China and Russia sought on Wednesday to delay a Security Council condemnation of North Korea's nuclear arms program, a day after a top North Korean general said that any sanctions or blockades initiated by the US would be considered a "complete breach" of the truce that ended hostilities on the peninsula 50 years ago.
\nThe letter added that if the US took such actions, the North Korean army would "immediately take strong and merciless retaliatory measures" and promised that "horrible disasters" would befall the South Korean population.
\nThe July 1 letter from "the chief of the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army," contrasted sharply in tone though not in overall content from a letter the North Korean foreign minister, Paek Nam-sun, sent the Security Council last week.
\nThis week's harsh and unusual follow-up to the original letter led some diplomats to wonder if there is an internal North Korean dispute over what mix of conciliatory language and brute threats should be used in dealing with the UN and the US.
\n"The meaning is not clear, because we don't know if the army is speaking for Kim Jong-il," one senior Asian diplomat said, referring to the North Korean leader. "But it is unusual to have the Army communicating with the United Nations."
\nWhile some Asian diplomats here played down the threats in the letter as typical bombast, it was reminiscent of warnings from Pyongyang in 1994 about how it would react to sanctions -- warnings that led former US president Bill Clinton to prepare for the possibility of war on the peninsula.
\nAs the Security Council discussed the issue here, State Department officials as well as representatives of the National Security Council and the Pentagon were meeting with China's vice foreign minister, Wang Yi (
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference