Li Keqiang and Vladimir Putin in Singapore, we believe that Russian-Chinese relations are currently at an unprecedentedly high level. The two countries’ leaders constantly use all favorable opportunities <…> to maintain close bilateral contacts and resolve important regional and global issues," she told reporters at a regular press briefing. "We highly appreciate relations between our two counties and hope that China and Russia will use every opportunity to further strengthen cooperation."

According to the diplomat, contacts between Moscow and Beijing are important to ensure universal peace and global development.

The meeting between Putin and Li Keqiang was held on November 15 during the East Asia Summit in Singapore. During the meeting, the Chinese side expressed willingness to intensify cooperation with Russia in a number of key areas of bilateral cooperation, including the energy sector, trade and innovative technologies.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Seoul, Pyongyang to Connect Roads in DMZ - Reports

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and South Korea Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon conducted a working group meeting to strengthen efforts on denuclearization, the US Department of State said in a press release on Tuesday.

"US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and Republic of Korea Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon co-chaired a US-ROK [South Korea] working group in Washington November 20," the release said on Tuesday. "The working group further strengthened close US-ROK coordination on efforts to achieve our shared goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK [North Korea]."

The release said the group also reaffirmed the alliance between South Korea and the United States as the key to peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

Meanwhile, for the first time in 65 years, North and South Koreas will connect a road in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on November 22, local media reported Tuesday.

"It will be an unpaved tactical road running through the DMZ… The road will be up to 12 meters [40 feet] wide," the Yonhap news agency reported, citing anonymous sources in the South Korean government.

According to the news outlet, the road project is part of the military agreement, which the defense ministers of the two countries signed after the latest inter-Korean summit. Since October, the two sides have been demining the area to ensure safety ahead of the excavation works.

Relations between Seoul and Pyongyang began to improve after a historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in April.

The 3rd inter-Korean summit took place in September and resulted in a number of agreements in various areas, covering such areas as defense, culture and sports. Earlier in October, the two Koreas agreed to launch a joint project to modernize and connect their rail and road systems until the end of the year.


S. Korea Video Shows N. Korea Destroying Guard Posts in Demilitarized Zone (Video)

North Korea destroyed ten guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as part of the peace process between the two nations.

A video released by South Korean medias shows Pyongyang destroying ten of its Guard posts across the borders of its southern neighbor after two countries agreed to dismantle the heavily fortified, 155-mile (248 km) border set up in the wake of the Korean War between the two countries, During a summit in September.

Pyongyang had earlier withdrawn troops and weapons from 11 of their guard posts.

North Korea is still said to have approximately 150 guard posts in the DMZ, which also contains a reported two million landmines.

South Korea has approximately 60 such posts, protected by mines, layers of barbed wires, and heavily armed soldiers on 24-hour patrol.

The dismantling of the posts will take place by both sides after which they are set to verify each other’s work.

Per the agreements signed in September, the countries also agreed to disarm a shared village called Panmunjom.

They have also put a freeze on any live-fire drills along the border and slowly begun the process of disarming landmines in order to search for the dead from the Korean War, which ended in 1953.

Tensions between the countries have eased since the Winter Olympics in February 2018 took place in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The second summit between Mr Moon and Mr Kim could happen as early as next month.


US, South Korea to reduce scope of 'Foal Eagle' military exercise

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday (Nov 21) that a joint military exercise with South Korea called "Foal Eagle" would be reduced in scope next year so it does not harm diplomatic efforts with North Korea.

"Foal Eagle is being reorganised a bit to keep it at a level that will not be harmful to diplomacy," Mattis told reporters.

The Foal Eagle field exercise, which usually involves combined ground, air, naval and special operations troops, takes place every spring.

(This story is developing)


US bombers fly near South China Sea islands militarized by Beijing

B-52 Stratofortress bomber.jpg
An Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber takes off earlier this year from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. GERALD WILLIS / U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO

A pair of Guam-based bombers recently flew near disputed islands in the South China Sea, an Air Force statement said.

The B-52H Stratofortress bombers left Andersen Air Force Base on Monday for the “routine training mission,” the statement said.

“This recent mission is consistent with international law and the United States’ long-standing commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.

The U.S. routinely sends the aircraft to the South China Sea — where more than $1.2 trillion in U.S. trade transits annually — and other parts of the Indo-Pacific as part of its “continuous bomber presence” missions out of Andersen.

Earlier this month, Chinese officials told their U.S. counterparts to stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea. The U.S. pushed back, insisting it will continue to “fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

Last month, the Chinese destroyer Luyang “conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers” as the USS Decatur sailed through the sea’s Spratly Islands, according to Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gordon, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The Luyang came with “45 yards of [the] Decatur’s bow, after which [the] Decatur maneuvered to prevent a collision,” Gordon said. At the time, Gordon called the Luyang’s maneuvers unsafe and unprofessional.


US carrier arrives in Hong Kong SAR

F.jpeg
An F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet takes off on the deck of the US Navy USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea on Tuesday. China is allowing a US Navy aircraft carrier and its battle group to make a port call in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region after it turned down similar request in September. Photo: AP


With the approval of China, US Navy warships including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Wednesday morning for a port visit.

Chinese experts said on Wednesday that the approval is an olive branch from China in the hope of deepening mutual trust and an attempt to create a friendly atmosphere ahead of the G20 summit to be held in Argentina later this month.

President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are expected to hold talks during the G20 summit.

The Reagan arrived in HKSAR at about 11:25 am, according to information provided by the Marine Department of the HKSAR government, which was released on Wednesday on its website.

US destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur, USS Benfold and cruiser USS Chancellorsville were also expected to dock in Hong Kong, local news website hkcd.com reported Wednesday.

Chinese military experts said that the warships will be resupplied and their crews will be given shore leave.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Wednesday that allowing the US carrier and other warships to dock in HKSAR is a barometer indicating the state of relations between the two militaries.

