vendredi 30 mars 2012

North Korea test-fires 2 short-range missiles...

North Korea has reportedly test-fired 2 short-range surface-to-ship missiles into the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean Peninsula. South Korean government sources say the North launched the missiles from a base in the northwestern part of the country on Thursday morning. The sources say the KN-01 anti-ship cruise missiles are believed to have a range of about 120 kilometers. The sources say Thursday's tests have no apparent relation to the launch of what North Korea says is a satellite-carrying rocket in April. South Korea believes the North plans to test long-range ballistic missile technology. The sources say the latest tests are likely aimed at extending the range of the anti-ship missile. Observers say the North's action is also seen as a warning to South Korea and the United States over their joint amphibious landing exercise on Thursday. About 9,000 troops took part in the drill in South Korea.
(Japan Broadcasting Corporation, 2012-03-30)

mercredi 28 mars 2012

Vehicles confirmed near North Korea launch pad...

A new satellite photo of North Korea's rocket launch pad suggests the country is preparing to launch what it calls a satellite next month, as it has announced. The US satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe took the photo of the facility at Tongchang-ri in the northwestern part of North Korea, on Wednesday. A photo taken on March 20th captured only the launch pad. But the new photo shows 2 vehicles nearby. The firm also points out that a crane arm at the top of the central tower has been swung in a different direction. Japan, the United States and some other countries consider North Korea's planned rocket launch no different from a long-distance ballistic missile launch. A senior US Defense Department official has warned that debris from the rocket could fall on Japan or South Korea. The official also said that the US is suspending an agreement made with North Korea to send food aid to the country.
(Japan Broadcasting Corporation, 2012-03-29)

The site where North Korea plans to launch a long-range rocket has been revealed in images taken by DigitalGlobe, a U.S. commercial vendor of space imagery and geospatial content. The images, which depict the launch site, were disclosed on Wednesday to coincide with a hearing of the House Committee on Armed Services. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Peter Lavoy said at the hearing that the rocket launch could result in casualties in various countries. Lavoy said North Korea's plan reflects its lack of desire to follow through on international commitments, forcing the U.S. to suspend its activities to provide nutritional assistance to the North. North Korea claims it plans to launch the rocket to put a satellite into space, but many nations contend the launch could be used to further its ballistic missile technology.
(KBS World Radio, 2012-03-29)

dimanche 25 mars 2012

North Korea transports rocket's main body to launch site...

North Korea is thought to have brought to its new launch site what is believed to be the main body of a missile. The South Korean government, after analyzing photos from a US surveillance satellite, says an object that appears to be the main body of a missile was recently brought by train to the launch site. The site is in Tongchang-ri, Cholsan County, in the northwest of the country. The launch site was completed last year, and is about 3 times the size of the one in Musudan-ri in the northeast, the scene of previous ballistic missile tests. The gantry at the new launch pad measures about 50 meters, about 20 meters taller than the one in Musudan-ri. The pad is believed to be capable of launching long-range ballistic missiles. North Korea is thought to be assembling the missile inside a facility at the launch site and preparing to fire it as announced, despite opposition from Japan, the United States and South Korea.
(Japan Broadcasting Corporation, 2012-03-26)

North Korea has reportedly made considerable progress in its preparations to launch a long-range rocket. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Sunday said that militaries of South Korea and the United States confirmed that the North moved the main part of the rocket to a launch facility. A JCS official said that the North seems to have made significant progress in the launch preparations, adding the South Korean and American militaries are cooperating to find out the specific schedule for the take-off. Earlier on Sunday, Japan’s Fuji Television reported that the North moved an object that appears to be the main body of the rocket to the launch facility in Dongchang-ri, Cholsan County, North Pyeongan Province.
(KBS World Radio, 2012-03-26)

lundi 19 mars 2012

North Korea may have provided arms to Iran in 1980s...

