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August 25, 2016

North Korea fires balistic missile from submarine

North Korea fires balistic missile from submarine

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

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North Korea test fired a ballistic missile from a submarine yesterday, which landed in the Sea of Japan after travelling approximately 500 km (about 300 miles), according to officials of South Korea and the US.

File photo of a North Korean soldier.
Image: Staff Sgt. Bryanna Poulin.

The missile was fired from a submarine off North Korea’s east coast near Sinpo, officials said, and was reportedly North Korea’s first successful launch after missiles only traveled a small distance in previous tests. The South Korean military accused the North Korean government of using the test to increase military tension during the annual South Korean–US joint military drills, which involve 80,000 South Korean and US troops. North Korea has threatened a preemptive nuclear strike saying the drills were practice for an invasion.

This came on the same day as a meeting between the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea where, according to Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, they “urge[d] North Korea to exercise self-restraint regarding its provocative action, and to observe the UN Security Council‘s resolutions”. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the test’s intrusion into Japan’s air defense identification zone “a grave threat to our country’s security.”


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February 8, 2016

North Korea launches long-range missile

North Korea launches long-range missile – Wikinews, the free news source

North Korea launches long-range missile

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Monday, February 8, 2016

The South Korean defense ministry said North Korea launched a long-range missile yesterday.

North Korea had announced a plan to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for a terrestrial observation satellite launch between February 8 and 25. North Korean state media reported the satellite launch was successful and was ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with more plans to launch satellites.

The launch occurred at 09:31am local time (0031 UTC) and was detected by a South Korean warship, according to ministry spokesman Moon Sang Gyun. Nations including Japan and South Korea considered the launch a disguised ballistic missile test. Japan, South Korea, and the United States condemned the launch and called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to be held in New York yesterday at 11:00am local time (1600 UTC).

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe called the launch “unacceptable” and said, “We will take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people”. South Korean President Park Geun-hye also called the launch “unacceptable” and a “challenge to world peace”. Japanese public broadcaster NHK said the rocket passed in Japanese airspace over Okinawa without provoking use of anti-ballistic missiles.

North Korea claimed in January to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.



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December 2, 2015

Investigators blame pilot error for AirAsia crash into Java Sea

Investigators blame pilot error for AirAsia crash into Java Sea

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee yesterday declared pilot error to be behind the crash of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501. All 162 passengers and crew died when the plane crashed into the Java Sea a year ago.

The crashed aircraft, photographed in April 2014.
Image: Oka Sudiatmika.

The Airbus A320-200 was around 40 minutes from Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport to Singapore’s Changi International Airport when it vanished on December 28. Wreckage and bodies were found floating two days later; National Search and Rescue Agency divers led an international recovery effort but over 50 bodies remain lost.

The pilots were facing a fault with the rudder travel limiter, a part involved in rudder control. They repeatedly received warnings on their Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) system. The first three times Indonesian Pilot Iriyanto and French co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel followed correct procedure only for the fault to recur. The fourth time, they tried something else — based on Flight Data Recorder readouts, investigators believe they reset power to their Flight Augmentation Computers.

The computers are principally responsible for rudder control and aircraft stability. With both computers switched off, the entire fly-by-wire system of semi-automation disconnected, as did the autopilot and autothrust systems. The pilots were now left to fly entirely manually, without automation that protects the aircraft from entering unusual and dangerous positions.

A miscommunication followed. Iriyanto asked Plesel, who was flying, to “pull down”. Plesel pulled the controls down, which pitched the nose up; Iriyanto had wanted to descend. The flight ascended without permission through 36,000ft with a ground speed of 353knts. The aircraft would normally be travelling faster, with a nearby Emirates jet at a ground speed of 503knts at 36,000ft. The aircraft also banked as the disengagement of automation left the rudder off-centre.

A ship carries the aircraft’s recovered tail.
Image: Antonio P. Turretto Ramos, US Navy.

The AirAsia flight reached 38,000ft and entered a stall. The crew did not manage to regain control. The 155 passengers and seven crew died when the plane hit the sea. Most were Indonesians, but for three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one Brit, and French national Plesel.

The fault was traced to cracked solder on a circuit board. It had repeatedly occurred in the weeks before the crash. The investigation concluded maintenance failings contributed to the disaster, but Muhammad Alwi of the Indonesian Transportation Ministry said “Repeated trouble in maintenance is a normal thing[…] If the trouble is fixed in accordance with the manual maintenance procedures, then it’s alright”.

