Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services committee, broke with President Trump on Sunday over North Korean missile tests.
Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ernst said she finds recent missile tests from the regime “very disturbing” and warned that she wouldn’t trust North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I find them very disturbing, and certainly wouldn’t trust Kim Jong Un,” Ernst said. “I think we need to keep our eyes on North Korea, I understand the president wants to maintain a relationship … so that we can work with them. However, those strikes are disturbing.”
The comments come in response to a Saturday tweet from Trump in which the president dismissed concerns about missile tests and said he has confidence in Kim.
“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” he tweeted. “I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me.”
When asked whether she found Trump’s comments, made while in Japan for a diplomatic visit, disturbing, Ernst on Sunday replied: “Certainly.”
“I think Japan does have reason to be concerned, and I am concerned as well,” the senator said. “We need to see north Korea back off of those activities, and we need to take a very strong stance on that.
Ernst added that she understands Trump “has a job to do on negotiating,” but urged for a stronger “pushback” on North Korea to ensure that the regime is following United Nations guidelines prohibiting it from firing ballistic missiles.
“We can’t continue to let them further develop any type of weapons systems,” she said.
Trump has touted his friendly relationship with Kim as a step toward denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, but after two in-person summits, the two leaders have failed to reach a deal on nuclear negotiations and sanctions.
SEOUL, South Korea — The Trump administration’s special envoy for North Korea said Wednesday that Washington is reviewing easing its travel restrictions to North Korea to facilitate humanitarian shipments as part of efforts to resolve an impasse in nuclear diplomacy.
Stephen Biegun made the comments upon arrival in South Korea for talks on the nuclear negotiations, which have seen little headway since a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June, when they issued a vague vow for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing how or when it would occur.
Biegun said his discussions with South Korean officials will be about how to work together to engage with North Korea “in a manner that will help us move forward and move beyond the 70 years of hostility.”
Toward that end, Biegun said he was directed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to review America’s policy on humanitarian assistance provided to North Korea.
“I understand that many humanitarian aid organizations, operating in the DPRK, are concerned that strict enforcement of international sanctions has occasionally impeded the delivery of legitimate humanitarian assistance to the Korean people,” Biegun said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
He said he’ll sit down with American aid groups early in the new year to discuss how the U.S. government can “better ensure the delivery of appropriate assistance, particularly, through the course of the coming winter.”
“We will also review American citizen travel to DPRK for purposes of facilitating the delivery of aid and ensuring that monitoring in line with international standards can occur,” Biegun said. “I want to be clear — the United States and the United Nations will continue to closely review requests for exemptions and licenses for the delivery of assistance to the DPRK.”
North Korea didn’t immediately respond to Biegun’s comments. Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled for months, with the two sides at an impasse over next steps following Trump’s meeting with Kim in Singapore and several trips to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The United States wants North Korea to provide a detailed account of nuclear and missile facilities that would be inspected and dismantled under a potential deal, while the North is insisting that sanctions be lifted first. In the meantime, several reports from private analysts have accused North Korea of continuing nuclear and missile development, citing details from commercial satellite imagery.
Biegun said the United States came to have “greater confidence about the safety and security of Americans traveling to the DPRK” after North Korea in November released an American held for an alleged illegal entrance to the country. “The government of the DPRK handled the review of the American citizen’s expulsion expeditiously and with great discretion and sensitivity through diplomatic channels,” he said.
The United States banned its citizens from traveling to North Korea following the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died days after he was released in a coma from North Korea last year following 17 months in captivity.
Warmbier’s death came amid heightened animosity on the Korean Peninsula, with Trump and Kim exchanging crude insults and war threats over North Korea’s series of nuclear and missile tests.
Tensions have gradually eased since early this year, when Kim abruptly reached out to the United States and South Korea with an offer to negotiate away his advancing nuclear arsenal.
Since its entrance to the talks, North Korea has unilaterally dismantled its nuclear testing site and parts of its rocket engine test facility and taken some conciliatory gestures, including the repatriation of three other American detainees ahead of the June summit.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)
In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture. Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854, Japan opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 – triggering America’s entry into World War II – and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians – with heavy input from bureaucrats and business executives – wield actual decision-making power. The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japan still remains a major economic power, both in Asia and globally.
The first signs of occupation on the Japanese Archipelago appeared with a Paleolithic culture around 30,000 BC, followed from around 14,000 BC by the Jōmon period, a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture of pit dwelling and a rudimentary form of agriculture. Decorated clay vessels from this period, often with plaited patterns, are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world.
The Yayoi period, starting around the third century BC, introduced new practices, such as wet-rice farming, iron and bronze-making and a new style of pottery, brought by migrants from China or Korea. With the development of Yayoi culture, a predominantly agricultural society emerged in Japan.
The Japanese first appear in written history in China’s Book of Han. According to the Chinese Records of Three Kingdoms, the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the third century was called Yamataikoku.
Buddhism was first introduced to Japan from Baekje of the Korean Peninsula, but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures were primarily influenced by China. Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and eventually gained growing acceptance since the Asuka period.
The Nara period of the eighth century marked the first emergence of a strong central Japanese state, centered around an imperial court in the city of Heijō-kyō, or modern-day Nara. In addition to the continuing adoption of Chinese administrative practices, the Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent written literature with the completion of the massive chronicles Kojiki (712) and Nihon Shoki (720). (Nara was not the first capital city in Japan, though. Before Nara, Fujiwara-kyō and Asuka served as capitals of the Yamato state.)
In 784, Emperor Kammu moved the capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō for a brief ten-year period, before relocating it to Heian-kyō (modern-day Kyoto) in 794, where it remained for more than a millennium. This marked the beginning of the Heian period, during which time a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry and literature. Lady Murasaki’s The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of modern Japan’s national anthem, Kimi ga Yo were written during this time.
Japan’s feudal era was characterized by the emergence of a ruling class of warriors, the samurai. In 1185, following the defeat of the rival Taira clan, Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed Shogun and established a base of power in Kamakura. After Yoritomo’s death, the Hōjō clan came to rule as regents for the shoguns. Zen Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The Kamakura shogunate managed to repel Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, aided by a storm that the Japanese interpreted as a kamikaze, or Divine Wind. The Kamakura shogunate was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo, who was soon himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336. The succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyo), and a civil war erupted (the Ōnin War) in 1467 which opened a century-long Sengoku period.
During the sixteenth century, traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time, initiating active commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West (Nanban trade).
Oda Nobunaga conquered numerous other daimyo by using European technology and firearms and had almost unified the nation when he was assassinated in 1582. Toyotomi Hideyoshi succeeded Nobunaga and united the nation in 1590. Hideyoshi invaded Korea twice, but following several defeats by Korean and Ming China forces and Hideyoshi’s death, Japanese troops were withdrawn in 1598.
After Hideyoshi’s death, Tokugawa Ieyasu utilized his position as regent for Hideyoshi’s son Toyotomi Hideyori to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, he defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Ieyasu was appointed shōgun in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate at Edo (modern Tokyo). The Tokugawa shogunate enacted a variety of measures such as Buke shohatto to control the autonomous daimyo. In 1639, the shogunate began the isolationist sakoku (“closed country”) policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period. The study of Western sciences, known as rangaku, continued during this period through contacts with the Dutch enclave at Dejima in Nagasaki. The Edo period also gave rise to kokugaku, or literally “national studies”, the study of Japan by the Japanese themselves.
On March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry and the “Black Ships” of the United States Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the Convention of Kanagawa. Subsequent similar treaties with the Western countries in the Bakumatsu period brought Japan into economic and political crises. The abundance of the prerogative and the resignation of the shogunate led to the Boshin War and the establishment of a centralized state unified under the name of the Emperor (Meiji Restoration). Adopting Western political, judicial and military institutions, the Cabinet organized the Privy Council, introduced the Meiji Constitution, and assembled the Imperial Diet. The Meiji Restoration transformed the Empire of Japan into an industrialized world power that embarked on a number of military conflicts to expand the nation’s sphere of influence. After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea, and the southern half of Sakhalin.
