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Trump administration OKs $130M missile defense sale to Japan

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has approved a $130 million missile defense sale to Japan to meet the escalating threat from North Korea......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarJan 10th, 2018

Seoul: North Korea to send delegation to Olympics in South

By Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea agreed Tuesday to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Seoul officials said, as the bitter rivals sat for rare talks at the border to discuss how to cooperate in the Olympics and improve their long-strained ties. The Koreas' first talks in two years were arranged after North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un recently made an abrupt push for improved ties with South Korea after a year of elevated tensions with the outside world over his expanding nuclear and missile programs. Critics say Kim may be trying to divide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international pressure and sanctions on the North. During the talks, the North Korean delegation said it would send an Olympic delegation, which includes officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists and others, South Korea's Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters, according to media footage from the border village of Panmunjom, the venue for the talks. The South Korean delegation, for its part, proposed North Korea send a big delegation and conduct a joint march during the Feb. 9-25 Game's opening and closing ceremonies, Chun, one of the five South Korean negotiators, said. He said South Korea also suggested resuming temporary reunions of families separated by war and offering military talks designed to reduce animosities in frontline areas. South Korea also stressed the need to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Chun said. North Korea responded by saying the two Koreas must try to promote peace and reconciliation through dialogue, he said. The two sides were to continue their negotiations later Tuesday at Panmunjom, the only place on the tense border where North and South Korean soldiers are just feet away from each other. A North Korean soldier late last year defected to the South across Panmunjom amid a hail of bullets fired by his comrades. He was hit five times but survived. The meeting began with an amicable atmosphere Tuesday morning, with chief North Korean delegate Ri Son Gwon saying he hopes the talks would give "a New Year's first gift — precious results (of the talks) to the Korean nation." Ri's South Korean counterpart, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, said he also hopes they would come up with a "good gift" for people in both Koreas. The overall prospect for the negotiations was still unclear. The two Koreas have a long history of ending key talks without any agreement and failing to follow through with rapprochement accords. An agreement on the North's Olympic participation had been widely expected before the talks began, but the Koreas remain sharply at odds over how to improve their overall ties. North Korea is expected to demand rewards in return for South Korea's offer for family reunions and military talks, like Seoul halting propaganda broadcasts and scaling back or halting military drills with the U.S., observers say. Suspension of the military drills would be unacceptable for Seoul because that would seriously undermine the alliance with its chief ally the United States, which wants to put more pressures on Pyongyang. The North views the drills as a rehearsal for a northward invasion. President Donald Trump on Saturday expressed hope for some progress from the talks and said he was open to talking with Kim himself. But U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley later said the U.S. administration isn't changing its conditions regarding talks with North Korea, saying Kim would first need to stop weapons testing for a "significant amount of time." In his New Year's Day address, Kim said there is an urgent need to improve inter-Korean ties and that he is willing to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Games. He urged Seoul to halt the military drills with the U.S. and said he has a "nuclear button" to launch missiles at any target in the United States. South Korean liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favors dialogue as a way to defuse the North Korean nuclear standoff, welcomed Kim's outreach and proposed talks at Panmunjom. Kim quickly accepted. "As President Moon has said, the improvement of relations between North and South Korea cannot advance separately from resolving North Korea's nuclear program," Brian Hook, a chief adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, told reporters in a conference call late Monday Washington time. "And so, we remain focused on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong Un to the table for meaningful negations." The Trump administration agreed last week to delay springtime military drills with South Korea until after the Games. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted the delay was a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics, not a political gesture. Trump and Kim traded bellicose warlike rhetoric and even crude insults last year, as the North conducted it sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation and three tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The International Olympic Committee said Monday it has "kept the door open" for North Korea to take part in the Games. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the registration deadline has been extended and that the Switzerland-based committee supports North Korean athletes in the qualification process, while respecting U.N. sanctions against North Korea......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Russia accuses US of breaking treaty over defense system sale to Japan

MOSCOW, Russia – Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday, December 30, accused the United States of violating a key arms treaty by selling a missile defense system to Japan.  "The US is deploying them (missile defense systems) at their military bases in Romania and Poland, that is near our ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