China turned down an application by the US amphibious assault ship Wasp to enter HKSAR in September amid trade frictions between the two countries and US sanctions against a Chinese military agency and its head for allegedly buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system, Reuters reported in September.

The Reagan was allowed to visit HKSAR in October last year, hkcd.com said in the report.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that allowing the US aircraft carrier and its support ships to dock in HKSAR signals China's willingness to seek an improvement in a wide range of ties between the two countries.

"Military relations are a crucial part to the overall ties between China and the US," Li said.

Li said there are frictions and mistrust between the two sides, but leaders from the two countries are keeping communication channels open, which is helping ease tensions.

Frequent military exchanges

Lieutenant General Tan Benhong, commander of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison in the HKSAR, was invited to board the Reagan on Tuesday to watch US fighter jets perform a takeoff and landing exercise as the aircraft carrier was sailing toward HKSAR, Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

Li said this reflects the willingness of both sides to strengthen military communication and avoid possible misjudgments in the future.

Last week, the PLA and US Army conducted a military exchange centering on humanitarian aid and disaster relief in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province.

Officers and experts said at the time that the operation would help boost mutual trust, making military ties a stabilizer of overall relations between the two countries.

Talks and cooperation between militaries will lead to improved ties in general, Song said, noting that struggles and conflict will result in a lose-lose situation that would be bad for both sides.

Friendly atmosphere

The planned meeting later this month between Xi and Trump in Argentina will mark the first time they will sit down together since the start of the US-China trade frictions, Associated Press said on Tuesday.

Song said that allowing US vessels to dock in HKSAR will also contribute to creating a sociable atmosphere for the two leaders to discuss political and trade issues.

It will be quite challenging to establish a congenial atmosphere at the presidents' meeting considering the intensity and complexity of trade spat between China and the US, said Li.

It is relatively straightforward to use the countries' militaries as icebreakers, Li noted.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
12-12-2018 - The Eurasia Future “Person of The Year” is: Kim Jong-un And Moon Jae-in
The Eurasia Future "Person of The Year" is: Kim Jong-un And Moon Jae-in - Eurasia Future



It has become increasingly common for media outlets to name a “person of the year” every December. Such an individual’s achievements should be consistent with that of someone who has positively impacted world events either at a local, regional, national or most commonly, at an international level. This year has been filled with many larger than life individuals doing larger than life things, but on the whole, it is clear that two individuals should share the title of person of the year: Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in.

First of all, there is Kim Jong-un. The DPRK (North Korea) leader began 2018 by extending an olive branch of peace to Seoul in his New Year’s message. What has followed has been an unprecedented year of peace, human connectivity and positive political and diplomatic exchange between the artificially divided Korean people. After decades of hostility following the Armistice of 1953 which ended one of the most devastating wars of the modern era, the young Kim Jong-un made the history changing decision to embrace patriotic minded reforms which will help to open the DPRK to new forms of prosperity guided by the power of peace which will simultaneously protect the dignity of the Korean people from far away interference in their national life, all the while safeguarding their unique cultural characteristics.

Throughout the year, Kim Jong-un has had to strike a balance between defending his nation against traditional American intrigue while also looking to open up new diplomatic avenues throughout the world, but most importantly to the South. During his historic meeting with Donald Trump in Singapore, it became clear that the Kim Jong-un era would be one of unexpected surprises – all of which have been deeply positive in so far as they have promote a spirit of peace, optimism, genuine hope and enlightenment.

The man whose leadership was once highly enigmatic has proved himself to be a passionate, dignified and affable diplomat whose tireless engagements with multiple nations including all three superpowers has come to author a new chapter in the pages of pan-Asian history, one which looks to usher in a golden era of Korean peace through prosperity.

But while Kim Jong-un was the first to extend an olive branch to the South, the peace minded, level headed, intelligent and moderate South Korean President Moon Jae-in deserves an equal amount of credit for not just grabbing Kim’s olive branch but for running with it along side his fellow Korean leader. Moon’s rise to power was not an easy one. It has been revealed that in 2012, the far-right Park Geun-hye colluded with the domestic intelligence agencies to rig the Presidential election in her favour. Yet Park’s gross corruption resulted in the largest ever peaceful anti-government demonstrations in Korean history.

Park was eventually impeached and imprisoned which lead to a special election in 2017 which saw the rise of Moon to the Blue House. While Park once wickedly conspired to assassinate the leader of the DPRK, Moon inspired Kim Jong-un to think about building a better and brighter future on a collective and fraternal basis. As Moon ended his predecessor’s policy of hostility towards fellow Koreans, Kim responded in kind and the result has been nothing short of breathtaking.

From North and South Korean soldiers embracing as brothers while laying down their arms in the DMZ (demilitarized zone), to Kim and Moon signing friendship agreements in the Panmunjom peace village and the arrival of a joint Korean team at the Olympic Games and Asian Games – this has been a year of supreme success for the Korean people.

Based on the progress made by Kim and Moon, both Korean states are now standing united in opposition to anti-Pyongyang sanctions while both countries look with optimism to the Belt and Road initiative that can help to economically unify Korea on a people-centred, respectful and rational basis. Seoul’s contribution to a new trans-Korean rail system as well as joint projects in Korea spearheaded by neighbouring China and Russia look to positively transform the future for millions of Koreans. Throughout this process, Kim and Moon have weathered many a storm and confronted many challenges with grace and a superior sense of purpose.

And yet at this time last year, many felt that nuclear war would break out in Korea. With this in mind, it feels as though the adage “what a difference a year makes” could have been specifically authored to describe the difference between Korean politics in 2017 and 2018. Of course, it has been the positive mentality and hard work of both Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in that has made the difference.

While 2018 was filed with important events led by important individuals, 2018 was above all, the year when peace prevailed in Korea. This is why Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in are the joint winners of Eurasia Future’s “person of the year”.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
An amazing investigative report, which provides an inside look at some Special Interests Groups in Washington, who went through great lengths (with taxpayer money) in keeping a "division between North and South Korea". I suspect, some of President Trump's theatrics and name calling (Rocket man) geared towards North Korea's Kim Jong-un was a mask for public consumption and to keep Special Interest groups - off guard, while he worked behind the scenes to bring the two Korea's together?