The early twentieth century saw a brief period of “Taisho democracy” overshadowed by the rise of expansionism and militarization. World War I enabled Japan, which joined the side of the victorious Allies, to expand its influence and territorial holdings. Japan continued its expansionist policy by occupying Manchuria in 1931. As a result of international condemnation for this occupation, Japan resigned from the League of Nations two years later. In 1936, Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany, joining the Axis powers in 1941.
In 1937, Japan invaded other parts of China, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor and declared war on the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This act brought the United States into World War II. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, along with the Soviet Union joining the war against it, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 15 (Victory over Japan Day). The war cost Japan millions of lives and left much of the country’s industry and infrastructure destroyed. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, was convened by the Allies (on May 3, 1946) to prosecute Japanese leaders for war crimes such as the Nanking Massacre.
In 1947, Japan adopted a new pacifist constitution emphasizing liberal democratic practices. The Allied occupation ended by the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952 and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. Japan later achieved spectacular growth to become the second largest economy in the world, with an annual growth rate averaging 10% for four decades. This ended in the mid-1990’s when Japan suffered a major recession. Positive growth in the early twenty-first century has signaled a gradual recovery.
Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
Geographic coordinates: 36 00 N, 138 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 377,835 sq km
land: 374,744 sq km
water: 3,091 sq km
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than California
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 29,751 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international straits – La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m
Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish
Land use: arable land: 11.64%
permanent crops: 0.9%
other: 87.46% (2005)
Irrigated land: 25,920 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 430 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 88.43 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 690 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; tsunamis; typhoons
Environment – current issues: air pollution from power plant emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Geography – note: strategic location in northeast Asia
Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people”. Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people. The Emperor effectively acts as the head of state on diplomatic occasions. Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, stands as next in line to the throne.
Population: 127,433,494 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.8% (male 9,024,344/female 8,553,700)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 41,841,760/female 41,253,968)
65 years and over: 21% (male 11,312,492/female 15,447,230) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 43.5 years
male: 41.7 years
female: 45.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.088% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 8.1 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 8.98 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.055 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.014 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.732 male(s)/female
total population: 0.953 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 82.02 years
male: 78.67 years
female: 85.56 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.23 children born/woman (2007 est.)Nationality: noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.7%
note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)
Religions: observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
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(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday the country’s 2015 agreement with Japan to settle a decades-long impasse over Korean women forced into wartime sexual slavery was seriously flawed.
Moon’s statement in which he vows unspecified follow-up measures to meet the victims’ demands potentially throws the future of the deal in doubt, two years after both countries declared it as “final and irreversible.”
The statement came a day after a state-appointed panel concluded that Seoul’s previous conservative government failed to properly communicate with the victims before reaching the deal.
The panel also said parts of the deal were not made public, including Japanese demands that the South Korean government avoid using the term “sexual slavery” and provide a specific plan to remove a bronze statue representing sex slaves in front of its Seoul embassy. South Korea in response said it would formerly refer to the victims as “victims of Japanese military comfort stations” but didn’t make a clear promise to remove the statue, according to the panel.
“It has been confirmed that the 2015 comfort women negotiation between South Korea had serious flaws, both in process and content,” Moon said in a statement read out by his spokesman.
“Despite the burden of the past agreement being a formal promise between governments that was ratified by the leaders of both countries, I, as president and with the Korean people, once again firmly state that this agreement does not resolve the issue over comfort women.”
Under the deal, Japan agreed to provide cash payment for the dwindling number of surviving victims, while South Korea said it will try to resolve Japanese grievance over the statue in front of the embassy.
The deal came under heavy criticism in South Korea where many thought the government settled for far too less. Japan has been angry that South Korea hasn’t taken specific steps to remove the statue and similar monuments in other places in the country, insisting there has been a clear understanding to do so.
The Foreign Ministry said government officials will hold extensive discussions with victims and experts before deciding whether to pursue changes to the deal. Japanese officials have said a renegotiation is unacceptable.
Some experts see it as unlikely that Moon’s government will spark a full-blown diplomatic row with Japan by scrapping the deal when the allies face pressing needs to form a strong united front against North Korea’s growing nuclear threat.
Historians say tens of thousands of women from around Asia, many of them Korean, were sent to front-line military brothels to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II.
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Donald ‘the fraud’ Trump’s political base is uneducated white males of which I am considered one of. Because I am very technology challenged I guess I am one of ‘those people’, you know whom I mean, the deplorable’s. The political talking heads say Trump’s base are white males with only a high school education or less. I have an Associate Degree in Sociology and Anthropology but I had to work my behind off to obtain a 2.72 GPA. What I am saying is that I am not a genius, I am just an average person. I do try my best to be a good Christian person, I know that I fail at my efforts constantly though. I do say these things to you so that you know that I do not consider myself as being better than you, or anyone else, well, except for the IDIOT in Our White House. It is a bit difficult to believe that anyone on the planet is more clueless than ‘the Donald.’
Now let us get down to the reason for this article today. Our glorious ‘habitual Liar in Chief’ is on a 12-day trip to Asia. Yesterday he made a speech to the South Korea Congress and today he is in China with his “good friend” President Xi Jinping. Before he went to South Korea he spent time in Japan with their leader Mr. Abe and I hear that they spent time on a golf course together. You know the only place that you normally hear more lies told than on a fishing boat, is on a golf course. This is especially true when Donald Trump enters the course. I read a lot of newspapers from all over the world almost every day and one of the things that is very clear is that no one anywhere believes anything that comes out of this mans mouth. It does seem that the only place you may find anyone here in the States who actually believes anything he says is on the Fox News Network.
If you are an ally of the United States these days, Mr. Trump has very plainly made it clear that he doesn’t give a flip about such things as longstanding treaties or friendships. Remember the fiasco/lies about the US Aircraft Carrier battle group that was “speeding toward Korea” as a sign of strength to our friends in South Korea and as a warning to North Korea? The same battle group that was actually heading in the opposite direction headed toward Australia to take part in ‘war games’ off of Australia’s northeast coast! This ‘bluff’! Do you remember the anger of the South Korean people and government officials when they found out that Mr. Trump had basically set them up as bait? Mr. Trump lies so often and changes his mind so often people with any sense at all have trouble remembering the last time he ever told the truth about anything. Just as our Ally’s have learned they cannot trust his word on anything, government leaders have also learned this same truth. President Putin and President Jinping both must be giddy as all heck realizing that there is an ignorant fool in the White House, it is obvious that both of these men are a whole lot wiser, smarter, and intelligent than Mr. Trump. You know what else, even the ‘Little Rocket Man’ knows all of these things about him also. The only question is, will the Republicans in the Senate grow a set and impeach this Fool before he starts a nuclear war with North Korea and their friends in China? I used the word ‘Fraud’ in the headline because to me, if you cannot believe a single thing that comes out of a persons mouth not only are they a habitual liar, they are a FRAUD and to me, these terms fit Mr. Trump perfectly!
For those of you who do not like it that I am calling out Mr. Trump for the person that he is please take a moment and get your Bible out. Now in the index look up the words Fraud and Fool. I was going to use a couple of passages that describe what the Bible says about these two kinds of people so that you could match them up with Mr. Trump’s actions. As you can see I didn’t waste the writing space because there were so many that describe Mr. Trump so perfectly that I decided to simply request that you see/read them all for yourself.
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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea carried out one of its most provocative missile tests in recent years early on Tuesday morning, hurling a ballistic missile directly over Japan that prompted the government in Tokyo to warn residents in its path to take cover.
The missile flew over the northern island of Hokkaido and landed harmlessly in the sea, after a flight of nearly 1,700 miles. But the propaganda value for the North Koreans was considerable.
Public television programs in Japan were interrupted with a rare warning screen announcing the missile’s flight over the country. Several bullet train lines were halted and the government spoke of the missile — only the third North Korean projectile to fly over the country since 1998 — in unusually dire terms.
“North Korea’s reckless action of launching a missile that passed over Japan is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat,” said Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
The test was also a direct challenge to President Trump. Just last week, at a political rally in Arizona, Mr. Trump suggested that his threat to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea if it endangered the United States was beginning to bear fruit. Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, was “starting to respect us,” Mr. Trump said.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had also cited a pause in testing by the North, saying he was “pleased to see that the regime in Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint that we have not seen in the past.” Mr. Tillerson suggested that it could be a “pathway” to dialogue.
Only days later, that optimism seemed premature when the North Koreans launched three short-range missiles on Saturday. Two of them traveled about 155 miles before splashing down, far enough to reach major South Korean and American military bases, including those about 60 miles south of Seoul.
And while North Korea has not carried out its threat to fire missiles toward the coast of Guam — and near an American air base — the missile it fired over Japan on Tuesday appeared to be of the same type: An intermediate-range missile that could target American, South Korean and Japanese bases in northeast Asia.
Only twice before has the North fired projectiles over Japanese territory: Once in 1998, prompting a minor diplomatic crisis in Asia, and once again at the beginning of the Obama administration in 2009. In both those cases, the North said the rockets were carrying satellites into orbit. In this case, it made no such claim.
As in the case of the 2009 launch, which was paired with a nuclear-weapons test, North Korea appears to be testing a new American president.
Notably, the missile fired on Tuesday took off from near Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Early reports, which are often later corrected, indicated that it was launched from near Pyongyang’s international airport, not the usual launch site in the country’s northeast, according to the South Korean military. They said they were still trying to determine what type of missile was launched.
American officials noted that if it was in fact launched from the outskirts of the capital, it may have been designed to complicate recent American threats to hit the North with pre-emptive strikes. That possibility was explicitly raised this month by several Trump administration officials, as a way of seeking to deter the North Koreans.
While the North’s usual launch sites are in remote areas, where there would be little concern about civilian casualties, any strike near Pyongyang would risk many civilian deaths and would suggest the real goal was to strike at the regime.
An attack near Pyongyang would also be far more likely to result in North Korean retaliation against Seoul.
Lt. Gen. Hiroaki Maehara, commander of Japan’s Air Self Defense Force, said that Japan did not attempt to shoot down the missile from North Korea on Tuesday because the government did not detect a threat to Japanese territory.
But when its surveillance first detected the launch and followed the path of the missile, it warned its citizens in the path of the missile to take cover — just in case any parts fell on Japan.
The North Korean missile tests on Saturday and again on Tuesday came during joint military drills that the United States and South Korea started a week ago. For the United States and South Korea, these drills — mostly conducted on computer screens — are normal exercises. But the North calls such annual drills a rehearsal for invasion and often lashes out with weapons trials and military exercises of its own.
But in this case, it was Japan — not part of this exercise — that seemed most directly affected.
In a statement, Mr. Abe said his government “was prepared to take all the measures to protect people’s lives.”
“We have lodged a firm protest to North Korea. We have requested an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council,” he added.
The Japanese government sent a text alert to citizens about the launch and advised them to take protective cover. In a post on Mr. Abe’s Twitter account, the government confirmed that the missile was fired at 5:58 a.m. local time, before breaking into three pieces and landing about 730 miles off the coast of Cape Erimo, Hokkaido, around 6:12 a.m.
This month, North Korea had threatened to launch four of its Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles in a “historic enveloping fire” around Guam, home to major American Air Force and Navy bases. The North said the missiles would fly over southern Japanese provinces on their way toward Guam.
That threat, together with Mr. Trump’s warning that the United States would bring down “fire and fury” if the North didn’t stand down, has significantly raised tensions in the region.
But the anxiety had appeared to ease somewhat after the North Korean leader later said he would wait awhile, watching the United States behavior, before deciding whether to approve his military’s plan to launch missiles toward Guam. The missile fired on Tuesday took a different path over northern Japan.
Still, the missile tests in recent days have dashed hopes in Seoul and Washington that North Korea would restrain from weapons tests to help pave the way for possible dialogue.
North Korea has conducted more than 80 missile tests since Mr. Kim came to power in late 2011, after the death of his father, but it has not sent any of those missiles over Japan.
Even when it flight-tested an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 28, it was launched at a highly lofted angle so that the missile reached an altitude of 2,300 miles. But it flew only 998 horizontal miles, falling in waters between the North and Japan. The North said at the time that it did so in order not to send its missile over a neighbor. Thus, the missile test on Tuesday was considered an especially bold move.