Investigators believe the solder crack is attributable to extreme temperature changes in the unprotected compartment near the tail that houses the component.

The investigation further found the flight crew were untrained in recovering from extreme events. AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes said yesterday “there is much to be learned here for AirAsia, the manufacturer and the aviation industry… We will not leave any stone unturned to make sure the industry learns from this tragic incident”.

The report also dismisses weather as a contributory factor. The flight was diverting around storms in the area.

Iriyanto and Plessel had over 8,000 hours experience between them. Iriyanto had a decade of experience training other pilots, and previous employers include the air force. They spent three minutes struggling to regain control as the pane fell to the sea. Some bodies were recovered around 1,000km away near Sulawesi.

AFP spoke to Terence Fan, an air industry expert from Singapore Management University, who said “It’s a scenario that has played out in air accidents in the past[…] Pilots are either distracted by a faulty equipment or cannot properly solve the issue and something else is brewing in the background.”

One such accident was the loss of Air France Flight 447 in 2009 into the Atlantic. It was investigated by the BEA of France, which also assisted the AirAsia probe. The BEA issued recommendations on how to train pilots after the Air France crash. Ex-BEA boss Jean-Paul Troadec said to AFP “Several recommendations of the (BEA) on the subject of pilot training were clearly not implemented by [AirAsia].”

Indonesia saw such an accident on New Years’ Day 2007 when Adam Air Flight 574 crashed into the Makasser Strait near Sulawesi. The plane suffered a failure on a navigational instrument. While pilots were troubleshooting for this navigational system they first unintentionally disconnected the autopilot, then lost control and crashed into the sea.



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August 21, 2015

North Korea puts military in \’quasi-state of war\’

North Korea puts military in ‘quasi-state of war’

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Friday, August 21, 2015

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According to Yonhap news agency, quoting North Korea‘s main news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the country’s military has been placed on high alert and has been told to prepare a “quasi-state of war”. The report comes after North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire yesterday.

“War maniacs of the South Korean puppet military made another grave provocation to the DPRK in the central western sector of the front on Thursday afternoon. They perpetrated such reckless action as firing 36 shells at KPA civil police posts under the absurd pretext that the KPA fired one shell at the south side. Six shells of them hit the area near KPA civil police posts 542 and 543 and other 15 shells fell near KPA civil police posts 250 and 251,” said KCNA. “Foolhardy provocation deserves harsh punishment,” it added; and, later, “Kim Jong-un issued an order of the supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] that the front-line large combined units of the KPA should enter a wartime state to be fully battle ready to launch surprise operations.”

Yesterday, North Korea fired artillery rounds aimed at a loudspeaker in South Korea that broadcasts anti-Pyongyang propaganda into the North. “Commanders of the Korean People’s Army were hastily dispatched to the front-line troops to command military operations to destroy psychological warfare tools if the enemy does not stop the propaganda broadcast within 48 hours and prepare against the enemy’s possible counteractions,” added KCNA.

No injuries or deaths were reported in the attacks from either side, but South Korea evacuated about 80 people in the town of Yeoncheon after at least one shell landed near the area. The South retaliated by firing dozens of rounds of artillery into the north.

South Korea had recently started to broadcast propaganda from loudspeakers after an 11-year lull. The broadcasts began on August 10 and South Korea says the broadcasts will continue. After the exchange of fire, North Korea stated it would attack any loudspeakers broadcasting propaganda and would respond, militarily, within 48 hours if the broadcasts do not stop.

Both countries have put their militaries on high levels of alert.



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February 8, 2015

Divers retrieve 100th corpse from Java Sea jet crash

Divers retrieve 100th corpse from Java Sea jet crash

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

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Divers yesterday recovered three bodies from December’s air disaster in the Java Sea. Added to four retrieved on Friday, they bring the total to 100. An additional 62 victims remain to be recovered.

The crashed aircraft, photographed in April.
Image: Oka Sudiatmika.

There were no survivors when Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed on December 28. The six-year-old Airbus A320-200 was 40 minutes from Juanda International Airport with 155 passengers and seven crew, bound for Singapore’s Changi International Airport. Most were Indonesians, with three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one Brit and one French person on board.

One of the latest bodies was a uniformed man strapped into a cockpit seat, and presumed to be either Indonesian Pilot Iriyanto or French co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel. Underwater currents have complicated recovery of the other body from the cockpit. Efforts to retrieve the entire aircraft last month were abandoned. Some bodies have been found roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the crash site, floating near Sulawesi.

