Many people were shocked last week by news of the planned talks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are supposed to meet by May.
Yet as of Monday, the Associated Press noted that North Korean media had yet to confirm the meeting. A South Korean spokesman said, “I feel they’re approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organize their stance.”
Observers say the meeting has raised expectations of progress in resolving the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. But they warn the process leading to removal of all nuclear weapons from the area is complex.
Can a deal be reached?
On Saturday, Trump said his talks with Kim could end with no agreement or they could be “the greatest deal for the world.”
Cheong Seong-chang is an expert on North Korea at the Sejong Institute in South Korea. He is hopeful about the meeting.
“It is expected that there will be more rapid progress regarding the freezing and dismantling of the North Korean nuclear program than in the past, as the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea will meet directly this time,” he said.
Experts suggest North Korea could offer to stop developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). The country has said its missiles can hit the United States.
The experts believe that North Korea could announce an extension of its freeze on missile and nuclear tests. They also say the North could even offer to reduce the amount of nuclear materials it has saved for making nuclear weapons.
It is unclear what the U.S. government might offer in return. The Trump administration is concerned about offering help in exchange for promises. Officials note that North Korea failed to honor earlier agreements.
Experts suggest the U.S. would likely demand that international inspectors be given permission to verify any freeze or break up of the nuclear program. Only then, they say, would economic actions against the North be reduced.
However, the U.S. government would have to offer something that North Korea wants in return.
Go Myong-Hyun is a North Korea expert with the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul. He said, “In order to make the whole process successful, for which Donald Trump will be responsible, he would have to provide economic concessions.”
Both sides have acted to moderate the situation
North Korea and the United States have made the possibility of talks more likely by easing tensions.
The North Korean government has not tested nuclear weapons or long distance missiles since November of last year.
The U.S. side has dropped its condition that North Korea take real measures to end its nuclear program before talks can begin. The Trump administration, however, says its “maximum pressure” campaign will remain in place until a deal is reached.
The U.S. has led efforts in the United Nations Security Council to put in place sanctions that have cost North Korea billions of dollars in trade. Security Council measures also have punished individuals and companies linked to the North Korean government.
Concerns about North Korea’s true goals
Some experts are concerned that North Korea could be seeking to delay international action while strengthening its nuclear program.
Some experts think North Korea has from 13 to 30 nuclear weapons. The North continues to produce nuclear fuel, plutonium, at its Yongbyon nuclear center.
Experts say it could take years for inspectors to confirm that the production had been stopped. In that time, they say, North Korea could add to its nuclear weapons stockpile.
The Asan Institute’s Go Myong-Hyun said, “If North Korea can have nuclear weapons for the next 20 years in the process of nuclear disarmament, then North Korea becomes a de facto nuclear state.”
Many issues, sides to be considered
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is to hold talks with Kim Jong Un in April before the proposed meeting with the U.S. president
Moon and Kim are expected to talk about a proposal for restarting communications between the North and South Korean militaries. Other subjects for discussion include reunions for families separated by the Korean War and restarting humanitarian aid.
The Moon administration also may offer North Korea an economic deal tied to progress in denuclearization.
The South Korean leader might offer to reopen the Kaesong industrial center, which was closed after a North Korean nuclear test in 2016. The factory complex provided jobs to thousands of North Koreans. The international community accused the North of using money from the complex for its weapons programs.
On Monday, South Korea’s national security adviser praised China, another country with an interest in the denuclearization talks.
The official, Chung Eui-yong, met with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy adviser.
Chung said South Korean government officials “believe that various advances toward achieving the goal of peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula were made with active support and contribution from President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government.”
Yang repeated China’s position that it wants denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and problems to be solved through talks.
A permanent peace?
In the past, North Korea has called for a permanent peace to replace the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War.
Cheong Soeng Chang spoke about the possibility of North Korea giving up its nuclear and missile programs. For that to happen, he said, “the United States will have to cease all joint South Korea-US military exercises, completely eliminate the international community’s sanctions on North Korea, and to accept establishing diplomatic ties between the US and North Korea.”
The United States and South Korea have said they oppose ending their long military alliance in exchange for the North’s denuclearization.
The U.S. military currently keeps about 28,000 soldiers and other armed forces members in South Korea.
The South Korean military said Monday the soldier was trying to defect in the Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ.