North Korea preparing more missile launches, says South – BBC News

South Korea says it has seen indications that the North is preparing more missile launches, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile. Defence officials have been briefing parliament in Seoul after the North's test of a nuclear bomb at the weekend. The South has responded to the test with live-fire exercises, with both ground- and air-launched rockets. The US has warned that any threat to itself or its allies would be met with a &'8220;massive military response&'8221;. The North says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit on to a long-range missile. Pyongyang has repeatedly defied UN sanctions and international pressure by developing nuclear weapons and testing missiles, and the provocations have only intensified. launches, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile. Defence officials have been briefing parliament in Seoul after the North's test of a nuclear bomb at the weekend. The South has responded to the test with live-fire exercises, with both ground- and air-launched rockets. The US has warned that any threat to itself or its allies would be met with a &'8220;massive military response&'8221;. The North says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit on to a long-range missile. Pyongyang has repeatedly defied UN sanctions and international pressure by developing nuclear weapons and testing missiles, and the provocations have only intensified. In the past two months it has conducted intercontinental ballistic missile tests, sending one over mainland Japan into the Pacific Ocean. It has also threatened to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam. The United Nations Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later on Monday to discuss its response. Ahead of that meeting, South Korea and Japan's leaders had agreed to push for a stronger UN resolution on North Korea, said a South Korean presidential palace spokesman. The Security Council last imposed sanctions in August, targeting North Korean exports. Chang Kyung-soo, a defence ministry official, told parliament: &'8220;We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.&'8221; The ministry also told parliament the US would seek to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to seas off the peninsula. It also said there would be more live-fire drills this month, involving Taurus air-to-surface missiles mounted on F-15 jets. Monday's drills by the South simulated the targeting of the Punggye-ri nuclear site in Kilju County, where North Korea carried out its bomb test. &'8220;The training demonstrates the South Korean military's resolve to destroy not only the origin of provocation but also the enemy's leadership and supporting forces if they threaten the security of our people,&'8221; army spokesman Col Roh Jae-cheon is quoted as saying by South Korea's Yonhap news agency. South Korea and the US had also agreed &'8220;in principle&'8221; to revise current guidelines so that the South could double the maximum payload of its ballistic missiles, Yonhap also reported. On Sunday, seismologists started picking up readings of an earth tremor in the area where North Korea had conducted nuclear tests before The US Geological Survey put the tremor at 6.3 magnitude. North Korean state media later confirmed it was no earthquake, claiming it was in fact its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, detonating what it said was a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to a long-range missile. Pyongyang then released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un with what state media said was a new type of hydrogen bomb. Officials in China, where the blast was felt as a tremor, said they were carrying out emergency radiation testing along the border with North Korea. &'160; Although experts have urged caution, Sunday's event appears to be the biggest and most successful nuclear test by North Korea to date &'' and the messaging is clear: North Korea wants to demonstrate it knows what makes a credible nuclear warhead. It's become a war of photographs, for a few hours at least. After Sunday's underground nuclear test in the North, the government in the South released images of its own missiles launched at dawn. It's the second time in a week that Seoul has responded with a test bombing run. That's in addition to the show of military might that was on display in its annual exercise with US forces at the end of last month. That enraged Pyongyang, as it does every year, and there are more missiles on the way. South Korea is expected to approve the deployment of the US missile defence system known as Thaad (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) &'' an environmental impact report is the final hurdle. But that involves a fourth party. China has criticised the system, claiming it threatens its security. The nuclear test prompted an angry response from US President Donald Trump who denounced the test as &'8220;hostile&'8221; and &'8220;dangerous&'8221;, and called the North a &'8220;rogue nation&'8221;. He added that the US was considering stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea, which relies on China for about 90% of its foreign trade. US Defence Secretary James Mattis later told reporters that while the US would respond to any threat &'8220;with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming&'8221;, although they were &'8220;not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea&'8221;. A White House statement also said that Washington would defend itself and its allies &'8220;using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal&'8221;. South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the test an &'8220;absurd strategic mistake&'8221; [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsSep 4th, 2017