Iriyanto and Plessel had over 8,000 hours experience between them. Iriyanto has a decade of experience training other pilots, and previous employers include the air force. Their actions have come under scrutiny as the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) investigates.

A ship carries the aircraft’s recovered tail.
Image: Antonio P. Turretto Ramos, US Navy.

The aircraft entered an excessively steep climb before stalling, the NTSC said last month. It took three minutes for the plane to reach the water, during which time the flight crew tried to regain control. Bloomberg claims the flight crew switched off computers designed to aid them after they issued alerts. AirAsia has declined to comment pending the NTSC investigation, which is expected to continue for several months.

The Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics suggests weather caused the disaster, suggesting ice led to engine failure. NTSC head investigator Marjono Siswosuwarno last month reported satellite data showed storms as high as 44,000ft. The plane was attempting to avoid storms in the minutes before contact was lost.

The National Search and Rescue Agency has over 60 divers working to retrieve the bodies.



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September 23, 2014

Tropical storm Fung-wong makes landfall in Eastern China

Tropical storm Fung-wong makes landfall in Eastern China

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fung-wong on September 20th approaching Taiwan.
Image: NASA.

Tropical Storm Fung-wong made landfall in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China, at about 7:35 p.m local time (1135 UTC) yesterday, bringing with it reportedly 100kph (60mph) winds and heavy rains.

China prepared for the storms by recalling nearly 33,000 ships and boats to port, and the preemptive evacuation of over 250,000 people from vulnerable areas. Fung-Wong was moving inland, northwards and eastwards, and as it did so wind speeds and the possibility of wind damage should diminish however it should continue to present a flooding risk. The storm was expected to hit Shanghai today, and around 100,000 people were placed on standby to deal with possible flooding. Fung-wong should also lead to heavy rain in Japan and South Korea bringing with it the threat of flash floods.

Prior to hitting China, Fung-wong had previously landed in Taiwan and the Philippines, leading directly to one death in Taiwan. Philippine officials said flooding and strong winds caused a minimum of ten deaths in the Philippines, with about 200,000 people displaced from their homes.



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March 10, 2014

Wheelchair curling enters third day at 2014 Winter Paralympics

Wheelchair curling enters third day at 2014 Winter Paralympics

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Monday, March 10, 2014

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Wheelchair curling continued today at the Ice Cube Curling Center at the 2014 Winter Paralympics on difficult playing conditions as a result of the warm temperature outside. In the morning session, the South Korea lost to Russia in the eighth end by a score of 5–7, the United States lost to Canada 2–7 in seven ends, Norway edged out Finland 6–8 in extra ends, and China defeated Sweden 8–4 in seven ends.

At the conclusion of the morning session, round robin standing had Canada in first with 4 wins; Slovakia in second with 3 wins; Russia in third with 3 wins and 1 loss; Great Britain in fourth with 2 wins and 1 loss; China and Norway in fifth with 2 wins and 2 losses; South Korea, Sweden, and the United States in seventh place with 1 win and 3 losses; and Finland last with 4 losses.

Finland and Norway were evenly matched, going point for point in the first pair of ends, trading 2 points each in the next pair of ends, then Norway scored 2 points and 1 point in the next ends with Finland answering back. Tied after eight ends, they went to extra ends which Norway won with 2 points.

Outpacing other curlers on the ice, United States looked like they might be able to come back to tie things after their second end against Canada, and then only being down one after the fourth end, but Canada went on to score points in the next three ends.

While Sweden won three of the seven ends they played against China, they were unable to beat the Chinese team who scored 2 points in two ends and 3 points in another end. In the fourth end, the 3 points came after a precision takeout by the Chinese skip Wang Haitao that cleared two Swedish stones off the sheet.

With the crowd behind them the entire match, Russia came from behind after the first end and third end to tie things up in the fifth end and take the lead. They allowed the South Koreans to score two points in the seventh end to force an eighth end. Russian skip Andrei Smirnov cleared a South Korean stone sitting in front of three Russian stones off the sheet that gave the Russians a two point lead.

The United States has not medaled at the past two Paraympic Games, with their best finish a fourth at the 2010 Games. Of the United States’s curling team, two are returning wheelchair curling Paralympic veterans. James Joseph, the second, competed at the 2006 Winter Paralympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics. The skip and Madison, Wisconsin native, Patrick McDonald, competed at the 2010 Games. Penny Greely, the lead, competed in sitting volleyball at the 2004 Summer Paralympics where she won a bronze medal. David Palmer, the third, is competing at his first games after having a fourth place finish at the 2013 World Championships in Russia and a fifth place finish at the 2012 World Championships in South Korea. Alternate and Cape Cod native Meghan Lino is also at her first Paralympic Games after taking up the sport in 2009.

Sweden’s team has three team members who competed at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada: Jalle Jungnell, Glenn Ikonen, and Patrik Kallin. 60 year old Jungnell has the team’s most Paralympic experience, having competed at the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Summer Paralympics in wheelchair basketball, as well as competing at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Paralympics in wheelchair curling. Finnish born Ikonen had been suspended for six months following the Vancouver Games following a positive doping test. He claimed metroprolol was a drug he had been using for 4 or 5 years, and was unhappy that his doctor prescribed the blood pressure reducing drug because he would not have intentionally taken a banned substance.

The 2014 Games are the first Paralympics for Russia’s wheelchair curling team. Alternate Oksana Slesarenko from Yekaterinburg and skip Andrei Smirnov also from Yekaterinburg have the most experience on the team, both having taken up the sport in 2003, and competing at the 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013 World Championships.

Team Canada includes all five members of their 2013 World Championship winning team, including 63-year-old skip Jim Armstrong, 51-year-old Dennis John Thiessen, 52-year-old Ina Forrest, 47-year-old Sonja Gaudet, and 37-year-old Mark Ideson. Gaudet is the only wheelchair curling Paralympian with two gold medals, having won them in 2006 and 2010. Teammates Armstrong and Thiessen were part of the 2010 gold medal winning team. Gaudet also has gold medals from the 2009, 2011, and 2013 World Championships. While Armstrong was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1990 for his accomplishments in able bodied curling, Gaudet was the first wheelchair-only curler to be inducted when she was part of the 2013 class.

South Korea has two returning 2010 Games silver medalists, Kang Mi-Suk and Kim Myung-Jin. Both originally played other sports before taking up curling. Kang played table tennis and Kim played wheelchair basketball.

On Saturday, Russia beat China 5–4, South Korea lost to Norway 0–10, Canada beat Great Britain 6–3, and Slovakia defeated the United States 6–4 in the morning session. Sweden beat Finland 7–6, Canada beat Russia 5–4, the United States lost to South Korea 5–9, and Norway lost to China 3–7. In the morning session yesterday, the United States defeated Norway 8–5, Sweden lost to Great Britain by a score of 4–6, China lost to Slovakia 3–8, and Finland lost to Russia 4–7. In the afternoon session yesterday, Canada defeated Sweden 7–4, Finland lost to Slovakia 6–9, and Great Britain beat South Korea by a score of 8–4.

Unlike able-bodied curling, players release the stone from a stationary position and there is no sweeping. Another curler often sits behind the stone thrower to hold their chair in place while they execute their throw. Unlike a number of other Paralympic sports, there is only one classification in wheelchair curling and a variety of lower body disabilities compete in the sport. South Koreans Kim Myung-Jin and Kim Jong-Pan, Swede Kristina Ulander, Team USA’s Meghan Lino, Patrick McDonald, and David Palmer, and Russians Alexander Shevchenko, Svetlana Pakhomova, Oksana Slesarenko, Andrei Smirnov, and Marat Romanov have spinal cord injuries. Canadian Jim Armstrong has injured knees. Canadian Ina Forrest lost her leg in a farming accident. Team USA’s James Joseph has a limb deficiency.

Sochi Wheelchair Curling 3.jpg Team USA confers on a shot
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi Wheelchair Curling 4.jpg The Russian team confers on a shot
Image: Laura Hale.

Sochi Wheelchair Curling 5.jpg Finland and Norway congratulate eachother following the conclusion of their game
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi Wheelchair Curling 1.jpg Team USA fans watching the matches
Image: Laura Hale.
Sochi Wheelchair Curling 2.jpg Bagpipers playing before the start of wheelchair curling
Image: Laura Hale.



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February 27, 2014

Wikinews Shorts: February 27, 2014

Wikinews Shorts: February 27, 2014 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: February 27, 2014

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, February 27, 2014.

Asiana Airlines fined US$500K for not helping families after crash

Smoke billows from the wreckage after the crash last year.
Image: Jkhoo.

South Korea-based Asiana Airlines was fined US$500,000 on Tuesday by the United States Department of Transportation for failing to provide support for victims’ families after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco airport in July 2013. Foreign airlines are to abide by a federal law called the “family assistance plan”. The law states an airline must promptly assist and provide a toll-free number for calls from the passengers’ families. It took the airline five days to contact the 291 families of the passengers aboard.