North Korean soldiers have crossed the border to defect at times. But it is rare for a North Korean soldier to defect by crossing the DMZ. North and South Korean soldiers stand meters away from each other.
The North Korean soldier left from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village to the southern side of the village. He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, said the South’s Defense Ministry.
It was not immediately known how serious his injuries were or why he decided to defect.
South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing the sound of gunfire. South Korean troops did not fire at Northern soldiers, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.
The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. North Korea has normally accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.
Panmunjom and other DMZ areas are guarded by hundreds of thousands of troops from North Korea and the United Nations Command. The command includes troops from the United States and South Korea.
The area is a popular stop for visitors from both sides. American presidents often visit the DMZ during their trips to South Korea. President Donald Trump planned to visit the DMZ during his visit to South Korea. But bad weather prevented his helicopter from landing near the border area.
It is estimated that about 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953. But most of them travel through China.
In 1998, a North Korean soldier fled to the South through the DMZ, but there have been few incidents in recent years.
Earlier in 1976, North Korean soldiers with axes and knives attacked a group of soldiers in the DMZ, killing two American soldiers and injuring five South Korean soldiers. The U.S. then flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ as a warning to North Korea.
In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers exchanged gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean side of the village. Three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier died in the gunfire.
When choosing 3 out of 6 numbers of 1, 1, 1, 5, 5, 5, and making a 3-digit number, you can make □ types of integer.
เมื่อเลือก 3 ใน 6 จำนวน 1, 1, 1, 5, 5, 5 และสร้างตัวเลข 3 หลัก จะสามารถสร้าง □ ชนิดของจำนวนเต็ม
US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties
The United States announced criminal charges and economic sanctions against four Chinese individuals and a Chinese company earlier this week.
The U.S. government said it acted to punish them for suspected support for North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
On Wednesday, a State Department official suggested that more Chinese companies and individuals could face investigation for suspected violations of sanctions on North Korea.
The State Department’s coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee.
He said, “It would also be useful if Chinese banks and companies understood that increasingly dealing with North Korean companies, especially those that are sanctioned, is going to be risky.”
Two days earlier, the Treasury Department announced criminal charges and economic actions against a Chinese seller of industrial machinery. It named four top officials of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Developmental Company Limited (DHID).
The four include the company’s chairwoman, Ma Xiaohong. They are accused of plotting to avoid sanctions against North Korea, and using American financial businesses to hide the money they earned illegally.
Chinese officials also are investigating the company. They are looking at its connection with the Kwangson Banking Corporation, a North Korean bank. U.S. and United Nations have said the bank has provided financial services in support of North Korea’s weapons programs.
A State Department officials said, “This shows we can work cooperatively with China; we both see it in our interests to apply greater pressure on North Korea.”
On Tuesday, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official spoke to reporters about the U.S. action. Spokesman Geng Shuang said China was prepared to support U.N. resolutions against North Korea. The resolutions call for sanctions to punish the North for its nuclear and missile tests.
However, the spokesman expressed opposition to other countries using their own laws against companies or people within China.
“I want to stress that we oppose any country enacting so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction,’ using its own domestic laws against a Chinese entity or individual,” he said.
In March, China agreed to the strongest U.N. Security Council sanctions yet to limit trade with North Korea.
The council's members have approved other actions to punish the country for its nuclear activities and missile program. Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.
North Korea has faced severe international sanctions to punish the country for its nuclear activity and missile program.
Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.
However, new research suggests that North Korean state-operated businesses are using middlemen in China to avoid sanctions.
I’m Mario Ritter.
This story was written from reports by Pete Cobus and Nike Ching for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
entity –n. a legal business or organization, something that exists by itself and is separate from other things
middlemen –n. people who buy goods from a producer and sell them to someone else
War-end anniversary start for constructive peace, prosperity
Today marks the 71st anniversary of the end of World War II. This day offers an opportunity to mourn the 3.1 million people who died in the war and renew our vow for peace.
A government-sponsored memorial service for the war dead will be held at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo’s Kitanomaru Park.
Aug. 15 has long been established as the anniversary of the war’s end, marking the same day in 1945 when Emperor Showa told the people of the war’s termination.