Koreas extend conciliatory steps to Asian Games

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — With the Koreas, there's no separating their sports from their politics. The war-separated rivals will take their reconciliation steps to the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, where they will jointly march in the opening ceremony and field combined teams in basketball, rowing and canoeing. "Sports have played the role of peacemaker between the Koreas," said Kim Seong-jo, vice chairman of South Korea's Olympic committee and the country's chef de mission at the Asian Games. "If the combined teams put out good performances and win medals, that would be putting the cherry on the top." North and South Korea have used sports diplomacy this year in a bid to decrease animosity and initiate a new round of global diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang. South Korea leaders consider goodwill gestures as crucial to keep the positive atmosphere alive for what could become a long and difficult attempt to persuade the North to give up its nuclear and missile programs. There's not much Seoul can do beyond such gestures, though, as joint economic projects are out of the question when lifting sanctions against North Korea is far beyond the South's control. The more substantial discussions on the North's denuclearization — including what, when and how it would occur— are always going to be between Washington and Pyongyang. Here's a look at what the Koreas are planning for the Asian Games and their ebbs and flows in sports diplomacy: ___ BLUE FLAGS AND COMBINED TEAMS In the opening ceremony in Jakarta, athletes from North and South Korea will parade together under the flag featuring a blue map that symbolized a unified Korean Peninsula. It will be virtual repeat of the joint march during February's Winter Olympics in the South Korean ski resort of Pyeongchang, minus the gloves, parkas and fur hats. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent hundreds of athletes, artists and government officials to the Pyeongchang Olympics. The Koreas also fielded their first combined Olympic team in women's ice hockey, which drew passionate support from crowds despite losing all five of its games with a combined score of 28-2. At the Asian Games, the Koreas will be expected to deliver more than just feel-good stories. There's pressure for the investment to yield gold. A group of 34 North Korean athletes, coaches and officials have been in South Korea since last month for combined teams in women's basketball and the men's and women's events in rowing and canoeing. Coach Lee Moon-kyu, who has retained a core of South Korean players who won gold at the 2014 Asian Games at home in Incheon, got a first-hand look at North Korean players during exhibitions in Pyongyang in early July. Lee later picked three North Korean players for the Asian Games squad, including center Ro Suk Yong. Lee will also have a North Korean assistant coach on his bench. The Koreans will face Taiwan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and India in their preliminary group. South Korean forward Lim Yung-hui said the chemistry between the players has been improving. "The Northern players share the same goal of the gold medal and we talk a lot about how we should be putting out a good performance there," Lim said. "We weren't given much time, but we are practicing hard in a positive atmosphere." The Koreas will field combined teams in dragon boat events in canoeing and the lightweight men's four, lightweight men's eight and lightweight women's double sculls in rowing. If a combined team wins gold, athletes on the podium will hear the traditional folk song of "Arirang,"used in both Koreas as an unofficial anthem for peace, instead of their respective national anthems. The Korean athletes are likely to become an attraction at the Asian Games, where the international media will follow closely. At the Pyeongchang Olympics, South Korean figure skater Kam Alex Kang-chan created a media frenzy by taking a selfie with North Korea's Kim Ju Sik and posting it on Instagram. The photo recalled a famous 2016 selfie taken by two North and South Korean gymnasts at the Rio Olympics which International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach described as a "great gesture." ___ THEY DON'T ALWAYS PLAY NICE The Koreas have a history of using sports to foster diplomacy since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The 1991 world table tennis championships in Japan were the first time the Koreas fielded a combined team at a major international event. The atmosphere wasn't always friendly, though. During the height of their Cold War rivalry and recurring periods of animosity since, sports often became an alternate political battlefield. North Korean athletes and coaches would reject handshakes with their South Korean competitors and berate South Korean reporters during news conferences. The sports detente of 1991 evaporated when a North Korean athlete who competed at the world judo championships in Barcelona defected and arrived in South Korea amid heavy media coverage. North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the '88 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and relations dramatically worsened on the eve of the Seoul Olympics with the bombing of a South Korean passenger jet that killed all 115 aboard in December 1987. The inter-Korean warmth heading into this year's Asian Games contrasts with the awkwardness between the rivals surrounding the 2014 Asiad held in South Korea. Seoul's then-conservative government invited North Korean athletes to compete, but made it clear it had no interest in joint marches or combined teams. North Korean subsequently withdrew an offer to send its all-female cheering squad to Incheon after squabbling with the hosts over costs. North Korean leader Kim did send a senior government delegation to the closing ceremony, but they returned home without meeting then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The North was still seething over the Asian Game treatment years later as it gleefully observed Park's presidency crashing over a corruption scandal. "The Park Geun-hye group's mad confrontational racket is to blame for why (the North Korean) visit to Incheon did not result in improved relations," the North said in a statement in April last year. ___ WILL THE GOOD TIMES LAST? Kim has found a willing counterpart in Moon, a liberal who won the presidential by-elections to replace Park last year. Since the Pyeongchang Olympics, Kim has met Moon twice and leveraged the summits to get to U.S. President Donald Trump. After their June summit in Singapore, Kim and Trump issued a vague aspirational goal for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing specific plans. Sports exchanges and other goodwill gestures are important policy tools for Moon, who wants Seoul to be in the "driver's seat" in international efforts to deal with Pyongyang. The Koreas have also agreed to resume temporary reunions between relatives separated by the war and are holding military talks to reduce tensions across their heavily armed border. "Hopefully, (the Asian Games) will provide an opportunity to use sports to facilitate diplomacy and cooperation," Moon said while meeting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Seoul last month. Seoul's presidential office hasn't announced yet whether Moon would attend the opening ceremony in Jakarta on Aug. 18. Whatever happens in Indonesia or with nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, the Koreas will always have those heartening selfies posted by athletes. "Sports can be used to build momentum and trust, but they don't solve fundamental problems," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to Moon. "There's not much South Korea can currently do, but at least it's trying to actively do the things it can to keep the positive atmosphere alive. ".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

