Park admits security threat from North

Updated 21 December 2012
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Park admits security threat from North

SEOUL: Incoming President Park Geun-hye, basking in her election as South Korea’s first female leader, promised yesterday to stand tough on national security despite seeking engagement with North Korea.
In her first policy address since her historic win on Wednesday, Park stressed the “grave” security threat posed by the North as underscored by last week’s rocket launch.
She also pledged to work for regional stability in Northeast Asia where South Korea, China and Japan are engaged in a series of bitter territorial disputes.
“The launch of North Korea’s long-range missile symbolically showed how grave the security situation facing us is,” Park said.
“I will keep the promise I made to you to open a new era on the Korean peninsula, based on strong security and trust-based diplomacy,” she added.
During her campaign, Park had distanced herself from the hardline policy of outgoing President Lee Myung-Bak who suspended major humanitarian aid to the North.
Park had promised a dual policy of greater engagement and “robust deterrence”, and had not ruled out a summit with the North’s young leader Kim Jong-Un, who came to power a year ago.
Analysts say she will be restricted by hawks in her ruling conservative New Frontier Party, as well as an international community intent on punishing the North for what it saw as a disguised ballistic missile test.
“Given her basic stance towards Pyongyang and the rocket launch, she is unlikely to be the first mover in improving relations with the North,” said Hong Hyun-Ik of the Sejong Institute think tank.
“But she won’t object if the second Obama administration moves to engage the North in dialogue after the dust over the rocket launch has settled,” Hong said.
China, North Korea’s only major ally and main economic lifeline, congratulated Park on her election and pushed for an improvement in Seoul’s ties with Pyongyang.
“We hope the North and South of the Korean peninsula can resolve their problems through peaceful means and realize a lasting peace,” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
Park promised to work on building trust in Northeast Asia but in an aside clearly aimed at Japan, stressed that stability had to be based on “a correct historical perception”.
Seoul and Tokyo are embroiled in a sovereignty row over a tiny group of South Korea-controlled islands in the Sea of Japan. Japan is mired in a separate but similar dispute with China.


Trump’s travel ban faces US Supreme Court showdown

Updated 22 April 2018
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Trump’s travel ban faces US Supreme Court showdown

  • The high court has never decided the legal merits of the travel ban.
  • The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims.

WASHINGTON: The first big showdown at the US Supreme Court over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies is set for Wednesday when the justices hear a challenge to the lawfulness of his travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries.
The case represents a test of the limits of presidential power. Trump’s policy, announced in September, blocks entry into the US of most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad previously was on the list but Trump lifted those restrictions on April 10.
The high court has never decided the legal merits of the travel ban or any other major Trump immigration policy, including his move to rescind protections for young immigrants sometimes called Dreamers brought into the US illegally as children. It has previously acted on Trump requests to undo lower court orders blocking those two policies, siding with him on the travel ban and opposing him on the Dreamers. Trump’s immigration policies — also including actions taken against states and cities that protect illegal immigrants, intensified deportation efforts and limits on legal immigration — have been among his most contentious. 
The conservative-majority Supreme Court is due to hear arguments on Wednesday on the third version of a travel ban policy Trump first sought to implement a week after taking office in January 2017, and issue a ruling by the end of June. 
The lead challenger is the state of Hawaii, which argues the ban violates federal immigration law and the US Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.
“Right now, the travel ban is keeping families apart. It is degrading our values by subjecting a specific set of people to be denigrated and marginalized,” Hawaii Lt. Governor Doug Chin said in an interview.
The Supreme Court on Dec. 4 signaled it may lean toward backing Trump when it granted the administration’s request to let the ban go into full effect while legal challenges played out.
In another immigration-related case, the justices on April 17 invalidated a provision in a US law requiring deportation of immigrants convicted of certain crimes of violence. Trump’s administration and the prior Obama administration had defended the provision.
'Politically correct'
Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the US from terrorism by militants. Just before the latest ban was announced, Trump wrote on Twitter that the restrictions “should be far larger, tougher and more specific — but stupidly that would not be politically correct!“
The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims, pressing that point in lower courts with some success by citing statements he made as a candidate and as president. As a candidate, Trump promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
The Justice Department argues Trump’s statements as a candidate carry no weight because he was not yet president. The policy’s challengers also point to views he has expressed as president, including his retweets in November of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British political figure.
In a court filing last week, US Solicitor General Noel Francisco, representing Trump in court, said those retweets “do not address the meaning” of the travel ban policy.
Francisco cited Trump statements complimentary toward Muslims and Islam, including in a May 2017 speech in Saudi Arabia.
In defending the ban, the administration has pointed to a waiver provision allowing people from targeted countries to seek entry if they meet certain criteria. The State Department said that as of last month 375 waivers to the travel ban had been granted since the policy went into effect on Dec 8.