Strictly speaking, however, the end of all combative activities was formalized on Sept. 2 that year. Aboard the USS Missouri, which was anchored in Tokyo Bay, representatives of Japan and the Allied Powers signed an instrument of surrender on that day.
Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima
The Battleship Missouri, preserved at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, is open for public viewing. Located at the bottom of the sea nearby, the USS Arizona, the battleship that was sunk during the Japanese surprise attack on the harbor, is the resting place of more than 1,100 officers and sailors.
The cry of “No more Hiroshimas” can be answered with “Remember Pearl Harbor!” The atomic bombings and the Pearl Harbor attack are thorns in an unfortunate piece of Japan-U.S. history.
During a visit to Pearl Harbor in 1997, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin made a speech in which he said the Chinese and the Americans had “stood side by side in the fight against the fascist invasion.” His speech was intended to emphasize cooperation between the United States and China, and thereby drive a wedge into the Japan-U.S. alliance.
However, both Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima are being transformed into a theater of reconciliation.
Since 2013, a tiny folded paper crane has been displayed in a corner of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. The origami crane, produced by the late Sadako Sasaki, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, was donated by her bereaved family to the memorial. The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is modeled on Sasaki.
The city government in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture − birthplace of Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the prewar Combined Fleet, who led the Pearl Harbor raid − has conducted exchange activities with Honolulu since the two cities established a sister-city relationship in 2012.
In a memorial ceremony held in August 2015, the 70th year of the postwar period, fireworks from Nagaoka were set off in Pearl Harbor’s night sky, accompanied by a prayer for peace.
A visit to Hiroshima by U.S. President Barack Obama in May was the result of a wise decision made despite persistent opinion in the United States that the atomic bombings were justified. His 17-minute remarks went right to the hearts of many people. Although the Japanese side has not accepted this inhumane action, it has not demanded an apology from the United States.
Obama’s historic visit symbolized the mature nature of Japan-U.S. relations. This has been founded on a relationship of trust built over the years by the two allies, which share such values as freedom, democracy and human rights.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement last August expressing anew “remorse and apology” for Japan’s wartime actions has been taken positively by the United States and many other countries.
The current stable bilateral relations between Japan and the United States should be developed further.
In contrast to the United States, China continues to use the historical perception issue as a diplomatic card. When Obama visited Hiroshima, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said bluntly that “Nanjing should not be forgotten and deserves even more attention.”
China against intl order
China has unilaterally asserted that 300,000 people were killed during the Nanjing Incident and has had “Documents of the Nanjing Massacre” added to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World list.
On the anniversary of the country’s “victory” in the “War of Resistance Against Japan” last September, China held a military parade in front of about 30 heads of state and leaders of the world, emphasizing China as a “victorious nation” in World War II.
Yet China’s foreign policies as a “victor country,” in which it proclaims that it backed the international order, while trying to change the international maritime order in the East and South China seas through force, has not won empathy from the international community.
South Korea, which had attempted to join hands with China in addressing issues related to historical perception, has shifted its stance to improve its relationship with Japan, following the bilateral deal Japan and South Korea reached late last year on the issue of the so-called comfort women. Japan will contribute \1 billion to a foundation set up by South Korea to support former comfort women as early as this month.
Yet a support group for former comfort women and others have not relaxed their stance of opposing the foundation. Also, a comfort woman statue was unveiled at a ceremony in Australia early this month, following similar ceremonies in the United States. The misperception that these women were forcibly taken by the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army prevails in the world even today.
The Japanese government must continue to appropriately refute distortions of various historical facts related to the war. It is also important to urge China and other countries to abide by the rules of the international community.
Efforts must also be made to resolve the issue of the northern territories with Russia.
A more strategic approach is required for Japan to resolve pending postwar issues with Russia, which remain unsettled even after the passage of 71 years since the end of the war, and conclude a peace treaty.
After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, European countries and the United States continue to impose sanctions against that country. In the meantime, Abe has been exploring ways to resolve the territorial issues through repeated talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Abe will visit Russia’s Far East early next month at the soonest.
By pursuing constructive relations with other countries, the peace and prosperity that Japan has been building since the end of the war should be made more solid. Such efforts will also contribute to responding to hopes of those who lost their lives during the war.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 15, 2016)
EDITORIAL: Koike must keep promise, push policies that help Tokyo citizens
Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike was elected Tokyo’s new governor on July 31, becoming the first female chief of the capital’s government. We hope Koike will capitalize on her trademark ability to send out effective messages in her role as the public face of Japan’s capital.
