#AceNewsServices – SOUTH KOREA(Seoul) – October 16 – South Korea-based activists recently launched balloons loaded with propaganda leaflets over the country’s heavily militarized northern land border, triggering a volley of gunfire between border security guards and forcing a bilateral relations dialog to the point of collapse.
The airborne leafleting effort is nothing new. Lee Min-bok, a North Korean defector, and his group, the Campaign For Helping North Korea in Direct Way (sic), have used balloons to send printed messages, CDs and even little radios tuned for uncensored news and information, into the country since at least 2003.
“The balloon launch is a primitive humanitarian activity for human rights, which opens eyes, ears and mouths of North Korean people that have been closed by the North Korean regime,” said Lee, an evangelical Christian and former North Korean agricultural scientist.
#AceNewsServices – NORTH KOREA (Pyongyang) – October 08 – North Korea’s portly 31-year-old supreme leader has not been seen in public in more than month at a time when a high-level delegation has made a surprise visit to South Korea in an apparent peace initiative.
His disappearance from public view has stirred rumours of coups, health problems and even a low-grade civil war in the Hermit Kingdom. Though it could be linked to our recent post on his leadership being a puppet government, either way his whereabouts are still unknown.
Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father Kim Jong Il in 2011, was last seen Sept. 3 attending a music concert with his wife Ri Sol Ju. The state newspaper Rodong Sinmun showed the pair sitting in front-row seats for the performance by an all-girl troupe, the BBC reports.
He was a no-show when the North Korean parliament convened Sept. 26 for its second session of the year. On Tuesday, Kim Jong Un did not attend a national meeting to mark the 17th anniversary of the election of his father as general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea,the South Korean Yonhap news agency reports.
A recent official documentary only shows footage from August of the North Korean leader limping while commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of the country’s founder.
The film mentioned he had been feeling “discomfort,” the BBC reports.
His sudden low profile coincides with the surprise visit Saturday by a high-level North Korean delegation to the South Korean port city of Incheon to attend the close of the Asian Games, which included North Korean athletes.
#AceNewsServices – SOUTH KOREA (Seoul) – October 07 – A South Korean naval ship fired warning shots on Tuesday after a North Korean patrol boat crossed a disputed sea border off the peninsula’s west coast and fired shots back before retreating, a South Korean defence official said.
There were no casualties on the South Korean side and none of the shots by either side was aimed at the other’s vessel, he told Reuters.
It was the latest in a series of similar altercations near Yeonpyeong island, which was bombed by the North in 2010 killing four people, including two civilians.
The area near Yeonpyeong has been the scene of clashes in the past that killed scores of sailors on both sides, with North Korean vessels frequently crossing the so-called Northern Limit Line, which it refuses to recognise as the maritime border.
The stand-off came after a surprise visit by the highest-level delegation by North Korea at the weekend, comprised of a top military aide to the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, who met South Korean officials.
They agreed to resume dialogue on improving ties that had been cut off in February, raising hope for a breakthrough in the relationship between the rivals which remain in a technical state of war under a truce ending their 1950-53 war.
In 2010, a South Korean navy ship patrolling the area was hit and sunk in a torpedo attack killing 46 of the sailors on board. South Korea blames the North for the attack but Pyongyang denies involvement.
The attack led to the South cutting off all political and commercial exchange with the North except for a factory zone in the North Korean city of Kaesong where South Korean companies operate manufacturing facilities.
In recent years, Seoul has allowed small private groups to visit the North, mostly on humanitarian or religious trips.
(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; Editing by Nick Macfie)
A North Korean vessel starts shelling two days after the South fired warning shots at ships crossing the maritime border. Residents on Yeonpyeong island, where four people were killed in 2010, were evacuated to bomb shelters
A North Korean navy shipfired two artillery shells in the vicinity of a South Korean warship in the disputed waters near Yeonpyeong island on Thursday, and the South Korean vessel fired several rounds back in response, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.
The North Korean shells landed about 200 meters from the South Korean ship, which was on a regular patrol mission according to the ministry.
The incident took place two days after South Korea fired warning shots at three North Korean ships that crossed the maritime border between the two countries in the Yellow Sea border. Pyongyang condemned the act as “gravely provocative” and said it would retaliate.
Residents on Yeonpyeong, where North Korean shelling killed four people in 2010, were reportedly evacuated to bomb shelters as the naval exchange broke out.
The rhetoric between the two countries has been intensifying, with Pyongyang dishing out an increasing number of insults at Seoul, and a spokesperson from South Korea’s defense ministry saying that the North was not a real country and “must disappear soon.” Both sides regularly conduct artillery drills in the disputed waters, which lack a clearly marked sea boundary. Over the past two months, hundreds of shells have been fired, causing island residents to evacuate on a number of occasions.
#AceWorldNews – PYONGYANG – April 09 – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is elected as first Chairman of the North Korean State Defence Committee at a session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s parliament, in the North Korean capital on Wednesday. This decision “reflects common will of servicemen and people of North Korea,” KCNA news agency reported.
