SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – India has accused China of dispatching soldiers far into its territory in the western part of the Ladakh region of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Indian Defense Secretary Shashikant Sharma and other military officials said in a report, which was presented to a parliamentary watchdog on Friday, that Chinese troops advanced nearly 19 kilometers into Indian territory on April 15, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
The Indian defense secretary also told MPs attending the meeting that New Delhi has deployed troops in the disputed region to “keep a close watch on the border.”
"The officials told the committee that Indian army patrols reported on April 16 the presence of Chinese People's Liberation Army pitching tents 19 kilometers inside the LAC (Line of Actual Control)," PTI quoted a source as saying.
The LAC is the de facto boundary between China and India that runs across the Himalayas.
On Thursday, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said he would visit China on May 8, adding that New Delhi and Beijing had a mutual interest in not allowing the row to "destroy" long-term progress in relations.
Meanwhile, an Indian Foreign Ministry official stated on Friday that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang would travel to New Delhi in late May.
Talks between the two countries have so far failed to resolve the dispute in the western part of the Ladakh region of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Indian officials claimed that a platoon of Chinese troops set up a camp inside Indian territory on April 15.
India demanded the Chinese soldiers pull out, but several meetings between local army commanders and diplomats from both sides have failed to break the impasse. China has denied any wrongdoing.
India and China have had uneasy relations since 1962, when they fought a war in the Himalayan regions of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
China claims about 90,000 square kilometers of land in Arunachal Pradesh, but New Delhi says Beijing is occupying 38,000 square kilometers of Indian territory on the Aksai Chin plateau.
India and China have held 15 rounds of talks to resolve their border dispute since 1962 but have been unable to resolve the issue.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The brother of a Chinese activist whose escape from house arrest last year angered authorities says harassment of his family has intensified with his wife facing possible indictment and his home being pelted with stones and dead chickens.
Legal activist Chen Guangcheng fled to the U.S. Embassy last April, setting off a diplomatic crisis. Chinese authorities later allowed him to go to the U.S.
His brother, Chen Guangfu, said Thursday that authorities in Yinan county questioned his wife on suspicion of harboring a suspect.
The brother says harassment of his family has grown in recent weeks with dead chickens being hurled into his backyard and stones cast at his house, breaking windows and roof tiles. He says posters put up in his village call his family traitors.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Women hold up half the sky, China's Chairman Mao famously said. But in China, the one-child policy and the traditional preference for boys mean that 117 boys are born for every 100 baby girls. By one estimate, this means there could be 24 million Chinese men unable to find wives by the end of the decade.
As China's economy booms, the marriage market has become just that: a market, with new demands by women for apartments and cars.
Let's Make A Deal
It's Derek Wei's big day: his wedding day. He arrives at his bride's house early in the morning, knocking on the door accompanied by his groomsmen. It's locked, as tradition demands.
This wedding ritual, called chuangmen has resurfaced recently, along with other traditional practices like demands for a betrothal gift, sometimes known as "bride price."
"Red packets! Red packets!" shouts the niece of Lucy Wang, the bride, demanding the men stuff red packets full of money through the door.
"Not enough!" shouts the head bridesmaid, who wants more money before she'll open up. The women play along, complaining noisily about Wei's stinginess. This is the last in a series of financial transactions that accompanies this — and every Chinese — wedding.
"It's like a negotiation," Wei says. "What do you need to get married? What can I provide? When we reach a deal, we discuss: What does your family want? What does my family have to bargain with?"
Minutes tick slowly, and Wei is getting nervous they'll be late.
"I love you, wife!" he shouts, thumping the door. "Let me in!"
From the other side of the door, his future wife, Lucy Wang, demands a song. He complies, singing a soppy old-time love song to the closed wooden door, along with a groomsman who takes pity on him. The women giggle. But Wang's demands have been for more than just music.