Of 307 on board, three Chinese teens died and over 200 people were injured. The jet hit a seawall on approach, tearing the rear of the plane off, and throwing three flight attendants onto the runway.

Sources



US prepares to withdrawal troops from Afghanistan

United States President Barack Obama has ordered the Pentagon to make plans to pull all the nation’s troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The Obama administration notified Afghan president Hamid Karzai that it would prefer to keep a residual military presence in Afghanistan for training and counterterrorism missions, but Karzai is refusing to sign the agreement for some US forces to remain. Once NATO ends hostilities in November, a contingency plan for a full departure will begin.

US-Afghan relations have worsened over the past few months. Obama told Karzai the US will move forward with additional contingency planning if the bilateral agreement to maintain a US presence is not signed.

Sources



Killers of UK soldier sentenced

Drummer Lee Rigby, from an official portrait.
Image: UK Ministry of Defence.

After an attack in the London streets last year on British soldier Lee Rigby, two men were sentenced on Wednesday. The leader of the attack, Michael Adebolajo, was sentenced to life behind bars. Michael Adebowale was given a life sentence, but with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 45 years. In court, the two Islamic converts indicated the killing was for Allah.

Bystanders watched Adebolajo and Adebowale hit Rigby with a car then butcher him with a meat cleaver and knives. The attack was recorded on closed-circuit TV and by bystanders. Both men were convicted of murder in December 2013.

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December 17, 2013

Wikinews interviews former Matilda\’s player Sarah Walsh about Australian women\’s soccer

Wikinews interviews former Matilda’s player Sarah Walsh about Australian women’s soccer

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Earlier this week, Wikinews interviewed Sarah Walsh, a former Australian women’s national soccer team (Matilidas) player, about women’s football in the country.

The Australian women’s team is currently ranked ninth by FIFA, down one spot from the previous quarter when they were tied at eighth with the North Korea women’s national football team. Meanwhile, Australia’s men (Socceroos) are currently ranked 59th in the world, between the Burkina Faso and Slovakia national football team. Walsh retired from the national team in September of last year, after scoring 32 goals in 71 appearances. She was on Matildas side that qualified for the World Cup for the first time while playing in the Asian Football Confederation instead of the Oceania Football Confederation. She also played in two World Cup quarter-finals for the team. Playing in Australia’s top level domestic league, the W-League, she won the league championship in 2009. She retired from the league this year. Walsh played professionally in the United States for Sky Blue FC and Saint Louis Athletica.

Sarah Walsh playing for the Matilidas against Italy in a friendly international in 2009.
Image: Camw.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: The Socceroos are ranked 59th by FIFA. The Matildas are ranked 8th by FIFA in the latest rankings. Should media coverage correlate to team performance and internationally rankings? Is there an element of tall poppy syndrome in the coverage of the Socceros? What other factors can be used to explain the relative differences in media attention other than performance?

Sarah Walsh: Traditionally in Australia, male sports have dominated media coverage. Slowly we are seeing women’s sports feature more frequently in mainstream media publications. There is a growing interest in women’s sports, especially women’s national teams in general here in Australia. With time, the public will be exposed to more female sports on a daily basis and perhaps will build the same affections for these female sports. As a teenager, I was exposed to NRL living in Sydney, so naturally I have a strong interest in this game along with football (soccer). Young female teenagers today, have the option to turn the TV on and watch the W-league and follow their heroes. I believe in 5–10 years’ time we will see a cultural change with regards to media coverage and gender bias.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What’s the difference in style of play between the men and women’s national teams?

Sarah Walsh: Men
They appear to play a possession-based game working at effective possession combined with a developing system of pressing using our natural athleticism and high work rate as well as our cultural mental strength.
Sarah Walsh: Women
The women seem to employ a more defensive and well organized “block” making it hard for teams to play through particularly in the middle and our back thirds utilizing transitional moments (BPO – BP) to good effect with quick attacks through the natural speed of certain players.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why are the Matildas more successful in international competitions and ranking wise than the Socceroos?

Sarah Walsh: There could be a number of contributing factors. One in particular could be dues to financial reasons. Given there is more financial support for men’s national teams globally in general, I believe the competition across the board is more extensive. Due to this, there are more teams that compete at a higher level, so effectively this would make it difficult for the Socceroos to reach the same ranking as Matildas.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why do you think men don’t watch the Matildas in the same numbers as they watch the Socceroos?

Sarah Walsh: Answer similar to question 1.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Does the media feed into traditional Australian gender stereotypes by not covering elite women’s sports?

