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Posts Tagged ‘SKorea’

12 dead as bus plunges off elevated road in SKorea

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2010 at 4:07 pm

 A bus plunged off an elevated road as it headed to South Korea’s main airport, killing 12 passengers and injuring another dozen people.


The bus struck a guardrail as it tried to avoid a broken-down car and plummeted about 30 feet (10 meters) down from the road Saturday in Incheon, west of Seoul, police official Kang Bong-soo said.

Rescuers look at a crashed bus in Incheon, South Korea, Saturday, July 3, 2010. Police say a bus has fallen off a bridge as it was heading to an airport, killing 11 passengers and injuring another 13

A Korean-American man was among the dead. An official at Inha University Hospital in Incheon identified him as Kyu Bum Ye, citing his U.S. credit card. No further details were given. The official asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media.


The injured were being treated in nearby hospitals, and some were in serious condition.


The bus was carrying 23 passengers and the driver, Kang said. The injured included a 52-year-old American man, a 23-year-old Mongolian woman and two children aged 5 and 7.


The bridge, which opened last year, links Incheon and nearby Yeongjong Island – home to Incheon International Airport.

Source: SGGP

Leaders of SKorea, Japan, China head to summit

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

 Top military commanders gathered in Seoul on Saturday to discuss how to counter North Korean provocations, as leaders of South Korea, China, and Japan headed to the southern island of Jeju for a summit amid tensions over the sinking of a warship blamed on Pyongyang.


International pressure is mounting on North Korea over the sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 South Korean sailors in late March in one of the South’s worst military disasters since the 1950-53 Korean War. A multinational team of investigators said last week that evidence proved a North Korean torpedo sank the warship.


North Korea has denied responsibility, and has warned that any retaliation or punishment would mean war.


South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who has pledged to take North Korea to the U.N. Security Council, sought backing from key permanent member China, the North’s main ally.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, left, shakes hands with South Korean Prime Minister Chung Un-chan before their meeting at the government house in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, May 29, 2010

Laying out the investigation results, Lee urged Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during talks Friday to play an “active role” in convincing North Korea to admit its wrongdoing, the presidential Blue House said.


Wen told Lee that his country “will defend no one” responsible for the sinking, Lee’s office said.


Beijing will determine its stance after examining the investigation results, Wen told Lee, according to a briefing by presidential adviser Lee Dong-kwan.


The three-way summit on Jeju Island is to focus on economic issues such as a proposed free-trade agreement.


However, South Korean officials said the ship sinking would be at the top of the agenda at the two-day talks, which end Sunday.


The South Korean president announced a slate of punitive measures against the North, including cutting trade, resuming anti-North Korean propaganda broadcasts across the border and launching large-scale naval exercises. U.S.-South Korean military drills are to follow in the coming months.


On Saturday, some 20 military commanders met to discuss responses to the ship sinking, a Defense Ministry official said.


“They discussed how to cope with different types of North Korean military provocations and strengthen defense readiness against the North,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the meeting with the media.


South Korea’s military reported no unusual moves by North Korean troops in the last week, he said.


Japan, giving its backing to Seoul, also instituted new sanctions on North Korea.


Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama paid his respects to the dead sailors Saturday during a visit to the National Cemetery in Daejeon, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Seoul, before continuing onto Jeju.


North Korea has accused Seoul of fabricating evidence in the ship sinking.


“The South Korean puppet regime’s faked sinking of the Cheonan has created a very serious situation on the Korean peninsula, pushing it toward the brink of war,” Maj. Gen. Pak Rim Su, director of the powerful National Defense Commission’s policy department, said at a rare news conference covered by broadcaster APTN in Pyongyang.

Source: SGGP

Report: SKorea warned of NKorean submarine attack

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2010 at 8:12 am

 Military intelligence officers had warned earlier this year that North Korea was preparing a suicide submarine attack on a South Korean vessel in retaliation for an earlier defeat in a sea battle, a newspaper said Thursday.


There has been growing speculation that North Korea was behind the March 26 explosion that split the 1,200-ton Cheonan in two and sank it, killing at least 38 people and leaving eight missing.