Back-dated August 20, 2018 - Inside America’s Meddling Machine: The US Funded Group that Interferes in Elections Around the Globe
Inside America's Meddling Machine: The US Funded Group that Interferes in Elections Around the Globe - Grayzone Project

On June 13, 2018 the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy presented its 2018 Democracy Award to a collection of Korean activists who aim to topple the communist government of North Korea.

The event was timed to coincide with President Donald Trump’s peace summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-Un. The ceremony appeared to be the opening shot of a massive public relations effort aimed at stifling normalized relations with North Korea.

.

NED founder Carl Gershman and NED director Andy Card with a group of Korean defectors and activists.

I covered the ceremony because these organizations are doing precisely what Congress accuses Russia-funded media outlets and troll farms of doing in the United States. They interfere in other countries’ politics with foreign money. The only difference is they do it openly, and in the name of spreading freedom.

Founded in 1983 by then president Ronald Reagan, the National Endowment for Democracy became an international vehicle for the neoconservative agenda. Its founding cadre were Cold War ideologues who were, like so many early neoconservative operatives, former Trotskyists who once belonged to the Social Democrats, USA organization.

Over the years, the NED and its partner organizations have weaponized civil society and media against governments that stand in the way of right-wing, free market parties and corporate interests.

Heavy payouts for anti-DPRK testimony, often with embarrassing results

Among the groups honored at the NED gathering was the Unification Media Group. They foment internal opposition to the North Korean government through shortwave radio broadcasts.

Also on hand was a collection of defectors. These activists are responsible for much of what the West believes about North Korea and its human rights record. While many tell harrowing tales of escape from political repression, others have been exposed as serial fabricators lured by hefty sums of cash.

In 2017, South Korea quadrupled the payout for testimony from North Korean defectors to a whopping $860,000. The bounty has incentivized colorful accounts of sadistic — and unusually creative — human rights abuses.

According to one defector, a crowd of 10,000 was forced to watch the execution of 11 musicians for the crime of viewing porn. He said the musicians were shot with anti-aircraft guns, then run over with tanks. Another defector claimed female prisoners were raped and then forced to hand their babies over to be used as food for hungry guard dogs.

That same year, news of the defection of 13 North Korean waitresses provided a boost to Pyonyang’s opponents

But recently, the waitresses’ manager admitted to tricking the women into leaving under pressure from the South Korean intelligence services. The scandal is now under UN investigation.

A separate UN investigation accusing Kim Jong-Un of crimes against humanity was marred by fabricated testimony from defectors like Shin Dong-hyuk, who confessed to inventing parts of his story.

Testimony to US Congress by another defector, Kwon Hyuk, who claimed to have witnessed live human experimentation in North Korean prisons, helped drive the passage of the North Korea Human Rights Act in 2004. But Kwon too was unmasked as a fabulist and quickly disappeared from the public eye.

The right-wing network behind Korea’s celebrity defector

Yeonmi Park is maybe the most famous North Korean defector. She emerged on the international scene at the One World Summit in 2014 with a heartrending tale of escape through China.

But key parts of Park’s story at the summit differed from previous testimony she had delivered.

One of the many inconsistencies in Park’s story was documented by journalist Mary Ann Jolley, who reported that Park initially claimed she had escaped through China with her mother and father.

At the One World Summit, however, Park’s interviewer claimed that she trekked through China with only her mother, who was raped by a Chinese broker — adding an entirely new dramatic piece to her narrative.

All along, Park was profiting from her fame, earning $12,000 and up for speeches, and receiving critical backing from a libertarian political network that included the for-profit Freedom Factory and the Atlas Foundation.

She was also made a media fellow by the Oslo Freedom Forum, an operation run by Venezuelan-American oligarch Thor Halvorssen that weaponizes human rights in the service of neoconservative foreign policy objectives.


In 2014, in partnership from libertarian tech billionaire Peter Thiel, Halvorssen launched the deliberately provocative “Hack Them Back” campaign to disrupt inter-Korean peace talks.

The campaign nearly brought the Koreas to the brink of war, as the North threatened to retaliate against the launch of balloons into its territory containing messages denouncing its leader. South Korea’s government also condemned the balloon launch, while peace activists and local residents on the border attempted to block it.

Park played a starring role in the imbroglio, drumming up support for Halvorssen’s crusade among Silicon Valley powerbrokers.

The destabilizing operation prompted Mike Bassett, a former reconaissance soldier at the Korean Demilitarized Zone and ex-information warfare officer, to describe Park as an instrument of well funded elements hostile to peace on the Korean peninsula. He wrote that her “change in narrative warrants serious scrutiny because that narrative changed as a result of a political and economic agenda rather than a genuine desire to inform the public about the best way to liberate North Koreans from oppression.”

Despite being criticized for changing her narrative again and again, Park returned to the national stage this June thanks to the New York Times, which featured her in an inflammatory viral video aimed at undermining the Trump-Kim summit during which she compared North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Adolph Hitler.

The neoconservative New York Times columnist Bari Weiss also pointed to Park’s largely discredited narrative to attack the peace summit, writing that Park herself had been raped on her way through China. Yet Park never even made this claim. Fortunately for Weiss, her editors at the New York Times opinion section had not bothered to conduct even a cursory bit of research on the defectors she cited.

The Transitional Justice Working Group, an NED grantee, is responsible for delivering some of these testimonies to the West.

At the NED ceremony, we met the group’s director, Hubert Younghman Lee, who emphasized the importance of American backing: “I’d like to express our sincere gratitude to bipartisan support, and also US congresspeople and US citizens especially. We are doing this work with US citizens’ tax [dollars].”

As with many high profile defectors, information delivered to Western media by South Korean intelligence has often proven unreliable, and provoked some embarrassing media updates.

