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Nuclear envoys of South Korea, US, Japan condemn North Korean spy satellite launch attempt

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Seoul, May 28 (IANS) Nuclear envoys of South Korea, the US and Japan on Tuesday strongly condemned North Korea’s latest attempt to launch a military spy satellite, casting it as a blatant violation of UN resolutions and a serious threat to peace.

Lee Jun-il, director general for Korean Peninsula policy, discussed the North’s botched space rocket launch in three-way phone talks with his US and Japanese counterparts, Jung Pak and Yukiya Hamamoto, respectively, Seoul’s foreign ministry said in a release.

“The three sides strongly condemned that North Korea, despite the repeated warnings from the international community, went ahead with the launch of the military reconnaissance satellite,” the ministry said, reports Yonhap news agency.

The envoys “stressed that it was a blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions banning the North from any such launches using ballistic missile technology and that its provocations pose serious threats to peace and security in the region and beyond.”

The three sides vowed to continue coordination trilaterally and with the international community to prepare for the North’s potential additional provocation, saying such acts will “only strengthen the three-way security cooperation.”

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The phone talks came after the North said it launched a new rocket carrying a military reconnaissance satellite from a launching site on its northwest coast on Monday. The launch failed due to the air blast of the rocket during the first-stage flight.

It was the first launch attempt by Pyongyang after it successfully put its first military spy satellite into orbit in November last year, following the two previous botched attempts in May and August, respectively.

–IANS

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New Zealand PM's Japan trip witnesses significant business deals

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Wellington, June 20 (IANS) New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s visit to Japan this week has witnessed the signing of significant business deals in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.

Aerospace company Rocket Lab signed on Tuesday the biggest single launch deal in its history, with Japanese company Synspective, which will see 10 dedicated launches for Synspective from Rocket Lab’s site in Mahia, Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand.

This cements Rocket Lab and New Zealand’s reputation as a global force in space innovation, Luxon said on Wednesday as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

Japanese company Toda Corporation will invest in Queenstown’s luxury hotel industry, via Auckland-based Coherent Hotel Limited.

Regarding investment deals in renewable energy, Christchurch-based Fabrum, a leading player in the green hydrogen industry, will supply its proprietary liquid hydrogen storage system to Japanese company Toyota.

–IANS

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Sri Lankan president reveals plans to promote competitive, digitalised green economy

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Colombo, June 20 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has revealed plans to create a new commercial bank, an economic commission and an institute called “Enterprise Sri Lanka” to promote a competitive and digitalised green economy, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of an international industry exhibition that Sri Lankan industrialists need to secure loans at low interest rates and the new commercial bank will help address the need, Xinhua news agency reported.

The President added that the industries must be powered through green energy sources and the country is working on significantly increasing the share of renewables in the country’s energy mix.

He also announced forthcoming negotiations with creditor countries on debt restructuring, saying that the government is expected to reach an agreement with the creditor nations within the next few weeks.

–IANS

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India calls for universal condemnation of countries providing arms to terrorists

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United Nations, June 20 (IANS) Warning about the increased sophistication of small arms and the use of drones to get them to terrorists, India has called for universal condemnation of countries providing weapons to terrorists.

“The increase in volume and the quality of the arsenal acquired by these terrorist organisations reminds us time and again that they cannot exist without the sponsorship or support of States,” R. Ravindra, the Charge d’Affaires of India’s UN Mission, said.

“This aspect needs to be unequivocally condemned,” he said on Tuesday at the UN Conference reviewing the progress of the programme against illicit small arms. He did not name any country arming terrorists, but Pakistan is principally behind the flow of weapons to terrorists operating against India.

“For several decades, my country has suffered immensely due to cross-border terrorism and violence carried out by terrorist groups using these illicit weapons smuggled across our borders, including now through the use of drones,” Ravindra said.

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“India views illicit possession and misuse of small arms and light weapons by non-state groups and terrorists as a violation of state sovereignty,” he said.

Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu, speaking earlier, mentioned the dangers of terrorists getting small arms.

“There is nothing ‘small’ or ‘light’ about the damage these weapons cause,” she said. “They aggravate crime, displacement and terrorism.”

She warned: “The situation is growing worse, as new developments in the manufacturing, technology and design of small arms — such as 3D printing — make their illegal production and trafficking easier than ever before.”

Nakamitsu noted that the New Agenda for Peace proposed last year by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “calls for regional efforts across borders to stem the flow and trafficking of small arms and light weapons”.

Ravindra proposed a novel programme, Regional 911, bringing together countries in a region to dismantle arms trafficking, and improve tracking and security of small and light weapons to keep them out of the reach of “wrong hands”. He spoke of the scourge of the illicit trade and the transfer of small and light arms in vulnerable areas.

