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Posts Tagged ‘South’

N. Korea officially proposes talks with South: KCNA

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:11 am

North Korea Monday officially proposed dialogue with South Korea, less than two months after launching a deadly bombardment of a South Korean island.


Three official bodies separately sent notices to Seoul’s unification ministry calling for talks and announcing the reopening of a Red Cross border liaison office, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.


It said the messages proposed holding a working contact for talks in the North’s border city of Kaesong on January 27, and suggested talks between Red Cross organisations in the southern city of Munsan on February 1.


The Red Cross liaison channel at the border truce village of Panmunjom would be reopened from January 12, the agency announced.


A Seoul government source quoted by the South’s Yonhap news agency confirmed the North had sent an official letter. There was no immediate response.


South Korea, which had been seeking a request through official channels, reacted coolly earlier Monday to a weekend proposal made through state media for the “unconditional and early opening” of talks.


The North’s November 23 bombardment of Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border killed four people including civilians and drove tensions to their highest level for years.



 

Source: SGGP

Sudan border clashes kill 36 as south votes

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

At least 36 people have died in clashes between Arab nomads and southerners near Sudan’s north- south border, leaders in the contested Abyei region said on Monday, on the second day of a vote on southern independence.


Analysts say the central region of Abyei is the most likely place for north-south tensions to erupt into violence during and after the vote, the climax of a troubled peace deal that ended decades of civil war.


Southerners are expected to vote to split from the mostly Muslim north, depriving Khartoum of most of its oil reserves.


Senior southern official Luka Biong condemned the fighting and told Reuters both sides were still trying to settle their bitter dispute over the ownership of Abyei as part of a package of negotiations, including how the regions will share oil revenues after a split.


In a separate, more positive, development, former President Jimmy Carter told CNN on Monday that Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had offered to take on all of the country’s crippling debt if the south seceded.


Bashir’s spokesman confirmed the south would not take on any of the debt but said the north, south and the international community had a “joint responsibility” to work toward debt relief.


“A division of the debt between the north and south if the south secedes would not be useful … and if the south secedes it will not be able to service this debt,” a statement from the spokesman said.


The comments are a conciliatory gesture from Bashir and will lift a huge fiscal burden from the south in the early days of its expected independence.


The violence in Abyei followed a warning to both northern and southern leaders from U.S. President Barack Obama not to use proxy forces over the voting period, highlighting international concerns that both sides might be resorting to tactics used in past campaigns.


MORE CLASHES FEARED


Leading members of Abyei’s Dinka Ngok tribe, linked to the south, accused Khartoum of arming the area’s Arab Misseriya militias in clashes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and said they were expecting more attacks in days to come.


The speaker of the Abyei administration, Charles Abyei, said the Misseriya attacked because they had heard false rumors the Dinka were about to declare themselves part of the south.


“A large number of Misseriya attacked Maker village yesterday (Sunday), backed by government militia … The first day one person died, the second day nine, yesterday 13 … It will continue,” he said.


The south’s Biong warned the Misseriya could provoke the wrath of an independent southern Sudan if the attacks continued.


Misseriya leader Mokhtar Babo Nimr told Reuters 13 of his men had died in Sunday’s clash and accused southerners of starting the fighting.


Residents of the central Abyei region were promised their own referendum on whether to join the north or the south but leaders could not agree on how to run the poll and the vote did not take place as planned on January 9.


A U.N. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been another clash in the village of Todach on Monday morning.


The source said Misseriya were attacking police posts in the area, suspecting them of being occupied by southern soldiers, and said the death count could be higher. “Both sides are concealing their casualties,” the source said, adding southern police and Dinka youth had been caught up in the fighting.

In another sign of tension, southern army spokesman Philip Aguer said two men — a Ugandan and a northern army soldier — were arrested with four boxes holding 700 rounds of AK-47 ammunition in the southern capital Juba on Sunday night.

The northern army’s spokesman, al-Sawarmi Khaled, on Monday denied any link to the ammunition or the clashes.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the otherwise peaceful roll-out of the vote in the south. “This could be a great example of a peaceful ending to a longstanding conflict,” she said in Abu Dhabi.

PEACEFUL VOTING

Observers said thousands of voters queued up for a second day of voting that continued peacefully across other areas of the south. The final results are expected by February 15, with preliminary results a week earlier.