Former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il who died in December 2011 was named as perpetual Chairman of the State Defence Committee.
#AceWorldNews – SEOUL – April 06 – South Korean soldiers found a small crashed drone in the middle of a mountain in Samcheok, 290 kilometres east of Seoul, officials said on Sunday.
They were searching the area on a tip from local residents, who reported seeing an aircraft crash in the vicinity in October.
The new drone is identical to two others found in South Korea, which it believes were operated by the North Korean military, Yonhap news agency reported.
Two other drone crash sites have been discovered in recent weeks in the city of Paju in the west of the country, and in Baengnyeong Island near the maritime border between the two Koreas.
#AceWorldNews – TOKYO – April 05 – Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera issued Thursday an order without disclosing it for the Self-Defence Forces to destroy North Korean ballistic missiles if any are launched, a government source said Saturday (Kyodo)
In line with the order, the SDF deployed to the Sea of Japan the Aegis-equipped destroyer Kirishima carrying long-range SM-3 interceptor missiles, the source said.
The order was kept secret to avoid revealing Japan’s missile detection capabilities, they said.
#AceWorldNews Japan and North Korea are expected to resume talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs after over a year, reports Japanese media.
Although the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not officially confirmed it, dates for negotiations are expected to be announced this week following a meeting between North Korean and Japanese politicians in China last week.
Negotiations were frozen between the two governments in December 2012 after Pyongyang conducted a test-launch of a long-range missile.
#AceWorldNews South Korea’s spy agency chief came under growing pressure to step down Wednesday over a scandal involving the fabrication of evidence in an espionage case, AFP said.
Lawmakers from President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party called for NIS Director Nam Jae-joon to resign.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) has been accused of forging documents to build a spying case against a former Seoul City official who escaped to South Korea from North Korea in 2004.
The documents included Chinese border control records. Last week, an NIS informant linked to the forgeries attempted to commit suicide.
#AceWorldNews Libya has stopped a North Korean-flagged tanker that had loaded oil from a rebel-held port, officials said.
The government also plans to assemble forces to “liberate” all occupied ports, raising the stakes over a blockage that has cut off vital oil revenue, Reuters reported.
Rebels have seized three ports and partly control a fourth in the North African country. They have reportedly dispatched forces to central Libya to deal with any government attack.
#AceWorldNews says that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Yeo-jong, secured an influential position in the government ranks, South Korea’s Chosun Ilba newspaper reported.
North Korea’s state-run media mentioned the sister by name. North Korean state TV said Sunday that the country’s leader stopped by the polling station at Kim Il-sung University during elections for the Supreme
People’s Assembly and was accompanied by military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae, deputy directors of the Workers Party, Kim Kyong-ok and Hwang Pyong-so, and “Comrade Kim Yeo-jong.
The word “comrade” means that 26-year-old Kim Yeo-jong secured a place in the Workers Party above deputy director.
#AceWorldNews reports that a North Korean-flagged tanker began loading oil at a rebel-seized port at Es Sider terminal in eastern Libya, Reuters cited port and oil officials as saying on Saturday.
Earlier, the Libyan government threatened to bomb the tanker if it tried to export oil from the port, marking an escalation in the fight for the country’s oil reserves.
“The loading has started,” a port worker said and a spokesman for state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) confirmed.
Rebels who took control of three major Libyan ports in August are demanding more autonomy.
#AceWorldNews says that a group of armed protesters who have been occupying oil ports in eastern Libya said they have started exporting oil, Reuters reports.
Their first shipment is going by tanker under a North Korean flag. “We started exporting oil.
This is our first shipment,” said a spokesman for the protesters.
Earlier on Saturday, Officials at the state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) confirmed that the vessel was docked at the Es-Sider port, which was controlled by the group demanding autonomy and a greater share of the country’s oil wealth.
The unnamed NOC official said that the company informed the Libyan government and defence ministry “so they can take action,” and added that the crew of the Morning Glory tanker “are trying to buy oil illegally.”
#AceWorldNews says a `North Korean’ patrol ship has violated the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a de facto maritime border with South Korea, several times on Monday night, according to Seoul’s Defence Ministry.
The vessel sailed to a location about 23.4km west of South Korea’s Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea at around 10:46pm local time (13:46 GMT).
However, after repeated South Korean military warnings, the ship retreated, added the ministry.
The incident comes on the same day joint annual US-South Korea military exercises began.
#AceWorldNews says that `North Korean’ security chiefs and possibly even the countries supreme leader, Kim Jong-un himself, should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and mass killings bordering on genocide, UN investigators said Monday.
The UN Commission of Inquiry told Kim in a letter they were advising the UN to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to ensure any culprits “including possibly yourself” were held accountable,
Reuters reported. North Korea said it “categorically and totally” rejected the investigators’ report.