Sarah Walsh: Similar to question 1.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What is your role in sports? Journalist? Academic? Sport administrator? Player? Please provide one to two sentence biography to contextualize your answers.

Sarah Walsh: I started playing football at 5 years of age. I made my debut for the Matildas at 21 (2004–2012) I have spent the past two years working in community football at FFA delivering a Drug and Alcohol program. I am currently the Women’s Football Coordinator and Female Elite Player mentor at FFA. Actually on wikipedia if you would like to cut and paste all that info!



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October 6, 2013

Wikinews interviews specialists on South Korea military parade

Wikinews interviews specialists on South Korea military parade

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

File photo of South Korean military troops.
Image: US Military.

On Tuesday, South Korea staged a huge military parade to mark its armed forces’ 65th anniversary in a display of long-range missiles considered a direct threat to North Korea. 11,000 troops and 190 different weapons systems were on display in the parade. Wikinews interviewed several specialists about the parade’s possible significance.

Interviewees

Wikinews interviewed:

  • Robert Kelly, Associate Professor of International Relations Pusan National University (PNU) in South Korea
  • Margaret Kosal, Assistant Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Gari Ledyard, Professor Emeritus of Korean Studies at Columbia University, New York
  • Sue Mi Terry, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University in New York
  • Young-hae Chi, Instructor in Korean at the University of Oxford, England
  • Seungkwon You, Associate Teaching Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Missouri

Wikinews Q&A

File:Robert Kelly File Photo.JPG

File photo of interviewee Robert Kelly.
Image: Robert Kelly.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is your job role?

Kelly: I am a Professor of International Relations at PNU.
Kosal: I am an Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, more commonly known as “Georgia Tech.” I also direct the Emerging Technology and Security Program and the Biological and Chemical Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism Program.
Ledyard: I retired from my professorship at Columbia thirteen years ago; since then I’ve had no role. When I was active there since 1964, I taught Korean history and culture, emphasizing the traditional periods of Korea’s earlier history. In those years I wrote a few articles on contemporary political issues but my research has been almost all in Korea’s past.
Terry: I am a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute.
Chi: I have been teaching Korean studies at Oxford University. I am specialized in international relations of the Far East and particularly North Korean human rights and refugee issues. I worked as an analyst of security issues at the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses in Seoul between 1983 and 1988 authoring a number of policy papers for the South Korean Government.
You: Associate Teaching Professor of Korean Studies teaching Korean Unification, Korean film, Korean society [at the University of Missouri].

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is the display of cruise missiles and other weapons in a military parade by South Korea in direct response to repeated similar North Korean parades?

Kelly: Yes. I don’t actually think these sorts of demonstrations are proper in a democracy. Liberal states should not really be flashing their hardware in a strutting, provocative way like this. This is the sort of thing Putin would do. But SK’s [South Korea’s] case is rather exceptional. NK [North Korea] tries pretty regularly to bully SK, and as its nuclear and missile programs advance, SK deterrence become ever more important. So parades like this are a way of SK saying ‘don’t mess with us even though you have nukes.’

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye with United States President Barack Obama.
Image: White House.

Kosal: The “display” was multi-functional. It shows the modern, indigenous conventional military capabilities of the South Korean forces. It was also to credibly communicate — literally show to the North — possession of an adequate deterrent force, a force that is both capable and credible. The underlying capacity supports the newly announced bilateral tailored deterrence strategy between South Korea and the United States. The military parade served to transparently show, in a largely passive/non-offensive/non-reactionary way, the capacity to follow through on that strategy that is directed at North Korea’s offensive nuclear weapons, offensive chemical weapons, and offensive biological weapons programs rather than a more general deterrence strategy. There is much more to a tailored deterrence strategy, but that is one part of it. The specific declaratory policy highlights South Korea’s responsibility to “continue to build reliable inter-operable response capabilities and to develop the Korean Air and Missile Defense system.” These are largely passive defense measures to minimize the effects of a North Korean offensive attack and to reduce vulnerability of South Korean forces and civilians. It’s part of the overall strategic defense posture.
While not commonly observed in the US, parades like this are not atypical for East Asia, particularly in conjunction with significant anniversaries. In this case, the parade also marked the 65th anniversary of the Republic of Korea [South Korea] Armed Forces. In addition to the international visibility, it also serves South Korean domestic politics and advances South Korean President Park Geun-hye‘s own strong national security policies.
Ledyard: It could very well be, but I have no knowledge regarding it. It has long been routine for both Koreas to compete in the headlines.
Terry: President Park is trying to make it clear to the North that this time, under her watch, Seoul is now serious about responding to future provocations by the North. South Korea’s display of its missiles is meant to deter the North, to show the North that any provocation in the future would be met with strong retaliation.
Chi: The institution of the military parade has been a regular feature of the Armed Forces’ Day celebration in South Korea. Yet the display of the cruise missiles in the recent parade is designed to achieve specific purposes. One is obviously targeting at the North Korean regime as a warning for possible pre-emptive strikes on their conventional and nuclear missile sites. The other target is South Korean citizens who have been increasingly agitated about the possession of WMDs by its Northern counterpart and want to see some guarantee from their own government. Hence the parade is not only for displaying its military capabilities to its enemies but it is also playing a psychological game with its own people. Yet, Hyunmoo-3c, one of the cruise missiles displayed in the event, signals that the South Korean government’s perspective is no longer limited to the Korean peninsula. Hyunmoo-3c’s range of 1,500 km indicates that the Korean military oversees the entire Northeast Asian region as its strategic theatre. Such a wide strategic thinking is also behind the planned construction of the naval base in Jeju Island.
You: Not direct response. However, this parade has not been done for many years and resumed this year indicating [the] Park government would not tolerate any hostile action by North Korea.

