Asia Pacific News

Kyodo, 12.09.18..

On the 11-th of September this year the Prime Minister of Japan S.Abe held a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Lee Nak-yon at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. During the meeting, S.Abe said that the implementation of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula was a necessary condition for achieving peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and therefore Japan, the ROK and the US should continue to deepen trilateral cooperation on this issue. He also noted that the upcoming on September, 18-20 this year in Pyongyang the summit of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the President of the ROK Moon Jae-in would have a positive impact on the further implementation of measures for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Yonhap, 12.09.18..

On the 11-th of September this year the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and Japan Kang Kyung-wha and Taro Kono met in Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of the ASEAN World Economic Forum, during which the parties discussed the development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, in particular the issue of denuclearization and peace on the Korean the peninsula. The foreign ministers also discussed issues of bilateral relations, including the strengthening of strategic contacts between Tokyo and Seoul. In addition, on the 11-th of September this year in Seoul, Kang Kyung-wha met with the State Department's special representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun. During the talks, S.Biegan said that the current situation on the Korean peninsula opened up "enormous opportunities" that should be used to the maximum extent possible to solve the North Korean problem.

"Radio Korea", 12.09.18..

On the 11-th of September this year President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in said that maintaining dialogue between the DPRK and the US was a prerequisite for achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. He noted that the ROK should act as an intermediary and promote the dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington in every possible way, until it became active. In addition, Moon Jae-in said that he didn't not rule out the possibility of another meeting between the leaders of the United States and the DPRK D.Trump and Kim Jong-un amid positive shifts on the Korean Peninsula, caused primarily by the cessation of nuclear and missile tests in the DPRK.

Reuters, 12.09.18..

On the 11-th of September this year in Pyongyang was held an international march for the peaceful reunification of Korea, which was attended by representatives of more than 30 countries. Participants of the march advocated the reduction of tensions in the region, in particular for the cessation of joint military exercises of the United States and the Republic of Korea and the withdrawal of American troops from the territory of the Korean peninsula. The procession started from the Korean reunification monument, which represented two female figures about 30 meters high, symbolizing two parts of the country and holding a disk in which the entire Korean peninsula is depicted. The march was held in support of the peace initiatives put forward at the summit of the leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un and the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in, in the village of Panmunjom on April, 27 this year.

Yonhap, 11.09.18..

The South Korean religious organization Center for the Study of the History of the Propagation of Buddhism in Korea appealed to the Government of the Republic of Korea to make formal apologies as well as to pay monetary compensation to the relatives of the dead Vietnamese and those affected by the actions of the South Korea's Armed Forces during the Vietnam War in the 1960s-1970s. According to the estimates of the organization during the Vietnam War about 9 thousand Vietnamese citizens died from the actions of the units of the South Korea's Armed Forces.

The Taipei Times, 11.09.18..

The General Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan Y.Suga expressed "extreme regret" for the incident that occurred in early September in Taiwan during which a member of the Japanese non-governmental organization the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women Mitsuhiko Fuji tried to throw off the statue "women for comfort" installed opposite the main office of the leading Taiwanese opposition party KMT. The leadership of the KMT criticized M.Fuji and urged him to apologize for his actions. In addition, on September 10 in Taipei in front of the Japanese non-governmental organization "Association for the implementation of cultural exchanges between Japan and Taiwan" which serves as the consulate of Japan in Taiwan, held a protest rally, which demanded that the Japanese government officially apologize for the incident and called on the government Taiwan to conduct a thorough investigation against M.Fuji.

The Global Times, 11.09.18..

The government of the China has published a directive aimed at strengthening control over the activities of religious organizations in the Internet. According to the directive, religious organizations must obtain a license to publish religious materials in the Internet. It is noted that these materials should be published exclusively on the organization's Internet sites and should not contain criticism of the actions of the government of the China, the Chinese Communist Party or "incite" its target audience to extremism and separatism.

Yonhap, 11.09.18..