In 2016, Western media filled with reports that North Korea had executed General Ri Yong-gil. However, General Ri turned up alive days later.

Three years before, Western media buzzed with reports that Kim Jong Un had executed his ex-girlfriend, Hyon Song-wol, by firing squad. Months later, Hyon appeared alive as ever, performing her music on North Korean television.

So this begs the question: is North Korea populated by zombies who rise from the dead? Or is a US-funded influence operation cultivating opposition to engagement with North Korea by relying on often unreliable sources with dubious agendas?

Bipartisan support

During the NED ceremony, Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi recalled a trip she took to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. “When we saw the people in Pyonyang — the blank faces, the brainwashing that went on — the poverty of spirit I saw exceeded the poverty [of] any place in the world.”

Pelosi then claimed that locals were executed on the spot for unauthorized corn consumption. “They would get shot if they just took one corn on the cob, one husk of corn,” she claimed.

Pelosi was among a bipartisan cast of lawmakers on hand to pay homage to the NED. They included Republican representatives like Ed Royce and Pete Roskamp, as well as Democrats like Rep. Julian Castro and Stephanie Murphy.

Though the NED was hailed by Congress as a politically benign entity advancing democracy and human rights, its record tells a different story.

Sowing chaos, spreading instability, and opening markets

The NED’s first success was the defeat of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua’s 1990 elections, replacing it with the neoliberal party of Violeta Chamorro.

Since then, the NED’s advanced US interests in countless countries: it helped swing a Russian election for Boris Yeltsin in 1996, it drove a failed coup attempt in Venezuela in 2002, it orchestrated a successful one in Haiti in 2004, and another one in Ukraine in 2014, which paved the way for neo-Nazis to move into the mainstream.

Philip Agee, the late CIA whisteblower, described the work of the NED as a more sophisticated version of the old-fashioned covert operations that Langley used to engineer. “Nowadays, instead of having the CIA going around behind the scenes and trying to manipulate the process by inserting money here and giving instructions secretly and so forth, they have now a sidekick, which is this National Endowment for Democracy, NED.”

Agee’s words were openly confirmed by Allen Weinstein, a former Trotskyist and founding member of the NED. Weinstein told the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly twenty-five years ago by the CIA.”

Since then, NED funding has almost quadrupled. In the past four years alone, the organization has directed at least 4 million dollars into parties and media outfits in Nicaragua.

That prompted an NED funded publication — the Global Americans — to boast of the role the group played in “laying the groundwork for change” in Nicaragua, where violent protests attempted to topple the country’s elected president, Daniel Ortega. The article went on to say that “it’s becoming more and more clear that U.S. support has helped play a role in nurturing the current uprisings.”

Uyghur “re-education camp” allegations against NED target China

Another top target of NED and its Washington partners is China.

The US has worked closely with Uyghur Muslims, an ethnic minority group that has faced discrimination at the hands of the Chinese government. As the confrontation with Beijing deepens, the US has attempted to use Uyghurs as a bargaining piece to ratchet up the pressure on Beijing.

At the ceremony, I met Omer Kanat, chairman of the World Uyghur Congress — a group funded almost entirely by the NED.

“The Chinese authorities have put more than one million Uyghurs in re-education camps, it is very similar to concentration camps,” Kanat claimed to me.

He said that his organization, a top NED grantee, had supplied much of the information the US government and Western media rely on about the alleged camps.


The World Uyghur Congress is funded largely by the NED and has helped introduce the story of Chinese re-education camps to the American public.

Indeed, along with the US-funded Radio Free Asia, which Kanat used to work for, Kanat’s US-funded Uighur Congress is responsible for widely reported claims that as much as one tenth of the Muslim population of China’s Xianjing province has been placed in re-education camps.

The numbers of Uighurs said to be housed in these camps vary wildly, from 120,000 to 500,000 to a million. And the sources invariably boil down to US-backed media like Radio Free Asia.

Western analysts concede that testimonies from actual camp prisoners is rare. One of the few detailed testimonies arrived through an anonymous source.

Kanat himself conceded that he did not know how many people were in the alleged camps, and that he was relying on “Western media estimates” to make his claim of one million.

The disturbing but still-unverified allegations about Uyghur re-education camps have added momentum to a new Trump national defense doctrine that singles out China as a top American adversary. With help from pundits like late night comedian John Oliver, who also echoed the claims of US-government backed sources on Xianjang, Washington appears to be hoping that a carefully crafted PR campaign will reverse Americans’ generally favorable attitude towards China.

Making Mongolia neoliberal

The NED has also turned up the heat on China by interfering in its neighbor’s elections.

Back in 1996, the International Republican Institute (IRI) — an NED partner group — helped propel right-wing libertarian parties to victory in Mongolia, dealing a death blow to the country’s socialist tradition and driving record levels of economic inequality.

At the NED ceremony, I spoke to an IRI staffer, Alexander Moree, who presented the group’s work in Mongolia as a blueprint for a post-communist North Korea. “So we took a group of defector-scholars over to Mongolia to study their transition,” Moree explained to me. “So Mongolia’s transition, if you don’t know, it was a peaceful democratic transition, there was no fighting, there was no revolution. But it developed a successful free market economy with peaceful elections without any dramatic turnover of power. It’s more of an island of democracy in Asia, and that’s more the model we want to encourage the North Koreans to pursue.”

“So like, transitioning from a socialist economy to a free market economy is paramount?” I asked him. “Exactly.”

The meddling machine McCain built

The IRI has been led for years by Senator John McCain, who turned the group into what the New York Times called “a revolving door for lobbyists and out-of-power Republicans that offers big donors a way of helping both the party and the institute’s chairman.”

Carl Gershman founded the National Endowment for Democracy in 1984, and has remained its president ever since. Gershman had previously served as executive director of Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA), and collaborated closely with Bayard Rustin, another SDUSA leader who was secretly working for the CIA. In a 2006 interview, Gershman explained, “I have to confess that in my early youth I was a kind of a Social Democrat of sorts, I’m now really a Democrat. I’m non-partisan; I try to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States.”

