25 September 2017

News Report: South Korea to Boost Military Arsenal With Nuclear Submarines, Spy Satellites

South Korea is considering boosting its three-axis defense program by building its own nuclear-powered submarines and acquiring spy satellites to counter the North Korea threat.

At their second bilateral meeting on Thursday, US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in committed to strengthen their combined defense posture against the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) through Seoul's acquisition and development of highly-advanced military assets, as well as through the deployment of US strategic assets in and around South Korea.

Following the meeting, Trump said it was "a great privilege" to talk to Moon and that the ongoing North Korean crisis was the most important issue he and his counterpart had to address.

"I am allowing Japan and South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States," Trump tweeted on September 5, after Pyongyang successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

News Report: China Tightens Screws on DPRK With Oil Supply Cut, Textile Import Ban

China announced on Saturday that it will limit energy supplies to North Korea and stop buying its textiles, in compliance with UN sanctions on Kim Jong-un's regime over Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development.

The United Nations Security Council recently unanimously passed a US-drafted resolution mandating tougher new sanctions against the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK).

China's Ministry of Commerce said that in line with the decision, Beijing is limiting exports of refined petroleum to the DPRK to 2 million barrels per year, beginning January 1, 2018.

China is also depriving Pyongyang of one of its last major sources of foreign revenue by banning textile imports from its troubled neighbor.

China accounts for some 90 percent of North Korea's trade, making its cooperation critical to any efforts to derail Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

News Report: Trump on North Korea's Leader - 'Little Rocket Man' Won't Be Around Much Longer

Donald Trump has responded to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong's UN General Assembly speech with threats that Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer."

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump went on to exchange threats with Pyongyang on Sunday, referring to the country's leader as "Little Rocket Man" again.

"Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" Trump wrote on his Twitter page.

News Report: North Korean Nuclear Weapons Means of Self-Protection - Foreign Minister & DPRK Says Nuke Launch at US "Inevitable"

North Korean Nuclear Weapons Means of Self-Protection - Foreign Minister

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 (Sputnik) — North Korean nuclear weapons are means of self-protection with Pyongyang striving for the balance of power with Washington, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Saturday.

"The possession of nuclear deterrence by the DPRK is a righteous self-defensive measure taken as an ultimate option, pursuant to this principle… Our national nuclear force is, to all intents and purposes, a war deterrent for putting an end to nuclear threat of the US and for preventing its military invasion; and our ultimate goal is to establish the balance of power with the US," the minister said in his address to the UN General Assembly.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.


DPRK Says Nuke Launch at US "Inevitable"

Pyongyang claimed on Saturday that launching ballistic missiles toward the US is "inevitable all the more" due to US President Donald Trump's labelling of DPRK leader Kim Jong-un as "rocket man".

Just hours after USAF B-1B nuclear-weapon-capable bombers flew close to the northern nation, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in his statement to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday said that Pyongyang's launch of missiles toward the US was "inevitable all the more," although he did not specify more details.

News Report: UNHCR - Bangladesh Needs 'Massive International Assistance' for Rohingya

The head of the U.N. refugee agency says Bangladesh needs "massive international assistance" to feed and shelter the Rohingya who have fled Myanmar.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Sunday in the Bangladeshi town of Cox's Bazar the needs of more than 430,000 people who have fled violence in Myanmar are enormous and Bangladesh is facing "immense" challenges.

"I spoke to many of the refugees that have just arrived and I must say that on the one hand I was struck by the incredible magnitude of their needs. They need everything, as I said, they need food, they need clean water, they need shelter, they need proper health care, and perhaps the most urgent need is to find them a proper accommodation," he said.

Grandi said an "incredible outpouring of local generosity" needs to be "beefed up by massive international assistance, financial and material".

The latest round of violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state erupted August 25 when a Rohingya insurgent group launched deadly attacks on security posts. Myanmar responded with military "clearance operations" to root out the rebels.

"First and foremost violence has to stop because it is that violence that has caused the flight of the people. Violence has to stop. Access by humanitarian organizations like mine in northern Rakhine have to be fully restored. You know that UNHCR, the World Food Program are maintaining a presence there but our movement is still restricted. This, once the security is reestablished, has to be restored so that we can also help those that have not come over and address their needs."