The White House press secretary S. Sanders said that US President D.Trump received a letter from the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong-Un in which it is proposed to submit the next meeting of the two heads of state. According to S.Sanders the letter of the North Korean leader speaks about Kim Jong-Un's striving for normalization of relations between the two countries as well as about Pyongyang's intention to stabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula. S.Sanders also said that Washington and Pyongyang currently are holding talks about the possibility of holding a new meeting of the leaders of the two countries. The US national security adviser John Bolton In turn suggested that the meeting of D.Trump and Kim Jong-Un could take place before the end of this year.

"Nikkei", 11.09.18.

The Japanese ambassador to Russia Toyohisa Kozuki said that Japan would try to send business mission to south Kurils as soon as possible. The visit of it was scheduled on the 16-th of August, but failed due to the bad weather. According to the ambassador, this issue was discussed during the consultations at the level of deputy foreign ministers of Japan and Russia, that were held on the 30-th of August this year in Moscow, and further coordination on it would be carried out on the basis of the results of negotiations. More over T.Kozuki expressed his confidence that Japan and Russia would be able to come to a solution of the Northern territories' dispute and conclude a peace treaty. T.Kozuki also added that the US anti-missile systems "Ages Ashore", which were planned for dislocation in Japan, wouldn't pose a threat to Russia due to its purely defensive nature.

Xinhua, 10.09.18..

China's top legislator on Sunday presented a signed letter from General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Xi said in the letter that the DPRK, under the successive leadership of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, has made extraordinary achievements on the course of the socialist construction in the past 70 years. Xi said that he and Kim had reached important consensus during their three meetings this year, opening a new chapter in the development of China-DPRK relations. Xi said he is willing to work with Kim to strengthen the guidance of China-DPRK relations, implement the important consensus reached by the two leaders and push for greater progress in bilateral ties.

Jiji Press, 10.09.18..

The head of South Korea's state intelligence agency Suh Hooh on Monday briefed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the results of a South Korean presidential delegation's trip to Pyongyang last week. "This is a good opportunity to let the world know that Japan-South Korea relations have become so close since the launch of the Moon Jae-in administration," the prime minister said. The NIS chief said Moon believes the Japanese leader's role is more important than at any other time in denuclearizing the North and establishing a peace regime.

Associated Press, 10.09.18..

North Korea held a major military parade and revived its iconic mass games to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Sunday, but in keeping with leader Kim Jong Un's new policies the emphasis was firmly on building up the economy, not on nuclear weapons. The North rolled out some of its latest tanks and marched its best-trained goose-stepping units in the parade but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half of the event to civilian efforts to build the domestic economy. After a truncated parade featuring tanks and some of North Korea's biggest artillery, fewer than the usual number of missiles and lots of goose-stepping units from all branches of the military, the focus switched to civilian groups ranging from nurses to students to construction workers, many with colorful floats beside them. Senior statesman Kim Yong Nam, the head of North Korea's parliament, set the relatively softer tone for the parade with an opening speech that emphasized the economic goals of the regime, not its nuclear might. He called on the military to be ready to work to help build the economy.

"Nikkei", 10.09.18..

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan H.Seko during a press conference in Tokyo said that the Japanese side was very interested in the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), in which many companies and their representatives were expected to participate. According to H.Seko, in 2018, as in 2017, about 200 people would take part in the Japanese-Russian round table held within the framework of the EEF. During the event, the Japanese side plans to hold an active discussion on the development of Japanese-Russian cooperation, focusing primarily on projects in the Russian Far East. During the press conference, H.Seko also noted that an ongoing dialogue between governments and the business community of the two countries was necessary to expand Japanese-Russian economic ties. In this regard, the Eastern Economic Forum remains an important platform that provides an opportunity for conducting such a dialogue. He also expressed the hope that the plan of the eight-point cooperation between Japan and Russia, promoted under the leadership of Japanese Prime Minister S.Abe and President Vladimir Putin, would be developed together with this forum.