Today, Gershman is a neoconservative activist, but he still embraces the Trotskyist ideology of permanent worldwide revolution. And with peace looming on the Korean peninsula, he was forced to reassure his grantees that their work for regime change would not become irrelevant.

“There is some concern among the activists that the focus on the nuclear issue today will reduce pressure for human rights in North Korea and maybe even reduce support for the kind of work that is being done by the organizations that we have honored this evening,” Gershman said. “I want to assure our friends that NED’s support is solid.”

In the Longworth hallway outside of the NED event, I asked Nancy Pelosi if she thought the US government should stop funding organizations that seeking regime change against North Korea if it signed a peace treaty with the South. “I don’t know if that’s what they do,” Pelosi responded, referring to the NED and regime change, “but I do know they promote human rights where ever they [are].”

I then asked if she considered NED activities to be the same sort of foreign meddling Russia is accused of carrying out in the US. “I’m not going into any hypotheticals,” she said, dismissing the issue out of hand.

America remains obsessed with the specter of Russian interference and Moscow’s supposed active measures against our political system. But at the same time, official Washington celebrates its own taxpayer funded meddling machine as an engine of “democracy promotion.” Does the American public know what’s being done with its money, and will there ever be a public debate on the consequences of Washington’s regime change efforts?

Filmed inside the Capitol, this Grayzone special explores the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a taxpayer-funded organization that has interfered in elections, mobilized coups, and orchestrated public relations campaigns against nations that resist Washington’s agenda. By Max Blumenthal

Published on Aug 20, 2018 (20:42 min.)
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
2018-12-20 - North Korean Media Praises South Korea’s Regional Policies in Highly Significant Editorial
North Korean Media Praises South Korea's Regional Policies in Highly Significant Editorial - Eurasia Future






This week’s edition of the Pyongyang Times contains an editorial praising what the author sees as clear changes in the regional as well as geopolitical alignment of South Korea. The North Korean editorial also praises a positive shift in the public attitude among South Koreans regarding the value placed on certain foreign partnerships as well as the overall mentality among South Koreans in favor of a robust and irreversible peace process. As the Pyongyang Times is a DPRK state-operated publication printed in English and French, it can be surmised that elements of the DPRK government have used the editorial in order to convey Pyongyang’s own rapidly changing feelings about South Korea to a wide international audience that ought to include foreign diplomats concerned with the Korean peace process. Therefore, the article requires close examination as it is indicative of Pyongyang’s stance vis-a-vis Seoul going into 2019.

The entire editorial can be read below as it is important for observers to understand the full tone, context and political positions conveyed in the deeply important piece:

“South Koreans’ enthusiasm for national independence has bubbled up to an unprecedented level this year.

Their will to reject foreign interference and put an end to national division in the spirit of “By Our Nation Itself” stood out conspicuously after the adoption of the historic September Pyongyang Joint Declaration.

The South Headquarters of the Pan-National Alliance for Korea’s Reunification, headquarters of the movement for conclusion of peace agreement, youth and students headquarters of the South Committee for the Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration (June 15 South Committee), students’ alliance for progress and other social organizations and people conducted various activities such as rally, demonstration, distribution of handouts and signature-collecting campaign as they denounced the US for placing an obstacle to the internal affairs of the Korean nation in every way while clamouring for “speed control” in north-south relations.

South Koreans from all walks of life said that there is no justification for outside forces to interfere in the internal affairs of the nation, strongly urging them to work for durable peace in the Korean peninsula, rather than hampering the development of inter-Korean relations and national reunification.

They underscored the need to cooperate with the north on the principle of national independence and unity even though foreign intervention and meddling get more intensive. A south Korean news agency recently called for holding north-south dialogue and cooperation independently, saying inter-Korean relations should not fall prey to the “alliance” with foreign forces.

The June 15 South Committee, the students’ alliance for progress and other reunification-oriented and students’ organizations launched a pan-national signature campaign in demand of the US lifting of anti-DPRK sanctions and adoption of a declaration of termination of war, saying the relinking of north-south railway is the symbol and start of peace on the Korean peninsula and it is a precious dream of students to go to Pyongyang aboard a “reunification” train.

The Confederation of Democratic Trade Unions, the solidarity for people’s sovereignty and other civil society organizations said in comments and interviews that a new era of peace and prosperity is being ushered in thanks to the publication of the Panmunjom Declaration and the DPRK-US Joint Statement, there will be no reason for US troops to remain in south Korea when the declaration of termination of war is adopted, and September 8 when the US occupied south Korea must be the day of GI withdrawal.

It is quite natural that the south Korean people want to go along the road of national independence, rather than depending on and following outside forces.

As the issues of inter-Korean relations and national reunification are the internal affairs of the Korean nation at all points, there is no justification for outside forces to interfere in them.

The path ahead of the Korean nation was, is and will be the road of ‘By Our Nation Itself’ in which all compatriots share the same intention and join efforts”.

Notably, while the vast majority of DPRK approved articles about South Korea have historically ranged from the highly critical to the hostile, this editorial praises both the people of South Korea as well as the political decisions that the Blue House has taken during Moon Jae-in’s first full year in office.

This is symptomatic of several things. First of all, the DPRK is clearly attempting to foster ever closer fraternal feelings with the South by so publicly declaring Pyongyang’s official enthusiasm for the changes that Moon Jae-in has made in terms of creating an atmosphere of openness with the DPRK after responding positively to Kim Jong-un’s 2018 new year message when he called for improved relations and connectivity with the South. As the article was printed in a DPRK publication aimed at non-Koreans, it can be further extrapolated that the article is meant to emphasise matters that are becoming increasingly self-evident to Koreans themselves, but which have not yet penetrated the wider international consciousness.

