Shelling across Pakistan-India border kills six civilians, wounds 30

A Pakistani paramedic treats a victim, who was wounded in cross-border shelling by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) at a military hospital in Sialkot in Pakistan's Punjab province on September 22, 2017. (AFP / ARIF ALI)
Updated 22 September 2017
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Shelling across Pakistan-India border kills six civilians, wounds 30

ISLAMABAD: Shelling along the disputed border between Pakistan and India killed six civilians, and wounded an additional 30 people, officials from the two sides said on Friday, in the latest confrontation between the two nuclear-armed countries.
The clash came on the heels of the two arch-foes trading accusations at the UN General Assembly in New York.
The firing took place across the frontier separating Pakistan's Punjab province from Indian-administered Kashmir's Jammu region, and most of the casualties were reported on the Pakistani side. Pakistan's military said six civilians were killed and 26 wounded.
"Pakistan Rangers Punjab befittingly responded on posts targeting civil population," the Pakistan army's public relations wing said in a statement.
Indian police officials in Jammu said the ceasefire was violated by Pakistani forces, who injured four civilians on the Indian side.
Both countries claim Kashmir, and have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region, which they have disputed since partition and independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
In July, four soldiers were killed when Indian shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) that separates parts of Kashmir held by both countries struck a Pakistani army vehicle. Indian officials denied any knowledge of the incident.
In May, India accused Pakistani forces of killing two soldiers patrolling the line and mutilating their bodies. Pakistan's military denied the allegations and said it had not committed ceasefire violations.
Both sides have previously accused each of violating the ceasefire and of beheading soldiers in the past.
On Thursday in New York, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged the UN secretary-general to appoint a special envoy for Kashmir. He accused India's military of brutality in a crackdown against anti-India activists. Hundreds of Kashmiris have been killed or injured and shotgun pellets have blinded and maimed others, he said.
India rejected the allegation, terming Pakistan a home to terrorism that harbors violent militants.
India accuses Pakistan of backing several anti-India militant groups and helping them infiltrate the Kashmir to stoke violence and carry out terrorist acts. Pakistan denies the charge.


Pyongyang summit ‘an audacious step’ towards denuclearization, end of Korean War

Updated 25 min 49 sec ago
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Pyongyang summit ‘an audacious step’ towards denuclearization, end of Korean War

SEOUL: A third summit of Korean leaders planned for next month will be a further step toward denuclearization of the peninsula and a peace treaty to end the Korean War, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to work toward denuclearization at a landmark summit in Singapore with US President Donald Trump in June, but the two countries have since struggled to agree on how to reach that goal.
Advancement in ties between North and South Korea is the “driving force” behind denuclearization, Moon said in a speech, lauding Monday’s pact for next month’s summit in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.
The two leaders will “take an audacious step to proceed toward the declaration of an end to the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty as well as the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Moon added.
The neighbors remain technically in a state of war since the Korean War of 1950 to 1953 ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.
Moon said he hoped for speedy progress in talks between the US and North Korea, with steps by Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programs matched by “corresponding comprehensive measures” from Washington.
“When the deep-rooted distrust between the two Koreas and between the North and the US is lifted, the mutual agreement can be implemented,” he said on the peninsula’s 73rd anniversary of liberation from Japanese rule, which lasted from 1910 to 1945.
During their first summit in April, Moon and Kim had agreed to push for an end to the Korean War together with the US this year, but Washington has said its focus is on denuclearization, although Trump in Singapore had promised security guarantees for the North.
“When peace is established on the Korean peninsula along with complete denuclearization, economic cooperation can be carried out in earnest,” Moon said.
Plans to build a railway across the peninsula will kick off this year, he added, proposing an East Asian railroad community that groups China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia and the US.
Moon seeks to resume business cooperation with the North, including the railroad and a joint industrial park, but has been cautious because of international sanctions, chiefly spearheaded by Washington, over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
Moon said he aimed for “unification economic zones” along border provinces when military tension eases and there is lasting peace.
He estimated cross-border economic cooperation could be worth at least 170 trillion won ($149.9 billion) over the next 30 years, citing a study by a state-run think tank.