Along with South Korea, Japan and Guam would likely be the first targets of a North Korean attack should war break out on the Korean Peninsula, analysts said. Both are home to major American military bases, which will become key launching pads for American forces in the event of war in Korea.
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The Scottish Episcopal Church approves gay marriage
Pakistan’s interior ministry has said the two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped and killed by Islamic State-affiliated militants last month were preachers who allegedly violated their business visa rules.
According to Reuters, the terrorist-linked Amaq News Agency announced last Thursday that IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) was responsible for the killing of two Chinese nationals who were abducted last month in the Baluchistan province and were believed to be Mandarin language teachers.
“Islamic State fighters killed two Chinese people they had been holding in Baluchistan province, southwest Pakistan,” Amaq was quoted as announcing in a statement.
On Monday, the Pakistani government identified the two Chinese nationals killed as 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi. The interior ministry also claimed that both Lee and Meng were in violation of their visa rules because they were preaching instead of learning Urdu.
“Instead of engaging in any business activity, they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning (the) Urdu language from a Korean national … were actually engaged in preaching,” Reuters quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
The statement didn’t indicate whether the Korean national was from South Korea or North Korea or what the Chinese nationals were preaching.
According to the online news outlet Quartz, The Global Times and Shanghai-based The Paper, the slain Chinese nationals belonged to a 13-member Christian missionary group in China being led by a South Korean national.
Quartz also cited Chinese reports indicating that a local Muslim community complained about the group trying to evangelize to them. Additionally, Quartz reports that a Chinese journalist has said that Chinese foreign ministry officials briefed reporters in a closed-door session and gave them much of the same information that has been reported.
Following the killing of the two Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s interior ministry has decided to “streamline” its visa policy for Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s The Nation quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.
According to The Nation, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan called for a databank of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan during a meeting.
“This data bank, to be prepared by National Database and Registration Authority, should be shared with all security agencies,” the minister said, reiterating their claim that the deceased Chinese nationals violated the terms of their visas.
The killing of the two Chinese Christians come as IS has attempted in the last year to establish its presence in Pakistan, just like it has in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan. IS-linked militants have carried out a number of attacks in Pakistan this year, including a suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan that killed at least 90 and injured over 300 in February.
Last month, IS claimed a bomb attack on a convoy of Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri south of Quetta that killed 25 people.
Additionally, this is not the first time that IS has claimed responsibility for the killing Chinese nationals.
In 2015, IS in Syria killed 50-year-old Beijing native Fan Jinghui who was held hostage for months.
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JEJU, South Korea, April 27 (Yonhap) — A Korean-Japanese filmmaker on Thursday claimed the Japanese government is attempting to whitewash the 1923 massacre of Koreans as shown by revelations that it has removed a link from a government website to a report on the incident.
Oh Choong-kong, who is producing a documentary on the massacre, said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency that the Japanese government has denied the 1923 massacre that was followed by the Great Kanto Earthquake, which flattened Tokyo and Yokohama and killed more than 100,000 people.
The report on the website says more than 105,000 people died or went missing with 1-7 percent of them believed to have been killed. It also says the expression of massacre is appropriate for many cases. Koreans topped the list of people killed. While Chinese and Japanese people were also killed, their numbers were much smaller.
Historians say up to 6,000 Koreans were killed in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake. The massacre began when the Japanese government spread rumors of a planned riot by Koreans in a scheme to divert public attention from social unrest.
Korean-Japanese filmmaker Oh Choong-kong poses for a photo in an interview with Yonhap News Agency on South Korea’s resort island of Jeju on April 27, 2017. (Yonhap)
On April 12, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that the government removed the link to the report containing a passage about the massacre, citing an unnamed cabinet official. But the office said nobody from its staff gave the comments quoted by the newspaper and the link was deleted because the website was under renovation.
The unnamed official was quoted by the Asahi Shimbun as saying that the government decided to remove the link because it received numerous complaints about its content.
“Even though the report was re-posted, I can hardly accept the Japanese government’s explanation about the removal,” Oh said. “Recently, incidents like the removal of the massacre report have taken place one after another and all of these appear to be no odds of coincidence.”