Beyond this, the editorial’s author is attempting to encourage South Koreans to stay the course in respect of supporting Moon Jae-in’s administration that has called for a virtually immediate reduction in sanctions against the DPRK (notably Moon has joined Russia and China in making this call). Likewise, the editorial expresses the DPRK’s approval of the fact that Seoul has largely defied the US by going ahead with funding and building a new modern railway that will link North to South, thus indicating long term infrastructural plans to solidify an atmosphere of openness in a new era of peace.

While some right-wing South Koreans might feel upset at the “presumptuous” tone taken in the editorial, the reality of both Pyongyang and Seoul’s policies is portrayed with remarkable accuracy in the piece, thus challenging the knee-jerk international reaction to label all official writings from the DPRK as little more than propaganda. While Seoul has not advocated the complete withdrawal of US troops from Korea as the article’s lone critical paragraph demands, as the US has already rolled back the extent of its military exercises in Korea, while Donald Trump has indicated a long term possibility of withdrawing troops from Korea, even this section of the editorial does not stray too far from realism into idealism (or fantasy as some would say).

Crucially, the overall tone of the article is one of fraternal solidarity with the South. This is based largely on the fact that for a country seen as under the thumb of American policy markers, under Moon Jae-in, South Korea has quietly and incrementally defied the US in seeking to pursue economic and cultural openness with the North during rather than after the de-nuclearisation process. At the same time, as Seoul’s relations with both China and Russia reaches all time highs while simultaneous to this, Seoul has found Washington to be less than amendable to its long standing ally in respect of offering tariff exemptions in the midst of Donald Trump’s global trade war, the idea that South Korea is slowly pivoting towards a more independent position in the world is not just wishful thinking on the part of the DPRK – it is a manifest reality, albeit one that is far more subtle than it is overt.

Below is Eruasia Future’s assessment that Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in should both be named as joint “men of the year” due to the peaceful progress they have made together – often in defiance of external pressures. While Kim’s emergence as a major international figure has captured the global imagination, Moon has likewise moved political mountains to achieve a Korean owned, authored and executed peace process. Clearly , official DPRK journalists realise this fact even though many in the wider world have yet to apprehend it.

It has become increasingly common for media outlets to name a “person of the year” every December. Such an individual’s achievements should be consistent with that of someone who has positively impacted world events either at a local, regional, national or most commonly, at an international level. This year has been filled with many larger than life individuals doing larger than life things, but on the whole, it is clear that two individuals should share the title of person of the year: Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in.

First of all, there is Kim Jong-un. The DPRK (North Korea) leader began 2018 by extending an olive branch of peace to Seoul in his New Year’s message. What has followed has been an unprecedented year of peace, human connectivity and positive political and diplomatic exchange between the artificially divided Korean people. After decades of hostility following the Armistice of 1953 which ended one of the most devastating wars of the modern era, the young Kim Jong-un made the history changing decision to embrace patriotic minded reforms which will help to open the DPRK to new forms of prosperity guided by the power of peace which will simultaneously protect the dignity of the Korean people from far away interference in their national life, all the while safeguarding their unique cultural characteristics.

Throughout the year, Kim Jong-un has had to strike a balance between defending his nation against traditional American intrigue while also looking to open up new diplomatic avenues throughout the world, but most importantly to the South. During his historic meeting with Donald Trump in Singapore, it became clear that the Kim Jong-un era would be one of unexpected surprises – all of which have been deeply positive in so far as they have promote a spirit of peace, optimism, genuine hope and enlightenment.

The man whose leadership was once highly enigmatic has proved himself to be a passionate, dignified and affable diplomat whose tireless engagements with multiple nations including all three superpowers has come to author a new chapter in the pages of pan-Asian history, one which looks to usher in a golden era of Korean peace through prosperity.

But while Kim Jong-un was the first to extend an olive branch to the South, the peace minded, level headed, intelligent and moderate South Korean President Moon Jae-in deserves an equal amount of credit for not just grabbing Kim’s olive branch but for running with it along side his fellow Korean leader. Moon’s rise to power was not an easy one. It has been revealed that in 2012, the far-right Park Geun-hye colluded with the domestic intelligence agencies to rig the Presidential election in her favour. Yet Park’s gross corruption resulted in the largest ever peaceful anti-government demonstrations in Korean history.

Park was eventually impeached and imprisoned which lead to a special election in 2017 which saw the rise of Moon to the Blue House. While Park once wickedly conspired to assassinate the leader of the DPRK, Moon inspired Kim Jong-un to think about building a better and brighter future on a collective and fraternal basis. As Moon ended his predecessor’s policy of hostility towards fellow Koreans, Kim responded in kind and the result has been nothing short of breathtaking

From North and South Korean soldiers embracing as brothers while laying down their arms in the DMZ (demilitarized zone), to Kim and Moon signing friendship agreements in the Panmunjom peace village and the arrival of a joint Korean team at the Olympic Games and Asian Games – this has been a year of supreme success for the Korean people.

Based on the progress made by Kim and Moon, both Korean states are now standing united in opposition to anti-Pyongyang sanctions while both countries look with optimism to the Belt and Road initiative that can help to economically unify Korea on a people-centred, respectful and rational basis. Seoul’s contribution to a new trans-Korean rail system as well as joint projects in Korea spearheaded by neighboring China and Russia look to positively transform the future for millions of Koreans. Throughout this process, Kim and Moon have weathered many a storm and confronted many challenges with grace and a superior sense of purpose.

And yet at this time last year, many felt that nuclear war would break out in Korea. With this in mind, it feels as though the adage “what a difference a year makes” could have been specifically authored to describe the difference between Korean politics in 2017 and 2018. Of course, it has been the positive mentality and hard work of both Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in that has made the difference.

While 2018 was filed with important events led by important individuals, 2018 was above all, the year when peace prevailed in Korea. This is why Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in are the joint winners of Eurasia Future’s “person of the the year”.





 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
2018-12-26 - Ground Broken on New Railway Linking North and South Korea
Ground Broken on New Railway Linking North and South Korea - Eurasia Future

In accordance with a memorandum of understanding signed between Pyongyang and Seoul, Korean dignitaries and rail engineers from both North and South met at the DPRK border town of Kaesong to break ground on a modern railway which will link the once impenetrably divided states.