Koike won a landslide victory in the gubernatorial election despite failing to receive the endorsement of her Liberal Democratic Party, which fielded another candidate. The ruling party’s decision, based primarily on its partisan interests, probably provoked a backlash among voters in Tokyo.
The process in which opposition parties led by the Democratic Party chose a unified candidate also confused many voters.
During her campaign, Koike pledged to put priority on the interests of individual citizens. She should be true to her words and push through reforms to shift the focus of Tokyo’s policymaking from the interests of specific organizations to those of the entire population of the capital.
Koike needs to provide leadership to resolve a wide range of tough policy challenges, from the rapidly aging population to disaster preparedness for a huge earthquake that many experts warn could occur directly under Tokyo.
In particular, she must immediately review the financing plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, focusing on the capital’s contribution. The total cost for the event, initially estimated at 700 billion yen ($6.8 billion), is now expected to balloon to 2 trillion yen or even 3 trillion yen. The challenge for Koike is to figure out ways to reduce the cost and decide on an appropriate burden for Tokyo.
Both the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the LDP members of the metropolitan assembly are calling for an increase in the capital’s share of the cost burden, emphasizing Tokyo’s responsibility due to its bid to host the event.
Discussing the issue, Koike criticized the Tokyo government’s opaque policymaking process as a “black box” and called for greater transparency. The issue of financing the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will test her commitment to addressing the issue.
In an Asahi Shimbun survey of voters in Tokyo, “education and child-care support” was cited by the largest number of respondents as the policy area that they wanted the new governor to prioritize.
Tokyo’s child-care support for its citizens has national implications. Many young people who moved from rural areas to Tokyo are giving up having children because of an unfavorable environment for rearing children. This problem is accelerating Japan’s demographic decline.
During her campaign, Koike proposed various ideas to solve the problem of the estimated 8,500 children on waiting lists for day-care centers. Her ideas included the use of land owned by the metropolitan government and higher pay for child-care workers. Koike needs to make steady efforts to deal with this challenge.
On the other hand, Koike talked little about education.
She once argued that tragic incidents involving children, such as murders of family members, were a result of Japan’s “self-deprecating education” in the postwar period.
The Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, an organization devoted to helping the nation “overcome masochistic historical views,” backed Koike in the election, saying she was the only major candidate who supported its activities.
The law on regional educational administration was revised in 2014 to enhance the power of local government chiefs over education policy decisions. Instead of using her power as the governor to promote education based on specific values, Koike should serve as a champion of “diversity,” which she pledged to promote, in education.
In announcing her candidacy, Koike emphasized she was ready to confront the LDP in the metropolitan assembly. We welcome her stance if that means true competition for better, citizen-focused policies through serious debate at the assembly.
But we have had enough of the petty political fights over parochial interests.
After the resignation of two Tokyo governors--Naoki Inose and Yoichi Masuzoe--amid scandals, there is no room for further stagnation in the capital’s efforts to tackle its key policy challenges.
EDITORIAL: BOJ must free itself from the shackles of state policy
The Bank of Japan has decided to open the monetary spigot further. The central bank said July 29 that it will double its annual purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) to 6 trillion yen ($58.8 billion).
The BOJ’s action came as a response to a request for further monetary expansion from the Abe administration, which will soon unveil a huge package of policy measures to stoke economic growth. The program will come in at 28 trillion yen.
The central bank has already taken radical steps to pump money into the economy, by setting negative interest rates and making massive purchases of government bonds. As experts have warned that expanding these measures would be ineffective and even harmful, the BOJ, apparently under pressure to play ball with the government, resorted to one of the few remaining options.
The thinking behind the monetary policy is to ensure that the Japanese economy will continue stable and sustained growth.
It is doubtful whether the central bank’s latest move will serve this purpose.
In the latest of its quarterly “Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices” report, released on July 29, the BOJ said the economy “has continued its moderate recovery trend” and “is likely to be on a moderate expanding trend.”
A clutch of economic indicators confirmed the BOJ’s assessment, indicating the economy is on a stable footing. The ratio of job offers to job seekers has risen above 1 in all the 47 prefectures for the first time since such records started being kept.
