South Korea to continue intelligence-sharing pact with Japan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

South Korea to continue intelligence-sharing pact with Japan

Protesters demand an extension of the intelligence-sharing pact in front of the US embassy in Seoul on November 22, 2019Image copy right AFP
Image caption Protesters outside the US embassy in Seoul called for an extension of the pact, known as GSOMIA

South Korea says it is to continue a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan that had been threatened by a long-running dispute.

The move was welcomed by the US which had urged the two countries to settle their differences.

Seoul announced its decision on Friday, just hours before the pact was due to expire.

Tensions between South Korea and Japan go back decades but have recently led to a series of tit-for-tat measures.

The tensions have historical roots, and the two countries became embroiled in a deepening trade and diplomatic dispute this year.

The intelligence pact, known as GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement), allowed the two countries to share information about North Korea’s military and nuclear activities directly with each other.

Without it, information would have had to go through their joint-allies in Washington, slowing the process down.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to reporters about GSOMIA pact with South Korea in Tokyo, Japan on November 22, 2019Image copyrightREUTERS/KYODO
Image captionJapanese PM Shinzo Abe welcomed the “strategic decision”

What has been announced?

In August, South Korea announced it would terminate the intelligence-sharing agreement and Japan removed South Korea’s favoured trade partner status and imposed export controls on its electronics sector.

Earlier this month the leaders of the two countries briefly met at a summit in Bangkok, Thailand, to try to resolve their differences.

Then on Friday South Korea said it would “conditionally” suspend the expiry, with national security official Kim You-geun confirmed that the GSOMIA would not be allowed to lapse at midnight.

He said the Japanese government had “expressed their understanding” but warned that the agreement could still “be terminated at any time”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said bilateral relations were vital and that South Korea had made a “strategic decision” in sticking with the accord.

A US State Department spokeswoman welcomed the decision, saying: “This decision sends a positive message that like-minded allies can work through bilateral disputes.”

What’s the background?

The two countries share a complicated history. They have fought on and off since at least the 7th Century, and Japan has repeatedly tried to invade the peninsula since then.

In 1910, it annexed Korea, turning the territory into a colony. Resentment over this period, when many South Korean workers were forced to work for Japanese firms, continues today.

The issue was recently brought to the fore by a 2018 South Korean supreme court ruling that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Koreans it used as forced labour.

The decisions drew condemnation from Japan, which argues the dispute was settled in 1965 when diplomatic ties were normalised between the neighbouring countries.

The row has since escalated and has impacted their modern trade relationship, threatening industries such as technology.

China: DPRK warns US against new military drills with South Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

DPRK warns US against new military drills with South Korea

Xinhua

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea gave a stern warning on Wednesday night against a planned joint military drill to be held by the United States and South Korea.

In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, an unnamed spokesman for the State Affairs Commission said the DPRK defined the joint military drill as the main factor for ratcheting up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“Despite our repeated warnings, the US and the South Korean side decided to push ahead with the military drill,” he said.

He also said the latest joint military exercises “constitute an undisguised breach of the DPRK-US joint statement adopted on June 12 of last year on the basis of mutual trust and an open denial of the Singapore agreement.”

Seoul and Washington said last week that they would skip their annual joint air exercise, known as Vigilant Ace, and instead hold a scaled-back drill.

The DPRK spokesman said that the United States and South Korea have staged several military drills this year alone, and such acts have already put DPRK-US relations on the verge of a breakdown.

The first negotiations in eight months between the DPRK and the United States on the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula broke down in Stockholm in early October. The DPRK has set the end of the year as a deadline for Washington to offer a deal which is realistic and acceptable by Pyongyang.

The DPRK has issued several warnings in the past two months, saying it would be a mistake for the United States to ignore the year-end deadline and the channel of the dialogue between the two countries is narrowing.

5 Cities With the Largest Subway Systems

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Cities With the Largest Subway Systems

A great subway system is a badge of honor for a city. As writers at City Metric, a website devoted to exploring topics that affect the lives of city-dwellers, discovered, there are lots of ways to measure such a system. Maybe it’s by how many people ride a specific subway in a day or year, or maybe it’s by how many stations there are around a city.