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“In post-conflict situations, we often witness that non-State actors continue to possess these weapons illegally, which hinders disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration efforts,” he said.

“India maintains strict export controls over all munitions and related items, including small arms and light weapons,” he said.

He offered to share the nation’s expertise with countries New Delhi, he noted, is a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international pact against the illegal transfer of arms and dual-use items. (Pakistan and China are not participants in it).

India has also signed all the thirteen counter-terrorism conventions and has ratified the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol on Firearms, he added.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed at @arulouis)

–IANS

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Despite China’s criticism, US delegation meets Dalai Lama, pushes for Tibet's autonomy

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Dharamsala, June 19 (IANS) In a significant show of diplomatic power politics, a high-level bipartisan delegation from the US, comprising ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the latter’s residence here despite criticism by China.

This move signals a potential escalation in diplomatic tensions as the US lawmakers asserted their stance on global human rights issues, pushing for the autonomy of Tibet within China.

“His Holiness Dalai Lama will live a long time and his legacy will live forever, but to you President of China, you will be gone and nobody will give you credit for anything,” said Pelosi, a long-time supporter of the Tibetan cause, while accusing China of not doing justice with Tibet.

Pelosi’s visit exemplifies solidarity and a commitment to global human rights, challenging Chinese policies.

Holding a copy of the Resolve Tibet Act, a bipartisan Bill to enhance US support for Tibet and promote dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama towards a peaceful resolution of the long-standing dispute, the Dalai Lama said, “The issue of Tibet is an issue of justice. It is not about a religious or political cause, but about the rights of the people to preserve their culture, language, and identity. The Tibetan struggle is a struggle for human rights and dignity.”

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The copy of the Resolve Tibet Act was presented by the Congressional delegation led by Chairman Michael McCaul, Nicole Malliotakis, Gregory W Meeks, Jim McGovern, Ami Bera, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, besides Pelosi, who were seen waving American and Tibetan flags.

The bipartisan delegation flew into Dharamsala on Tuesday to meet the 88-year-old Nobel peace laureate and other top officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) President Penpa Tsering said, “Grateful for your instrumental leadership in sponsoring and ensuring the passage of the Resolve Tibet Act in the US Congress. We are just one step away from this becoming a law, which will significantly add value to the middle-way policy advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA.”

At the felicitation ceremony, Republican representative McCaul said the Bill reaffirms America’s support for the Tibetan right to self-determination.

“Just this week our delegation received a letter from the Chinese Communist Party, warning us not to come here… But we did not let the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) intimidate us for we are here today,” McCaul said.

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Beijing, which considers the Dalai Lama a ‘separatist’, had said that it was seriously concerned about the visit of the US lawmakers to Dharamsala.

The US delegation visit came a day ahead of a planned trip by the Dalai Lama to the US to undergo medical treatment for his knees. However, his office told IANS that there will be no public engagement, including public audiences, of the Dalai Lama during the visit.

The Dalai Lama has been living in self-imposed exile in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959.

–IANS

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US restates North Korea-Russia cooperation trend of 'great concern' after Kim-Putin summit

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Washington, June 19 (IANS) The United States reiterated on Wednesday that growing cooperation between Russia and North Korea is a trend of “great concern”, after Pyongyang and Moscow signed a pact calling for mutual aid if either side comes under attack.

A State Department spokesperson made the point after Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inked a “comprehensive strategic partnership” treaty at a summit in Pyongyang on Wednesday (Korea time) amid concerns about the security implications of their military ties.

“Deepening cooperation between Russia and the DPRK is a trend that should be of great concern to anyone interested in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, upholding the global non-proliferation regime, abiding by U.N. Security Council resolutions, and supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence against Russia’s brutal invasion,” the spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency via email.

“As we have said before, we don’t believe any country should give Mr. Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression against Ukraine,” the official added.

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The spokesperson also stressed that Russia is “blatantly violating the U.N. Charter and working to undermine the international system.”

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the clear violations of international law Russia has committed in Ukraine,” the spokesperson said, reported Yonhap News Agency.

A Pentagon official gave a cautious response, saying that it is aware of the reports on the summit between Putin and Kim.

“We’ve seen the reports and will continue to monitor the situation,” the official said in response to a question from Yonhap News Agency. “We have nothing further to offer right now.”

The Pyongyang summit came amid deepening concerns that military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow would help prop up Russia’s war effort in Ukraine and advance North Korea’s weapons programs to the detriment of regional and global security.

–IANS

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