Seoul has not directly blamed Pyongyang for the blast, and the North has denied involvement, but suspicion remains given the country’s history of provocation and attacks on the South.

Elementary school students pay their respects in front of portraits of the deceased sailors from the sunken South Korean naval vessel Cheonan during a memorial event at the National Assembly in Seoul

On Thursday, the mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported the Korea Defense Intelligence Command had alerted the navy weeks ahead of the ship sinking that North Korea was preparing underwater suicide teams in mini-submarines to attack the South.


These “human torpedo” squads were said to involve small submarines that are navigated so close to the target that their torpedoes or explosives blow up both target and the attackers, or are timed to explode while the attackers escape from the vehicle, the report said.


The attack preparations were aimed at retaliating against the South over its defeat in a naval skirmish in November, the paper said. The site of the sinking is near where the rival Koreas fought three times since 1999, most recently a November clash that left one North Korean soldier dead and three others wounded.


South Korea is investigating the wreck of the Cheonan and investigators say preliminary indications are that the blast was external, not on board the ship. Some experts say the investigation could take several years.


The two Koreas have never signed a peace treaty since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce.


The Chosun Ilbo said the military was investigating whether the navy and Joint Chiefs of Staff had been properly braced for a North Korean attack following the intelligence warning, though it’s not clear whether the Cheonan sank due to any attack.


Navy and Joint Chiefs of Staff officials said they would not comment on the report because it involves military intelligence affairs.


Also Thursday, Yonhap news agency reported that military intelligence officers believe a North Korean submarine torpedoed the Cheonan based on a joint intelligence analysis with the U.S. military.


Yonhap, citing an unidentified military source, said the assessment was submitted to the presidential Blue House shortly after the warship sank. The Blue House, however, denied it has received such an intelligence report.


A Seoul-based activist raised a similar claim Tuesday, saying he had been in touch with a North Korean military officer who had claimed that a North Korean semi-submersible vessel fired a torpedo at the Cheonan.


A high-profile North Korean defector living in Seoul said he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Il masterminded the blast to stoke tension, cause social confusion in the South and shake its economy.


“It’s obvious it’s something that Kim Jong Il did. We already know Kim Jong Il has been preparing for this kind of incident,” said Hwang Jang-yop, a former secretary of the North’s Workers Party who once mentored Kim before defecting to Seoul in 1997, in an interview with Chosun Ilbo published Thursday. He didn’t provide any evidence for his belief.


Two North Korean agents were arrested Tuesday for allegedly plotting to assassinate the 87-year-old Hwang who has openly condemned Kim’s regime as totalitarian. Hwang has shrugged off the plot, saying he wasn’t intimidated by it.


Seoul officials have said there has been no definitive evidence indicating the North’s involvement yet. President Lee Myung-bak said earlier this week that South Korea would deal “resolutely and unwaveringly” with the outcome of an investigation into the sinking.

Source: SGGP

Weather prevents dive searches for SKorea sailors

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2010 at 7:08 am

A second day of bad weather and rough seas Thursday prevented divers from resuming searches for 46 sailors missing since a mysterious blast blew apart their South Korean navy ship last week, officials said.


The Joint Chiefs of Staff said more than 100 military divers were on standby to go down to the wreckage of the Cheonan, but would hold off due to rain, strong winds, rough waves and low visibility. Parts of the ship remain submerged in the rough Yellow Sea near Baengnyeong Island, just south of the two Koreas’ maritime border.


A crane was expected to arrive at the accident site later Thursday to prepare for salvaging the vessel, Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae told reporters. Officials have said the salvage effort could last a month.


Authorities have said the cause of the blast likely won’t be known until the ship is retrieved; they have suggested several scenarios, including that a North Korean mine hit it.

Family members of victims of the sunken South Korean naval ship Cheonan cry during a press conference at the naval base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul

Divers have managed to get down to the section where sailors are believed trapped but heard no signs of life inside, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. They attempted to get into a door in the stern Tuesday but made little headway, Rear Adm. Lee Ki-sik said.


A 53-year-old diver who lost consciousness during a rescue attempt died Tuesday.


