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South Korean Defense Chief confirms North Korea behind GPS jamming last week

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin

SEOUL, March 9 (KATAKAMI.COM) — South Korea’s defense chief confirmed Wednesday that North Korea was responsible for the disruption of navigational devices using a Global Positioning System (GPS) last week, adding that he will reinforce measures to cope with future electronic attacks by the North.
 

As repordted by YONHAP News on Wednesday,  Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told a parliamentary session that signals were detected originating from the North’s western border city of Kaesong and were also believed to be emitted from Mount Kumgang on the Korean Peninsula’s east coast.

“Besides Kaesong, Mount Kumgang is believed to be a site where the GPS jamming signals were originated,” a participant quoted Kim as saying at the closed-door session.

Seoul’s military officials have said the signals were sent from the North’s western border cities of Kaesong and Haeju, but it was the first time that Kim mentioned Mount Kumgang as a potential origin of the electronic attack.

Kim said the North’s attempt to block military communications was ineffective because most military devices use a military-only satellite navigation system.

“To cope with a future disruption of GPS signals, the ministry will step up a cooperation system among private, government and military sectors,” Kim said, according to the participant.

The North’s latest electronic attack may have been intended to disrupt the joint military exercises by South Korean and U.S. forces that run until Thursday, military officials here said.

North Korea has been thought to have been responsible for the intermittent failure of GPS receivers since last year.   (*)

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in World News

 

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Seoul Once Again Urges Pyeongyang to Take Back 27 North Koreans

South Korea

SOUTH KOREA, Mar 09, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) —- The South Korean government has once again called on North Korea to take back 27 of the North Koreans who drifted into South Korean waters on a fishing boat last month.

As reported by Arirang News on Wednesday, Seoul’s Red Cross said it sent another message to its northern counterpart Tuesday afternoon, informing Pyeongyang of its intention to repatriate the 27 people, and not the four who expressed their wish to remain in the South.

The message went on to say that while Seoul is determined to respect the wishes of the four, it is willing to meet with the North’s Red Cross to confirm their decision in a fair and objective manner.

To this, North Korea said the South’s rejection to bring the four defectors to the border just highlights the fact that the defections are fabricated calling it an act of abduction.   (*)
 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in World News

 

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South Korea to urge North Korea to take responsible attitude before dialogue: official

Photo File : Vice Unification Minister Um Jong-sik

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SEOUL, Jan. 5 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — South Korea will stick to its current policy on North Korea, seeking to get the communist neighbor to understand it should respect Seoul and take a responsible attitude if it wants dialogue, a senior official said Wednesday.

“We should try to get North Korea to change in a desirable way and take a sincere and responsible attitude so that fair South-North relations can be formed,” Vice Unification Minister Um Jong-sik said in a radio interview. “The door for dialogue is always open, but (the North) should respect its dialogue counterpart.”

North Korea has made a series of dialogue overtures after sharply escalating tensions with a deadly artillery strike on a South Korean island in November. In its New Year’s message, Pyongyang stressed the importance of improved relations and dialogue with South Korea. (*)

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in World News

 

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U.S. envoy holds talks with S. Korean negotiator over N. Korea

Stephen Bosworth (L), the U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy, holds talks with South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac in Seoul on Jan. 5. (Yonhap)

 

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SEOUL, Jan. 5 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — The U.S. special envoy on North Korea met with South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator Wednesday for discussions expected to focus on how best to use the option of dialogue to get Pyongyang to cease provocations and give up nuclear programs.

Talk of restarting the long-stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations with the North has gained traction as the U.S. prepares for a summit with China, which has strongly called for dialogue to reduce tensions, and as Pyongyang has shown a growing willingness to talk.

Stephen Bosworth, Washington’s special representative for North Korea policy, called for “serious negotiations” as a central strategy to deal with the communist nation, as he arrived in South Korea on Tuesday for talks with Seoul’s main nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-lac.

“We believe that serious negotiations must be at the heart of any strategy for dealing with North Korea, and we look forward to being able to launch those at a reasonably early time,” Bosworth told reporters at Incheon International Airport.

On Wednesday, Bosworth held talks with Wi. Though details were not immediately available, their discussions were expected to include the conditions that the North must meet before resuming the nuclear talks, such as halting its nuclear development and allowing international nuclear monitors back into the country.

Bosworth later met with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, saying at the start of the meeting that he hopes South Koreans are “impressed and reassured by the very close coordination of policy that we’ve been undertaking over the last several months.”

Bosworth is scheduled to meet with Unification Minister Hyun In-taek later in the day.

His trip to the region, which will also take him to China and Japan, comes ahead of a summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao set for Jan. 19 in Washington where North Korea is expected to be a key topic.

China has called for restarting the six-party nuclear talks to curb tensions that were heightened after North Korea’s deadly shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island in November and the revelations that it has a uranium enrichment facility for a suspected new atomic weapons program.

North Korea has also been signaling a growing willingness to resume negotiations.