Wang has an office job in Beijing, she's from Shanxi province. Wedding customs there demand the groom to give his future in-laws a big betrothal gift, traditionally known as the bride price. Wei handed over 68,888 yuan — an auspicious number — which is more than $11,000.
Wang, however, is not so impressed. "There are lots of coal mine owners where I come from, so they push the prices up," she explains. "In an ordinary family, the betrothal gift is about $10,000. To be honest, where I'm from, that's hardly anything."
Finally, the men lose patience and brace their shoulders against the door, noisily forcing their way into the room with battle cries.
Wei is on his knees. It's the first time he's seen his wife on their big day: He has a massive grin on his face and a bouquet of pink roses for Wang.
His first thought on hearing of the betrothal gift was pure fear. But his situation is very common. Most young men getting married in China today are expected to fork out, often providing an apartment, sometimes a car and a betrothal gift, too. Things were much easier when his parents got married four decades ago.
"My parent's wedding was very simple," Wei says wistfully. "You can't even imagine how simple it was. They had a bed, a cupboard, a bike and a sewing machine. That was China in the '70s."
That Was Then, This Is Now
And this is China in the 21st century. Weddings involve two photographers and a videographer and firecracker displays and MCs, as well as the financial negotiations leading up to the celebration.
Wang's former classmate, Frank Zhang, who got married 12 years ago, is the master of ceremony for their wedding. He's amazed at how much difference one decade has made in terms of wedding customs.
On his wedding day, Zhang and his new wife celebrated by inviting their friends home for a meal. He didn't give her an apartment or a car or any money.
And when she first met his parents, they gave her 888 yuan — another auspicious amount — or roughly $100 about one-hundredth of the bride price Wei paid. It's a sobering reminder of how the gender imbalance and new wealth is changing China.
For his part, Wei spent about one year's salary on the bride price and gold jewelry, which also formed part of Wang's betrothal gift. On top of that, he's expected to provide an apartment for his new wife; his parents' home is about to be demolished, and they'll get two new flats in compensation. Wei is counting on them to give him one as the marital home.
What Numbers Show
Nowadays, 70 percent of Chinese women believe a man should provide an apartment, along with a marriage offer, according to a 2011 survey. In economic terms, the relative scarcity of women is giving them bargaining power. These women's demands are making China's economy grow even faster.
"Rising sex ratios contribute to two percentage points of GDP growth," says Xiaobo Zhang, a professor of economics at Peking University, who also works at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
His studies have found that up to 25 percent of the growth in China's economy stems back to the effect of the rising sex ratio. Together with Shang-Jin Wei, from Columbia University, he's also found that 30 to 48 percent of the real estate appreciation in 35 major Chinese cities is directly linked to a man's need to acquire wealth — in the form of property — to attract a wife.
Zhang has found families with sons in areas with higher gender imbalances are more likely to be unhappy, and to have to work harder in order to be able to afford that all-important wedding gift — the apartment.
"In order to save more, families with sons must work harder. They are more likely to become entrepreneurs, more likely to take risky jobs — like working in the construction sector — more likely to work longer hours. All this contributes to economic growth," Zhang says.
Are Gender Roles Unbalanced?
Wei borrowed money for this wedding; most young men have no choice due to the soaring cost of real estate. An urban apartment costs around 15 times the average annual income of a homebuyer. So parents like Wei's often start saving up from the moment their son is born.
But some argue that women aren't necessarily benefiting. Leta Hong Fincher is writing a book on gender and home ownership in China. She believes women are being excluded from what may be the biggest accumulation of real estate wealth in history.
"There are three main ways in which I argue that women have been shut out of the accumulation of real estate wealth: the first is that parents tend to buy homes for sons, not daughters; the second is that homes tend to be registered in men's names only; the third is that women often transfer their life savings over to the man to finance the purchase of a marital home, which is then often registered solely in the man's name," she says.
Back at the wedding, all of this is beside the point. Lucy Wang and Derek Wei are planning to register their home in both their names. As a toy tank bearing the couple's rings trundles down the aisle, they drink from a champagne fountain and share a kiss. Their life together is only just starting.