“Yesterday I tried my best but it was too much for me. Queues were too long. People were too emotional. Everyone wants to be first to decide his destiny,” said Salah Mohamed, waiting outside a booth on the outskirts of the southern capital Juba.

“Today I could vote but still as you can see the crowds are still there … I think the commission might need to extend the voting days.”

The referendum’s organising commission said 20 percent of registered southerners had already cast their vote. The turnout needs to be 60 percent for the result to be valid.

Source: SGGP

Deadly border ambush clouds south Sudan vote

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

JUBA, Sudan (AFP) – A deadly ambush targeting south Sudanese returning from the north for a week-long independence vote clouded the mood of enthusiasm across the south that saw polling hours extended from Tuesday.


Misseriya Arab tribesmen killed 10 south Sudanese civilians and wounded 18 near the border as they were returning from the north, southern internal affairs minister Gier Chuang said on Tuesday.


“A convoy of returnees coming from the north to the south were ambushed yesterday (Monday) at about 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) by armed Misseriya. Ten were killed and 18 were wounded,” Chuang told a news conference in the southern regional capital Juba.


The landmark independence referendum, which again saw a big turnout on its third day, has prompted tens of thousands of southerners to return from the north.

AFP file – A pedestrian walks on an unpaved road in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.

Chuang called for the Khartoum government to be held to account for the attack by the Arab nomad tribe, which was a key auxiliary militia of the northern army during the 1983-2005 civil war and is involved in a continuing conflict with pro-southern Dinka in the disputed border district of Abyei.


“The Misseriya belong to a state and that state has to be held accountable,” he said.


Misseriya chief Hamid al-Ansari denied the tribe had been involved in any ambush of returning southerners but northern police confirmed they had received reports of an attack.


“How could we have carried out such actions when the United Nations is on the ground between us and the Dinka?” Ansari told AFP.


“On top that, for several days now people returning to the south have been a taking a different route far away from us.”


Sudanese police spokesman Ahmed Tahami said: “We have received reports that a convoy of people returning to Bahr al-Ghazal (in the south) was attacked but we have no other details.”


Misseriya tribesmen have stopped southerners returning to the south through their areas several times in the past as part of their conflict with the Ngok Dinka over Abyei.


There has been an upsurge of violence in the district in recent days in which the two sides reported losses totalling at least 33 dead since Friday.


UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday condemned the latest violence, and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said it had intensified its patrolling activities in Abyei and was on standby to reinforce its peacekeeping presence if needed.


Ban “condemns the reported loss of life and calls upon the National Congress Party and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement leadership to maintain calm and ensure that this issue is resolved through peaceful dialogue,” his spokesman said, refering to the ruling parties in Khartoum and Juba.


The head of UNMIS, Haile Menkerios, was in Abyei on Tuesday for consultations with local leaders, a UN spokesman said, while Western governments continued to voice their concerns over the situation there.


“We are monitoring the situation on the ground very closely and urge the people of Abyei and their leaders to exercise restraint,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.


Tensions in the district have been rising with the launch of the independence vote in the south. Abyei had been due to hold a simultaneous plebiscite on its own future, but it has been indefinitely postponed amid deadlock over who should be eligible to vote.


The Misseriya, who migrate to Abyei each dry season to find water and pasture for their livestock, insist they should have the same right to vote as the Dinka, settled farmers who live in the district all year.


In the south, referendum organisers said the huge turnout seen on Sunday and Monday had been repeated across the region and that polling hours were being extended by an hour for the remaining five days of voting.


The huge crowds still queueing to cast their ballots at the end of the original 8:00 am to 5:00 pm voting hours had left many polling stations struggling to cope over the first two days.


The referendum commission’s number two Chan Reec said figures were only available from less than half of polling stations but that at those centres alone, nearly a million of the 3.75 million people registered in the south had already voted.


The prospect of secession by the south had sparked fears of a wider break-up of Sudan, which has experienced other rebellions in the war-torn western region of Darfur and also in the east, where a 12-year uprising ended with a still-fragile peace agreement in 2006.

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Source: SGGP

Tay Ninh Province reveals the wild beauty of the South

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:16 am




Tay Ninh Province reveals the wild beauty of the South


QĐND – Sunday, January 02, 2011, 20:18 (GMT+7)

Being a citizen of the North, I’ve always been curious about people, life and the countryside in the South, but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I had the chance to visit one of the most popular tourism destinations in Tay Ninh Province – Dau Tieng Lake.