In its New Year’s message issued Saturday, Pyongyang stressed the importance of improved relations and dialogue with South Korea and said that it wants to achieve peace in the region and make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

South Korea and the U.S. have urged Pyongyang to first demonstrate through action its commitment to give up nuclear programs and improve relations with Seoul if it wants to reopen the nuclear talks, a stance that reflects deep skepticism about a regime that has abused negotiations to only get concessions.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley reiterated the demand.

“We do want to see specific things from North Korea, including a reduction of tension between North and South, an end to provocations and a seriousness of purpose with respect to” a 2005 disarmament-for-aid deal, he said. “We have to be assured that dialogue would be constructive. We don’t just want to have talks for talks’ sake.”

The six-party talks have been deadlocked since the last session in December 2008 due to a North Korean boycott. The talks bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S.  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in World News

 

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North Korean special forces dressed in South Korean uniforms

South Korean soldiers in conventional woodland pattern uniforms. (Yonhap file photo)

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SEOUL, Dec. 28 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — Some of North Korean special forces stationed at the border with South Korea have dressed up in military uniforms with the same camouflage pattern as South Korean soldiers’ uniforms, a military source here said Tuesday.

The North’s tactic, confirmed by the South’s military for the first time this year, is believed to be intended to effectively confuse South Korean troops as the special forces have held drills to hone their ability to infiltrate the South, the source said on condition of anonymity.

“It was confirmed, for the first time this year, that North Korean troops at the front-line land border are wearing uniforms with the same woodland camouflage pattern (as South Korean troops),” the source said.

“Our judgment is that the North’s special forces stationed there are staging drills for intrusion by wearing the uniforms.”

South Korea’s military has been developing a new combat uniform with digital camouflage since 2008. It has already been supplied to the South’s special warfare forces and will be distributed from next July to other troops.

The South’s military is now considering distributing the new uniform earlier than scheduled, in line with the North’s move, the source said.

The North is believed to have some 200,000 special forces, an 11 percent increase from two years earlier, according to data by the South’s defense ministry. Of them, the North is believed to have completed deployment of some 50,000 troops along the border with the South.

The North’s bolstering of its special warfare capabilities means that the country intends to send such troops deep into South Korea to conduct a variety of attacks in case of conflicts, defense ministry officials said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have remained acute following a series of military aggressions by the North, including the torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March and the Nov. 23 shelling on a border island.

The bombardment on Yeonpyeong Island near the Yellow Sea border killed two South Korean marines and two civilians, marking the first attack on a civilian area in the South’s territory since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.  (*)

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in World News

 

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South Korea Concludes Artillery Drill, Scrambles Jet Fighters

Dec. 20, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean F-15K fighter jets were in the air on standby in case of North Korean provocations as South Korea began a live-fire artillery drill near the Yellow Sea border with North Korea on Dec. 20. This is a file photo taken in December 2008. (Photo : Yonhap)

 

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December 20, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — South Koreans are anxiously waiting to see if North Korea will make good on its threat to take military action in response to an artillery drill on Yeonpyeong island. The exercise came just hours after an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council failed to ease tensions, and after an American politician said North Korea is willing to accept nuclear inspections.

South Korea defied diplomatic pressure and went ahead Monday with firing artillery into the Yellow Sea for 94 minutes, escalating its confrontation with the communist North.

Defense officials stress the shelling was to the southwest, away from North Korea. But North Korea claims that area is its territory and, in the days since the drill was announced, has warned it could lead to war.

In Seoul, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun termed the live-fire exercise routine and legitimate.

Dec. 20, SEOUL, South Korea -- Seen here are K-9 self-propelled howitzers mobilized for South Korea's maritime artillery live-fire drill on Dec. 20 on Yeonpyeong Island bordering North Korea in the Yellow Sea. This is a file photo taken in February 2010. (Photo : Yonhap)

Kim says the artillery drill is for self-defense and part of the country’s sovereign right.

A few hours before the exercise, the United Nations Security Council failed to reach a consensus on lowering tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Diplomats say China, among other nations, would not back a statement condemning North Korea for recent aggressive behavior, including the shelling of Yeonpyeong island last month.

After the U.N. talks failed, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice defended South Korea’s decision to go ahead with the artillery drill. She noted the two fatal attacks this year blamed on North Korea – the sinking in March of a South Korean navy ship and last month’s shelling of Yeonpyeong island.

“If the events of the last year have shown anything it is that the Republic of Korea has every need and right to ready its self defense having lost 50 citizens simply over the course of the last nine months,” said Rice.

A Chinese vice foreign minister on Monday renewed his country’s call for more talks and said no one has the right to provoke conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Dec. 20, SEOUL, South Korea -- Citizens watch breaking news at Seoul Station on the South Korean army's live-fire drill that started near the inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea on Dec. 20. (Photo : Yonhap)

Also Monday, a veteran American diplomatic troubleshooter wrapped up a trip to Pyongyang. He was quoted by the CNN news network as saying the North Koreans have agreed to allow U.N. nuclear inspectors back into the country.