Beyond merely a gesture of good will, the ground-breaking ceremony represents the clear intent of both Korean states to expand mutual economic and human-to-human connectivity opportunities into the medium and long term future. South Korea in particular has put its monetary resources on the line, earmarking $260 million for the project.

This financial agreement stems from a memorandum of understanding between the two Korean states in October. The deal was finalised when the DPRK’s Chairman of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification Ri Son-gwon meet with South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon in the peace village of Panmunjom where earlier this year South Korean President Moon Jae-in and DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-in meet for the first time.

The rapidity with which both sides have commenced work on physically re-connecting the divided Korean peninsula demonstrates a mutual impetus for peace from both Pyongyang and Seoul. At the very minimum, this should quash rumours that the DPRK is somehow suspicious of embracing a common people in the South while equally this development indicates that South Korea’s current leadership has fully embraced the peace process without reservation.

This reality makes it clear that while Seoul remains close to the US as it has been since the creation of a separate South Korean state in 1948, under President Moon Jae-in, South Korea is embracing a very different dimension of the peace process than the more reluctant United States. In this sense, by seeking human and economic connectivity with the DPRK at the present stage of the peace process, Seoul’s position is increasingly similar to proposals formally made by both China and Russia to the United Nations. The Sino-Russian proposals call for a relaxing of UN mandated sanctions against the DPRK at the present time, thus offering an alternative to the US position that international sanctions should only be lifted once the current de-nuclearisation process is already complete, as opposed to when the process is underway as it has been for months.

Published on Oct 15, 2018 (2:55 min.)

While it could be inferred that South Korea’s calls to lift sanctions are indicative of Seoul’s undeniably expanding relations with both China and Russia, the reality is that as Asian countries that all border the DPRK, South Korea, China and Russia all have a clear understanding of the need for the peace process to be Asian authored, owned and executed in order for the prevailing peace to reflect the harmonious desires of regional partners with a physical stake in assuring long term peace and prosperity in north east Asia.

Although moderating sanctions on the DPRK was initially proposed by the Chinese and Russian superpowers, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has always been an indispensable part of the current Korean peace process. Recent events only serve to bolster this reality. Long before DPRK leader Kim Jong-un delivered his 2018 New Year’s message in which he called for peace, dialogue and reconciliation with Seoul, Moon Jae-in was a man inclined towards dialogue, peace and moderation.

Had Moon’s ultra-militant predecessor Park Geun-hye not been impeached and imprisoned for her corrupt activities while in office, it remains unlikely that Kim Jong-un would have ever extended an olive branch to South Korea. Park Geun-hye was not only the son of a far-right Korean leader Park Chung-hee but she embodied much of his policies which revolved around unilateral hostility to fellow Koreans in the North while also cultivating a slavish relation with Washington.

When it was later revealed that Park Chung-hee had seriously considered an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un, many felt that North-South relations would have been set back for decades. But when Moon Jae-in took office after winning a special election in May of 2017, after it was proved that Park worked with the intelligence services to meddle in the 2012 election which cost Moon South Korea’s top job at the time, a sense of political vindication was palpable although the austere demeanor of Moon never allowed himself to take a proverbial victory lap.

Against this background, it cannot be underestimated that the presence of Moon in Seoul’s Blue House was a key motivating factor that inspired Kim to make his decision to call for peace just seven months after Moon took office. The strategic views of Pyongyang may well have been that Moon might represent the last best chance to permanently alter the state of inter-Korean hostility lest a more militant South Korean take charge at some future date.

Throughout the peace process, Moon has had a moderating influence on the more hawkish/anti-DPRK elements in the US White House of which there remain many. In this sense, Moon has played one of the most difficult roles in the peace process, having to be the go-between for Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump at times when mild tensions have emerged in the course of the dialogue process between Washington and Pyongyang. Moon Jae-in has also overseen an expansion of his state’s trade with Russia, while in October of last year, he made a private agreement with his Chinese partners to reduce military tensions in the region. This means that Moon is a figure able to privately coordinate peace making efforts between all three of the superpowers who each have a specific interest in Korea, in China and Russia’s case because the Korean peninsula shares a border with both.

It is against this background that one must view statements from Seoul indicating a desire to moderate international sanctions on its fellow Koreans in the North while Moon’s personal mentality and political goals also help to understand why the physical linkage between the north and south of an ethnically and historically homogeneous Korean peninsula goes beyond symbolism and will help the peace process to reunite families that have long been artificially divided as a result of geopolitical machinations in the late 1940s.

The US still carries a disproportionate amount of influence in Seoul. This is why it is all the more important for President Moon to remain calm but firm in his clear intentions to promote peace through economic and human re-connectivity throughout Korea. Thus far, under President Moon, South Korea is quietly leading the peace process rather than merely following orders issued from Washington.


Below is Eurasia Future’s analysis on why the Korean peace process is irreversible:

While the United States continues to frame the Korean peace process in terms of demilitarisation, a far more important aspect of the process is the political, cultural and physical reconciliation of the two Korean states. It is helpful to remember that while an artificially divided Germany formally united in 1990, it was not until 1994 that (post) Soviet troops left the former East Germany. In this sense there is a clear parallel to the Korean peace process in which the will among a common people on both sides of a politically divided border are rapidly accelerating their connectivity in the midst of a prolonged but still rapidly advancing demilitarisation process.

On the 9th of November 1989 after East German authorities made an announcement that appeared to even surprise Günter Schabowski, the official tasked with announcing it, the divisions in Germany as a whole and in the city of Berlin began to disappear before the world’s eyes. On the 9th of November, all travel restrictions between a divided Berlin were to be lifted. Hours later, the Berlin Wall was torn down and what was once believed to be impossible became the inevitable – a divided Berlin and a divided Germany reunited. The history of modern Europe was consequently changed within a matter of hours.