Declassified South Korean documents have revealed that North Korea began providing arms to Iran after the Iran-Iraq war broke out in 1980. That was one of the findings in about 180,000 pages of secret documents the South Korean government made public on Sunday. Among the papers are the minutes of talks between South Korean Foreign Minister Roh Shin-yeong and US Ambassador in Seoul William Gleysteen in October 1980. At the meeting, Gleysteen said the US believes the North has been providing Tehran with ammunitions in about 2 dozen round-trips between Pyongyang and Iran. Roh said his government has confirmed that North Korea sent anti-aircraft artillery and anti-tank rockets to Iran. A report from the South Korean Embassy in Iran said that machine guns, armored vehicles and other kinds of military equipment were unloaded in Iran from 16 North Korean ships. These documents suggest that the 2 nations started bilateral arms trade more than 30 years ago. The papers also indicate that Pyongyang sent 6,000 military personnel to 31 nations in Asia, Africa and South America from 1960s through August 1981. North Korea was apparently working to forge military ties not just with Iran, but with many other countries.
(KBS World radio, 2012-03-19)

vendredi 16 mars 2012

North Korea to launch satellite in April...

North Korea says it will launch a satellite to mark the centenary of the birth of the country's founder Kim Il Sung. State-run North Korean media on Friday reported an announcement by the Korean Committee for Space Technology. The announcement said North Korea will launch a working satellite, Kwangmyongsong 3, from a launch site in Pyongan-pukdo between April 12th and 16th. It said a safe launch trajectory has been set to prevent rocket debris from affecting neighboring nations. It also said the launch will strongly inspire the country's citizens and troops who are striving to create a strong and prosperous nation. The launch will apparently use the same technology for long-range ballistic missiles that North Korea has tested in the past. The announcement could draw international criticism, as North Korea promised to freeze long-range missile testing in talks with the United States last month.
(Japan Broadcasting Corporation, 2012-03-16)

North Korea says it will launch its Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite in time for the centennial birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung on April 15th. The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency cited a statement made by the spokesman of the communist nation's Korean Committee for Space Technology. The committee says Kwangmyongsong-3 is an earth observation satellite that travels along the polar orbit. It says the Unha-3 rocket carrying the satellite will blast off from a satellite launching station in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province some time between April 12th and the 16th. The spokesman said a safe flight orbit has been chosen by determined a route that to prevent any rocket debris from affecting neighboring countries. The committee says it will abide by international regulations and practices concerning the launch of satellites being used for scientific and peaceful purposes and that it will also ensure maximum transparency for the entire process.
(KBS World Radio, 2012-03-16)

Official news agency KCNA says the event will take place mid-April, to mark the centenary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung. Foreign officials have said the past launches are disguised long-range missile tests. If it goes ahead, the launch would breach a United Nations resolution passed after a previous launch in 2009. North Korea says it has already launched two experimental satellites. It says the launch will occur southwards.
(Radio Australia, 2012-03-16)

mercredi 14 mars 2012

North Korea kidnaps and executes defectors with South Korean nationality...

A group of North Korean defectors based in South Korea says that North Korea abducted and then executed North Korean defector-turned-South Korean nationals in China. Citing an unidentified internal North Korean source, the group, called the North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, says that around 15 North Korean defectors who obtained South Korean nationality were caught by the North in the North Korean-Chinese border area last year alone. The defector-turned-South Koreans were abducted in a joint operation conducted by North Korea's State Security Department, its military intelligence agency and border guards. The North Korean Intellectuals Solidarity says that most of them have been executed or detained at North Korean concentration camps in Hoeryong and Yodok.
(KBS World Radio, 2012-03-14)

jeudi 1 mars 2012

40 North Korean soldiers killed, wounded during Yeonpyeong counterattack...

Radio Free Asia says roughly 40 North Korean soldiers were killed or wounded during South Korea's counterattack following the North's shelling of a South Korean island in late 2010.

The U.S. broadcaster released the report Friday citing a North Korean source in the North's South Hwanghae Province. The source apparently heard from a North Korean battalion commander that about ten North Korean soldiers were killed and 30 others wounded during the exchange of fire prompted by the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

The source said the commander saw a military vehicle transporting the dead bodies and the wounded to a military hospital known as "Hospital No. 11" in Pyongyang run by the North's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Radio Free Asia says this source shares close ties with officials of the Fourth Army Corps, which is known to have perpetrated the Yeonpyeong shelling.

The source, who recently traveled to China and revealed the story, says the North Korean military is apparently frightened by South Korea's cutting-edge weapons and has been reluctant to fight the South since the Yeonpyeong shelling.
(KBS World Radio, 2012-03-02)