North Korea slams UN chief over call for nuclear disarming

North Korea's ambassador to the UN Ja Song-nam speaks during the UN Security Council Ministerial Briefing on Non-Proliferation and the DPRK, at the United Nations, in this December 15, 2017 file photo, in New York. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2018
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North Korea slams UN chief over call for nuclear disarming

  • Trump’s administration has argued that sanctions must remain fully in place until North Korea has scrapped its nuclear and missile programs and that the dismantling is verified
  • The United States, backed by Japan, is urging UN member-states to maintain pressure on North Korea to give up its military programs

UNITED NATIONS, United States: North Korea on Friday accused UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of making “reckless remarks” and toeing the US line when he called for verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Guterres made the statement following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss the US-led effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The UN chief “should do what is beneficial to the current situation on Korean peninsula for peace and stability, not just by singing (the) chorus for sanctions to please (a) certain country,” said a statement from the North Korean mission to the United Nations.
The mission described as “reckless” a remark from Guterres who said that North Korea “can be a normal member of the international community in this region through total denuclearization that is verifiable, irreversible.”
The statement said North Korea was “astonished” to hear Guterres’ remarks “at a time when the world supports and welcomes the historic DPRK-US summit and the joint statement in Singapore.”
At the first-ever meeting between sitting leaders of the US and North Korea in June, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un pledged in a joint statement to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The statement however was short on details and a UN panel of experts reported last week that North Korea is pressing ahead with its nuclear and missile programs.
The United States, backed by Japan, is urging UN member-states to maintain pressure on North Korea to give up its military programs by fully adhering to a raft of sanctions.
Trump’s administration has argued that sanctions must remain fully in place until North Korea has scrapped its nuclear and missile programs and that the dismantling is verified.
The Security Council last year adopted three rounds of tough economic sanctions on North Korea, banning most of its exports of raw commodities and severely restricting oil supplies.


Taliban’s Ghazni assault sparks new Pak-Afghan tensions

Updated 18 August 2018
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Taliban’s Ghazni assault sparks new Pak-Afghan tensions

  • Pakistan’s Foreign Office says Afghanistan has not shared any evidence to support its recent allegations against Pakistan
  • Imran Khan’s idea of a soft border between Pakistan and Afghanistan may have suffered a big setback in the wake of the Ghazni attack

PESHAWAR: In the backdrop of the Taliban’s brazen assault on the southern city of Ghazni in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani alleged that the bodies of the perpetrators had arrived in Pakistan, though Islamabad maintained that Kabul had not officially shared any information or evidence in this regard.
Soon after that, the Afghan president said in a fiery speech to a jirga in Ghazni: “I have a message for Pakistan. Dead bodies (of the Taliban) have arrived in (Pakistan). Peace cannot be forcefully imposed on Afghanistan. Where did they (Taliban) come from and why are they being treated in (Pakistani) hospitals?”
But Pakistan strongly rejected reports claiming that some Taliban fighters involved in the Ghazni attack had been offered medical treatment in its hospitals.
In the absence of any official communication through regular channels established bilaterally, such reports cannot be given any credence, said Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.
Haq Nawaz, a senior Peshawar-based security analyst, told Arab News that the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan faced a string of daunting challenges, such as economic revival, political stability, tackling corruption, and improving relations with his country’s immediate neighbors.
However, he added that recent developments in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have stepped up violent activities, will probably constitute a much bigger predicament for the new political administration.
He recalled that Khan had mentioned in his victory speech that he wanted a European Union-style soft border with Afghanistan, claiming that the idea had seemingly received a setback after the Ghazni attack.
“The latest bout of allegations will have a negative impact on the process of reviving good relations between the two neighboring countries,” Nawaz noted.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed “deep concern” over the recent surge in violence in Afghanistan and lamented in a statement released by the military’s media wing the loss of precious lives.
Bajwa reiterated that Pakistan was not supporting terrorist activities inside Afghanistan. He added that the allegation about the movement of injured or dead terrorists from Ghazni to Pakistan was incorrect.
However, the army chief noted that there were scores of Pakistanis working in Afghanistan, and that some of them periodically fell victim to acts of terrorism along with their Afghan brothers inside Afghanistan. “Terming such victims as terrorists is unfortunate,” he maintained.
Yet, the Afghan president sought an explanation from Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership on the Ghazni attack.
“Imran Khan, you are the son of Pashtun parents. Investigate this and give me an answer. General Bajwa, you have repeatedly given me assurances over phone calls that special attention would be given to the issue of peace in Afghanistan once elections took place in Pakistan. Now give me an answer,” Ghani said while addressing a group of tribal elders attending the jirga.
Bajwa said that different factions of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan hiding in their sanctuaries in Afghanistan after assuming Afghan identities, were transported to Pakistan for medical help after receiving injuries.
Nawaz said the Afghan government should share relevant evidence with Pakistan in this case, arguing that using the media or social media to deal with such serious and sensitive developments can worsen the situation.
He said it was not just a statement or allegation from an ordinary official since the claim was made by a head of state, adding that both countries should settle such teething issues through dialogue and diplomatic channels.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in its statement: “Such reports can only be viewed as malicious propaganda to vitiate the existing cooperation between the two countries.”