North Korea ambassador walks out ahead of Trump’s U.N. speech  

admin   •   September 20, 2017   •   4821

North Korea ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, left the room before US President Donald Trump arrived to speak at the UN General Assembly.

The North Korean mission to the U.N. admitted it “boycotted” the speech, leaving only a junior diplomat as a representative in the assembly chambers.

Ja is the permanent North Korean representative to the U.N., beginning his service on February 28, 2014.

The ambassador has been outspoken about the U.S. Military presence in South Korea. He wrote a letter on March 6 to the British U.N. Ambassador, saying “the situation on the Korean peninsula is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war” due to U.S.- South Korea military drills, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Trump seemed to be unfazed by the walk out. Loud murmurs filled the green-marbled U.N. General Assembly hall when he issued his sternest warning yet to North Korea, threatening it with an “unthinkable loss of human life” by pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary.

In his first appearance at the annual gathering of world leaders, the president used a 41-minute speech to take aim also at Iran’s nuclear ambitions and regional influence, Venezuela’s collapsing democracy and the threat of Islamist extremists. — Reuters

 

 

US, PH military forces conclude 36th Balikatan Exercise

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine military and the United States Armed Forces have concluded the 36th Balikatan Exercise on Friday with a ceremony held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) general headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

“The successful conduct of this year’s Balikatan Exercise 36-2021 has definitely brought us a step closer towards our goal of capacitating our forces, and as such, will consequently contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific Region,” said AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana.

The AFP said soldiers participating in the joint exercise were able to achieve the activity’s objectives in strengthening both militaries’ capability and experience.

“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, both Filipino and American forces were able to achieve the objectives of this year’s Balikatan Exercise – to train together on defense and security efforts, leveraging on the capability, experience, and strength of both militaries’ longstanding friendship,” said Major General Edgard Arevalo, Commander of the AFP Education Training and Doctrine Command and this year’s Exercise Director.

Due to the global health crisis, the AFP said the magnitude of Balikatan 2021 was scaled down both in numbers of events and participants. Approximately 225 U.S. military personnel and 415 AFP personnel participated.

Major Balikatan 2021 events were held in Colonel Ernesto Ravina Airbase in Tarlac, where combined Air Force and Special Operations forces conducted close air support training, increasing interoperability across the joint forces.

AFP Northern Luzon Command Battle Staff and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command representatives conducted a bilateral staff exercise in Clark, Pampanga, while Philippine and U.S. Special Operations forces conducted a Bilateral Staff Academic Seminar in Taguig City.

Academic discussions and subject matter expert exchanges were held virtually to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The Philippine Air Force and U.S. Pacific Air Forces conducted a virtual Global Health Engagement and other virtual training on various air operations and capabilities.

The Exercise also included Humanitarian and Civic Assistance activities, which began on March 26, prior to the opening of the exercises. Philippine and U.S. service members completed the construction of two classrooms and a daycare center in Plaridel, a classroom in Atimonan, and a health clinic in Mauban, all of Quezon Province.

The AFP assured that health and safety protocols were strictly followed during the conduct of the exercise.

“The 36th Balikatan Exercise brought together AFP and U.S. Armed Forces amidst the challenge of a never-before-experienced health emergency. Our participants greatly benefitted from trainings, exchange of knowledge, and cooperative activities aimed at better enhancing our capabilities,” Arevalo said.

“Balikatan showcases the strength and resolve of the Philippine-U.S. alliance. These exercises demonstrate and improve our ability to jointly respond to crises. But training is never over. We will continue to advance our military-to-military partnership in pursuit of our shared commitment to mutual defense in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law, who was also present during the closing ceremony.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, on the other hand, recognized the continuous commitment to the longstanding alliance of the Philippines and the U.S. government.

“Allow me to convey my gratitude to the U.S. Government, represented here by Mr. John Law, for its unwavering support to this annual exercise. I am likewise grateful for your constant and continued assurance of the ironclad commitment to our Mutual Defense Treaty,” he said.

Balikatan, which means “shoulder-to-shoulder” in Filipino, embodies the alliance and friendship between the Philippines and the United States.

The exercise officially opened on April 12 and was conducted in Northern and Southern Luzon for two weeks.

Chauvin guilty of all 3 charges over Floyd’s death

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted on three charges over the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin was convicted by a United States (US) jury on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin was the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes on May 25, 2020.

Someone took a video that went viral globally. The video sparked a worldwide protest against racism and the use of brutal force by police authorities.

Floyd was apprehended by Chauvin and other police officers on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis.

Floyd physically resisted and was handcuffed. Chauvin used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes. Floyd was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Chauvin will remain in police custody to await his sentence. He may face several decades in prison for the charges. AAC (with reports from Klarenz Shaughnessy)

OFWs in South Korea given one-year extension of stay

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in South Korea who are under the Employment Permit System (EPS) and whose contract term expires within the period April 13, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021 are given an extension of stay to one more year.

The policy, which took effect April 13, allows foreign workers to remain in the country given the prevailing condition brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Labor Attaché Maya Valderrama of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Korea in a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the said issuance from South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is in line with the relevant amendment to the Act on Employment of Foreign Workers.

The issuance provides that the stay and employment period of foreign workers (E-9 and H-2) under the EPS and whose employment period (three years or four years and 10 months) expires from April 13 to December 31, 2021 is extended for one year.

Valderrama said the Korean government expects this measure will resolve the difficulties of workers entering and leaving the country during the pandemic.

This will also help in the manpower shortage of small and medium-sized companies.

Bello thanked the Seoul government for the move that will benefit hundreds of workers in Korea.

“We welcome this unprecedented employment measure extended by the Republic of Korea (ROK) to our EPS workers especially during this time of the pandemic. The preservation of jobs of our OFWs everywhere in the world is our primordial concern, and this development highlights the value of our 15 years of continuing bilateral cooperation on labor with the ROK,” Bello said in a news release on Sunday.

The extension period of stay and employment also applies to EPS workers who have been given a 50-day visa extension by ROK’s authorities, provided that the extended period also falls within the period April 13 to December 31, 2021.

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