For the purposes of this article, we looked at subways with the longest routes. Here are the top five largest subway systems in the world.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Credit: Savvapanf Photo/Shutterstock.com

332 km/206 miles

More than two billion people ride the particularly high-tech subway system in Seoul each year. It’s known for its tech, including screens displaying important messages and internet access on its cars. The first line was built in the 1970’s, and today the system includes 22 lines that are still being expanded. Plus, it’s relatively cheap and known for its cleanliness, and all directional signs are written in three languages, including English.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: William Perugini/Shutterstock.com

373 km/232 miles

The much older New York City subway system opened in 1904. Nearly six million people utilize the transit system every day, at about 470 stations — more than any other system in the world. Most of those stations operate 24 hours a day.

London, England

London, England

Credit: andrea flisi/Shutterstock.com

402 km/250 miles

The London Underground, sometimes called the Tube, opened in the 1860’s. Despite the name, most of the lines were built just below the surface with the “cut and cover” method, and many of the newer tracks are above ground. The system includes 11 lines and about 200 stations, and carries about five million daily passengers today.

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Beijing, China

Beijing, China

Credit: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com

527 km/327 miles

With almost 11 million daily riders, this is the world’s busiest subway system. It first opened in 1969 and had only two lines for decades, before undergoing a rapid expansion in 2002. And those 11 million daily riders are expected to expand to 18 million by 2021. By then, the subway will account for 60 percent of the city’s public transit ridership.

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Credit: Arwin Adityavarna/iStock

548 km/341 miles

The largest subway system in the world by route length is still expanding, with plans to add seven new lines by 2025. It’s a system that links provinces and provides inter-city transportation — or at least, it will soon. On a regular day, 10 million people use the system. The most recent expansions to the system opened in December.

Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea under tighter export controls

Xinhua
Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea under tighter export controls

Imagine china

Men hang up banners calling for boycott of Japan in Seoul, South Korean, on August 6, 2019.

Japan will soon issue its first permit for exporting to South Korea some of the chemicals needed in producing semiconductors and display panels since imposing tighter controls last month, local media quoted sources with knowledge of the matter as saying Thursday.

On July 4, Japan made it a requirement to file applications for each transaction for exporting fluoridated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and photo-resist to South Korea.

The move was believed by Seoul to be economic retaliation for its mishandling of an arbitration process connected to a wartime labor row stemming from Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsular.

Japan believes the matter of compensation for wartime laborers was dealt with “finally and irreversibly” in a 1965 pact inked between both sides that covered the issue.

Tokyo, has maintained that the tighter export controls have been put into place due to reasons of national security, but has also called Seoul out for repeatedly breaching previous pacts and causing mutual trust to be diminished.

Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list

Decision comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

WORLD Updated: Aug 02, 2019 18:44 IST

Reuters
Reuters

Tokyo
Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko.
Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko. (AP Photo)

Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved a plan to remove South Korea from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export controls, a move likely to escalate tensions fueled by a dispute over compensation for wartime forced laborers.

The decision to drop South Korea from the “white list,” a step that has been protested fiercely by Seoul, comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

The cabinet has approved the move, Japan’s industry minister, Hiroshige Seko said.

Japan has said the measures are based on national security concerns, citing South Korea’s insufficient export controls as well as the erosion of trust after South Korean court rulings ordered Japanese firms compensate wartime forced laborers.

Japan says the issue of compensation was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized ties between Tokyo and Seoul.

(The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text, only the headline has been changed)

First Published: Aug 02, 2019 18:31 IST

China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

 

First, the government of China is no one’s friend just as Putin’s government in Russia nor is the fat little Rocket Man in North Korea. I know that statement will bring a rebuke from Mr. Trump who thinks these guys love him, but then again, he is possibly the world’s biggest idiot. I did not say that the people of these countries are ass-hats like their Leaders and Ours are. I have nothing against the people of these Countries, just their Leaders, and our Leaders.

 

Now, about those tariff’s, this is what I wish our government’s policies were toward China. Personally I believe that the whole world should stop buying anything that has to do with China as long as they have a Communists government in place who seems to think that everything on earth should be theirs to control, including all the land, oceans and air space. When anyone buys anything that is made in China you are feeding their military buildup that they will use to subjugate their own people and the people of the Nations around them.

 

But for a more doable emmediate tariff policy I believe the following approach should be adopted. Instead of having a trade war with China via tariff’s I believe that our government should only put tariffs on products that are coming into the U.S. from companies who have outsourced jobs that used to be here in our Country.  Including to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico or any other Nation. For the purpose of an example let us use General Motors. If General Motors wants into the Chinese market for the purpose of making vehicles for the Chinese market I have no problem with that at all. But, if they take jobs away from our people and then want to sell in our market I believe that our government needs to put a 100% tariffs on all of those imports. Make it very un-profitable for the company to take away American jobs if they want to sell to our market. This program would keep American companies from closing factories here and it would force the companies who have closed shops here to reinvest in our Nation, not an enemy Nation like China.

 

As I said earlier, the people of China are not our enemy, but their government damn sure is. And, in my opinion, companies who have outsourced American jobs for the sole purpose of higher profits should be treated as enemies of the American people. If you have noticed, when a company closes shop here in the States and moves to a “cheaper” place to make their products they never ever lower the prices they sell their products for. If a company made a product here in the States and sold it for $20 then they close shop here and move to China they still sell the product for $20, the name of the game is all and only about profits, to hell with the people, they only want your money. We need to quit giving it to them. Force them to move back here, if they refuse then tariff the hell out of them and also sell all of their stock, don’t allow it to be sold on the U.S Stock Exchange, bankrupt their asses. If our Leaders really want to put America, then prove it!

6 Countries With Only One Border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

6 Countries With Only One Border

Every country has boundaries. For island nations and the unique country-continent of Australia, that’s water. But other countries literally rub elbows with other nations. For most, there are many shared borders. But a select few have only one border.

Canada

Credit: Marc Bruxells / iStock

Canada is one of three countries in North America and the only one that can claim a single border, and that’s with the United States. To the north is the Arctic Ocean, and its coasts are bounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. However, its entire southern border is shared with the U.S. along with a solid claim to four of the five Great Lakes. Eight of Canada’s 13 provinces touch one or more of 13 U.S. border states. The two nations share the distinguished title of having the longest international border. You might also be surprised to find that the Canada-U.S. border is the busiest border crossing in North America.

South Korea

Credit: JimmyFam / iStock

South Korea sits on the Korean peninsula and shares its northern border with its former compatriot, North Korea. Once a unified and sovereign nation, the two countries have technically been at war since American and Soviet troops officially ended armed conflict in the region in 1953. South Korea’s northern border sits right on the 38th parallel, an artificial border created at the close of the conflict to create two separate nations.

While the 38th parallel sits within the Demilitarized Zone (the DMZ) they are not the same thing. The DMZ refers to a 150-mile stretch of land that runs along the 38th parallel with 1.2 miles of neutral, unfortified grounds on the north and south sides of the parallel. If you’re feeling brave, you can take guided tours to the DMZ, and legally take a few steps into hermit kingdom North Korea.

Lesotho

Credit: EMBorque / iStock

Some countries only have one border because they’re entirely surrounded by another country. While this is rare, there is one more nation that also has this feature. This is known as an enclave countryLesotho is completely enclosed by South Africa and boasts a population of 2 million people. The nation first came to be in the early 1800s under its original name, Basutoland, under King Moshoeshoe I. Over the years, Basutoland fell under British and Dutch control before being returned to its native people in 1966 and renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Vatican City

Credit: piola666 / iStock

As we mentioned, only two countries in the world have the distinction of being an enclave country, and Vatican City is the other one. Its official title is Vatican City State, and it is the home of the Catholic Church. The history of the Catholic Church’s papal states and autonomous rule within Italy and greater Europe is a long and complex one. But to keep it simple, even though the Vatican has existed for centuries, it didn’t become a separate entity from Italy until 1929. The lands are under the control of the Holy See with the pope serving as its ruler. However, even though the Vatican City State is sovereign from Italy, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t need a special visa or even your passport to visit this famed religious state. As long as you can legally enter Italy, you can walk right into the Vatican.

