Archive for September 2010
PYONGYANG, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — Kim Jong Un, a son of top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Il, has been chosen into the leading echelon of the country’s ruling party.
The official KCNA news agency reported early Wednesday that Kim Jong Un, the senior Kim’s third and youngest son, was one of the two vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) elected on Tuesday.
Kim Jong Il serves as chair of the 19-member commission, and Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), as the other vice chairman, the KCNA quoted a decision of a plenary meeting of the WPK Central Committee.
One day before the appointments, Ri Yong Ho was bestowed the military rank of vice marshal, and Kim Jong Un that of general, a rank next to vice marshal and above colonel general.
Tuesday’s plenary session was held after the 65-year-old party, which has led the country since its 1948 founding, elected earlier in the day the members and alternate members of the WPK Central Committee at a landmark conference functioning as a temporary WPK national congress.
Prior to the election of the WPK Central Committee at the party conference, the third of its kind in the party’s history and the first in 44 years, delegates from across the country adopted a proposal to rename Kim Jong Il as the party’s general secretary.
In addition, the historic gathering made amendments to the WPK Charter, the KCNA reported.
PHNOM PENH, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday the meeting with his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva in New York last weekend proved to be a “fruitful one”.
Delivering speech to graduate students in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said the meeting had “built confidence and trust and cooperation” between the two countries.
He said that during the 40-minute talks in New York, there were many issues on common bilateral cooperation between the two countries, not only on border issue alone.
He said the relation between the two nations is important, adding that no any single country wishes to stage war, but to live in peace.
Hun Sen said that his country is now improving relations with the three neighboring countries of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand with an ultimate aim to establish special economic zones along the borders with these nations.
Soon after returning from New York on Sunday, Prak Sokhon, secretary of state of the Office of the Council of Ministers and the minister attached to the prime minister, told reporters that the 40-minute meeting between the two leaders had discussed four particular topics.
According to Prak Sokhon, one of the four topics was on the assurance to avoid military confrontation between the two countries.
The other three issues were on a joint monitor on press reports that may jeopardize or confuse the public on the relation between the countries; promotion of cooperation on exchange of arts and sports; and examination of the possibility of opening a new border point at Stung Bot for trade promotion between the two nations.
Hun Sen was in New York for the second ASEAN-U.S. Summit which was held on Sept. 24 at the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama.
The meeting between Hun Sen and Abhisit Vejjajiva was held on the sidelines of the summit.
Cambodia and Thailand had border conflict just one week after Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple was registered as World Heritage Site on July 15, 2008.
Since then, military standoff has been on and off along the border between the two countries, and several military clashes have recorded small causalities from both sides. The Cambodian-Thai border has never been fully demarcated. Thailand continues to stake territorial claims of the 4.6 square kilometer area in the vicinity of the Temple of Preah Vihear, which the International Court of Justice on June 15, 1962 ruled in favor to Cambodia, saying Preah Vihear Temple belongs to Cambodia.
(AFP) 29/9/2010—YALA (Thailand) – Suspected Islamic insurgents killed five people and seriously wounded another three, including two young children, in a roadside gun attack in the Thai south, police said on Wednesday.
Five militants, dressed like police, stopped their pick-up truck early on Tuesday evening by a fruit stall in Pattani province and opened fire at sellers and customers.
Four men and one 35-year-old woman were shot and later died at a nearby hospital while three people – a girl aged 10, a seven-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man – were left in a critical condition, police said.
Afterwards the attackers set fire to an empty car.
Both Buddhists and Muslims were targeted in the attack, the latest in more than six years of violence since a separatist insurgency erupted in the Muslim-majority southern provinces in January 2004.
More than 4,300 people of both religions have since been killed in the region, once an autonomous Malay sultanate until Buddhist Thailand annexed it a century ago, provoking decades of tension.
(AP) 29/9/2010–UNITED NATIONS – MYANMAR is failing to answer international pleas to release detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, telling other nations that it is striving to ensure its first elections in two decades are ‘free and fair.’
Foreign Minister U Nyan Win spoke on Tuesday, one day after foreign ministers from key nations warned Myanmar’s military junta that the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners is ‘essential’ for Nov 7 elections to be seen as credible.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said after a closed-door meeting on Monday night that the ministers reiterated the need for Myanmar’s election process to be more inclusive, participatory and transparent.
Source: The Economist
The will-he-or-won’t-he question regarding the succession of Kim Jong Un to the throne of North Korea, the world’s only communist country to subsist as a brazen monarchy, appears to have been answered. With his promotion to the rank of general, the twenty-something man of mystery is now clearly being queued up to succeed his father, the ailing dictator, Kim Jong Il. Which Kim was, naturally, picked as the heir to the dictatorship established by his own father, Kim Il Sung, in a similar ceremony staged in 1980.