Grandi said the refugee flow has slowed, but it is impossible to tell whether more would come.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Sighting of IS Flag in Pakistan’s Capital Stirs Public Worries

Noor Zahid, Jaleel Akhtar

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD — The sighting of an Islamic State flag spread fears among residents in Pakistan’s capital, prompting authorities to order an investigation of the incident.

“The Caliphate is coming,” read an inserted slogan on an IS flag which was put up over a billboard Sunday on a major expressway in Islamabad.

Pakistan Interior Ministry authorities told VOA a committee has been formed to investigate the incident, denying reports IS may have established a foothold in the country.

“The group does not have an organized presence, resources or structure to be able operate in the area,” Talal Choudhry, State Minister for Interior Affairs told VOA’s Urdu Service.

Pakistani authorities acknowledged at least one IS flag was displayed on a billboard, but some sources told VOA other IS flags were found in other parts of the capital city.

While militant groups have previously targeted Islamabad, the city is regarded as one of the safest places in the country. Under a “Safe City Project” that aims at making the capital crime-free, more than 1,900 surveillance cameras (CCTV) have been installed across the city.

The IS terror group has taken roots in the mountain regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan since early 2015. It brands itself as the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), a title that distinguishes the militant group in the region from its main branch in Iraq and Syria.

News Report: Trump Issues More Threats Against N. Korea

Margaret Besheer

UNITED NATIONS — U.S. President Donald Trump has responded to insults from North Korea's foreign minister with more threats.

"Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" Trump said on Twitter.

North Korea’s foreign minister brought a dictionary full of insults for Trump when he addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday.

News Report: Border Guards Stop Rohingyas From Entering India

Suhail Anjum

NEW DELHI — India has stepped up security along its largely porous eastern border with Bangladesh and is using pepper spray and stun grenades to block Rohingya Muslims, who are fleeing violence in their homeland of Myanmar, Indian officials said Saturday.

Border forces, citing security risks, have been authorized to prevent attempts to enter the country.

"We don't want to cause any serious injury or arrest them, but we won't tolerate Rohingya on Indian soil," said a senior official with India's Border Security Force (BSF) in New Delhi.

R.P.S. Jaswal, a deputy inspector general of the BSF, patrolling a large part of the border in the eastern state of West Bengal, said his troops were told to use both what he called "chili spray" and stun grenades to keep Rohingya out of India.

About 40,000 Rohingya refugees who passed through Bangladesh from Myanmar are already inside India. On Thursday, India Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for their deportation as illegal migrants, saying they had not applied for refugee status.

India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the government about the plan to deport Rohingyas. The NHRC says it is assisting Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds because they were being persecuted in Myanmar.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Pakistan Plans to Regulate Weekly Sermons to Prevent Extremism

Madeeha Anwar

As pressure is mounting on Pakistan to do more to curb militancy emanating from parts of its territory, the country is planning to regulate Friday's sermons at local mosques where mullahs will preach on pre-approved religious topics.

The new effort is being touted as a means to tackle the growing problem of extremism that threatens the security of Pakistan and its neighbors. Some preachers, using Friday's sermons, try to persuade people to embrace jihad in other countries.

The initiative is in the form of a 13-point proposal under the National Action Plan, a policy adopted in 2015 to combat terrorism, sectarianism and intolerance in the country.

Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's interior minister, announced the plan to regulate sermons last week after leading a meeting on the growing challenge of youth radicalization in the country. The meeting reportedly was attended by the vice chancellors of major national universities.

News Story: U.S. will "do everything" to avoid nuclear war with DPRK - U.S. treasury secretary

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Sunday that the United States wanted to avoid nuclear war with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"The president doesn't want to be in a nuclear war, and we will do everything we can to make sure that doesn't occur," said Mnuchin in an interview with ABC News.

"I can assure you the president's number one priority is the safety of the American people and our allies," he added.

Mnuchin was the latest U.S. top official to offer reassurance after U.S. President Donald Trump ratcheted up tension with the DPRK with threats.

Trump on Tuesday threatened in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly that the United States "will have no choice than to totally destroy" the country if forced to defend itself or its allies.

After the threat, the DPRK said it might test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

Read the full story at Xinhua