Archive for Asia
US people in Thailand are treated much better by the Thai government than Thai people are treated by the US Embassy. I have never had a problem with getting a visa to visit or work in Thailand, but my Thai friends tell me the same isn’t true of them getting visas for the US. The guidance given on the Internet to apply for a US visa is not only unhelpful, but is outright misleading as it gives the impression that, to receive a visa, all a person needs is a current passport, a government form, some photos and money. If you read the instructions carefully, you see that unlike the US legal system, there is NO appeal if you are refused a visa and they keep your money. There seems to be a culture within the US Embassy, especially those who deal with visa interviews, that Thai people are dishonest and only trying to get tourist or business visas so they can stay in the US illegally and not return to Thailand. I’ve been told the interviewers are arrogant and unfriendly, and often refuse to give any reason if a visa isn’t given.
North Korea has detained another US citizen, bringing to 3 the number of Americans held in the country amid increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang Sunday confirmed the detainment of the US citizen but did not elaborate on the matter. However, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing unnamed sources, reported on the same day that a Korean-American man was arrested Friday at Pyongyang’s international airport. According to the agency, the man in his fifties identified only by his surname Kim was trying to leave the country when North Korean police arrested him. Kim has been involved in aid and relief programs to North Korea and formerly worked as professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China which has a sister university in Pyongyang. North Korea has at least two other Americans in its prisons. Last year in January, Otto Warmbier, who was 21 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison after he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner.
Newsline: North Korean Embassy in Russia Says the Country is Ready for ‘All-Out War’ if US Starts it
North Korea is ready for an all-out war if the United States starts it, the country’s Embassy in Russia said. “If they [the US] commit a reckless provocation, the Korean Revolutionary Forces will deal a devastating blow and respond with an all-out war to an all-out war, respond to a nuclear war with a nuclear strike,” an attache of the North Korean Embassy Moscow said. North Korea reportedly carried out the most recent missile test early on Sunday. However, the launch was unsuccessful, according to South Korean defense officials. The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that the alleged missile launch had not been announced officially, though it’s Pyongyang’s “sovereign right” to conduct such tests. Earlier, North Korea warned it is ready to launch a “preemptive strike” in case of any US’ “provocation.” Pyongyang said it may target US military bases in Japan, South Korea and the US itself if feels threatened.
US is destabilizing the situation on the Korean peninsula and a thermonuclear war may break out in the region at any moment, the North Korean ambassador to the UN, Kim In Ryong told reporters. He leveled sharp criticism at the US and South Korea for conducting the war games of unprecedented scope and scale and said they could entail dire consequences for peace in the region. “As everybody knows, the US perpetrates military attacks and threatens a sovereign state while claiming “peace by strength,” Ambassador Kim said. “The recent US massive missile attack on Syria tells you well of it.” “The US introduces into the Korean peninsula, the world’s biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war,” Kim said. “This has created a situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment on the peninsula and posed a serious threat to world peace and security, to say nothing of those in Northeast Asia,” he said. The ambassador stressed North Korea’s resolve to stay calm in the face of aggressive policies of the Donald Trump Administration.
Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine returns to Seoul after being recalled almost three months ago in response to Korean civic groups erecting a statue of a girl symbolizing the sexual slavery victims in front of its consulate in the southern Korean port city of Busan. Yasumasa Nagamine was called back in January, in protest of a statue honoring the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery set up by a civic group in Korea’s southeastern port city of Busan. Tokyo took the action because it felt the statue went against the spirit of the December 2015 bilateral agreement to provide support to Korean women forced to provide sex to Japanese military personnel before and during World War II. In returning the envoy, Japan has cited the need to engage with South Korea, which is in a transitional period ahead of the May 9 presidential election, and to coordinate with its neighbor in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat. Japan has repeatedly called on South Korea to “resolve” the issue of the statues following the 2015 agreement. With the recall of the envoy, Japan also postponed bilateral economic dialogue and talks on a new currency swap with South Korea.
North Korea could either carry out new ballistic missile launches or conduct nuclear tests shortly in commemoration of its public holiday, Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora told Sputnik. “If you carefully read the North Korean press, then there is no need to even guess. They themselves openly say that ‘we will mark the upcoming glorious anniversary with significant events,’ in the plural at that,” Matsegora said. North Korea celebrates the 105th anniversary of its founder Kim Il Sung’s birth on April 15, Saturday. “We can well imagine what events these will be. Some believe that the choice is only in two possible events: either new tests or a missile launch,” Matsegora said. The ambassador added that, the US aircraft carrier group dispatched toward North Korea is a provocation that did not contribute to de-escalation on the Korean Peninsula. “Of course, annual US exercises this year are particularly provocative,” Matsegora said. “Taking into account the fact that the US is bringing up an airborne strike group here, this does not work toward calming the situation.” The Russian envoy stressed that the US drills “are really working out a plan to seize Pyongyang, destroy the leadership of the country, approach the Russian and Chinese border, establish administrative control over the provinces of North Korea.”
The Chinese embassy in Sweden on Friday recommended Chinese citizens to make efforts toward tightening security and abstain from visiting public places after the truck incident in Stockholm earlier in the day. “The embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sweden advises China’s citizens to tighten security measures … not to visit public places and go outside in the night where possible,” the statement read. There is no information about any Chinese citizens being affected by the incident. According to Swedish media reports, at least one person was killed and dozens more injured when a truck rammed into a crowd on a major pedestrian street in the Swedish capital.