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  • » 02/24/2009, 00.00

    KOREA

    Pyongyang ready to launch “satellite”



    The communist government claims it is “rocket for spatial communications”. Analysts do not exclude the possibility it is a missile capable of carrying a nuclear war head. The South Korean foreign minister in Beijing to discuss the North’s nuclear ambitions. Pyongyang has increased its military spending, but the population continues to starve.

    Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea says it is preparing to launch a telecommunications satellite on one of its rockets, which analysts have said could actually be a test-launch of its longest-range missile Taepodong-2. The satellite would be capable of containing atomic warheads and could reach Alaska or the US western seaboard.

    The launch may take place on March 8th next from Donghae, North Hamgyong province, to mark the renewal of the North Korean National Parliament.

    Fresh rumours of another imminent missile launch by Pyongyang are alarming the international community and regional neighbours.  Japan says it is ready to face an ‘emergency’ situation.  Today the South Korean foreign minister travelled to Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart and discuss the North Korean issue.

    Yesterday Seoul also published its white paper report on Defence, which defines North Korean regime a "direct and serious” threat.  Its military had grown to 1.19 million, an increase of 20,000 from 2006, while the number of its lightly equipped special forces trained to swiftly infiltrate South Korea had increased 50%; it reiterated a 2006 assessment that North Korea possesses 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes of chemical weapons. Military expenditure decided by Pyongyang weighs heavily on the North Korean population, which continues to starve and the children continue to be exploited as a “working force”.

     

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    See also

    26/06/2008 KOREA
    Korean Church: 200,000 tonnes of food to prevent starvation in the North
    The Division of Aid for North Korea, an organisation of the bishops that manages Church aid for the North Koreans, has launched a fundraising drive in order to buy food aid, fundamental in order to guarantee the survival of the North Korean population. Famine could kill 900,000 people.

    12/02/2005 NORTH KOREA - US
    Pyongyang's actions are a plea to the US to save the Communist regime

     



    17/08/2006 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
    North Korea: Floods claim 54,700 victims and leave 2.5 million homeless

    A humanitarian aid NGO said this was the worst disaster ever to hit the country. The harvest is at stake in a country already hard pressed to feed its people.



    06/04/2009 KOREA – UN
    UN, no agreement on sanctions against Pyongyang over missile launch
    Washington, Seoul and Tokyo demand a “strong response”. Beijing and Moscow are more cautious and speak of “proportional” measures. The failed launch of the North Korean missile constitutes a violation of UN resolutions. South Korea underlines that Pyongyang is aiming for space while the population languishes in famine. Obama asks for a program “against the proliferation of nuclear weapons”.

    31/03/2011 KOREA
    Seoul to allow aid to the North
    The South Korean government ends total embargo imposed on NGO operating in North Korea. The Eugene Bell Foundation, which has a close working relationship with Caritas Korea, will be the first to ship aid. The decision to lift the ban follows more reports about the North Korean population’s dire situation.



    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – LEBANON
    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

    Fady Noun

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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