Connect with us

World News

‘Preposterous’: N Korea to redeploy troops, rejects Seoul envoys | South Korea News

Published

on

North Korea said on Wednesday that it would redeploy troops to demilitarised border areas, effectively ending 2018 reconciliation efforts, and rejected South Korea’s offer to send special envoys to ease tensions drawing a strongly-worded rebuke from Seoul.

State media agency KCNA announced the moves a day after Pyongyang destroyed the joint liaison office set up in the border town of Kaesong as part of the peace agreements in a major escalation of a dispute over defector activity in the South.

More:

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Monday offered to send his national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and spy chief Suh Hoon as special envoys. But Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a senior governing party official, “flatly rejected the tactless and sinister proposal,” KCNA said.

Moon “greatly favours sending special envoys for ‘tiding over crises’ and raises preposterous proposals frequently, but he has to clearly understand that such a trick will no longer work on us,” KCNA said.

“The solution to the present crisis between the North and the South caused by the incompetence and irresponsibility of the South Korean authorities is impossible and it can be terminated only when proper price is paid.”

In response, Moon’s office said the South would no longer accept “unreasonable behaviour” by the North.

Yoon Do-han, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House, said Kim’s criticism of Moon was a very rude and senseless act that “fundamentally damaged the trust built by the two leaders.” 

South Korea

South Korean army soldiers on the back of trucks in Paju, near the border with North Korea on Wednesday amid rising tensions between the two countries [Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo]

Any moves to undo cross-border peace deals would be a major setback to Moon’s bid for more lasting reconciliation with North Korea, and would further complicate already stalled efforts to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes.

Troop moves

Kim Yo Jong also harshly criticised Moon in another KCNA statement, saying he had failed to implement any of the 2018 pacts and had made inter-Korean ties a “US puppet.”

In Monday’s speech, which marked the 20th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit, Moon expressed regret that North Korea-US and inter-Korean relations had not progressed as hoped but urged Pyongyang to maintain peace deals and return to dialogue.

In a separate KCNA report on Wednesday, a spokesman for the General Staff of the (North) Korean People’s Army (KPA) said it would dispatch troops to Mount Kumgang and Kaesong near the border, where the two Koreas previously carried out joint economic projects.

Police posts that had been withdrawn from the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) would be reinstalled, while artillery units near the western sea border where defectors frequently send leaflets would be reinforced with the readiness alert heightened to the level of “top-class combat duty”, the spokesman said.

North Korea will also resume its own propaganda campaign, sending anti-Seoul leaflets across the border, he added.

“Areas favourable for scattering leaflets against the South will open on the whole front line and our people’s drive for scattering leaflets will be guaranteed militarily and thorough-going security measures will be taken,” he said.

The KPA said on Tuesday that it had been studying an “action plan” to re-enter zones that had been demilitarised under a 2018 inter-Korean military pact and “turn the front line into a fortress”.

Seoul’s defence ministry has urged North Korea to abide by the agreement, under which both sides agreed to cease “all hostile acts” and dismantled a number of structures along the DMZ. 



Source link

Continue Reading
Comments

World News

Colombia launches ‘elite force’ to target rebels, drug gangs | Crime News

Published

on

The new unit consisting of 7,000 personnel will be deployed to border with Venezuela and to drug trafficking hotspots.

Colombia on Friday launched a new military unit to target coca crops and cocaine production, illicit mining, and the illegal armed groups who use such activities for financial gain.

Colombia’s decision to launch the unit, known as CONAT in its Spanish initials, came while the country was preparing to restart aerial spraying of coca crops with the herbicide glyphosate – possibly starting at the end of March – depending on the government receiving approval from the Constitutional Court.

“The unit was born to hit, repress, and break down the structures of drug trafficking and transnational threats linked to illegal mining, the trafficking of wildlife and people, and – of course – any transnational form of terrorism,” President Ivan Duque said at a military base in Tolemaida.

Colombia, considered the world’s leading producer of cocaine, suspended aerial spraying of glyphosate in 2015 following warnings by the World Health Organization that the chemical was potentially damaging to health and the environment.

The new unit will be deployed to zones such as the Catatumbo region on the border with Venezuela, as well as the provinces of Cauca and Putamayo [Courtesy Colombian Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

The new unit, consisting of 7,000 personnel, will be deployed to zones such as the Catatumbo region on the border with Venezuela, as well as the provinces of Cauca and Putamayo, Defence Minister Diego Molano said.

Colombia has faced constant pressure from the United States, a major destination for cocaine, to reduce the size of crops of coca, the drug’s chief ingredient.

During 2019, coca crops covered some 154,000 hectares (380,000 acres) in Colombia, with a potential to produce 1,137 tonnes of cocaine, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. There are no figures available for 2020.

The armed forces eradicated 321,240 acres (130,000 hectares) of coca last year, according to the government, and seized 500 tonnes of cocaine.

Drug trafficking has long driven Colombia’s internal armed conflict, which has left more than 260,000 dead and millions displaced.

During his address, surrounded by helicopters, tanks and hundreds of soldiers, Duque also said the force would pursue “without qualms” members of the ELN – the last active rebel group in Colombia, as well as drug gangs and ex-FARC rebels who have abandoned the terms of a 2016 peace deal, he said.

“Soldiers, it is a morally necessary, morally correct battle … Let’s go for the defence of Colombia!” he said.

Surrounded by helicopters, tanks and hundreds of soldiers, President Ivan Duque also said the force would pursue ‘without qualms’ members of the ELN and ex-FARC rebels [Courtesy Colombian Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

When he first announced the creation of the elite force earlier this month, he said many of its targets “are protected in Venezuela” though he did not mention direct military action in the neighbouring country. On Friday, Duque did not mention Venezuela.

But his statement prompted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to pledge to “respond forcefully”.

From Caracas, he said the country’s security forces should “clean the barrels of our rifles to answer them at any level we need to answer if Ivan Duque dares violate the sovereignty of Venezuela.”

Colombia and dozens of other countries recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, prompting Venezuela to break off diplomatic ties with its neighbour in 2019.

Colombia has repeatedly accused Venezuela of providing refuge to leftist armed groups, a charge Caracas has denied.



Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Top Stories