On Wednesday, North Korea has executed its vice premier for education and rebuked two high-ranking officials according to South Korea. If this is true it would mark a new series of measures by Kim Jong Un to discipline top aides. Analysts say that it has been done in order to tighten Kim’s grip on power. “Vice premier for education Kim Yong-Jin was executed,” Seoul’s Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee said during a regular briefing. The 63-year-old vice premier was accused of being an anti-revolutionary element and executed by a firing squad last month, the ministry official said, citing information obtained from several unspecified sources.
Kim Yong Jin was promoted as vice premier in 2012 after serving as an education minister. South Korean President Park Geun-Hye had last week stated that, “The North is walking on an extreme path to maintain regime security and its elite are increasingly betraying the regime and defecting.”
However, at the moment no signs of instability are being seen in the authoritarian North Korean government as Kim Jong Un regularly interacts with state-controlled media and tours throughout the country.
Read more at: Reuters
North Korea yet again made it to the headlines by firing three ballistic missiles into Sea of Japan on Tuesday.
As reported by Bloomberg, the South Korean military in a briefing said that two of the weapons fired were presumed to be short-range, Scud-like missiles, capable of flying about 500 to 600 kilometres (310 to 375 miles), capable of striking the entire South country.
Further, the military stated that the third one might have been an intermediate-range Rodong missile, with a maximum range of 1300 kilometres (800 miles), capable of reaching the Tokyo region.
This missile firing can be seen as a sign of protest by North Korea regarding South Korea’s decision to allow US to deploy an advance missile defence system in the peninsula.
The decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (Thaad) , also drew criticism from China, which had insisted that the action will escalate tensions in the already volatile area.
Both the South Korean and U.S. military officials have detected activity in North Korea, which was indicative of an imminent fifth nuclear test.
Incidentally, the country has been barred by UN from conducting any nuclear or ballistic missile technology tests. However, tensions have escalated since it conducted it’s fourth nuclear test in January.
The medical journal, The Lancet, came up with an interesting study, mapping the progress of how one man single-handedly infected 82 other people, within the premises of a single hospital, from the emergency room with the fatal Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus.
Nearly 186 people were infected in South Korea, which resulted to the death of 40. This has been the most outrageous case of MERS virus transmission, outside its usual playing ground i.e. the Middle East.
The seeds of transmission were first planted when “patient 1” took a tour to the middle East in spring 2015. Despite being kept in isolation, he had already transmitted it to another man of 35 years, “patient 14”, who became the pivot to spread the virus further, from the emergency where he was being diagnosed. Research says that closely 1600 people, were rendered bare to the prime carrier, out of which 82 got infected.
Doo Ryeon Chung and Yae-Jean Kim of Samsung Medical Center said, “This study is the first to document the spread of MERS virus through a hospital.”
Being one of the most contagious respiratory diseases with a mortality rate of 30-40%, and people staying near the vicinity have 20% chance of getting infected, the study found.
Read more at: The Hindu
The United States and South Korea announced on Friday that an advanced missile defense system, called as Terminal High Altitude Area Defence(THAAD), will be installed in South Korea. The decision was made public by Yoo-Jeh-Seung, the deputy minister for policy of the South Korean defense ministry and Lt.General Thomas Vandal the commander of U.S eighth army in Seoul,South-Korea. This comes as a result of North Korea testing nuclear ballistic missiles in the Korean peninsula. In a joint statement released by both the countries said that shield will only be to counter the North Korean threat. China, however, has expressed dissatisfaction and said that it would greatly affect the security balance of the Korean peninsula.
U.S.A, has denied the claims by China by stating that THAAD would be solely used against North Korea and not against China or any other nation. Various nuclear and missile test by North Korea in the past few months have prompted U.S.A and South Korea to this decision. Another factor here is the North Korean missiles can now hit the U.S.A’s pacific fleet. Experts suggest, as a result of this decision China would move closer to North Korea and also the fact that it would have an adverse effect on the South Korean economy, as South Korea is the largest tourist hub for Chinese travelers. Local villagers in South Korea are also against this move since they believe that installation of THAAD defense system can also cause harmful radiation , which could spread in nearby areas. North Korea has yet to provided any response to this move.
Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/world/asia/south-korea-and-us-agree-to-deploy-missile-defense-system.html?_r=1 (NEWYORK TIMES)
With South Korea deserting the industrial park that aided the Pyongyang nuclear program and the US Senate starting new sanctions, the United States and its allies have tightened its finances on North Korea.
These actions, including the Japanese sanctions, come with the UN Security Council members being stuck on the idea of punishing North Korea for its recent nuclear test and long- range rocket launch.
After Seoul’s “unavoidable” decision to close the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea several Seoul trucks passed the border of North Korea with completed goods and equipment from the factories there. Seoul took this decision since North Korea had been using millions of dollars in hard money that it got from Kaesong to fund its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
However, the action was criticized by the 124 South Korean companies with factories in the area, who told that their business was getting affected due to politics.
Seoul has asked Pyongyang to make sure the citizens return safely as it worries that North Korean officials may not let people leave the park which is just 10 kilometers over the border.
A regulation by Pyongyang which was newly drafted in September 2014 would have allowed North Korea to detain South Korean entrepreneurs in Kaesong in the case of an unsettled dispute in business, but Seoul had rejected it.
Sources: NDTV, Zee News