21 January 2018
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  • » 09/13/2017, 16.35

    NORTH KOREA

    Pyongyang rejects sanctions, promises to boost nuclear programme



    It calls the UB action “another illegal and evil 'resolution on sanctions' piloted by the US”. Its reaction deemed "less-than threatening"; yet, provocations are possible before 10 October.

    Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) North Korea on Wednesday slammed new sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council following its sixth nuclear test. It vowed to boost its nuclear programme at a faster pace.

    In a statement today carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's Foreign Ministry said that it "categorically" rejected the UN sanctions, which it says are aimed at "completely suffocating its state and people through a full-scale economic blockade."

    The UN action was "another illegal and evil 'resolution on sanctions' piloted by the US", the statement added.

    The UN Security Council was voted unanimously, China included, for the sanctions. It bans trading in textiles and restricted oil imports as well as bars North Korean workers from going abroad.

    For North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, the sanctions are an occasion to "verify that the road it chose to go down was absolutely right and to strengthen its resolve to follow this road at a faster pace without the slightest diversion until this fight to the finish is over.”

    For some South Korean observers, this response is less-than-threatening. “It may be related to the UNSC decision not to blacklist Kim Jong-un -- unlike the proposal in its original draft," said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Dongguk University in Seoul.

    The South's unification ministry described the statement as "the most low-key form of response from North Korea to UN Security Council resolutions".

    "Given this situation, we need to watch further (to gauge North Korea's intention). We are urging the North to end the vicious circle of repeating provocations and sanctions and start a dialogue for the peaceful resolution of its nuclear issue," said Baik Tae-hyun, a South Korea's unification ministry spokesman.

    In any case, he said, the situation still warrants close monitoring. There is a remote possibility that Pyongyang will make another provocation around 10 October, the 72nd anniversary of the Workers' Party Foundation, in power in the North.

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

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    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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