S. Korea Reaches Out to N. Korea in Sympathy

The South Korean government expressed its sympathy to the people of North Korea following the death of Kim Jong Il, South Korea’s unification minister said Tuesday.

In a televised press conference, Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik also said Seoul will not send a government delegation to North Korea. However, the South will allow bereaved family members of the late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and the late Hyundai Group Chairman Chung Mong-hun to visit the North in return for a visit by North Korean delegates to the funerals of the two South Korean figures.

In addition, the South Korean government asked church groups to refrain from lighting Christmas trees near the demilitarized zone between the two countries due to the North’s mourning period. The Christmas trees have been deemed a symbol of psychological warfare, and North Korea threatened in the past to retaliate if the South lights the trees.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un, the son and successor of the recently deceased North Korean leader, viewed his father’s body in Pyongyang on Tuesday, state-run media said, as the world watched for clues on how the leadership transition will play out in the insular dictatorship. Kim enjoyed a cult-like status in the nation, with millions schooled to accept him as a divine and benevolent father figure.

Several of North Korea’s neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines and leading ally China, offered condolences to the North Korean people on Kim’s death. Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the North Korean embassy in Beijing Tuesday to offer condolences, according to the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua. The deceased leader’s body will remain for a week at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, where his father is also interred. Memorial services will follow on December 28 and 29.

 

Source: CNN.com

Image: EuroNews.net

Satellite Captured Image of China’s Aircraft Carrier

DigitalGlobe Inc., a commercial satellite company, said Wednesday that it took a photograph of China’s first aircraft carrier during a sea trial in the Yellow Sea, off the Chinese coast. The Pentagon did not confirm the image, but Stephen Wood, the satellite company’s director, said he’s confident about the Dec. 8 photograph due to the carrier’s location.

Although China insists the carrier is intended for research and training, its use has raised concern about the country’s military strength and its increasingly assertive claims over disputed territory. While the development of carriers is driven largely by bragging rights and national prestige, China’s naval ambitions have been brought into focus with its claims to disputed territory surrounding Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy claimed by China as its own, has responded to the growing Chinese threat by developing missiles capable of striking carriers at sea. An illustration at a display Wednesday of military technology in the capital Taipei showed a Hsiung Feng III missile hitting a carrier that was a dead ringer for the former Varyag.

Over the past year, China has seen a flare-up in spats with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and had its relations strained with South Korea — all of which have sought support from Washington, long the pre-eminent naval power in Asia.

China defends its carrier program by saying it is the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that has not developed such vessels and that it has a huge coastline and vast maritime assets to defend. Beijing has also said its carriers would be employed in international humanitarian efforts, although the ex-Varyag’s ski jump-style flight deck severely limits the loads its planes can carry.

 

Source: Fox News

Image: MSN