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North Korea Appeared to Use China Truck in its First Claimed ICBM Test



(Last Updated On: July 5, 2017)

North Korea appeared to use a Chinese truck originally sold for hauling timber to transport and erect a ballistic missile that was successfully launched on Tuesday, highlighting the challenge of enforcing sanctions to curb its weapons program.

North Korea state television showed a large truck painted in military camouflage carrying the missile. It was identical to one a U.N. sanctions panel has said was “most likely” converted from a Chinese timber truck.

Since 2006, U.N. sanctions have banned the shipment of military hardware to North Korea. But control of equipment and vehicles that have “dual-use” military and civilian applications has been far less stringent.

The vehicle was imported from China and declared for civilian use by the North Korean foreign ministry, according to a 2013 report by the U.N. panel. Tuesday’s launch was the first time the truck had been seen in a military field operation in pictures published in state media.

China, North Korea’s largest trading partner and its sole major ally, is under increasing pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has said Chinese efforts to rein in North Korea’s weapons programs have failed.

The truck had been previously on display at military parades in 2012 and in 2013 carrying what experts said appeared to be developmental models or mock-ups of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Images on the North Korea’s state television showed soldiers working on the vehicle mounted with a missile, which was then erected and off-loaded ahead of the launch at a hillside location. Leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test.

The transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) is a vehicle designed to move a ballistic missile and stand it upright, allowing for a mobile system that makes surveillance difficult for spy satellites.

In its 2013 report, the U.N. panel of experts said the features of the vehicle in the 2012 parade exactly matched those of a vehicle sold by China’s Hubei Sanjiang Space Wanshan Special Vehicle Company.

The company is a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, a state-owned company that makes the Shenzhou rocket as well as missiles.

A company manager reached by telephone declined to comment citing the sensitivity of the issue.

China submitted to the U.N. panel a copy of the end user certificate provided by the North stating that six of the vehicles were being imported for the purpose of transporting timber.

The panel said it “considers it most likely that the (North) deliberately breached” the certificate and converted the trucks into transporter-erector-launchers.

This year, North Korea used another Chinese-made truck model to tow submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) at a military parade on the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il Sung.

Last year, state media published photos showing Chinese-made trucks being used in a new North Korean mobile rocket artillery system.

Both vehicles showed the logo or had markings specific to the Chinese company Sinotruk.

A Sinotruk sales official said in April he was not aware the company’s trucks were used in the military parade.

North Korean state media has in the past released images of Sinotruk chassis and cabins related to construction or mining.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, after the launch, it was opposed to North Korea contravening rules laid out in U.N. Security council resolutions. China was working hard to resolve the issue and urged all sides to meet each other half way, it added.

Written by: Reuters



Australia ousts conservatives after nine years, Albanese to be PM



(Last Updated On: May 22, 2022)

Australia’s Labor Party was set to end almost a decade of conservative rule as the government was swept away in Saturday’s election by a wave of support for candidates who campaigned for more action on climate change and may hold the balance of power.

Partial results showed that while Labor had made small gains, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition had been punished by voters in Western Australia and affluent urban seats in particular, Reuters reported.

“Tonight, I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese. And I’ve congratulated him on his election victory this evening,” said Morrison.

Albanese, speaking as he headed to his party celebrations, said he wanted to unite the country and “end the climate wars”.

“I think people want to come together, look for our common interest, look towards that sense of common purpose. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that.”

Albanese said he aimed to be sworn in swiftly so he could attend a meeting of the Quad security grouping in Tokyo on Tuesday. He promised constitutional recognition and parliamentary representation for Indigenous Aboriginals, as well as the establishment of an anti-corruption commission.

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Almost 60 million people displaced worldwide, study finds



(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

The number of people displaced within their own borders rose to an all-time high by the end of last year, with a total at least 59.1 million people having left their homes, a new study has shown.

According to data collated by the internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), this has been as a result of violence or disasters.

This is up from the 55 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) recorded in the IDMC’s previous annual world survey and includes high numbers of new IDPs in Afghanistan, Burkino Faso, Ethiopia and Yemen, the IDMC said.

More than half of all IDPs are now under the age of 25, while 25.2 million of this group are under the age of 18, raising significant questions about the effects of global instability on younger generations.

Of all the internal displacements driven by conflict and violence last year, 80 per cent of them occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa due to fighting in places including the Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Commenting on the report, Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which set up the IDMC 24 years ago to document IDPs who would otherwise go “unseen”, said the findings showed the world was in a state of ill health.

“The world is falling apart, too many countries are falling apart,” he said. “2021 was, as we documented here, a very bleak year and 2022 is proving to become even worse,” he said, adding that the war in Ukraine would lead to a new record this year.

These figures don’t include the millions displaced in the past two months in Ukraine.

Between the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion on 24 February and 5 May, the UN estimates that more than 6 million people fled Ukraine, while another 7.7 million people had become internally displaced.

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Blinken accuses Russia of using food as a weapon in Ukraine



(Last Updated On: May 20, 2022)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia on Thursday of using food as a weapon in Ukraine by holding “hostage” supplies for not just Ukrainians, but also millions around the world.

A senior official in Moscow later rejected the allegations, saying Russians were “not idiots” and would not export food while being subject to tough sanctions.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council, Blinken appealed to Russia to stop blockading Ukrainian ports.

“The Russian government seems to think that using food as a weapon will help accomplish what its invasion has not – to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people,” he said.

“The food supply for millions of Ukrainians and millions more around the world has quite literally been held hostage.”

The war in Ukraine has caused global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer to soar.

Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies. Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, while Russia and Belarus – which has backed Moscow in its war in Ukraine – account for more than 40% of global exports of potash, a crop nutrient.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said Russians were skilled at producing food needed throughout the world under the right circumstances.

“Everything turns out to be illogical – on the one hand, crazy sanctions are introduced while on the other hand there are demands to supply food,” wrote Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.

“Things don’t work like that. We are not idiots.”

Medvedev said producing harvests required people skilled in agriculture, as well as proper equipment and fertilizer.

“Russia knows how to do this,” he wrote. “We have all the opportunities to ensure there is food in other countries, so that there are no crises. Just don’t prevent us from working.”

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, dismissed as “absolutely false” any suggestion that Russia was to blame for a global food crisis that had been brewing for several years.

He accused Ukraine of holding foreign vessels in its ports and mining the waters.

“The decision to weaponize food is Moscow’s and Moscow’s alone,” Blinken said.

“Some 20 million tons of grain sit unused in Ukrainian silos as global food supply dwindle (and) prices skyrocket.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is trying to broker a deal allowing Ukraine to resume food exports and revive Russian food and fertilizer production to world markets.

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