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North Korea no longer talks with South Korea. Experts say it can try to make a crisis

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How Kim Jong Un came into power

North Korean state media said several hotlines would be closed, including military-to-military calls and other channels intended to directly connect its leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on short notice. These lines are considered important because they can help prevent unintentional military confrontations caused by misinterpretations or miscalculating the actions or intentions of others.

Choi Hyun-soo, a spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of Defense, said North Korea did not answer phone calls on military channels Tuesday morning for the first time since it was founded in 2018. Calls to the joint liaison office hotline, which North Korea said were closed Friday, were also not answered.

“The inter-Korean communication channel must be maintained in accordance with the agreement because it is the basic means of communication,” the Unification Ministry, the South Korean government body that handles all matters of North Korea, said in a statement.

“The government will continue to work towards peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula while complying with the inter-Korean agreement.”

Pyongyang said it gave Seoul a cold shoulder because North Korean defectors in South Korea flew balloons to their homes carrying leaflets and SD cards, perhaps with information about the outside world. It is illegal for most North Koreans to consume information that is not approved by the country’s powerful propaganda machine, and that can have dire consequences.

Experts believe that the Kim regime used the issue of leaflets to create a crisis – a tactic in the North Korean international relations manual which is often used to create a feeling of urgency in novice negotiations.

Pyongyang claims the balloons, which were sent by private groups, violated the agreement reached at the April 2018 summit, where both parties agreed to stop “all hostile acts and eliminate their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets” in along the balloon. shared border. Several communication lines that were closed on Tuesday were established or rebuilt as part of the same agreement.

“We will never barter our highest leadership dignity for anything, but defend it at the expense of our lives,” said a statement published Tuesday at the North Korean government-run KCNA news outlet. “There is no need to sit face to face with the South Korean authorities and there is no problem to discuss with them, because they only arouse our disappointment.”

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The statement also said Tuesday’s move was “the first step of determination to completely close all means of contact with South Korea and get rid of unnecessary things.”

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and one of the most powerful officials in the country, seems to have played a major role in North Korea’s decision to cut off communication with South Korea.

He and Kim Yong Chol, who were partners with Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo in talks with the United States, were both named in Tuesday’s announcement. KCNA also brought Kim Yo Jong’s work on Friday which called the defectors “shepherd dogs” and threatened South Korea, suggesting “now is the time to bring the owner to account.”

Fighters for an independent North Korea, a non-governmental organization that claims to send balloons, said they sent 500,000 leaflets, 2,000 $ 1 bills, and 1,000 SD cards across the border. The group did not say what was on the memory card, but in the past they had South and West Korean films and television shows.

The group posted pictures on its website showing several balloons, including those carrying posters bearing caricatures of Kim Jong Un and the words: “While people are starving, what is the use of nuclear rockets, chemical biological weapons and political prison camps? Let’s end it Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship from generation to generation! “

The Chief Warrior for the Free North Korean group, Park Sang-hak, is a well-known defector. In 2012, North Korean agents tried to kill him with a poison needle shaped like a pen.

Political tactics

Kim’s family is treated with almost godlike respect in North Korean state media, and insulting one of them can carry harsh punishments. But the decision to escalate hostilities could be a political tactic intended to start inter-Korean talks, which are basically stuck in neutral conditions for months.

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“Inter-Korean communication is essentially dead and dysfunctional, but Pyongyang is trying to make the broken line into a much bigger deal than it really is,” said Duyeon Kim, senior adviser at the International Crisis Group specializing in Northeast Asian affairs and nuclear policy .

The first inter-Korean hotline was established in 1971, according to the Unification Ministry. Since then North Korea has cut off inter-Korean communication at least five times.

“This situation is not ideal, but the two Koreas are accustomed to the period of the dialogue channel being cut off,” said Duyeon Kim.

Talks to achieve some of the main objectives set at the April 2018 summit, including ending the Korean War and rebuilding inter-Korean economic projects, have so far failed to progress.

An important point that emerged was the sanctions imposed on North Korea by the UN Security Council and the United States. Pyongyang is in dire need of hard currency, but sanctions prohibit the country from selling most valuable items or engaging in profitable joint projects with South Korea.

Andrei Lankov, an expert in North Korean affairs at Kookmin University in Seoul, said Moon could not do anything that violates sanctions for fear of alienating the United States, allies of the South Korean treaty, or President Donald Trump – who made it clear he did not want to pay the alliance old at the same price as its predecessor.

North Korea is now trying to steer South Korea into a corner while maintaining the United States, hoping that a sense of urgency in Seoul will encourage the Moon to work together on Kim Jong Un’s requirements.

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North Korea “does not want the Moon Jae government to feel comfortable. They want to create a measurable crisis, a controlled crisis,” Lankov said. “North Korea needs a crisis in relations with South Korea, but of a kind that will not be directly attractive in the United States.

The problem, however, is that Moon is riding the highest politics after doing better than expected in legislative elections earlier this year. And its constituents don’t really care about the escalation cycle with North Korea – this is something South Koreans are used to doing. Deciding on communication is likely to fail to register as a major problem in South Korea, where the economy and the new coronavirus pandemic are the most pressing problems at the moment.

Lankov said North Korea’s efforts to create a sense of crisis in South Korea were “very unsuccessful.”