File photo of interviewee Young-hae Chi.
Image: Young-hae Chi.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, has warned of a “very grave” threat posed by North Korea. Would a military parade like this be more likely to encourage hostile behaviour?

Kelly: Not really, because NK already engages in so much hostile behavior it is hard to know how much more restraint SK show. My own sense is that SK demonstrates remarkable forbearance in the face of NK threats. If one thinks of how, e.g., the US or Israel would respond to such threats, SK looks downright gentle. So SK needs to signal both that it does not seek escalation, but also that it cannot be bullied. It’s a tough balancing act, and this parade is to send that second message.
Kosal: Not necessarily. North Korean behavior is difficult to predict with any fidelity. The military parade, while it shows potential capacity, is a fundamentally passive (rather than active or reactive) form of behavior. Reinforces a consistent posture by the South Koreans and the US.
Ledyard: There is a sixty-year history of such back-and-forth with an impressive absence of active military conflict. It’s tit for tat, and both sides either maintain the balance or one or the other loses face. It would take much more than a parade for actual conflict to erupt.
Terry: No, not in the long run although this kind of a military parade might provoke temporary, short-term hostile behavior by the North. The North has never been ideological or suicidal. Its chief goal always has been regime survival. It knows if a war were to break out, it will definitively lose to South Korea.
Chi: The South Korean government has been implementing military parades since 1956, and as such it is unlikely to encourage or discourage hostile behaviour.
You: Could be. North Korea already criticized [the] Park government about the recent parade and very bold move by the Park Government in negotiating family reunion and resuming of Diamond Mountains. However, I do not believe that North Korea will take any hostile action since the US Secretary of State, Kerry, is proposing North Korea a peaceful dialogue.

File photo of interviewee Margaret Kosal.
Image: Margaret Kosal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Does the presence of US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel to this military parade show a further strengthening in the US–South Korea alliance?

Kelly: It does, but the Secretary’s presence is more for the optics than substance. The US–Korean alliance was substantially strengthened about 4 years ago by the previous SK president. This is just a refresher that looks good on TV.
Kosal: Secretary of Defense Hagel’s presence, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, shows the commitment of the United States to support its ally. The United States remains committed to the transfer of operational control (OPCON) to the South Koreans for general defense of South Korea. The US is also strongly committed to limiting proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Their presence reinforces that to the North Koreans as well as to the international community.
Ledyard: It is simple routine in the USA–ROK alliance. South Koreans depend on it and the US takes care to show support.
Terry: Yes, it further showcases the depth of Washington‘s support for South Korea against any provocation from Pyongyang.
Chi: Certainly he is there to add symbolic strength to the alliance which tended to be weakened until recently. Behind his presence is the recent agreement to reconsider the planed transfer of the war-time operation control from the UN/US to the Korean army.
You: US–South Korea alliance is strong but it is a bit more complicated since [the] US is supporting Japan in arming in naval forces to check China, which is a great concern for South Korea and [the] South Korean people. This might cause some issues in US–South Korea alliance.

File photo of interviewee Gari Ledyard.
Image: Gari Ledyard.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png North Korea’s rhetoric vows the repeated bolstering of its nuclear arsenal to what it calls US military threats. Do you think a military parade of this type backed by the US is likely to influence further hostility?