Haiti/Dominican Republic

Credit: 1001nights / iStock

So we know that there are a few nations in the world with only one border, but sometimes these countries occupy the same general lands. A perfect example of this is the island of Hispaniola, which is home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. If you remember your history lessons, Christopher Columbus mistook the island for India on his initial voyage in 1492. We’ll fast forward through the history lesson and say that the island was divided between the French and Spanish. The French created Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), and the Spanish created La Republica Dominicana or the Dominican Republic. During the island’s colonial days, relations between the two island states were strained, and to a degree, they still remain difficult today. However, both countries are popular tourist destinations for Americans and Europeans.

United Kingdom/Ireland

Credit: benstevens / iStock

Another popular “one island, two nations” situation is in Europe, although this one is a bit of a technicality. When you think of the United Kingdom, your first thoughts are of London, Manchester, or other famed cities in England. But the United Kingdom is comprised of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. So, since Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, the entire nation can claim a single border with the Republic of Ireland. Once again, this border is created by a complicated history.

Northern Ireland was created in 1921 after popular opinion—and the Government of Ireland Act of 1920—pushed for the northern portion of the island to remain with the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland was home to unionists and descendants of Britain. So, it’s understandable that they wanted to remain with their motherland. Today, both nations are also popular destinations with thriving tourism industries.

South Korea: 5 Architectural Marvels in Seoul

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Architectural Marvels in Seoul

In the aftermath of the 1950 Korean War, which saw Seoul all but brought to ruins, the city underwent a huge renovation program that focused on practicality and the rebuilding of the city as quickly as possible. Fast-forward to today and the vibrant capital of South Korea boasts an eye-catching cityscape that features a veritable cornucopia of contemporary architectural designs. Here’s our list of five of the most impressive buildings to see in this UNESCO Creative City.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Credit: TwilightShow / iStock

At the heart of the Dongdaemun fashion district is a neo-futuristic landmark designed by the award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Its mushroom-like exterior is instantly recognizable for its undulating shapes made from a combination of aluminum, concrete, steel, and stone. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza functions as a cultural center and has five exhibition halls. Among its most popular attractions is a design market and food court. This was Korea’s most Instagram-tagged location in 2015 and it is a major venue for the bi-annual Seoul Fashion Week. The surrounding park offers the chance to see the masterpiece at varying angles.

Ewha Womans University

Credit: pius99 / iStock

View the Ewha Campus Complex from above and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is an urban park. Arrive at ground level and you’ll soon realize that it is in fact an underground faculty building. A wide, valley-like promenade provides access to this ingenious construction by French architect Dominique Perrault. He created a tranquil education space that, despite its subterranean setting, is airy and bathed in natural light reflected in interior mirror panels. The park, which is also the campus roof, is used as a recreation area by students.

Lotte World Tower

Credit: sayun uranan / Shutterstock.com

The world’s fifth tallest building reaches a height of 1,821 feet in Seoul’s Songpa-gu district. Its tapered shape is purposely designed to appear smooth against the city’s mountainous backdrop, while the pale-hued glass is a reference to Korean ceramics. In spite of its size and thinness, the Lotte World Tower can withstand winds speeds of 178 miles per hour and magnitude-9.0 earthquakes. Occupying the 123 floors are retail units, offices, private residences, and a luxury hotel. Visitors can ride a double-decker elevator to the top-floor Seoul Sky observation deck.

Samsung Jong-no Tower

Credit: ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock.com

Rising above downtown Seoul is the 433-feet-tall Samsung Jong-no Tower, inaugurated in 1999 by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. This 33-floor office block is unique in that floors 23 through 30 have been removed, leaving an empty space topped by what at night resembles a UFO. Anyone familiar with Viñoly’s work will know that removing floors is a recurring theme: check out the 432 Park Avenue skyscraper in Manhattan. At one time there was a restaurant located on the floating upper floors, which granted fortunate diners unprecedented views of Seoul’s skyline.