"Sankei Shimbun", 10.09.18..

The "Sankei Shimbun" newspaper published an article stating that the Russian President V.Putin would hold talks with the Prime Minister of Japan on the eve of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). The authors of the article stated that the main topics of the Russian-Japanese talks would be the issues of bilateral relations, the problems of peaceful agreements, as well as strengthening of trade and economic interaction, based on the basis of the proposed by S.Abe cooperation on eight directions, the Russian list of priority investment projects. It is expected that the leaders of the two countries would talk in a narrow format, then in delegations in the format of working lunch, after which the signing ceremony and a joint statement for the press would take place.

JIJI, 09.09.18..

The Defense Ministry is considering assigning female Self-Defense Forces officers to posts in submarines by lifting restrictions on such assignments, ministry sources said. Female officers have already boarded submarines on short-distance missions to help the Maritime Self-Defense Force identify issues. Women account for around 15,000, or some 6.5 percent, of the 230,000 personnel in the SDF, according to the ministry. Its aim is to bump up that ratio to over 9 percent by 2030.

Reuters, 09.09.18..

Pew Research Center conducted a survey that found out that roughly 72 percent of the respondents believed that social media platforms like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, etc. actively censored political views those companies found objectionable. The perception that technology companies were politically biased and suppressed political speech. A majority of the respondents, or 51 percent, said technology companies should be regulated more than they are now.

Military Times, 09.09.18..

Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned. The AP was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable, jeopardizing their futures. Eligible recruits are required to have legal status in the U.S., such as a student visa, before enlisting. More than 5,000 immigrants were recruited into the program in 2016, and an estimated 10,000 are currently serving. Most go the Army, but some also go to the other military branches. To become citizens, the service members need an honorable service designation, which can come after even just a few days at boot camp. But the recently discharged service members have had their basic training delayed, so they can't be naturalized.

AP, 09.09.18..

Biegun will ‘continue diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea’, says the US State Department. The United States’ new envoy to North Korea will make his first trip to South Korea, China and Japan next week for talks with officials of the three countries on ways to denuclearize Pyongyang, the US State Department said Thursday. Biegun will travel to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo from Monday through Saturday, the department said in a statement, without providing details on his itinerary. “The special representative will meet with his counterparts and continue diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore,” it said.

Fox News, 07.09.18..

William Evanina, director of the National Center for Counterintelligence and Security of the United States, said that the Chinese intelligence services are currently using the American social network LinkedIn to collect intelligence information, as well as recruiting US military personnel, former employees of US special services and politicians. As noted by W.Evanina, the main goal of the Chinese side is the recruitment through the LinkedIn of American scientists and experts involved in the development of supercomputers, nuclear power, nanotechnology and semiconductors. He declined to comment on how many such recruitment cases were identified in LinkedIn but he urged the leadership of this social network to strengthen network security and take measures to identify and remove "suspicious" user accounts.

"Sankei Shimbun", 08.09.18.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in an interview published on Sunday his intention to hold "in-depth talks" with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Shinzo Abe told the Sankei Shimbun newspaper he would hold "an in-depth discussion with Putin" during his visit to Russia scheduled for September 11, stressing his desire to "conclude a peace treaty by solving the problem of Northern Territories" contested islands claimed by both countries, collectively referred to as the Southern Kurils by Moscow. This is going to be the 22nd meeting between Abe and Putin.

Reuters, 08.09.18.

On September 6th in New Delhi (India) was held a two-plus-two meeting between US Secretary of State M.Pompeo, US Defense Secretary J. Mattis and Indian Defense and Foreign Ministers N.Sitaraman and S.Svaraj on the result they were signed an agreement on ensuring the compatibility of military communications means of the Armed Forces of India and the United States. This agreement provides for the exchange of data and joint access to military networks between the military departments of the two countries. Also, the agreement allows the Indian side to purchase from the US equipment to protect military communications systems of the Indian Armed Forces. In addition, as a result of the meeting, the parties reached an agreement on establishing a hotline between the US Department of Defense and India, and also in 2019 around would be begin of the Bay of Bengal a series of joint military exercises by the US and Indian armed forces. In addition M.Pompeo said that Washington does not plan to impose sanctions on India because of the plans of New Delhi to purchase from Russia the S-400 Triumph.