Bolton: US plans to dismantle North Korea nukes in year

WASHINGTON, United States --- The United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year, President Donald Trump's national security adviser said Sunday, although U.S. intelligence reported signs that Pyongyang doesn't intend to fully give up its arsenal. John Bolton said top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo will be discussing that plan with North Korea in the near future. Bolton added that it would be to the North's advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow. Bolton's remarks on CBS' "Face the Nation" appeared to be the first time the Trump admin...Keep on reading: Bolton: US plans to dismantle North Korea nukes in year.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 1st, 2018

Japan says halting missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

TOKYO, Japan – Japan is suspending evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack after historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang , its top government spokesman said Friday, June 22. The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un met last week in Singapore and signed a ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

Japan halts missile drills

TOKYO: Japan is suspending evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack after historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang, its top government spokesman said on Friday. The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore and signed a joint document calling for the denuclearisation [...] The post Japan halts missile drills appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

U.S. Senate votes to reimpose ban on China s ZTE, shares plunge

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – The US Senate defied President Donald Trump on Monday, June 18, by voting to overrule his administration's deal with Chinese telecom firm ZTE and reimpose a ban on hi-tech chip sales to the company. Senators added an amendment targeting ZTE into a sweeping, must-pass national defense spending ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 19th, 2018

Japan warns US-South Korea drills ‘vital’

TOKYO: US military drills with South Korea and Washington’s troop presence there are “vital” for regional security, Japan said on Wednesday, raising concerns after US President Donald Trump said the drills would be halted. “The drills and the US military stationed in South Korea play a vital role in East Asia’s security,” Japan’s defense minister [...] The post Japan warns US-South Korea drills ‘vital’ appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