The lake, which is located in Phuoc Minh Commune, 20km from the provincial centre, covers 27,000ha and has a capacity of 1.5 billion cu.m, irrigating Tay Ninh Province as well as neighbouring localities. 


Dau Tieng Lake is famous firstly because it is the largest man-made irrigation reservoir in Viet Nam and secondly, given its remote location, for its breathtaking landscape of mountains and mysterious islets. The crystal-like lake provides clean water and a fresh, pure atmosphere that visitors can relax in.


Rising majestically out of the lake, Mount Cau dominates the landscape, covered in a thick primeval forest. Scattered across the lake are a number of islets and the green banks offer inviting camping and fishing spots.


Mt Cau is 198m high and boasts diverse flora and 1,600ha of protected forest. At the top of the mountain stands the Thai Son Pagoda, which attracts many pilgrims at full moon.


Next to the mountain buried deep in the rubber plantation is Cau Nom Lake, where the combination of the clean water and fresh air create a tranquil atmosphere.


In my opinion, the area around the two lakes is a great place for tourists who either want to relax after a hard days work, go camping with family and friends or try out water sports.


However, despite its beauty, a shortage of basic infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants and services mean this is a day trip at most (unless you decide to camp).


From Dau Tieng Lake, my friends and I walked for about 5km through the rubber plantation and reached Truc (small bamboo tree) Stream, which runs down from Mt Cau into Binh Duong Province’s Dau Tieng District. 


The name of the stream originates from its source further up the hill in a small bamboo forest, and my friends and I decided to try and find it.


The first thing I saw were huge flat rocks that nature had arranged into stairs leading to a shelter for a giant, according to a legend told by local residents.


Passing through the huge shelter was like walking through a stone maze, with millions of small stones arranged in all sorts of different shapes.


One friend had the bright idea of stopping there for a picnic lunch, so we made makeshift chairs and a table out of the rocks, and spent a leisurely couple of hours enjoying the peaceful surroundings.


The fresh air and cool atmosphere enhanced by the murmuring stream and twittering birds were like something out of a fairy tale.








Promenade: Dau Tieng Lake is one of Tay Ninh Province’s most well-known locations, although it needs more investment to improve facilities. (Photos: VNS)


Leaving the maze, we reached the giant’s stone bed which covers an area of about 3sq.km. The ‘bed’ is covered with natural wrinkles that local residents say were made by the giant as he tossed and turned in his sleep.


A beautiful staired waterfall was awaiting us ahead, where visitors, including ourselves, did not miss the chance to take photos.


“I have been taking photos here for a long time but it wasn’t until 2003 that the area becoming a popular tourist destination for local residents and those from neighbouring Tay Ninh Province,” said Nguyen Van Den, a photographer.


Den said it was a beautiful setting and it was a shame that not many people from other cities and provinces knew about it. He added that only a small number of visitors were from HCM City and other localities although the number had increased recently.


Den said Truc Stream was a popular destination all year round but it was most beautiful during the sixth to tenth months of the lunar calendar. He said it was because the area had remained relatively untouched by humans that it retained its wild and natural beauty.


Den also showed us one of three small ponds around the stream where he said not many people could refuse the inviting waters on a hot summers day.


“Some of them even enjoy skinny dipping. It looks funny but it feels great to escape the hot weather in the cool water,” Den said and laughed.


Departing the stream at sunset, my friends promised they would return soon when it was a bit quieter, to enjoy a once in a lifetime naturalist experience.

Source: VietNamNet Bridge


Source: QDND

North Korea may have new atom test to boost heir: South

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 6:26 am

 North Korea could conduct a third atomic test next year to boost the credentials of its leader-in-waiting, while prospects for bilateral talks with Seoul are slim, a South Korean foreign ministry report said on Friday.


The regular report from a ministry research institute was published a day after Pyongyang vowed a nuclear “sacred war” after the South vowed to be “merciless” if attacked, and held a major military drill near the border.

A North Korean Scud-B missile (C) and South Korean Hawk surface-to-air missiles are seen at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, December 24, 2010.

The North, which carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, has yet to show it has a deliverable weapon as part of its plutonium arms program, but a third test would raise tensions further on the divided peninsula and rattle global markets.


Nuclear experts have also said they expect a third test soon, while South Korean media reported earlier this month that the North was digging a tunnel in preparation for one.