Kyodo, 07.09.18..

A civic group in Okinawa demanded Wednesday a local referendum on the controversial plan to relocate a key U.S. military base within the prefecture with signatures of some 93,000 people, more than four times the figure required by law. The direct request was made to Deputy Okinawa Gov Kiichiro Jahana, who took charge of the base relocation issue following the death of Gov Takeshi Onaga last month. Jahana told the group he intends to convene a prefectural assembly meeting later this month and present a proposal to hold a referendum. "I firmly received (the signatures) as a person to whom the baton was handed over by Gov Takeshi Onaga," Jahana told civic group members, indicating his intention to back the referendum proposal. A majority of the prefectural assembly members are opposed to the transfer of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa, setting the stage for approval of the referendum proposal.

Xinhua, 08.09.18.

China expressed anger on Thursday after a British Royal Navy warship sailed close to islands claimed by China in the South China Sea late last month, saying Britain was engaged in “provocation” and that it had lodged a strong complaint. “The relevant actions by the British ship violated Chinese law and relevant international law, and infringed on China’s sovereignty. China strongly opposes this and has lodged stern representations with the British side to express strong dissatisfaction,” the ministry added. “China strongly urges the British side to immediately stop such provocative actions, to avoid harming the broader picture of bilateral relations and regional peace and stability,” it said. “China will continue to take all necessary measures to defend its sovereignty and security.”

Yonhap, 08.09.18.

The leading opposition Liberty Korea Party stated that it opposes the ratification by the National Assembly of the country of the Panmunjom Declaration signed by the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in and the leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-Un on April 27 noting that Pyongyang's "there is no sincerity of action" to stabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula. At the same time another South Korean opposition minor opposition Bareunmirae Party stated that it was in favor of ratifying this declaration which would begin the process of normalizing relations with the DPRK and stabilizing the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Yonhap, 07.09.18.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Thursday he spoke with his South Korean counterpart to discuss the latter's recent trip to North Korea.In Pyongyang, Chung met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discussed issues related to the regime's denuclearization, as well as South Korean President Moon Jae-in's upcoming summit with Kim. "We agreed to stay in touch in advance of the planned September 18th-20th inter-Korean summit, and ahead of President Moon's attendance of the U.N. General Assembly in late September, during which he and President Trump intend to meet," he said.

"Korea times", 07.09.18..

The Cabinet approved a proposal Tuesday to shorten the mandatory military service period for South Korean men by up to three months over the next couple of years. The proposal was part of the defense ministry's reform measures dubbed the Defense Reform 2.0 made public in May. Reducing the service period was one of President Moon Jae-in's campaign promises. Starting in October, the service period will be gradually reduced in the coming years to 18 months in the case of the Army from the current 21 months, to 20 months in the case of the Navy from the current 23 months and to 22 months in the case of the Air Force from the current 24 months.

Yonhap, 07.09.18..

South Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday welcomed North Korea's closure of its key nuclear and long-range missile engine test sites as meaningful steps toward denuclearization."Given that the steps were voluntary, (the ministry) views them as meaningful ones toward the realization of complete denuclearization," ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told reporters.Asked whether the ministry believes that the Pyunggye-ri nuclear test site and the Dongchang-ri engine test facility have been completely shut down, the spokesman said the measures can be verified in the denuclearization process. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that an "enormous" amount of work remains to be done to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program following a historic summit between the two countries' leaders in June.

"Radio Korea", 06.09.18..