Palace: Phl not taking soft stance on China

The Palace denied it is going soft on China amid reports of a resumption of build-up over disputed portions of the South China Sea (SCS) that foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have criticized. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines shares Asean leaders’ concern regarding China’s aggressive actions on what is said to be the world’s busiest waterways.The recently concluded Asean foreign and defense ministers in Singapore issued a statement that did not name China but said that “land reclamations and activities in the area . . . have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.” The Asean ministers resolved to expedite the code of conduct (CoC) on how to negotiate with China regarding overlapping maritime claims.“Asean’s concern on the Chinese build-up is right because Asean, as a regional bloc, wants to adhere to discussions pertaining to the code of conduct,” Roque said.“We cannot be not joining the call because the Philippines is one of those concerned in this campaign,” he added.Roque also disputed views that Manila is not among those insistent in pressing Beijing to speed up the CoC drafting. “We are not being too soft (on China) but we have an established policy on that. Number one, of course, is we are one with Asean in recognizing that this is a concern for all Asean countries. Particularly that of the freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea,” Roque said.“Our common concern is peace security and stability in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes,” he added.During Manila’s hosting of the Asean last year, President Duterte did not cite the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling that nullified Beijing’s sweeping claim over nearly the entire South China Sea.It was the Philippine government that contested China’s nine-dash-line claim before the Hague court. China, however, refuses to recognize it.Apart from the Philippines, other Asean countries also have overlapping claims at the South China Sea including Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.Reclamation to continueChina in its known mouthpiece Global Times said Beijing is concentrating on civil and not military construction on islands in the South China Sea but insisted that the Chinese “will expand land reclamation.”“Most of the construction on islands in the South China Sea were completed in 2015 and the pace then slowed. Civilian facility construction is the major focus of the South China Sea islands building and the portion of defense deployment is relatively small,” Global Times quoted Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea.The size of some South China Sea islands will be further expanded in future through more dredging in the South China Sea region, Chen said.The relationship between China and other Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, has becalmed in recent years, providing a golden opportunity for China to upgrade these areas, he said.China and the Philippines are enjoying good terms as President Rodrigo Duterte maintains a friendly policy toward China, Chen said. “But there is still some domestic pressure that urges Duterte to take a tough stance on China and the South China Sea issue,” Chen said.Foreign media like to hype China’s construction in the South China Sea as they try to make excuses to prevent China’s activities in this region, Zhuang Guotu, head of Xiamen University’s Southeast Asian Studies Center, told the Global Times.“China has the right to build whatever it needs within its territory,” Zhuang said.China’s military deployment in the South China Sea region was “not for military expansion,” but to defend its security and interests, he said.Zhuang and Chen warned the US is the biggest threat to stability in the South China Sea.“The US, Australia, Japan and other allies will constantly provoke China over this issue and that will incite other neighboring South China Sea countries to do the same,” Zhuang said.China’s construction projects in the region covered about 290,000 square meters in 2017, including new facilities for underground storage, administrative buildings and large radar, according to a report released in December on the nanhai.haiwainet.cn website run by the National Marine Data and Information Service and People’s Daily Overseas edition. No foreign vessels at BenhamThe Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has not monitored any foreign vessels at the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, during its latest patrol in the area. Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, AFP-Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) spokesman, said that based on the latest patrol conducted by Nolcom troops, there was no presence of foreign ships at Philippine Rise.“As of now, we don’t have a report that there is presence (of foreign vessels) in Benham Rise,” said Nato.Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that President Duterte has banned foreign ships at the Philippine Rise and ordered the military to patrol the area.The announcement came following an uproar from government critics after the Duterte administration allowed the Chinese to conduct scientific research at the Philippine Rise.Nato, however, said that Nolcom is yet to receive official order regarding the matter.But Nato maintained that with or without the latest directive, Nolcom has regularly conducted air and maritime patrols along Philippine Rise.Apart from Nolcom, the Air Force and the Philippine Navy, Nato said that the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) also conduct their own patrol in the area.He said the Nolcom uses air and naval assets of the Navy and the Air Force units under its jurisdiction.“We conduct our patrols regularly. It is a mandate of Nolcom forces so that is continuous with or without the directive from higher ups,” said Nato.According to Nato, Nolcom conducts three to four maritime and air patrol at Philippine Rise per month as part of the government efforts to secure the country’s maritime domain.ML ruling lauded, hitThe Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to uphold Mr. Duterte’s year-long martial law extension in Mindanao also drew mixed reactions.The High Court on Tuesday voted 10-5 junking militant groups’ petition and finding “sufficient factual basis” to extend martial law and suspend the privilege of wirt of habeas corpus in Mindanao until December 31, 2018.Roque welcomed the ruling saying that it affirms the need to continue protecting citizens from the threat of terrorist groups, primarily Islamic State (IS)-inspired fanatics.But for Left-leaning groups who petitioned the SC to lift martial law, the court decision opens up more crackdowns and human rights violations.The Palace official has insisted that human rights will be respected amid security operations.“The SC ruling underscores the unity of the whole government in its bid to defeat terrorism and prevent the spread in other parts of the country of DIWW and other like-minded local and foreign terrorist groups,” Roque said.“The majority of votes is a manifestation of confidence on law enforcement agencies that they shall, like they had been doing before, continue to protect our people, secure Mindanao, and pursue the bigger task of rehabilitation while upholding the rule of law, Human Rights, and International Humanitarian Law,” he added.Human rights watchdog Karapatan sees the contrary in the government’s motives, saying that the year-long military rule will boost attacks on the people.The continuous implementation of martial law in Mindanao will allow the unhampered massive rehabilitation in war-torn Marawi City and boost the security forces campaign to finish off the rebellion, the Department of National Defense (DND) said. In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the constitutionality of the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao will definitely boost government efforts to rebuild Marawi City and address continuing rebellion.The defense chief welcomed the SC decision as a vote of confidence to the government security forces.“The DND – AFP is grateful for the trust and confidence of our public institutions and the support of the Filipino people,” said Lorenzana. Mario J. Mallari.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