While the United States continues to frame the Korean peace process in terms of demilitarisation, a far more important aspect of the process is the political, cultural and physical reconciliation of the two Korean states. It is helpful to remember that while an artificially divided Germany formally united in 1990, it was not until 1994 that (post) Soviet troops left the former East Germany. In this sense there is a clear parallel to the Korean peace process in which the will among a common people on both sides of a politically divided border are rapidly accelerating their connectivity in the midst of a prolonged but still rapidly advancing demilitarisation process.

Published on Nov 1, 2015 (4:47 min.)

This autumn and winter have seen several other historic moves for peace and reconciliation between the two Korean states. the DPRK (North Korea) and South Korea have announced an end to all hostilities on the border between the two states. According to a November report from China’s Xinhua,

“South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday stopped all hostile acts in border area as agreed upon in the military agreement, signed by defense chiefs of the two Koreas during the Pyongyang summit in September, according to Seoul’s defense ministry.

The ministry said in a press release that the military authorities of the two Koreas would stop all hostile acts against each other on land, in waters and the air as of 12 a.m. local time Thursday (1500 GMT Wednesday) in accordance with the comprehensive military agreement.

The military agreement was signed on Sept. 19 in Pyongyang on the sidelines of the third summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DRRK leader Kim Jong Un.

Under the agreement, the two sides would stop the live-fire artillery drills and the field maneuvering exercises by regiment or bigger units within the 5-km border areas from the military demarcation line (MDL) dividing the Korean Peninsula.

The operation of drones, helicopters and other aircraft would be banned over the border areas up to 40 km away from the MDL.

The live-fire coastline artillery drills and the maritime maneuvering exercises would be prohibited in maritime buffer zones in the eastern and western waters.

The Seoul ministry said the DPRK side officially expressed its willingness to implement the military agreement during the general-grade military talks on Oct. 26.

The DPRK military was implementing the agreement given the recent closure of coastline artilleries in the western waters, according to the Seoul ministry”.

Shortly thereafter, it was announced by companies offering foreigners guided tours of the DPRK that for the first time in post-1945 history, ordinary tourists will be able to cross over from the DPRK into the Panmunjom peace village south of the border where DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un first met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier this year. As travel agencies are responsible for the safety of tourists, it is clear that any fear of a re-militarised situation between North and South is of little worry. While the two Korean states are still separate states, an irreversible process has begun which has clear parallels to Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

This season’s events in Korea naturally take some of the wind of out America’s sails as they attest to an attitude in South Korea that is far more eager to implement further connectivity measures with the DPRK than US officials appear to be. After South Korean officials moved to endorse a joint Chinese-Russian plan to formally request that the UN Security Council lift some sanctions on the DPRK, it became all too clear that when it comes to Korean unification, Asia is speaking with a singular voice and that voice is arguing for a more rapid rapprochement between Pyongyang and Seoul.

While the US has yet to endorse or even offer a significant response to the Chinese-Russian and joint Korean call for a partial lifting of sanctions on the DPRK, events on the ground in Korea are rapidly outpacing developments in Washington that have thus far sought a slow and steady peace process dictated on American terms.

This too is not surprising. In the late 1980s, Ronald Reagan and later George W. Bush’s United States were far more eager to see Germany re-unite than was Britain under Margaret Thatcher. The reasons behind this had little to do with American altruism towards the German people but had more to do with Washington seeing a united German as being a political bulwark against a Soviet Union that most minds throughout the global west still throughout would not collapse as it ultimately did a year after Germany reunited. By contrast, Margret Thatcher whose early life was shaped by Britain’s participation in the Second World War, continued to be suspicious of a united Germany.

Ultimately though, Germany reunited largely of its own volition and by the time what remained of the last Soviet/Russian troops withdrew in 1994, the matter was more of a symbolic formality than anything else. In Korea, a United States that in the 1940s refused to allow for reunification out of fear that such a singular Korean state would be ruled by a Communist party, is now paradoxically worried that a more interconnected Korea might result in the loss of American influence in the peninsula just as a united Germany resulted in Russia losing influence in central and eastern Europe. Today, it is not Chinese or Russian troops who sit in Korean waiting for the “next war” but rather it is over 23,000 US troops who sit in South Korea prepared to fight a war that no one in Asia wants or is willing to fight.

In this sense, the position of the US in today’s Korean is akin to a hybrid of the Soviet and British position of 1990. While the Soviets clearly did not want to lsoe influence in Europe, there was little that could be done to slow the momentum of political change in mainland Europe. Likewise, the objections of the openly Germanophobic British Premier proved not to carry much weight in spite of her close relations with America. Furthermore, while elements of the so-called US deep state including the hawkish US National Security Adviser John Bolton appear to want to prolong the peace process, the business minded Donald Trump clearly wants the US private sector to have a piece of the tantalising Korean economic pie that will be served as soon as the spirit of economic openness that the DPRK is already preparing for becomes a matter of fact rather than a matter of policy.

On the whole however, the US is being more stubborn regarding Korea than the Soviet Union was in respect of Germany and other central and eastern European states with a post-1945 Soviet military presence. Be that as it may, just as the wider world tended to support German reunification in the 1990s, today even more of the world supports Korean steps to adopt something akin to a ‘One Country–Two Systems’ model that has defined post-colonial Hong Kong and Macao’s relations with the rest of China.

But just as the events in 1989 in Europe moved faster than either the Communist factions of the region or Britain’s anti-Communist Prime Minister wanted, so too does it appear that the movement towards peace and reconciliation in Korea is moving faster than anyone including the United States can control.

While there is little doubt that the Korean peninsula will be demilitarised as the US and others want, what’s even more important is that economic, human and cultural re-connectivity will likely happen long before the last nuclear weapon is disposed of. While sceptics will naturally disagree with this assessment, one must never forget that the majority of voices in the late 1989s and early 1990s were sceptical about the rapidly changing realities in Europe. They were proved wrong then and similar voices will likely be proved wrong in respect of Korea in the very near future.
 
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