The Government of the Republic of Korea decided to increase in 2019 the amount of financing of the Fund for Inter-Korean Cooperation, providing humanitarian assistance to the DPRK to 1.1 billion won (about $990 million), which is 14.3% more than in 2018. It is planned that a significant part of the money will be spent on the implementation of cross-border projects, including a program for the restoration of road and rail links between countries. It is noted that the implementation of humanitarian assistance will depend on the success of the negotiation process on the issue of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Reuters, 06.09.18..

US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirsten Nielsen, speaking at the University of Washington, said that she was worried that the "unipolar world of America" was under threat. According to her, the balance of power that characterized the international system for decades is being destroyed. K.Nilsen noted that "around the world there is a vacuum of power that is rapidly filled by hostile states, terrorists and transnational criminals with a common goal: to break the established way of life and destabilize the situation in the world." In addition, the minister noted that "in the current situation, such countries as China, Iran, DPRK and Russia are ready to use their potential to weaken the US and promote their own national interests."

Reuters, 07.09.18..

Russia and Japan need to do more work to build trust before a treaty can be signed to resolve a decades-old row over a group of Pacific islands, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said on Wednesday. Ushakov said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would talk about the disputed territory – known in Russia as the Kurile islands and in Japan as the Northern Territories – when they meet in Russia next week.

Jiji Press, 06.09.18..

Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, the coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, arrived in Beijing on the 5-th of September, starting a five-day tour of China. Yamaguchi will seek an opportunity to meet with the Chinese leader during his stay in the country. "I’d like to work on developing Japan-China ties into eternal friendship," Yamaguchi told reporters. "Our important goal for now is to enable Japanese and Chinese leaders to visit each other’s country," he added. Yamaguchi apparently hopes to lay the groundwork for Abe’s planned visit to China in October so that it will lead to mutual visits by the two countries’ leaders. In Beijing, Yamaguchi will hold talks with senior officials of the Communist Party of China and others. He will also visit Tianjin to deliver a speech at Nankai University.

NHK, 06.09.18..

According to NHK sources, the mayor of Beijing will visit Tokyo later this month. The sources say Chen Jining plans to meet Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike during his upcoming trip. He's expected to confirm cooperation with Koike over the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and the 2022 Winter Games scheduled in Beijing. Observers in Japan say China could be trying to mend ties, as this year marks the 40th year since the 2 countries concluded a peace and friendship treaty.

NHK, 06.09.18..

DPRK leader Kim Jong-un held a meeting with the delegation of high-ranking representatives of the Government of the Republic of Korea, who arrived in Pyongyang to organize the third inter-Korean summit, scheduled for 18–20 September this year. During the meeting, Kim Jong-un said that "the North and the South should continue their efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". He also stressed that "the DPRK's position on this issue remains unchanged and consists in completely eliminating the danger of an armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula." In addition, Kim Jong-un conveyed the message of the United States. He said he did not agree with Washington's opinion that there was no progress on the issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. In his view, the dismantling of the Punggye Nuclear Test Site practically deprived the country of the opportunity to conduct new nuclear tests, and the international community did not fully appreciate Pyongyang's steps. NHK, 06.09.18.

Bloomberg, 06.09.18..

On the 5-th of September U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived to New Deli for the so-called 2+2 meetings with Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. Mattis said that the two sides will likely discuss India’s planned purchase of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. As Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells noted, "the White House is intended to develop relations with the Indian government trying to help him avoid American sanctions".

"Asahi", 06.09.18..

A squadron of 28 Russian naval ships has been seen entering the Sea of Japan in what was described as the largest Russian naval deployment in the area since the Cold War, Japanese military officials said. On Tuesday, Japanese media published reports saying Japan's Ministry of Defense had observed 28 Russian naval ships sailing toward the Sea of Japan this week. The ships didn't enter Japanese territorial waters and didn't engage in "dangerous activities", Japanese Minister of Defense said. "We have been paying attention to Russian moves, and also we have to be vigilant in the sea, air and land" Japanese government said.