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On Koreas, Canned Ban Welcomes Deal, After DPRK on Land Mine & UNSC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 24 -- North Korea asked for an "urgent" UN Security Council meeting again about the Ulji Freedom Guardian military exercise including the US. Text below. This comes after South Korea resumed propaganda broadcasts from huge speakers, and North Korea fired at them.

 On August 24, after late night sessions between the parties resulted in an Agreement, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who earlier seem to entirely take the side of South Korea, for which he used to be foreign minister, now offered UN help going forward. The full text:

"Statement by the Secretary-General on the agreement
between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

I warmly welcome the news of an agreement reached between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea today. In particular, I highly appreciate the agreement to hold regular inter-Korean dialogue, and hope that this will serve as a mechanism to effectively manage any problems that may arise on the Korean Peninsula.

I strongly encourage humanitarian measures such as reunions of separated families to be regularized without being subject to political and security considerations. I further hope that this hard-won momentum for inter-Korean dialogue will lead to the resumption of talks for addressing the nuclear issue.

I want to stress the importance of the full implementation of the agreement for the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. As Secretary-General, I stand ready to support inter-Korean cooperation.

Abuja, Nigeria
24 August 2015 "

  At 4 pm on August 21, North Korean Deputy Permanent Representative An Myong Hun held a press conference at the UN. Inner City Press put his opening statement online, here, full text below.

  Late on August 22 Ban Ki-moon, who earlier reflexively took the side of South Korea, whose Foreign Minister he was, issued this canned statement:

"The Secretary-General welcomes the high-level meeting between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which was held today. He further takes note of the agreement that the discussions will be resumed tomorrow.
"He encourages both sides to use the resumed discussions to pave the way for deescalating the situation and promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. He calls on the parties to redouble efforts to resolve differences through dialogue while refraining from taking any measure that is not conducive to dialogue."

 On August 24 from the Obamas' vacation rental on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, a White House official said, "The President has been kept up-to-date on developments on the Korean Peninsula. As the State Department has said, we remain steadfast in our commitment to our alliance with South Korea, with whom we will continue to coordinate closely."

 On August 21, Inner City Press asked An Myong Hun of the US suspending and then resuming the military exercise, and if there's been any response from the Security Council. Periscope video here; Inner City Press including for the Free UN Coalition for Access was the first question. Video here.

  Some tried to make Inner City Press cede the first question, for which it was called, to the old UN Correspondents Association. Since that UNCA has become, in effect, the UN's Censorship Alliance, Inner City Press declined.

  Notably, and as something FUNCA agrees with, UNCA protested An Myong Hun not answering questions before leaving. But UNCA says nothing when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon does just this. (FUNCA, by contrast, protests.)

 In terms of a Security Council meeting being scheduled, the Council's president told reporters it is being considered; as to the weekend, she said she hopes not, it is her birthday.

 Here is DPRK Deputy An Myong Hun's opening statement:

  “I have requested to have this conference in order to provide the factual truth of the recent developments taking place on the Korean peninsula. On 4 August 2015, a 'mine explosion' of an unknown cause occurred in the vicinity of the south Korean military post in the southern portion of the demilitarized zone of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL). The name of the area is Bangmok-ri, Kunnae-myon, Phaju City, Kyonggi Province of south Korea. Just right after the occurrence of explosion, the south Korean military announced that plastic anti-personnel mine M-14, which was laid in the vicinity of the military post in the southern portion of the demilitarized zone, had gone off due to strong torrential rain.

  “However, on 10 August, spokesman of south Korean Defense Ministry appeared at a press conference and asserted that the 'mine explosion' occurred because of the reason that the 'north illegally crossed the MDL and deliberately laid wooden box mine.' South Korea cited as one evidence that in wooden box mine, there is "strong smells of resin" and therefore, 'the wooden box mine was recently laid by the north.' It is absolutely false logic. Since the mine was exploded, if there is any smell, there would be only a smell of gunpowder.

  “And there is another no surprise mistake that at first, south Korea said it is plastic anti-personal mine and then after a few days, it said it is wooden box mine. The south Korea also insisted that three 'fresh springs found in the mine after explosion are also from the north.' It never stands to reason to argue that the springs of the mine strongly exploded are fresh. In the demilitarized zone of the MDL, there are many instances of mines being exploded due to natural force such as torrential rain or fire, and there are various kinds of mines brought into from different countries. So-called 'mine explosion' is provocative pre-fabrication plot conceived in advance by south Korea for the sake of pursuing another purpose.