Kelly: No, because NK must be permanently hostile toward the US and SK anyway. NK has no reason to exist as a separate, poorer Korean state, just as the GDR [East Germany] had no post-cold war reason to exist, unless SK and the US can be regularly described as the enemy. So NK doesn’t want a war, but they certainly don’t want a warm peace, as then NK then loses its raison d’etre.
Kosal: No, North Korea and its leadership are responsible for its choices, which are the primary source of instability on the Korean peninsula with potential regional effects.
Ledyard: The “military threats” are more a reflection of North Korea’s fears than any concrete threats. They are more for internal DPRK [North Korea] efforts to keep its own population in tune with government policies.
Terry: No. I think it’s important to remember Pyongyang’s periodic provocations and its pursuit of nuclear arsenal are not reactions or self-defense measures against a threatening Seoul or Washington. Incapable of competing with economically flourishing South Korea, the North relies on bolstering its nuclear arsenal and on military and political brinkmanship to make up ground.
Chi: The two Koreas do the military parade almost routinely. South Korea will have a similar parade again when there is a new government in five years. It is unlikely the kind of parade to influence further hostility.
You: No, this is just symbolic. As a matter of fact, North Korea is very anxious to escape from the current gridlock and [the] US and South Korea do not give them plenty of reasons to go to the negotiating table.

File photo of interviewee Sue Mi Terry.
Image: Sue Mi Terry.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think it is likely that North and South Korea may at some point in the near future be engaged in direct military action with each other?

Kelly: Minor skirmishes are possible, indeed likely, given the border confusion in the Yellow Sea. But a major conflict is highly unlikely, no matter what bluster comes from NK. The NKs would lose such a war, decisively in fact, and the NK elite would face the hangman in the South afterward. NK is much too far behind to win. So full-scale conflict is very unlikely.
Kosal: I hope not.
Ledyard: No. A year or two ago there was a naval incident that occurred in the West Sea, but both sides separated quickly, although the North shelled an island claimed by both the DPRK and the ROK. Neither side has anything to gain from any such incident.
Terry: The North’s latest tactic — to return to diplomacy after provoking Seoul and Washington earlier this year — does not mean that the North has abandoned its timeworn brinkmanship strategy nor that it has shifted its nuclear policy. The North is likely to pursue more aggressive action down the road, attempting to ratchet up another sense of crisis, if it determines that its current peace ploy is not getting the concessions it seeks from Seoul. But while the North may provoke Seoul again with border skirmishes, or another missile or nuclear test, I think it will avoid direct military action with Seoul that will escalate to an all-out conflict. Again, Pyongyang will not risk outright hostilities that will lead to an all-out war.
Chi: You can never exclude possible exchanges of military actions within a limited range. At the time of North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island in November 2011, the South Korean Government made an official pledge to retaliate against any future military actions by North Korea. The government will face grave political consequences if it fails to live up to its own words. There is always a possibility of direct military actions but they will be more or less contained to a local level.
You: No, I would not think so. North Korea is more desperate to engage in a dialogue with South Korea and [the] US but they look for justification to go to the table. However, [the] Park government and US would not be simply welcoming them to the negotiating table. When they negotiate, they would be not generous or lenient to take all the North Korean offers.

A KPAF Ilyushin Il-76MD strategic airlifter in the mid-2000s, in Air Koryo markings.
Image: Regis Sibille.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png This parade has been described as an Anti-North deterrence, do you think this will act as such?

Kelly: Yes. NK is moving more rapidly toward nuclearization and missilization than many had expected. NK pretty clearly has no intention of de-nuclearizing. That is simply not going to happen no matter how many SK and US political figures demand it. So now, SK must show that it can keep up and match, if not outrace, the NKs. This is why there is so much focus now on SK missile and BMD capabilities.
Kosal: Yes.
Ledyard: Again, nearly sixty years of history supports the view that neither side has any interest in actual military conflict.
Terry: To some degree, yes. It’s good to remind the North of Seoul’s capabilities, although as I said before, Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather before him, already knows any all-out conflict would result in the destruction of his regime.
Chi: South Korea’s possession of cruise missiles and other advanced technology such as drones had been an open secret. There is nothing new about this parade, hence little deterrence effect added to the existing military posture.
You: No, it would not act as such. Rather, it has domestic purpose to draw [the] South Korean public to concern more about South Korean military and national security in general. For the past decade, [the] South Korean public have been very critical of the role of military in society. Certainly, the Park government wants to rectify it.



Sources

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