North Korea’s Kim says ‘new path’ inevitable if US demands unilateral action

In this undated image from video distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech in North Korea. (AP)
Updated 01 January 2019

North Korea’s Kim says ‘new path’ inevitable if US demands unilateral action

  • Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its initial, unilateral steps toward denuclearization

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Tuesday that his resolve for complete denuclearization remains unchanged but he may have to seek a “new path” if the United States continues to demand unilateral action from North Korea.
In his New Year address, Kim said there would be faster progress on denuclearization if the United States takes corresponding action. He added that he is willing to meet US President Donald Trump at any time to produce results that the international community would welcome.
North Korea however would have “no option but to explore a new path in order to protect our sovereignty” if the United States “miscalculates our people’s patience, forces something upon us and pursues sanctions and pressure without keeping a promise it made in front of the world,” Kim said.
It was not clear what “new path” the North Korean leader was referring to.
Kim and Trump vowed to work toward denuclearization and build a “lasting and stable” peace regime at their landmark summit in Singapore in June, but both sides have since been struggling to make progress.
Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its initial, unilateral steps toward denuclearization, including dismantling its only known nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.
Kim also called for South Korea to “completely stop” joint military drills with the United States involving strategic assets, while multilateral negotiations should be pursued to build a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
“Now that North and South Korea decided on the path of peace and prosperity, we insist that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war weapons such as outside strategic assets should be completely stopped,” Kim said.


Philippine military says Abu Sayyaf leader still alive

A soldier stands guard in Marawi City. The Philippines has faced several terror threats in the past years. (Reuters/File)
Updated 11 July 2020

Philippine military says Abu Sayyaf leader still alive

  • Sawadjaan, who heads the ASG faction affiliated with Daesh, has been tagged as the mastermind behind the suicide attacks on Sulu Island last year

MANILA: The Philippine military on Friday said that one of the senior leaders of the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Mindanao is still alive.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilo Sobejana told foreign media that Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan was still “very active,” as he responded to questions about reports that Sawadjaan had died from gunshot wounds sustained during an encounter Monday with Army Scout Rangers on Sulu Island.
Westmincom spokesman Maj. Arvin Encinas told Arab News that Sawadjaan was still alive but seriously injured in the firefight that left five other Abu Sayyaf fighters dead.
Earlier reports quoted police as saying that Sawadjaan had succumbed to the wounds sustained during the 30-minute shootout with the military in the hinterlands of Patikul, Sulu. He was also reportedly buried by his followers and nephew, Mundi Sawadjaan.
Sawadjaan, who heads the ASG faction affiliated with Daesh, has been tagged as the mastermind behind the suicide attacks on Sulu Island last year.
The first attack on the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo town in Jan. 2019 killed 23 people, including an Indonesian couple who carried out the bombing, and wounded 109 others.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan is still ‘very active,’ said Lt. Gen. Cirilo Sobejana while responding to questions about reports that Sawadjaan had died from gunshot wounds sustained during an encounter Monday with Army Scout Rangers on Sulu island.

• Sawadjaan has been tagged as the mastermind behind the suicide attacks on Sulu island last year.

The second bombing, which targeted an army counterterrorism unit brigade in Indanan town, killed eight people and injured 22. It was also the first officially confirmed case of a suicide bombing carried out by a Filipino, identified as Norman Lasuca, in the Philippines.
Responding to a question on the engagement between Daesh and Islamist militant groups in Mindanao such as the ASG, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Daulah Islamiyah, Sobejana said there used to be a high intensity of engagement between local militant groups and Daesh.
“But this time, this has been reduced due to the killing of Abu Talha, one of the conduits,” Sobejana said, referring to Talha Jumsah’ alias Abu Talha, a Daesh-trained bomb expert who also served as a conduit for the global terror network and the ASG. Abu Talha was killed in a military operation in November last year.
“What is left right now is Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan. While he is still very active, he is quite old,” Sobejana said.
Sawadjaan also oversaw the kidnapping of Arab News’ Asia bureau chief, Baker Atyani, in 2012 when he was working as a correspondent for Al-Arabiya.
The US has included Sawadjaan in its list of global terrorists. He was also tagged as the acting emir of Daesh in the Philippines.