  “It was clearly evidenced by the fact that soon after the occurrence of 'mine explosion,' south Korea abruptly announced to resume psychological warfare broadcasting against the DPRK. It is a bad habit of the south Korea to groundlessly link whatever events occur in south Korea with the DPRK. They seek sinister purposes whenever they orchestrate ridiculous plots. By taking advantage of this case, the south Korea and the U.S. heightened  the intensity of Ulji Freedom Guardian joint military exercises which started from 17 August, by introducing strategic bomber B-2A and stealth fighter F-22A into south Korea.

  “Again on 20 August, south Korean military made another intolerable provocation against the DPRK. The south Korean military fired 36 shells at the civil police posts of the Korean People's Army under the groundless pretext that the KPA fired one shell at the southern side. Gravity of the issue is that the south Korean military did not hesitate to launch such military provocative action without trying to confirm where a shell allegedly fired from the north came from, where it fell in its side, whether it is a gun shell or a bullet or a rocket or what.  As is shown above, the south Korea resumed the broadcasting for anti-DPRK psychological warfare in all areas of the front of the MDL under the pretext of a doubtful mine explosion and the broadcasting goes on day and night.

  “In this regard, the General Staff of the Korean People's Army sent an ultimatum at 17:00 o'clock on 20 August to the south Korean military that a strong military counter-action would be launched unless it stops the anti-DPRK broadcasting for psychological warfare and removes all broadcasting means within 48 hours. Nevertheless thereafter, the south Korean military invented a case of 'shell fired by the nort' and, under that pretext, fired dozens of shells on the DPRK's territory without any scientific grounds.

  “Now, the situation on the Korean peninsula inches close to the brink of a war due to the continued anti-DPRK political and military provocations by the U.S. and the south Korean military forces Psychological warfare against the DPRK is, in essence, an open act of war against it and vicious political and military provocations designed to destroy the ideas and system and all domains of the life of the DPRK and its people. Under the prevailing grave situation, an emergency enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) was convened at night on 20 August. The meeting was presided over by Marshal Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the WPK and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK.

  “At the emergency enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, Marshal Kim Jong Un issued an order of the supreme commander of the Korean People's Army that the frontline large combined units of the KPA should enter a wartime state to be fully battle-ready and the area along the front be put in a semi-war state from 17:00 on Friday, 21 August. On orders of Supreme Commander Marshal Kim Jong Un, all the KPA frontline large combined units immediately entered into a wartime state at once, fully armed to launch any surprise operations and finished their preparations for action. The enemy's provocation bases and anti-DPRK propaganda bases and means for psychological war are within the sight of the KPA's multiple rocket launchers and tactical and strategic rocket forces.
 "The grave situations now on the Korean peninsula have been created by south Korea at the start of the south Korean military on the basis of prefabricated provocation plots. Large-scale military exercise so-called Ulji Freedom Guardian involving tens of thousands of U.S. and south Korean military is going in south Korea  with an open purpose to 'eliminate the headquarters' of the DPRK and 'occupy Pyongyang.' If south Korean does not respond to our ultimatum, our military counteraction will be inevitable and that counteraction will be very strong.”

  Background: on August 10, Inner City Press asked the UN for the reaction of its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the speakers. From the UN's August 10 transcript:

Inner City Press: in the Korean peninsula, there's been this incident where two South Korean soldiers were injured by a land mine they say was planted by the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] in the demilitarized zone, and now South Korea says they're going to resume these "propaganda broadcasts" with loudspeakers.  Some stories say that the UN has confirmed these landmark… these land mines.  So, I'd like you to… to… which is the UN Command, whether it's a UN agency or not.  What does the Secretary-General think of this development, particularly the threatens… the statements of reprisal by South Korea and what, if anything, is he doing to try to defuse this tension?

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:  Sure.  You know what?  I have some language on that, but not with me, so I will share with you right after the briefing.  And as you know, the UN Command is… is named “UN Command” for historical reasons — is not one over which the Secretary-General has any authority.

   Dujarric said he had some "language" on it. Inner City Press went to the spokesperson's office, but there was none. It would be emailed to Inner City Press, it was assured. At  4 pm, after Ban walked by an otherwise empty stakeout of a wan Burundi meeting of the UNSC, his office put out an entirely one sided statement, with no mention or reprisal or of propaganda:

"In response to questions asked earlier about an incident on the Demilitarized Zone in the Korean peninsula, the Spokesman had the following to say:

"The Secretary-General is concerned by the reports that the Korean People’s Army has placed new land mines in the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone, which injured two soldiers from the Republic of Korea on 4 August. He urges the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to fully adhere to the obligations under the Armistice Agreement and engage in dialogue on this incident.

"The Secretary-General urges the tensions on the Korean Peninsula to be alleviated."