Mattis: US may take more steps vs China over ’militarization’

SINGAPORE --- US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday raised the prospect of additional American steps against China if its "militarization" of the South China Sea keeps apace. He said Beijing was intimidating and coercing others in the region by putting weapons systems on manmade islands. President Donald Trump, backing the remarks by his Pentagon chief at an international security forum in Singapore, said on Twitter: "Very surprised that China would be doing this?" Mattis said the Trump administration's recent decision to disinvite China from a multinational naval exercise this summer was an "initial response" to Beijing's island activity. Mattis called the US action a...Keep on reading: Mattis: US may take more steps vs China over ’militarization’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2018

Duterte pivots to China but his military turns to Australia, Japan

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine defense cooperation with Australia and Japan stepped up in recent years, continuing to grow under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. Euan Graham, director of the international security program of Australian think tank Lowy Institute, said these ties should be taken into account when understanding ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 20th, 2018

Palace welcomes US statement on drug war

MALACAÑANG WELCOMED on Wednesday, Jan. 31, a US official’s expression of support by the Trump administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s revived anti-illegal drug campaign. “Our colleagues in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and China and Japan, have fully supported our efforts to contain the manufacture and proliferation of illegal drugs. These efforts […] The post Palace welcomes US statement on drug war appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 31st, 2018

New Pentagon strategy looks to counter China, Russia

WASHINGTON, DC, USA –  The US military must regain its strategic advantages over Russia and China and prioritize being ready for war, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday, January 19, as he unveiled the Pentagon's vision for the future. The administration of President Donald Trump worries that America's vast military ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 19th, 2018

Dengvaxia sale suspended, Marina chief fired, Trump slams Bannon | Evening wRap

Today on Rappler: The Food and Drug Administration suspends the sale of the controversial Dengvaxia dengue vaccine for a year.  Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio shrugs off news she made it to the Magic 12 of two surveys on preferred senatorial candidates for the 2019 elections.  President Rodrigo Duterte fires another government official for ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 4th, 2018

Ray of hope, then deep hostility between US and North Korea

WASHINGTON --- In the first month of Donald Trump's presidency, an American scholar quietly met with North Korean officials and relayed a message: The new administration in Washington appreciated an extended halt in the North's nuclear and ballistic missile tests. It might just offer a ray of hope. North Korean officials responded defiantly. The nearly four-month period of quiet wasn't a sign of conciliation, they retorted, insisting supreme leader Kim Jong Un would order tests whenever he wanted. As if to ram the point home, North Korea only two days later launched a new type of medium-range missile that ended Trump's brief honeymoon. The February launch heralded a year of esc...Keep on reading: Ray of hope, then deep hostility between US and North Korea.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Letters From Davao by Jun Ledesma