Former ambassador Bill Richardson (the governor of New Mexico) was quoted as saying the North Koreans also agreed to negotiate the sale of 12,000 fresh fuel rods so they could be shipped out of the country.

For seven years, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have tried to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons programs in return for aid and greater diplomatic recognition. Despite agreeing to do so, Pyongyang has tested nuclear weapons and recently revealed a new fuel production facility.

Members of South Korea’s political opposition unsuccessfully appealed to President Lee Myung-bak to cancel Monday’s artillery training.

Democratic Party lawmaker Chung Dong-Young is a former cabinet minister who previously negotiated with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

“It[‘s] irresponsible of the president if he panders to the tastes of the conservative forces,” he said. “The president should be responsible if the artillery fire from Yeonpyeong island brings another dangerous exchange of fire, which might go out of control.”

Last month, conservatives criticized the president for not responding forcefully to the North Korean attack, which killed four South Koreans.

In the early 1950’s, the two Koreas fought a three-year year. A truce has been in place since 1953, but no peace treaty has been signed.  (*)

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2010 in World News

 

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China calls for North Korea talks

The USS George Washington is taking part in joint US-South Korean military exercises over the next few day in the Yellow Sea. Photograph: Charles Oki/EPA

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Time not right for six-way meeting in Beijing, says Seoul, amid military muscle flexing by North and South Korea.

November 28, 2010 (KATAKAMI / GUARDIAN.CO.UK) — China has called for emergency international talks over North Korea as Pyongyang reportedly prepared missile batteries and the US and South Korea launched joint military exercises.Tensions on the Korean peninsula are as severe as they have been at any time since the end of the Korean war in 1953, and a senior official in Beijing today suggested emergency talks between the six countries that had taken part in talks on Pyongyang’s disarmament.

Wu Dawei, the Chinese envoy to the peninsula, said representatives from Pyongyang and Seoul, China, the US, Russia and Japan, who have been meeting over the last seven years to discuss North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, should convene in Beijing early next month “to exchange views on major issues of concern”.

The talks themselves, moribund for two years after North Korea walked out, look unlikely to be resumed, with Seoul’s presidential office saying it was not the right time for such a move. But such an urgent intervention from China, North Korea’s only significant ally and the sole outside country with any sway over its actions, is significant, not least in underlining the gravity of the situation.

The Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reported that Pyongyang had placed surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads along its Yellow Sea coastline. The North’s military is also aiming surface-to-air missiles at South Korean fighter jets flying near the western sea border, the agency added.

Two South Korean marines and two civilians died on Tuesday when the North unleashed, without warning, an artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong island, which hosts both a military garrison and a small fishing community. The attack, seen as the most serious single military incident since the end of the war, destroyed dozens of homes , injured another 18 people, and set the South on a war footing.

North Korea described the civilian deaths as “regrettable” but blamed the South for placing residents on the island, which Pyongyang insists is North Korean territory, as human shields. The North also condemned a major US-South Korea military drill in the Yellow Sea, which began today.

The four-day exercise, involving the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, is believed to be taking place about 100 miles south of Yeonpyeong. While Seoul insists the exercise is both routine and pre-planned, the North’s National Peace Committee of Korea described it as “pretext for aggression and ignite a war at any cost”.

Pyongyang issued a series of warnings, and threatened to “give a shower of dreadful fire and blow up the bulwark of the enemies if they dare to encroach again upon [North Korea’s] dignity and sovereignty, even in the least.”

Seoul is being almost equally bellicose. At a funeral yesterday for the marines killed on Yeonpyeong, the South Korean military commander, Major-General You Nak-jun, laid flowers at an altar and vowed that his country would retaliate if there was a further attack from the North.

“Our marine corps … will carry out a hundred – or thousand-fold” in retaliation, he said at the ceremony. “We will put our feelings of rage and animosity in our bones and take our revenge on North Korea.”

Dozens of journalists have ignored South Korean military warnings about staying on Yeonpyeong, which is seven miles from North Korean territory. They and locals sought cover today after hearing new bursts of artillery fire. No rounds landed on the island.

Dai Bingguo, a senior Chinese foreign policy adviser, visited South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak. In unusually strong comments Lee made plain his concerns that Beijing was not exerting sufficient pressure on North Korea, calling on China to contribute to peace in a “more objective, responsible” manner.

The chairman of North Korea’s supreme people’s assembly, Choe Thae Bok, is due to visit Beijing from Tuesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

Since the Korean war ended, with a truce rather than a formal treaty, tensions between the two sides have risen and receded many times. However, the past year has seen particularly intense pressures, notably after a South Korean warship was sunk in March, killing 46 sailors. An international team of investigators concluded that a North Korean torpedo sank the vessel, although Pyongyang denies any involvement.

The latest crisis has already cost the South Korean defence minister, Kim Tae-young, his job amid accusations that the response to North Korea’s initial attack had been too weak. Now South Korea’s president has sent 4,000 troops as reinforcements to Yeonpyeong and other nearby islands with extra weapons and new rules of engagement that give them greater scope to respond if attacked.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2010 in World News

 

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