The 1,200-ton ship went down after an explosion ripped through it Friday night during a routine patrol. Fifty-eight crew members, including the captain, were rescued.


President Barack Obama offered South Korean President Lee Myung-bak his support and condolences. The White House said Wednesday that Obama told Lee that the thoughts and prayers of the U.S. are with the victims and those missing.


Military officials say the exact cause of the explosion remains unclear, and U.S. and South Korean officials say there is no evidence of North Korean involvement.


Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, however, told lawmakers this week that a floating mine dispatched from North Korea was one possible explanation for the blast. A mine left over from the 1950-53 Korean War may also have struck the ship, he said.


The military has also not ruled out the possibility of a torpedo attack.


A North Korean diplomat in Beijing who was contacted by The Associated Press said Wednesday he had no information about the sinking.

Source: SGGP

SKorea vows to go ahead with Afghan troop dispatch

In World on December 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm

 South Korea vowed Thursday to press ahead with plans to send troops back to Afghanistan despite a Taliban threat of retaliation.


South Korea, a longtime U.S. ally, said it would send up to 350 troops next year to protect its civilian aid workers working in the province of Parwan, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the Afghan capital of Kabul.


The Taliban said in a statement Wednesday that the move would violate a South Korean promise in 2007 to withdraw from Afghanistan permanently in exchange for the release of 21 hostages.


Officials from South Korea’s Defense Ministry and Joint Chiefs of Staff denied that the government made such a promise to the Taliban. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.


Twenty-three South Koreans were taken hostage in 2007 after their government had already decided to remove its troops from Afghanistan. Two of the hostages were killed by the Taliban, who demanded that the South Korean troops be withdrawn immediately.


South Korea later pulled its approximately 200 soldiers from the country, and has had no troops there since 2007.


Under a Defense Ministry plan, the new troops are to be deployed from July 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2012, in Parwan, where the main U.S. base is located. The ministry was expected to submit a request to the National Assembly later Thursday for its approval.


Opposition legislators have opposed the dispatch plan, citing unstable security conditions in Afghanistan. The ruling Grand National Party, however, has enough seats in the assembly to pass the proposal.


A statement sent late Wednesday from an e-mail address regularly used by the Taliban warned that South Korean leaders “should be prepared for the consequence of their action, which they will certainly face.”


“They had promised to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and committed never to send soldiers to the country in future,” said the statement, received by The Associated Press in Islamabad.


Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae told reporters the ministry would go ahead with the troop dispatch.


“Our troops will be operating there after formulating complete security measures and there would not be any major problem,” Won told reporters.


South Korea also dispatched troops to Iraq in 2003-2008, part of efforts to bolster its alliance with Washington.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Next year’s G20 to discuss economic imbalances: SKorea

In World on September 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm

SEOUL, Sept 30, 2009 (AFP) – World leaders will discuss ways to sustain growth and correct global economic imbalances at next year’s G20 economic summit in South Korea, President Lee Myung-Bak said Wednesday.








S. Korean President Lee Myung-Bak speaks during a press conference at the Blue House on September 30, 2009 (AFP photo)

“At the time when the G20 summit takes place in November next year, the world will clearly be out of the global economic crisis,” Lee told a press conference.


“The G20 will discuss ways to sustain economic development following the global crisis and how to correct imbalances in the world’s economy.”


The latest Group of 20 summit ended in Pittsburgh on Friday after agreeing to meet next year in Canada and South Korea.


Lee said members had agreed it was too soon to start scaling back the multi-trillion dollar stimulus measures that helped stave off further economic misery following last year’s financial meltdown.


South Korea is set to be one of the first countries to recover but Lee said it was still too early to draw up its own exit strategies.


He said Seoul would invite representatives from African countries and other developing nations to the summit to discuss aid.


Hosting the event would give the nation an opportunity to raise its international status, Lee said.


“South Korea is facing an upturn in its fortunes. The chance to become a leader in the world has come,” he added.


“Let us turn our hosting of the G20 summit next year into a chance to clearly upgrade the status of our nation not only in the economic sector, but also in the legal, ethical, political and cultural areas.”


Source: SGGP