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.


Communist rebel ambush kills six Philippine troops

Updated 10 min 21 sec ago
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Communist rebel ambush kills six Philippine troops

  • Members of the New People’s Army detonated bombs in a pre-dawn ambush of soldiers
  • The 4,000-strong NPA has waged a guerrilla campaign that has killed up to 40,000 people since 1969

MANILA: Communist insurgents killed six Philippine soldiers and wounded six others on Tuesday, the military said, in one of the deadliest recent attacks in the country’s 50-year-old Maoist insurgency.
Members of the New People’s Army (NPA) detonated bombs in a pre-dawn ambush of soldiers marching through a mountainous area of central Samar island, triggering a four-hour firefight.
“Our troops had received a report that NPA forces were extorting money from residents and so they went there to take action,” said regional military spokesman Captain Reynaldo Aragones.
Rebel casualties had not been determined, but Col. Ramon Zagala confirmed the soldiers’ deaths to AFP.
The 4,000-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has waged a guerrilla campaign that has killed up to 40,000 people since 1969.
It marked the 50th anniversary of its founding in March with an assault on a police station that killed three rebels and wounded two police officers.
NPA units rarely engage large military units in big firefights, preferring to target poorly equipped provincial police forces or isolated military or paramilitary detachments.
Tuesday’s attack was among the deadliest launched by the NPA since mid-2017, when President Rodrigo Duterte called off peace talks with the now 50-year-old insurgency.
That decision followed a series of NPA attacks that killed six police officers and wounded five of the president’s military bodyguards.
Decades of peace efforts have come to naught, despite a burst of optimism when Duterte was elected.
Talks with his government seemed to initially make progress, but then fell apart amid name-calling and threats from both sides.
Various attempts to revive the peace process have continued despite Duterte declaring the effort finished in 2017.
Duterte branded the talks dead yet again last month, saying the communists “can maybe talk to the next president of this republic one day.”