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Showing posts from April 2, 2013

N Korea vows to 'strengthen nuclear weapons'

North says nuclear armed forces 'should be expanded' and reiterated its atomic weapons are not a bargaining chip.

North Korea has pledged to strengthen its nuclear weapons programme, a day after announcing it is in a "state of war" with South Korea, as the region remains tense amid a military build-up by both North and South Korea.

A meeting on Sunday of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party, headed by leader Kim Jong-Un, decided that the country's possession of nuclear weapons "should be fixed by law", the official KCNA news agency reported without elaborating.

The nuclear armed forces "should be expanded and beefed up qualitatively and quantitatively until the denuclearisation of the world is realised", it added.

Tensions have risen sharply on the peninsula since the UN tightened sanctions in response to the North's nuclear and missile tests, and the US and South Korea carried out military drills near the border with the No…

North Korea to restart nuclear facilities

Reopening of major facility north of Pyongyang follows weeks of warlike rhetoric towards South Korea and the US.

North Korea will restart all nuclear facilities at its main Yongbyon complex, in the latest move which is likely to escalate tensions further with South Korea and the United States.

North Korea plans to rebuild and restart of its nuclear facilities including its uranium enrichment facility and the 5 MW Yongbyon reactor which it closed in 2007, the state news agency KCNA quoted a spokesman at North Korea's atomic energy agency as saying.

The report said the "readjusting and restarting" of nuclear facilities, including a reactor shut down in 2007, would be used for electricity shortages and military development.

The move was being made in line with a policy of "bolstering the nuclear armed force both in quality and quantity" as well as solving "acute" electricity shortages, the spokesman said.

The facilities were closed in 2007 as part of an inte…

U.S. hands over Afghan district after ‘abuse’ row

AFP, Kabul -

The U.S. military pulled out of a strategic district in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday as part of a deal with President Hamid Karzai, who alleged that soldiers had mistreated locals.

Karzai had at first accused Afghan militia working with elite U.S. units of torturing and murdering civilians, but later changed his allegations to focus on unproven claims of “harassment” by American troops.

The president issued an ultimatum that U.S. commandos leave the province of Wardak, a key region close to the capital Kabul, raising concern that the pullout would create a major security opening for Taliban insurgents.

A compromise deal was reached in which U.S. troops would leave Nerkh, one of Wardak’s eight districts, as the U.S. and Karzai tried to smooth over a series of damaging public rows.

“Our forces have transitioned Nerkh district to Afghan National Security Forces and they have now assumed full responsibility for security in this key district,” General Joseph Dunford, commander …