“However, that is not necessarily a good sign,” he said. “The lack of response is likely to mean North Korea is starting to increase its volume, increasing the intensity of provocation.”

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal – Observer

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal - Observer

Portuguese driver Thiago Monteiro (Honda) finished 14th and 15th this Sunday in the two World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races held in Aragon, Spain, which precede the Vila Real race.

The Portuguese rider always rode in the tail, he was hindered by the fact that Honda had more excess weight than his rivals.

“If they told me that I would be in this position, I would not believe it. But the reality is that we have not been able to withstand a number of adversities. From the moment when the pace is much lower than other rivals, we are prepared in advance. It’s heartbreaking,” the Portuguese rider began his explanation after the fourth round of the championship.

The Portuguese rider struggled to find the best balance in his Civic, as did his teammate, Hungarian Attila Tassi.

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“We still had problems, and we could not reach the full potential of the car. It was very difficult, unpleasant and discouraging, especially since we are going to Vila Real and this scenario does not suit me. But we will have to continue to look for our own path and believe that everything will work out, ”Thiago Monteiro concluded.

Belgian Giles Magnus (Audi) and Spaniard Mikel Ascona (Hyundai) won both races on Sunday.

Ascona leads the league with 129 points, while Thiago Monteiro is 16th with 12 points.

The WTCR competition in Portugal will take place next weekend in Vila Real.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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Portuguese military admits ‘it will take time’ until territory is taken under control

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Portuguese military admits 'it will take time' until territory is taken under control

The “path” chosen for about a year in the fight against rebel groups in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique is “the right one,” Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires said in an interview with Lusa.

“Now, while the situation is not fully under control, we all understand that, as in any other counter-terrorism situation in the world, it will take a lot of time,” added the head of the European military training mission, although he acknowledged that this “ does not mean that sometimes there are no fears and failures.

However, “this is part of what constitutes an action taken against terrorists who operate in a very wide area, who in themselves have the initiative and the ability to hide in a very wide area,” he said.

In fact, he stressed, many of the recent attacks that have taken place in the south of Cabo Delgado in recent weeks are due to the fact that Islamist extremist rebels had to “flight from the north” of the province.

“Because this was a consolidated military operation carried out in close cooperation between the Mozambique Defense and Security Forces (FSS), [e com as forças d]Rwanda and SAMIM (Southern African Development Community Mission (SADC) in Mozambique), who were clearing out the intervention areas that existed in the area, the reaction of many terrorists was to flee the area, go further south, where they were not pursued. , and make new attacks,” he explained.

“In such cases, the initiative almost always belongs to the terrorists. There are few of them, they hide among the population, they move over very large territories, with a lot of dense vegetation, it becomes very difficult to find them, but you can easily move,” he continued.

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On the other hand, the Portuguese general emphasized, “it is now difficult for these groups” “to concentrate power and forces for large-scale operations, as was the case three years ago during the conquests, such as Mocimboa da Praia or Palma.” ,” he said.

“They don’t have that ability. Many of these attacks even demonstrate [estratégias] survival [clássicas das guerrilhas]. They’re looking for food, they’re looking for supplies, they’re searching deep down for a place where they can survive, because the area is already under quite a lot of control. [por parte] Mozambique FSS, Rwandan forces and SAMIM,” he explained.

In this context, Nuno Lemos Pires highlighted the “quick response” of the Mozambican authorities to each of these developments, starting with head of state Filipe Nyusi.

“I think it is exemplary that the moment there is a movement or a series of significant attacks in other areas, we immediately see the President of Mozambique heading north, linking up with his Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA). , with the Minister of Defense, with the Minister of the Interior, and outline plans on the ground for a quick change of equipment and the ability to respond to such movements,” he said.

During one such trip to northern Mozambique in mid-June, Mozambican Interior Minister Arsenia Massingue said that Mozambican police were informing the “enemy” – the rebel forces in Cabo Delgado – about the positions of the FDS and allied forces on the ground.

However, Lemos Pires downplayed the situation. “We must be aware that there are infiltrations in any political system. It’s happening everywhere. Ignoring this dimension is tantamount to ignoring what is happening everywhere,” he said.

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“I don’t know of a single case of insurgency, counterinsurgency, terrorist or counter-terrorist combat where these leaks didn’t happen frequently. You need to be careful. .

In addition to the vastness of the territory that has been the scene of conflict and the topography favorable to insurgent guerrilla strategies, the porous borders with Tanzania to the north of Cabo Delgado and Malawi to the northwest also pose a danger. challenges the SDF and allied forces of SAMIM and Rwanda.

Lemos Pires also relativized this question. “We are talking about transnational terrorism, and it is good to understand that the situation in the north of Mozambique, in Cabo Delgado, is not limited and is not limited – and has never been limited – exclusively and exclusively to this region. A phenomenon that exists throughout Africa. , namely in Central Africa,” he said.

The UETM commander even took advantage of this circumstance to formulate an “extended response” to “a broad problem, a regional one, and the solution must also be a broad regional one.”

Therefore, “it’s very good what we see here on the ground, in fact, this is the unification of the efforts of regional African forces to try to deal with a problem that really worries everyone,” he concluded.

“What happens in one region can affect another. That is why it is in everyone’s interest that these groups be fought, detained and that the narrative that they are currently spreading can be counteracted – we hope that there are fewer and fewer successes,” the Portuguese general stressed.

NPS // PYAA

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