‘It was a good year’ We have seen the litany of achievements of Duterte administration. It dwarfed the entire six years of the Aquino regime. It could have done better except that it has to first fix a lot of damages wrought by an inept regime that has likewise institutionalized corruption and abetted crime the most horrific of it all – the drug syndicates.  Space or brevity must have limited some significant achievements of the  Department of Finance and am referring to the upgrades of credit ratings of the Philippines from investment grade to investment grade and stable. While early on Standard & Poor’s claimed that President Duterte’s war on drugs and alleged extra-judicial killings are factors that account for the static rating by December 2017 it grudgingly acceded that something good is happening in the Philippines under Duterte’s watch.  Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez and his team deserves the credit. Fitch and Moody’s in their “investment grade and stable” rating in December enunciated that the issues surrounding drugs and EJK have nothing to do with the rosy economy of the country and its image as capital investment destination. The country’s economic performance for one is top in Asia and there is no turning back with the expected massive spending on infrastructures and government services starting 2018 and beyond.  The Duterte government achievements scoreboard makes the moribund opposition drooling. Still on Finance, expect the billionaires who are also the country’s tax dodgers to cough up. TRAIN or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion gives a huge relief to 99 percent of those small taxpayers saving the ar least P50,000.00 in tax cut!  But demands and exacts the reasonable taxes from the rich especially the filthy rich. Last year sampling of Lucio Tan (P6-billion), Mighty Cigarettes (P40-billion) and the Prieto and Rufinos’ one-mile asset that they are accountable to the government in still unquantifiable amount as yet? There is a subliminal message to be absorbed why candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte refused to accept donations from the rich and famous: just pay your taxes correctly and you’re okay.  The Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs are churning more collections under a continuing reforms.  President Duterte himself did dramatic and radical transformations in the area of Foreign Affairs and security. He was chided and lectured on by self proclaimed experts in diplomacy and security alliances especially with the generous expletives he is famous for. But as he admitted to the point of being apologetic, he told media men in this year’s Christmas party, “but that is me”.  Duterte’s foray into foreign affairs and diplomacy might be severely lacking in refinements but he put across his message clearly and direct and one cannot quarrel with what he achieved in such a brief moment. He virtually altered the outlook of the western countries on small sovereign nations. He overhauled alliances by an unwritten rule of mutual respect and cognizance of sovereignty. While Aquino made enemies with China which is the world’s second largest economy resulting in unquantifiable losses of opportunities Duterte reversed that with the resumption of trade, financial assistance with cheap money interest, massive infrastructure projects that will come into fruition by 2018. World leaders to include Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, PM Shinzo Abe of Japan and, to the dismay of the so-called Yellowtards, US Pres. Donald Trump who became his virtual phone pal.  The Department of Agriculture under Sec. Manny Pinol, did exemplary well. Productivity is better than expected and could have performed better if not for the natural calamities that the country has to contend with. Maybe the Bureau of Fisheries under it may try something out of the box. Propose to China to convert that disputed island into a one big marine laboratory. China provides the infrastructures while the Philippines the technical aquatic expertise. Make a 10-mile no-fishing marine haven around the island and guarded by the joint coastguard forces of China, Philippines and Vietnam. The Philippine Coconut Authority under Cabinet Sec. Jun Evasco is about to embark on a massive replanting program.  The Aquino government allocated billions of pesos to fight ‘cocolisap’ infestation but applied the wrong solution. Well, what do we expect from a certain Kiko Pangilinan? The replanting program was a big failure on account of  massive graft in high and low places. Replanting as well as new areas had been programmed by PCA.  Finally we have to give accolade to our Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for combating internal threats, terrorism and syndicated crime. The AFP and PNP are more prepared and better equipped now than any other time in history. Furthermore we see a disciplined forces in the AFP and while there are a few remaining scalawags in the PNP the cleansing process is done without let-up. We from Mindanao are comfortable and secured with their presence even under the aegis of martial law. If you do not believe me look at the various surveys on the popularity and trust of Filipinos on President Duterte and his government.  This will end my perspectives for year 2017 and we look forward to 2018 the Build, Build, Build era. The beginning of the new Philippines. Mindanao and Davao City, from where I live and write, may have suffered from natural calamities but we had seen, suffered and endured worse scenarios and even man made tragedies than […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Japan eyes $46B defense budget to counter Nkorea – report

TOKYO: Japan plans a record $46 billion defense budget for the next fiscal year to strengthen its missile defense against the threat posed by North Korea, a report said on Saturday. The government is expected to set aside 5.19 trillion yen for defense in the country’s initial budget proposal for the fiscal year starting April [...] The post Japan eyes $46B defense budget to counter Nkorea – report appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsDec 16th, 2017

