North Korea Leadership Watch

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Russia Will Not Pursue Cheonan Matter at UNSC

ITAR-TASS reports that Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that it will not pursue the Cheonan matter or support its introduction at the UN Security Council.

Russia will not bring the South Korean corvette Cheonan sinking incident to the attention of the U.N. Security Council, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.Nor will Russia support any attempt to raise this issue in the U.N. Security Council until it gets 100 percent proof that the ship was sunk by North Korea.

“We should receive the 100 percent proof of North Korea’s involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan corvette,” Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Igor Lyakin-Frolov said on Wednesday.

“Our specialists are studying the investigation materials,” he added.

“We have to make our own conclusions regarding the incident. This is whey everything will depend on the situation and the proof,” the diplomat said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin met with South Korean Ambassador in Moscow Lee Yoon-Ho on Monday to discuss the matter.

“Lee Yoon-Ho informed [the Russian side] of the contents of the appeal by President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-bak to the nation in connection with the publication of the results of the investigation by the commission of the circumstances of the sinking of the Navy ship Cheonan in the Yellow Sea on March 26, 2010,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Borodavkin assured the South Korean ambassador that “the Russian side will study the contents of the presidential appeal most thoroughly”.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan on Saturday telephoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to inform him of the results of the investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan.

The South Korean foreign minister stressed that the evidence gathered indicate that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean torpedo.

Lavrov expressed condolences in connection with the incident and assured his South Korean counterpart that “Russia will study the materials of the investigation and information on the incident coming from other sources most thoroughly”.

He stressed the need “for all interested parties to show restraint and caution in order to avoid an escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula”.

Meanwhile Yomiuri Shimbun reports on Japan’s scrutiny of Chongryon, the beginning of other measures taken by the government:

Increased surveillance of financial transfers from Japan to North Korea is among the additional sanctions being considered by the government in response to North Korea’s torpedoing of a South Korean warship in March, government sources said.

The move would come in addition to tighter regulations on reentry to Japan by senior officials of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) who travel to North Korea. The Cabinet plans to finalize those measures on Friday at the earliest, the sources said.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told South Korean President Lee Myung Bak during a telephone call Monday evening that Japan supports Seoul’s punitive measures against North Korea, announced by the president earlier in the day.

“North Korea is a clear concern that threatens not only South Korea but also Japan,” Hatoyama reportedly told Lee. “Japan is considering its own sanctions against Pyongyang.”

The government’s Security Council of Japan held a meeting earlier Monday, at which Hatoyama and key Cabinet ministers discussed possible responses to North Korea’s sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan in the Yellow Sea on March 26, in which 46 sailors perished.

Hatoyama, who chairs the council, expressed strong support for South Korea. He instructed key Cabinet ministers to discuss sanctions against North Korea and to plan for cooperation with the United States and South Korea at the U.N. Security Council.

The prime minister also told the ministers to swiftly enact a bill enabling special measures on cargo inspection, and to expand information-gathering efforts in the interest of securing public safety.

South Korean officials arrive at the inter-Korean border office in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Wednesday after being expelled by the North from the Gaeseong industrial park. North Korea on Wednesday threw out eight South Korean government officials from their joint venture in Gaeseong in a stern response to Seoul’s move to punish the communist state for the deadly sinking of a naval warship. (Ahn Hoon, The Korea Herald)

Shin Hae-in reports in Korea Herald on the expulsion of eight (8) ROK government officials from Kaesong:

The North also threatened to take measures to “totally ban the passage of personnel and vehicles” from the western section of the border, a move that could completely halt operations in the joint industrial park in Gaeseong.

Considered the last remaining symbol of reconciliation between the two Koreas, the Gaeseong complex houses about 110 South Korean firms and is the sole source of income for at least 100,000 North Korean laborers and their family members.

North Korea also notified that it was cutting off the hotline with South Korea at their truce village and their maritime communication links, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.


This article was written on 26 May 2010, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, DPRK-Japan Relations, DPRK-Russia Relations, Inter-Korean Relations, Uncategorized.

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