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Showing posts from April 23, 2013

Tense Standoff Continues for 60th Year in Korean DMZ

PANMUNJOM — The tense situation on the Korean peninsula may be the world’s most urgent security challenge. However, unlike threats from Iran or Syria’s civil war, the Korean situation has been unresolved for more than 60 years. The conflict's most recognized flashpoint is Panmunjom in the Korean DMZ (demilitarized zone).

The division of North and South Korea has spanned seven decades. Neither side recognizes the other diplomatically and both claim the entire peninsula.

The peninsula is divided along the 38th parallel. And, it is in the United Nations Military Armistice Commission's conference room T-2, where attempts have been made over the years to resolve the lingering differences.

Herman: "So when we are crossing this table here, we are actually crossing into North Korea?"

U.S. soldier: “Yes, you'll be crossing into North Korea....The microphones on this table ...are recording and monitored 24 hours a day. The microphones also represent the military demarcation li…

Infographic: Island row around China

Japan summons China envoy over disputed isles

Japanese prime minister threatens force if China attempts to land on island chain in East China Sea. Japan has summoned the Chinese ambassador in protest over a flotilla of Chinese government ships that entered territorial waters near a disputed island chain.
Japan's foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had called in the envoy after eight Chinese vessels entered waters near the Senkaku islands, which China calls Diaoyu, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago in September.
The Chinese boats drove out a flotilla of 10 boats carrying about 80 Japanese activists from the nationalist Ganbare Nippon ("Stand Firm, Japan") group, which sailed into waters around the islets early on Tuesday.
They then began to withdraw from the area on the orders of Japanese Coast Guard patrol ships, when Chinese government surveillance ships came nearby.
"Our latest intelligence indicates that a large number of Chinese vessels have entered Japanese territor…


Too big to fail
On Saturday, Italy's 87-year-old Giorgio Napolitano relented under the pressure of the main political parties and agreed to stand for re-election as president. By late afternoon, he had received an unprecedented second mandate, with more than two-thirds of the Italian electoral college voting their support. The rest of the world's leaders breathed a sigh of relief. Italy is too big to fail. This outcome was unexpected. Napolitano had made it clear for over a year that he did not want to continue in office. The physical and psychological demands of presiding over a divided Italy in turbulent times have exacted their toll. Napolitano is tired; he has earned the right to reflect on his long experience in public life. However, the main parties would not let that happen. They failed to agree on a consensus candidate to stand for office. Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani and centre-right People of Liberty (PdL) leader Silvio Berlusconi put forward a joint…