“There is a possibility of North Korea carrying out its third nuclear test to seek improvement in its nuclear weapons production capability, keep the military tension high and promote Kim Jong-un’s status as the next leader,” the report said, referring to Kim Jong-il’s youngest son.


“Tension between the two Koreas will remain high with chances of additional North Korean attacks on the South staying high. Chances of a summit meeting between leaders of the two sides look slim,” the institute said, according to a summary of the report.


The analysis for 2011 was written by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, run by the Foreign Ministry.


BOASTING TACTIC


Hostilities have escalated to their worst levels since the Korean war in the early 1950s, after a deadly naval clash in March and the North’s shelling of a South Korean island last month.


Still, the risk of an all-out war is low, and the North’s threats of destruction are largely rhetorical.


The North’s tactic of boasting about nuclear advances is a ploy aimed at restarting talks between itself, the South, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, from which it hopes to wring concessions, analysts say.


“Some form of meeting between six-party members could be held during 2011 to discuss North Korea’s uranium enrichment, but chances are very low for any meaningful progress being achieved,” the institute said.


Those involved in the six-party process say they want to resume it, but among them are widely differing starting points.


China, the North’s only major ally and vital financial backer, sees the forum as the best place to begin dialogue, but Seoul, Washington and Tokyo say they first need proof that Pyongyang is committed to dismantling its nuclear work.


“North Korea has displayed national strength and diplomatic skills that exceed its actual capacity. Kim Jong’s mental strength must be exhausted, and it is about time that China loses its patience,” Seoul’s Joongang Daily said in a commentary.


“The time has come for Seoul to strategically manipulate the North Korea-China alliance to encourage estrangement.”

Source: SGGP

Tourism Year 2011 to to boost tourism in south central region

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:51 am

The National Tourism Year 2011 program will focus on boosting the tourist industry and to encourage more protection of our beautiful beaches in the south central region, said a tourist official on Sunday.


The organizing board met in Tuy Hoa City, central province of Phu Yen and this was to introduce more than 30 cultural, sport and tourism events, which are scheduled to take place in the south-central coastal region next year.

Logo of the National Tourism Year 2011


The South-central coastal region includes Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces and Da Nang City,
 
The press conference was attended by representatives from cities and provinces from all over the south-central coastal region and more than 30 press agencies.


Under the theme of “Visit Vietnam Year – Phu Yen 2011: Exotic Beach and Island”, major events of the National Tourism Year 2011 will include the international mountaineering tournament at Da Bia mount, the Vietnam-South Korea cultural exchange, the sea and island month and the ASEAN traditional music festival.


The opening ceremony of the National Tourism Year is scheduled to take place in Tuy Hoa City on April 1, 2011 to mark the 400th anniversary of the province’s establishment.


In preparation for the National Tourism Year 2011, Phu Yen Province has organized a series of cultural, sport and tourism events, aimed to popularize the National Tourism Year 2011 and to introduce the province’s exotic land to as many people as possible.


The province has built tourism facilities and has upgraded many projects and various infrastructures. With capital investment of over VND230 billion (US$11.5 million), the province’s tourism sector has launched training courses for tourism staff to improve the quality of tourist products and services.


As schedule, from December 3-10, a tourism research team has been studying famous tourist spots from Khanh Hoa Province to Da Nang Province.


Since the beginning of this year, the southern central coastal province of Phu Yen has welcomed more than 312,500 visitors, including 12,000 international tourists, an increase of 20% as compared to the same period last year.

According to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, due to the increased number of tourists, the provincial tourism sector has earned 249.5 billion VND, an increase of 1.7 times compared to last year’s figure, and 50% of local hotel rooms were now occupied.

Source: SGGP

N.Korea blames South over attacks, says ready to fire again

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 1:20 am

SEOUL, Nov 25, 2010 (AFP) – North Korea again blamed the rival South for provoking a deadly artillery attack on a border island and warned that it stood ready to strike once more.


The country, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), said it fired a barrage of shells Tuesday because South Korea’s military had failed to call off a military exercise in disputed waters.


“The DPRK that sets store by the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula is now exercising superhuman self-control, but the artillery pieces of the army of the DPRK, the defender of justice, remain ready to fire,” a government statement released late Wednesday said.


North Korea killed at least four people when it fired 80 shells on to Yeonpyeong island, which lies near the disputed Yellow Sea border.


Pyongyang does not accept the UN demarcation line running through maritime territories which was drawn after the 1950-53 Korean war.


In a statement attributed to a foreign ministry spokesman, the North reiterated its case that Seoul provoked the attack by carrying out live-fire exercises on the island that sent shells into waters claimed by the North.


“The enemy fired shells from the islet which is so close to the territory of the DPRK that it is within each other’s eyeshot,” it said.


“This powder-reeking sabre-rattling cannot be construed otherwise than a politically motivated provocation.”


North Korea said that when South Korea went ahead with the exercise after repeated requests to halt it, it was forced to retaliate.


“The army of the DPRK (North Korea) took such a self-defensive measure as making a prompt powerful strike at the artillery positions from which the enemy fired the shells as it does not make an empty talk,” it said.

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Source: SGGP

High alert as N.Korea fires artillery on South

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 4:50 am

SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing one person and triggering an exchange of fire as southern armed forces went on their highest state of alert.


In what appeared to be one of the most serious border incidents since the 1950-53 war, South Korea’s government convened in an underground war room and air force jets were reportedly scrambled to the Yellow Sea island.

South Korean marines are seen during a drill on Yeonpyeong island in the disputed Yellow Sea. AFP

The firing came after North Korea’s disclosure of an apparently operational uranium enrichment programme — a second potential way of building a nuclear bomb — which is causing serious alarm for the United States and its allies.


Some 50 North Korean shells landed on the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong near the tense Yellow Sea border, damaging dozens of houses and sending plumes of thick smoke into the air, YTN television reported.


One South Korean Marine — part of a contingent based permanently on Yeonpyeong island — was killed, the military said.


The military said 13 Marines were injured and YTN said two civilians were also hurt.


“A North Korean artillery unit staged an illegal firing provocation at 2:34 pm (0534 GMT) and South Korean troops fired back immediately in self-defence,” a ministry spokesman told AFP.


“A Class-A military alert issued for battle situations has been imposed immediately,” the spokesman said.


One island resident, Lee Jong-Sik, told YTN: “At least 10 houses are burning. I can’t see clearly for the smoke. The hillsides are also on fire.


“We were told by loudspeakers to flee our homes.”


Yeonpyeong lies just south of the border declared by United Nations forces after the inconclusive war six decades ago, but north of the sea border declared by Pyongyang.


The Yellow Sea border was the scene of deadly naval clashes in 1999, 2002 and last November.


Tensions have been acute since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which Seoul says was the result of a North Korean torpedo attack. Pyongyang has angrily rejected the charge.


In late October, North and South Korean troops exchanged fire across their Cold War border, coinciding with a state of high alert for the South’s military in the buildup to the G20 summit of world leaders in Seoul earlier this month.


South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak convened an emergency security meeting in response to the latest incident, a presidential spokesman said.


“He is now in an underground war room to discuss possible responses with ministers of related agencies and national security advisers,” the spokesman told AFP.


Lee urged the officials to “handle it (the situation) well to prevent further escalation”, the spokesman said.


The firing comes after Kim Jong-Un, the little-known youngest son of Kim Jong-Il, was officially recognised as number two in North Korea’s political system, clouding outsiders’ view of its military and nuclear intentions.


The new crisis erupted as a US special envoy headed to China Tuesday to seek its help in curbing North Korea’s new nuclear project, revealed to US experts who described a sophisticated programme to enrich uranium.


Stephen Bosworth has also visited South Korea and Japan this week to discuss the disclosure, which US officials say would allow the isolated North to build new atomic bombs.


Bosworth, speaking in Tokyo, ruled out a resumption of stalled six-nation talks — aimed at disarming the North of nuclear weaponry in return for aid and other concessions — while work continues on the enrichment programme.


China chairs the talks and is also the North’s sole major ally and economic prop. It has come under pressure to play a leading role in resolving the latest nuclear dispute.


China appealed for the six-party talks to resume after the new revelations, and expressed concern over Tuesday’s cross-border firing.


“We have taken note of the relevant report and we express concern over the situation,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.


“We hope the relevant parties do more to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” he said. Russia also warned against an escalation of tensions on the peninsula.

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Source: SGGP

Rains to continue in south central region

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Dragon fruits to be exported to South Korean market

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2010 at 1:49 am