Oh said the right-wing bloc and political circles in Japan have repeatedly demanded that a monument for the Korean victims of the massacre in Yokoamicho Park, a memorial park in Tokyo, be removed. A Japanese civic body installed the monument in 1973, the 50th anniversary of the quake.
A member at the Tokyo metropolitan assembly has cast doubt on the event being described as a massacre on the monument and called for its removal.
“Whenever incidents such as the monument’s removal and the massacre report occur, the South Korean government should lodge an official protest,” the filmmaker said.
He stressed that “Japan aims to rid its history of the massacre itself at the end of the day in addition to the removal of the monument and the deletion of the report.” He urged the South Korean government to launch a fact-finding project into the murder of Koreans as many bereaved family members of the victims have died and historical documents detailing it have been disappearing.
Oh has delved into the massacre through the production of his documentary films — “Hidden Scars: The Great Kanto Earthquake Korean Massacre” in 1983 and a sequel entitled “The Slaughter of Koreans” in 1986.
He is now making his third documentary on the issue, “The 1923 Genocide: The Silence of 93 Years” and visited the South Korean resort island of Jeju to take part in a two-day event to show the two documentaries.
United Nations (CNN) Only at a North Korean press conference at the United Nations, can you hear a diplomat say he hoped journalists had a good holiday weekend and then warn of possible thermonuclear war.
North Korea has consistently issued threats of war toward the United States in recent decades, but the Trump administration’s announced end of a “strategic patience” policy with Pyongyang has upped the ante in terms of warnings and bellicose rhetoric. North Korea’s UN deputy representative, Kim In Ryong, on Monday unleashed at a hastily called UN press conference a torrent of threats, war scenarios and rhetoric aimed at the United States.
The press event was held hours after US Vice President Mike Pence visited the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Pence warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the United States “or the strength of our military forces.”
In New York, North Korea returned verbal fire. North Korea’s UN ambassador condemned the US naval buildup in the waters off the Korean Peninsula, plus the US missile attacks on Syria.
Kim said, “It has created a dangerous situation in which thermonuclear war may break out at any moment on the peninsula and poses a serious threat to world peace and security.”
While reporters at the United Nations have heard similar rhetoric from North Koreans before, Monday’s forceful wording was on a higher level
The deputy ambassador, reading from a statement, told reporters, “The US is disturbing the global peace and stability and insisting on the gangster-like logic that its invasion of a sovereign state is ‘decisive, and just, and proportionate’ and contributes to ‘defending’ the international order in its bid to apply it to the Korean Peninsula as well.”
Kim said his country is ready to react to any “mode of war” from the United States. Any missile or nuclear strike by the United States would be responded to “in kind,” said the North Korea representative.
The USS Carl Vinson carrier-led Navy strike group was sent to the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s UN representative said the maneuvers show the “US reckless moves for invading the DPRK (North Korea) have reached a serious phase.”
The United Nations is clearly worried. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told journalists, “We’re obviously deeply concerned about the rising tensions that we’ve seen in the Korean Peninsula. We call on all to redouble their diplomatic efforts. “
The North Korean deputy ambassador was asked to respond to President Donald Trump’s comment that North Korea should “behave better.” He declined, instead wrapping up numerous questions about US policy and Pence’s visit to the DMZ into a long series of criticisms of the United States.
He denounced the United States for introducing into the Korean Peninsula — what he called “the world’s biggest hotspot” — its “huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the Peninsula and pushing the situation there to a brink of war.”
North Korea staged a failed missile launch over the weekend. Dujarric said, “I think the latest launch that we saw over the weekend from the DPRK was troubling. We call on the DPRK to take all the steps necessary to deescalate the situation and return to a dialogue on denuclearization.”
North Korea is upset that the UN Security Council will hold a meeting on the situation later this month, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presiding.
Pyongyang again said it has sent letters demanding its own hearing at the Security Council for alleged US abuses, but they have been ignored by a council which has seen numerous council resolutions violated by North Korean missile and nuclear tests.
To add to the list of warnings, the North Korean diplomat said his country would hold the United States accountable “for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions.”
Journalists were asked to give their names on a sheet passed around by the North Koreans, but the sign-up sheet was left behind apparently when the news conference concluded.
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