North Korea says it has turned the plutonium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods into nuclear weapons to serve as a deterrent against increasing US nuclear threats and to prevent a nuclear war in northeast Asia. \nWarning that the danger of war on the Korean peninsula "is snowballing," Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon on Monday provided details of the nuclear deterrent that he said North Korea has developed for self-defense. \nHe told the UN General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting that Pyongyang had "no other option but to possess a nuclear deterrent" because of US policies that he claimed were designed to "eliminate" North Korea and make it "a target of pre-emptive nuclear strikes." \n"Our deterrent is, in all its intents and purposes, the self-defensive means to cope with the ever increasing US nuclear threats and further, prevent a nuclear war in northeast Asia," he told a news conference after his speech. \nIn Washington, a State Department official noted that Secretary of State Colin Powell has said repeatedly that the US has no plans to attack the communist country. \nBut in his General Assembly speech and at the press conference with a small group of reporters, Choe accused the US of intensifying threats to attack and destroying the basis for negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear program. \nHostile \nNonetheless, he said, North Korea is still ready to dismantle its nuclear program if Washington abandons its "hostile policy" and is prepared to coexist peacefully. \nAt the moment, however, he said "the ever intensifying US hostile policy and the clandestine nuclear-related experiments recently revealed in South Korea are constituting big stumbling blocks" and make it impossible for North Korea to participate in the continuation of six-nation talks on its nuclear program. \nNorth Korea said earlier this year that it had reprocessed the 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and was increasing its "nuclear deterrent" but did not provide any details. \nChoe was asked at the news conference what was included in the nuclear deterrent. \n"We have already made clear that we have already reprocessed 8,000 wasted fuel rods and transformed them into arms," he said, without elaborating on the kinds or numbers. \nWhen asked if the fuel had been turned into actual weapons, not just weapons-grade material, Choe said, "We declared that we weaponized this." \nSouth Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck said in late April that it was estimated that eight nuclear bombs could be made if all 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods were reprocessed. Before the reprocessing, South Korea said it believed the North had enough nuclear material to build one or two nuclear bombs. \n"If the six-party talks are to be resumed, the basis for the talks demolished by the US should be properly set up and the truth of the secret nuclear experiments in South Korea clarified completely," Choe told the General Assembly. \nSouth Korea disclosed recently that its scientists conducted a plutonium-based nuclear experiment more than 20 years ago and a uranium-enrichment experiment in 2000. It denied having any weapons ambitions, and an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency is under way. \nChoe told the press conference that North Korea wants an explanation because Pyongyang believes it is impossible that such experiments took place "without US technology and US approval." \nHe also accused President George W. Bush's administration of being "dead set against" reconciliation between North and South Korea, and of adopting an "extremely undisguised ... hostile policy" toward the country after it came to power in early 2001.
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
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
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