Some Sevit – Seoul Floating Islands

Credit: dumpling123 / iStock

Here Is The Reason Ivanka Trump Was Acting Like A Diplomat In North Korea

Here Is The Reason Ivanka Trump Was Acting Like A Diplomat In North Korea

(The idea for this oped came from two headlines I just read online, the headlines were from the Daily Beast and from CNN)

 

The headlines were asking why, why was Ivanka Trump acting like a diplomat and doing photo bombs while she was with her Dad at the DMZ last week, the following is my personal belief as to why. If you remember a couple of weeks ago when the President was in England all of the Trump kids were also trying to act as if they to were Royalty. I guess the first thing that we all need to realize is that the Trump clan has a major ego problem just like all totally phony people do. But I believe there is a very good ‘other’ reason why Ivanka is acting the part that she is playing and that is as her Daddy said a couple of years ago, he believes that she would make a great President. There is also the reality that if Daddy Trump can’t get the law changed to where he can be King until he dies or if he gets evicted and convicted he has an in place contingency plan in place. He plans on being President until at least January of 2025 then it would be his best option to keep him out of prison is for his daughter to be in place to pardon him. If Mike Pence thinks that the Donald will favor him over Ivanka for the 2024 elections then he is as stupid as the people of Indiana have told me that he is. The only way Pence becomes President is if Trump is impeached during his term and I would bet almost anything that Pence got the job as the VP was with the written clause that Pence choose Ivanka as his VP so that when Pence is finished with his term then Ivanka would be next in line. Keeping that ‘Royal Linage’ in tack. What we have all been seeing with Evanka will be sold to the rest of us that this is where she has gotten her qualifying foreign policy experience. Don’t laugh to much folks, do you remember how the former Governor of Alaska told us that she had experience dealing with Russia was because she could see Russia from her home porch? Also, do you remember how the habitual liar Hillary Clinton talked about her experience under live fire for the time her and their daughter Chelsea went to Bosnia? My question is simple, which is worse, idiots or frauds, or frauds who take us all to be idiots?

 

 

N. Korea: Kim to ‘seriously contemplate the interesting content’ in Trump’s letter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Kim to ‘seriously contemplate the interesting content’ in Trump’s letter

AFP
Kim to 'seriously contemplate the interesting content' in Trump's letter

AFP

This undated picture released by DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency yesterday shows Kim Jong Un reading a letter from US President Donald Trump.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong Un received a personal letter of “excellent content” from US President Donald Trump, the country’s state media said yesterday.

Talks have stalled since the collapse of a second summit between the two leaders in February. The two sides have blamed each other for the breakdown but both have expressed a willingness to meet again, with Trump saying earlier this month that he had received a “beautiful letter” from Kim.

Yesterday, the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that Trump had written to Kim, who “said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content.”

“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong Un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” KCNA said.

The report gave no further detail about the content of the letter or when it was sent and received.

In a statement, the White House confirmed that “a letter was sent by President Trump and correspondence between the two leaders has been ongoing.”

South Korea’s presidential Blue House said it was aware of the correspondence through its communication with Washington, and described the exchange as “positive.”

The KCNA report came just two days after Kim hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping, who wrapped up an official visit to the DPRK on Friday. Kim told Xi that his visit was an opportunity to demonstrate “the immutability and invincibility of the DPRK-China friendship before the world,” KCNA said.

Analysts say the DPRK’s apparently friendly overtures to Trump signaled that Pyongyang was ready to break the deadlock with Washington.

Trump and Kim held a groundbreaking summit in Singapore last year — the first-ever meeting between a DPRK leader and a sitting US president — where the pair signed a vaguely worded deal on denuclearization.

But in Hanoi this year, Washington accused Pyongyang of effectively demanding an end to all sanctions for partial disarmament, while the DPRK said it wanted some measures eased in return for closing all the nuclear facilities at its Yongbyon complex.

Since then, Pyongyang has accused Washington of acting in “bad faith” and given it until the end of the year to change its approach. The DPRK last month fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said the written correspondence between the leaders was “very meaningful.”

“The letter diplomacy shows they are communicating even though there is a lull in talks,” Yang said.

This is not the first time the two leaders have opted for more traditional means of communication. Less than a month before the Singapore summit, Trump wrote to Kim to call it off, telling the DPRK leader not to “hesitate to call me or write.” And in September 2018, the White House said Kim sent a “very warm” letter to Trump seeking a second summit.