Even though there is a degree of uncertainty in European and emerging economies, no compelling case can be made for putting together an outsized package of economic stimulus measures at this moment. The BOJ should have taken exception to the administration’s plan, but the central bank has instead provided support to the administration through the additional monetary easing.
The BOJ deserves to be criticized for following the government’s lead into a questionable move.
Two of the nine members of the BOJ’s Policy Board, which makes the bank’s policy decisions, voiced opposition to the proposal to increase the purchases of ETFs, investment vehicles traded on stock exchanges.
They argued, quite reasonably, that the step would have negative effects on price formation in the market. But such dissenting voices within the central bank’s policy-making body are now more unlikely to be heard than before because the Abe administration has replaced retiring members with supporters of the prime minister's "Abenomics" economic policy. The two members opposed to the latest action are both private-sector economists who joined the Policy Board before Shinzo Abe returned to power in December 2012.
If the Policy Board is dominated by similar-minded members, it will lose its ability to check the aggressive and controversial “different dimension” monetary expansion policy that has been promoted by BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.
We are concerned that the BOJ might become even more inclined to adopt a monetary policy supportive of the administration’s agenda.
But the Policy Board should be given credit for refraining from an expansion of the negative interest rate policy, which could put an additional strain on the financial health of banks, and also from an increase in the amount of government bonds bought by the BOJ, which could be seen as the central bank’s attempt to finance government spending.
Markets had warned that failing to take these steps would trigger the yen’s upswing as well as a major stock market decline. But this view itself reflects a distorted relationship between monetary policy and financial markets.
The BOJ’s excessive monetary expansion is now doing more harm than good to both companies and households.
The negative interest rate policy has delivered a serious blow not just to banks but also to pension funds whose investment plans have gone awry due to the measure.
To bring its monetary policy back to a normal state, the BOJ should start mapping out an exit strategy for its different dimension monetary easing program as soon as possible.
China’s disregard for international law glaringly apparent at ASEAN
Beijing continues to reject the court of arbitration’s decision dismissing the country’s self-serving claims that its sovereignty covers almost all the area in the South China Sea. We believe such a high-handed stance can never be accepted.
Foreign ministers gathered for meetings of the East Asia Summit − Japan, the United States, China and Southeast Asian countries are among the members − and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Regarding Beijing’s moves to militarize the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for China to respect the ruling, saying, “It is an arbitration, the results of which ... is legally binding.”
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida followed suit, stressing, “Parties concerned should comply with the court of arbitration, which will contribute to solving the issue.”
It is crucial for Japan, the United States and other countries concerned to work together to keep urging China to abide by the ruling.
During a meeting with Kishida, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for Japan to be discreet in word and deed because Tokyo is “not a party concerned in the South China Sea issue.” This cannot be overlooked.
It is nothing less than in the common interest of the international community to maintain order in the South China Sea based on the rule of law, and ensure freedom of navigation. We regard Wang’s claims as unreasonable.
Following the ruling, Beijing announced that it had sent new bombers on patrol around the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which is close to the Philippines. The country said it will regularly conduct such missions, and has also expressed a policy to continue building artificial islands in the area. A series of such moves will only heighten tension.
Ahead of the EAS meeting, foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations issued a joint statement at their gathering, which said they “remain seriously concerned” over current developments in the South China Sea. The document failed to directly refer to the ruling because of strong opposition from Cambodia, which receives huge amounts of economic assistance from China.
“Only one country mentioned the court of arbitration during this meeting,” Wang said, with an eye on the Philippines. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration, which suffered a serious diplomatic setback from the ruling, apparently believed that it was able to regain lost ground by splitting ASEAN members.
We suspect that China is also drawing up a scenario to woo the Philippines, which has just undergone a change of administration, to set aside the ruling and hold talks.
Wang announced that China had set a target of completing the establishment of a code of conduct with ASEAN − which would legally bind moves by countries concerned in the South China Sea − by the first half of next year. Beijing’s reluctance has so far hampered talks on the envisioned set of rules between the two sides.
China presented the target apparently with the aim of fending off criticism from ASEAN. We cannot believe that China, which disregards international law, will seriously engage in the establishment of multinational rules. Countries concerned should beef up pressure on China to give the code of conduct more teeth.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 27, 2016)