Japan eyes $46-B defense budget to counter North Korea – report

TOKYO, Japan – Japan plans a record $46 billion defense budget for the next fiscal year to strengthen its missile defence against the threat posed by North Korea, a report said Saturday, December 16. The government is expected to set aside 5.19 trillion yen for defense in the country's initial budget proposal ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 16th, 2017

Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed – BBC News

A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the powerful and ultra-wealthy, including the Queen’s private estate, secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens. Donald Trump’s commerce secretary is shown to have a stake in a firm dealing with Russians sanctioned by the US. The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, contains 13.4m documents, mostly from one leading firm in offshore finance. BBC Panorama is part of nearly 100 media groups investigating the papers. As with last year’s Panama Papers leak, the documents were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which called in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to oversee the investigation. The Guardian is also among the organisations investigating the documents. Sunday’s revelations form only a small part of a week of disclosures that will expose the tax and financial affairs of some of the hundreds of people and companies named in the data, some with strong UK connections. Many of the stories focus on how politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals use complex structures of trusts, foundations and shell companies to protect their cash from tax officials or hide their dealings behind a veil of secrecy. The Paradise Papers show that about £10m ($13m) of the Queen’s private money was invested offshore. It was put into funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda by the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides the Queen with an income and handles investments for her £500m private estate. There is nothing illegal in the investments and no suggestion that the Queen is avoiding tax, but questions may be asked about whether the monarch should be investing offshore. There were small investments in the rent-to-buy retailer BrightHouse, which has been accused of exploiting the poor, and the Threshers chain of off-licences, which later went bust owing £17.5m in tax and costing almost 6,000 people their jobs. The Duchy said it was not involved in decisions made by funds and there is no suggestion the Queen had any knowledge of the specific investments made on her behalf. The Duchy has in the past said it gives “ongoing consideration regarding any of its acts or omissions that could adversely impact the reputation” of the Queen, who it says takes “a keen interest” in the estate. Wilbur Ross helped stave off bankruptcy for Donald Trump in the 1990s and was later appointed commerce secretary in Mr Trump’s administration. The documents reveal Mr Ross has retained an interest in a shipping company which earns millions of dollars a year transporting oil and gas for a Russian energy firm whose shareholders include Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law and two men subject to US sanctions. It will again raise questions about the Russian connections of Donald Trump’s team. His presidency has been dogged by allegations that Russians colluded to try to influence the outcome of last year’s US election. He has called the allegations “fake news”. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal has called for an investigation, telling NBC News that Mr Ross had given Congress the impression he no longer held shares in the shipping company. “Our committee was misled, the American people were misled by the concealment of those companies.” Most of the data comes from a company called Appleby, a Bermuda-based legal services provider at the top end of the offshore industry, helping clients set up in overseas jurisdictions with low or zero tax rates. Its documents, and others mainly from corporate registries in Caribbean jurisdictions, were obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung. It has not revealed the source. The media partners say the investigation is in the public interest because data leaks from the world of offshore have repeatedly exposed wrongdoing. In response to the leaks, Appleby said it was “satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients”, adding: “We do not tolerate illegal behaviour.” Essentially it’s about a place outside of your own nation’s regulations to which companies or individuals can reroute money, assets or profits to take advantage of lower taxes. These jurisdictions are known as tax havens to the layman, or the more stately offshore financial centres (OFCs) to the industry. They are generally stable, secretive and reliable, often small islands but not exclusively so, and can vary on how rigorously they carry out checks on wrongdoing. The UK is a big player here, not simply because so many of its overseas territories and Crown dependencies are OFCs, but many of the lawyers, accountants and bankers working in the offshore industry are in the City of London. It’s also about the mega-rich. Brooke Harrington, author of Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent, says offshore finance is not for the 1% but the .001%. Assets of around $500,000 (£380,000) would just not meet the offshore fees the schemes would need, she says. Well, it is a lot of cash. The Boston Consulting Group says $10tn is held offshore. That’s about the equivalent of the gross domestic products of the UK, Japan and France – combined. It may also be a conservative estimate. Critics of offshore say it is mainly about secrecy – which opens the door to wrongdoing – and inequality. They also say the action of governments to curb it has often been slow and ineffective. Brooke Harrington says if the rich are avoiding tax, the poor pick up the bill: “There’s a minimal amount the governments need to function and they recoup what they lose from […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017