This is the first time the youngest Kim’s name has been publicly mentioned by the North Korean authorities. The first official dispatch from the first day of this year’s much-touted and mysteriously delayed Workers’ Party conference announced the ascent of the young Un, and five others, to high military rank.
One of those others was Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Il’s sister and the wife of Chang Sung Taek, who is widely regarded as being the second-most-powerful man in the country. Mr Chang, on whom Kim Jong Il already relies, is expected to serve in the role of something like a regent to Kim the Youngest. The promotion of Mr Chang’s wife can be interpreted as another intended to contribute to his power, in the same stroke binding him closer to the Kim family and making it likelier that the succession will be executed as planned, in the event of Kim the Elder’s death.
It is notable that Kim Jong Un was given a military title rather than a party position. There has been much speculation of late to the effect that the conference would mark a move away from the “military-first” stance that has marked the Kim Jong Il regime. The fact that he made his son a general however would suggest that he still considers the army to be the primary font of power in this unpredictable nation.
While the announcement will be treated by many as the most important piece of news to come out of the conference, it should be remembered that the conclave has barely even begun. Avid Pyongyangologists will be looking out for other critical appointments, and perhaps even signs of economic reform—in response to China’s ever weightier influence.
BANGKOK, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — The executive committee of the ruling Democrat Party made a resolution on Tuesday to field deputy prime minister and party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban in the by-election in Constituency 1 of southern Surat Thani province.
Suthep will clear up his work as deputy prime minister for security affairs before registering his candidacy on Oct. 8, party spokesman Buranat Samutarak announced.
Democrat Party’s spokesman said the executive committee made the conclusion based on the recommendation of Surat Thani branch.
Following Suthep’s resignation, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will take over the responsibility for security affairs.
The Oct 30 by-election in southern Surat Thani is to find a replacement for a Democrat MP Chumpol Kanchana who lost his seat after being found guilty by the Constitution Court of making false assets declaration to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
(AFP)—YANGON – A court in military-ruled Myanmar has sentenced a monk to 15 years in prison for ‘anti-election’ activities, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Oakkan Tha was convicted on Monday in a special court at Yangon’s Insein prison for breaching the Electronic Act and the Publication Act, and for disturbing the security and peace of the state, said lawyer Khin Htay Kywe.
‘The authorities accused him of sending information to the Mon News Agency after they found anti-election documents from him. The authorities seized his laptop and cameras,’ Khin Htay Kywe said.
The agency, formed by former students and democratic activists, is a vocal critic of the Myanmar junta.
The monk, who is in his early 30s and has been forcibly disrobed by the authorities, was arrested on January 7 in Thanbyuzayet Township in Mon State. His lawyer said an appeal was planned.
Myanmar is gearing up for its first elections in two decades, set for November 7, but the vote has been widely criticised by activists and the West as a charade aimed at putting a civilian cloak on military rule.
Speaking to reporters after a ministerial level meeting of the so-called ‘Group of Friends’ on Myanmar, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on Monday told reporters the world wanted November 7 elections in the former Burma to produce a ‘credible, civilian and democratic government.’
‘They clearly reiterated the need for the election process to be more inclusive, participatory and transparent,’ Mr Ban said.
‘Members called for steps to be taken for the release of political detainees, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,’ he said.’This is essential for the election to be seen as credible and contribute to Myanmar’s stability and development.’
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi last month advised members of her now-defunct National League for Democracy (NLD) party not to vote in the election, the first since 1990 polls the NLD won in a landslide, a result the junta refused to recognise.
Rights groups have derided the elections as a sham designed to entrench military power in the isolated South-east Asian nation. Mr Ban’s Group of Friends includes Australia, Britain, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, Vietnam and the European Union.
(AP)—UNITED NATIONS – Foreign ministers from key nations are telling Myanmar’s military junta that the release of political prisoners including detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is ‘essential’ for upcoming elections to be seen as credible.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said after a closed-door meeting on Monday that the ministers reiterated the need for the election process ‘to be more inclusive, participatory and transparent’.
The Nov 7 elections will be Myanmar’s first in two decades but critics say the polls are designed to cement nearly 50 years of military rule.
Ms Suu Kyi’s disbanded National League for Democracy party marked what would be its 22nd anniversary on Monday under tight surveillance.
It was dissolved earlier this year, after deciding to boycott the election.