2014年03月10日

My latest in NK News: Kim Jong Un’s younger sister reappears on KCTV

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Kim Jong Un’s younger sister reappears on KCTV

Her name, Kim Yo Jong, called for the first time by North Korean media

March 9th, 2014 Kosuke Takahashi

Kim Yo Jong, younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday reappeared on state-run Korea Central TV (KCTV).

And the state-run broadcast for the first time officially called her full name and title, raising speculation that she will strengthen support for her brother’s regime as one of his closest confidants.

This move comes at a time when the Kim family’s nepotistic power-grabbing seems to be weakening in the absence of key family members and as Kim Jong Un aims to instill the so-called “lineage of Paektu,” the royal bloodline of the Kim family, in his surroundings.

Kenji Fujimoto, a personal chef that served Kim Jong Il for 13 years, on Monday identified that woman on North Korea’s state channel as Kim Yo Jong, telling NK News, “That’s Princess Yo Jong. No doubt about it.”

The state media on Sunday called her “(a) responsible senior official of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Comrade Kim Yo Jong,” and said she accompanied Kim Jong Un, who voted at a university in Pyongyang.

The state channel broadcast images of Kim Yo Jong, 26, voting while dressed in a black suit.

She has appeared on TV many times previously, such as at the funeral service for the late Kim Jong Il in December 2011, when she was shown several times alongside her brother.

She is widely seen as taking over the role of her aunt Kim Kyong Hui, wife of the executed Jang Song Thaek, just as Kim Kyong Hui supported her elder brother Kim Jong Il during his rule. Kim Kyong Hui has made no public appearances since September 2013, when North Korea celebrated the 65th anniversary of the nation’s foundation. Since then, some South Korean media have speculated she might have already died of a heart attack or even suicide following the execution of her husband.

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Fujimoto told NK News on the phone on Monday that Kim Yo Jong was “a shrew-like woman and a free-spirited tomboy.”

“She cannot proceed with any work related to small details,” Fujimoto said. “She was jumping behind her brother when the TV camera was filming him” in the summer of 2012 when Fujimoto was invited by Kim Jong Un to Pyongyang.

Kim Yo Jong studied in Switzerland along with her two older brothers in her adolescence. Fujimoto said the late Kim Jong Il loved her extravagantly.

Fujimoto said she was born on September 26, 1987.

Picture: KCTV





posted by Kosuke at 19:04| Comment(0) | NK News

2014年03月07日

My latest in NK News: U.S. Defense report casts doubt on reliability of N. Korea missile tech.

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U.S. Defense report casts doubt on reliability of N. Korea missile tech.

Missiles suspected as unreliable due to lack of flight testing

March 7th, 2014 Kosuke Takahashi

North Korea now possesses at least six road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, but the missiles paired for their use have low reliability, a new report published by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) said on Wednesday.

The missile, known as the Hwasong-13 (or KN-08), has a range of more than 3,400 miles (5,471km) and would be capable of hitting much of the continental United States, “if successfully designed and developed”, the report for Congress said.

But because the “extremely complex” missile type had yet to be flight-tested, “their current reliability as a weapon system would be low”.

The report, titled “Military and Security Developments involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2013,” also appeared to admit the existence of six road-mobile transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) to deploy the missiles, showcased by North Korea at two military parades in Pyongyang in April 2012 and July 2013.

MISSILE DOUBTS

“North Korea displayed what it refers to as Hwasong-13 missiles, which appear to be intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)” during two military parades in 2012 and 2013, the report said.

But after those parades several Western missile experts suggested the Hwasong-13 missiles being displayed by North Korea were nothing more than mock-ups meant to fool observers.

And in January the Asan Institute, a leading South Korea-based security think tank, said that alleged progress in North Korea’s ballistic missile programme – including claims it could now threaten U.S. territory with an ICBM – were overstated.

“We think North Korea does not possess a working ICBM capable of delivering a payload to areas beyond the 3,400 mile radius,” the think-tank said.

In addition to questioning the reliability of the Hwasong-13, the Pentagon report also cast doubt on whether intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) technology paraded by North Korea over the past three years was in fact reliable, citing a similar lack of flight-testing as rationale.

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Chart: U.S. Department of Defense

For the first time ever the Pentagon report also said that Pyongyang has deployed an indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of attacking ground targets.

“The drone appeared to be a North Korean copy of a Raytheon MQM-107 Streaker target drone,” it said. “North Korean press coverage of the event described the UAV as being capable of precision strike by crashing into the target.”

The report said North Korea “remains one of the United States’ most critical security challenges for many reasons.” These include Pyongyang’s willingness to undertake provocative and destabilizing behavior, such as attacks on the South.

Main picture: KCNA
posted by Kosuke at 23:14| Comment(0) | NK News

2014年03月06日

My latest in Jane's Defence Weekly: Japan, US to launch high-speed trimaran design study

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Japan, US to launch high-speed trimaran design study

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

Japan and the US have agreed to launch joint research on high-speed trimaran.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 4 March that it had signed a preliminary agreement on joint research into a high-speed trimaran with the Pentagon.

The announcement followed the signing of a collaborative research agreement by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy on the same day.

Under the joint study, which is being conducted under the bilateral Mutual Defence Assistance (MDA) agreement, Japan and the United States will design and build multiple trimaran models and exchange data such as hull strength and speed, an official at the MoD's Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) told IHS Jane's on 5 March.

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posted by Kosuke at 03:36| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly