DPRK to Launch “Application Satellite” – KCNA

[The following is billed as “major news” on KCNA (Korean Central News Agency), North Korea’s official international news outlet. The intended launch of an “application satellite” is timed to mark the 100th anniversary of founding President Kim Il Sung’s birth. The article claims that the DPRK “will strictly abide by relevant international regulations and usage concerning the launch of scientific and technological satellites for peaceful purposes” and that “a safe flight orbit has been chosen so that carrier rocket debris to be generated during the flight would not have any impact on neighboring countries.”  

Unha-2 rocket, 2009 (photo by KCNA)

The announcement has surprised especially the USA, coming only days after an agreement was reached between the two countries that included the North Korean promise of a moratorium on missile tests. Victoria Nuland, US State Department Spokesperson, issued the following statement from Washington: “North Korea’s announcement that it plans to conduct a missile launch in direct violation of its international obligations is highly provocative. UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 clearly and unequivocally prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology. Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea’s recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches. We call on North Korea to adhere to its international obligations, including all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. We are consulting closely with our international partners on next steps.”

Considering that it was the arms race between the USA and the USSR that gave the impetus for the race into space, there is obviously a continuing (purposeful) disconnect in understanding the difference between a satellite launch and a missile test. –CanKor]

Pyongyang, March 16 (KCNA) — The DPRK is to launch a working satellite, Kwangmyongsong-3, manufactured by itself with indigenous technology to mark the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung. Read the rest of this entry »

Results of USA-DPRK Talks as Announced by the US Department of State

[This is the text of a Press Statement delivered by, Victoria Nuland, US State Department Spokesperson, in Washington, DC, 29 February 2012. It is obvious that announcement of the  agreements had been synchronized by the two sides to be issued at the same time. The exact wording and emphasis differ in the two versions. For example, the DPRK nuclear moratorium and inspections by the IAEA, take priority in the US statement, whereas in the DPRK statement they are mentioned as an afterthought, specifying that the US side had asked for them. Note also that the wording of the DPRK announcement speaks of “promises and agreements” on the part of the USA, whereas the US statement reserves the word “agree” to concessions by the DPRK, with the USA agreeing only to meet again. The specifics are listed as “points flowing from the discussions”. Nevertheless, the main features of the agreements are virtually the same. –CanKor]

US scientist Siegfried Hecker examines machining lathes at the disabled Yongbyon nuclear facility, 2008 (Photo by W. Keith Luse)

A U.S. delegation has just returned from Beijing following a third exploratory round of U.S.-DPRK bilateral talks. To improve the atmosphere for dialogue and demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization, the DPRK has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities. The DPRK has also agreed to the return of IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Yongbyon and confirm the disablement of the 5-MW reactor and associated facilities.

The United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas, but today’s announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these. We have agreed to meet with the DPRK to finalize administrative details necessary to move forward with our proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance along with the intensive monitoring required for the delivery of such assistance. Read the rest of this entry »

US reaction to European food aid by Chris Nelson

[The following item is taken from the 6 July 2011 edition of the Nelson Report, with the kind permission of the author. –CanKor.]

We are reliably informed by experts like Marc Noland at Peterson IIE that the 10-million Euro program announced by Europe over the weekend is not “fairly large”, as we suggested last night, but in fact rather modest, in comparison to previous international efforts.

Yonhap has an excellent summary of the situation on a briefing by US State Department‘s Victoria Nuland (following this introduction) to which we would add one or two bits of analysis, based on our own probings:

We are told to take with a grain of salt any claim the US is close to agreeing with the Europeans on this, unless you understand that in fact, it appears the Euro’s food is seen by the donors as “the least they could do, so they did it”, given the generally “soft” Euro humanitarianism in the face of unpleasant strategic realities. Read the rest of this entry »

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