  Make this man president of South Korea, one wag said. And here is what DPRK said, in a letter dated August 19 sent out the next day:

“Upon instructions from my Government, I have the honour to bring to your attention the aggressive joint military exercise so-called 'Ulji Freedom Guardian (UFG)' which is now being conducted by the United States in south Korea against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,” DPRK's Permanent Representative to the UN Ja Song Nam wrote to the Security Council's president for August.

   “The U.S.-led joint military exercises including the 'UFG,' which are staged one after another every year on the Korean peninsula and beyond, are serious provocations as well as a typical expression of the U.S. hostile policy against the DPRK. The U.S. is again attempting to cover up the aggressive and dangerous nature of such exercises by describing them as 'annul' or 'defensive' ones. However, such real war-like military maneuvers, which mobilize massive armed forces and nuclear war means with a purpose of occupying Pyongyang, capital of the DPRK, can neither be "defensive" nor justified as 'routine' under the pretext of 'annual basis.'

  “The U.S. is going to force the DPRK into an arms race through ceaseless war drills and arms build-up in a sinister bid to throw hurdles in the DPRK's efforts for the economic development and the improvement of people's living and seek an opportunity for a preemptive attack on the DPRK by making it inattentive to increased vicious cycles of tensions. The U.S. war games clearly prove that it is the U.S. which instigates the vicious cycles of escalating confrontation and tension and creating the danger of war on the Korean peninsula. The U.S.-led aggressive and provocative large scale joint military exercises are no longer issues confined to the DPRK-U.S. or the inter-Korean relations but an international issue which threatens the peace and security in Northeast Asia and beyond.

  “Therefore, I request that the issue of the U.S. joint military exercises, be placed on the Security Council agenda, and that a meeting of the Security Council be urgently held in accordance with Articles 34 and 35 of the Charter of the United Nations. I would like to remind that the Security Council has unjustifiably ignored the DPRK's several requests to place the issue of the U.S. joint military exercises on the agenda of the Security Council.

   “Should the Security Council again ignore the DPRK's just request to discuss the U.S. joint military exercises, it will expose of itself that it is giving up its primary mission of maintaining the international peace and security and becoming a political tool of an individual power. If the U.S. persistently opts for military confrontation despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK and the shared denunciation by the international community, it will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences. The DPRK will not indefinitely wait for the U.S. to change its DPRK policy by seeing its sovereignty and security being threatened, but make all necessary steps to deter the U.S. nuclear provocation."

  On August 20, Inner City Press asked the UN to confirm what is widely reported in Nigeria, that Ban will be there on Sunday August 23. The UN wouldn't confirm - nor say if Ban is headed to any other countries. Watch this site.

A year after the Free UN Coalition for Access asked the UN why its in-house EZTV had channels from the US (CNN and Fox News), UK (BBC) and France (France 24) but none from China or Russia or India or Brazil, a new channel has been added: South Korea's Arirang.

 On July 15 the channel bragged it was on "UN In-House Network," President Park appeared on it saying hello to the UN community, just before promos and news casts promoting the country's foreign policy. A panel show - about the UN - featured CHOI Jong-moo, MUN Byeong-cheol and PARK Heung-soon, who said South Korea should "use" the UN. Duly noted.

 On July 15, after reporting on the addition, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I've noticed that the EZTV has this Arirang television on it, and about a year ago, I'd asked you about calling it P3 TV, that the current EZTV lineup has Fox and CNN from the United States, BBC from the U.K., France 24.  And you said that there was attempts to make it more diverse.  Has there been any attempt to get either India, Brazil, Russia, China, or is it sort of… how do these things happen?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Let me check.  Broadcasters often contact us and try to provide news feeds for us.  And as long as it has no cost to the UN…

Inner City press:  But is there a desire to have kind of a diversity?

Spokesman Dujarric:  The broader the information, the better.

  Ban Ki-moon, former foreign minister and perhaps future president of South Korea, apparently made a plug for the station. Given that current President Park appears on it, might this be a way for Ban to continue to be projected into the UN after 2016?

 Inner City Press, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, asked about UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric back on April 29, 2014:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask on the actual UN EZTV which has channels and it’s an in-house thing, it seems like now, there’s two French channels, there’s two American news channels, there’s Al-Jazeera, there’s no Russian or Chinese channel, so…

Spokesman Dujarric: We’re trying. Part of the issue is what we can get for free, we had to cut costs in terms of subscription so it was a cost issue, but I know it’s an effort on the part of [the Department of Public Information] to add more channels in different languages, but it’s also trying to do it in a way that doesn’t cost us a dime.

Inner City Press: It’s seems like P3 TV, do you see why?

Spokesman: Okay, that’s a comment, not a question.

Two days later there was an addition on UN in-house EZTV, but it is not Chinese or Russian: it's Japan's NHK. So G4 TV?



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