But soon they'll be three. Just a few weeks have passed since the wedding, and they're already expecting their first child. They hope it will be a girl.
"We wouldn't have to buy her an apartment," Wang says, "and she'd cost us less than a boy."
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Two people in the central Chinese province of Henan have been infected by a new strain of avian influenza bringing the nationwide total to 51, state media have reported.
The latest cases of infections from the H7N9 bird flu virus, reported on Sunday, were the first in the province.
One of the victims, a 34-year old man in the city of Kaifeng, is critically ill in hospital, while the other, a 65-year old farmer from Zhoukou, is stable. The two cases do not appear to be connected.
A total of 19 people in close contact with the two victims were under observation but had shown no signs of infection, said Xinhua news agency said.
On Saturday, Xinua reported that a seven-year-old girl in the capital city of Beijing was the first person to contract bird flu outside of the eastern region.
The girl was reportedly in a stable condition in a Beijing hospital, and was given the drug Tamiflu, received intravenous drips on Thursday night, and was transferred to an intensive care unit when her condition worsened.
The parents of the girl, who developed flu symptoms on Thursday morning, are engaged in the live poultry trade.
Michael O'Leary, head of the World Health Organisation's office in China, said that members of the organisation were not surprised that the virus had spread, and they "still expect that there will be other cases."
So far 11 people have died of the H7N9 bird flu strain since it was confirmed in humans for the first time last month.
Shanghai and the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui had been the only confirmed locations of infection until the case in Beijing, a city home to over 20 million people, and Sunday's report from Henan.
The source of infection remains unknown, though the virus has been found in some birds in poultry markets that remain the focus of investigations by China and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The new virus has caused severe illness in most of the people affected, leading to fears that if it becomes easily transmissible, it could cause a deadly influenza pandemic, though there has been no indication of that happening.
In a bid to calm public jitters over the virus, Chinese authorities have detained a dozen people for spreading rumours about the spread of bird flu.
Earlier in April, the World Health Organisation praised China for mobilising resources nationwide to combat the strain by culling tens of thousands of birds and monitoring hundreds of people close to those infected.
"So far, we really only have sporadic cases of a rare disease, and perhaps it will remain that way. So this is not a time for over-reaction or panic," said Michael O'Leary, the WHO's representative to China.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The militant rebels operating in Syria posted a video online that showed a mysterious scene of a man looking as a “jihadist” Chinese.
In the footage, the gunman fired three shots in the air before stating that he “read books of the Muslim Brothers after which he decided to go to Libya and Syria to topple Assad.”
‘Youssef’ spoke Mandarin and the video subtitles recalled his Chinese name which helped determining his origin; he might be from the very conservative tribe of Hun
He called on China to stop supporting Assad otherwise it will incur the wrath of Muslims.
Al-Nusra Front terrorists said the video was” a message dedicated for one-billion people of China,” the state which effectively rejected any military intervention in Syria and urged dialogue incessantly.
In remarks he made in this regard, Bruce Hoffmain, a terrorism expert at the University of Georgetown, said he was surprised by a man of this tribe converting to Islam.
The Chinese was shown under Al-Qaeda banner.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The new Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has said he will fight for "the great renaissance of the Chinese nation," in his first speech as head of state.
Closing the annual National People's Congress, he urged delegates to reject extravagance and fight corruption.
At a news conference later, new Premier Li Keqiang said sustainable economic growth would remain the top priority.
The comments come as the Communist government completed a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.
President Xi's address was a patriotic speech urging greater national unity, the BBC's Martin Patience reports from Beijing.
Its nationalistic tone will reinforce the view that he will pursue a more assertive foreign policy during his decade in power, our correspondent says.
President Xi issued a warning to China's military, saying it should improve its ability to "win battles and... protect national sovereignty and security".
He also stressed that continued economic development was essential, urging the nation to achieve what he called "China's dream".
The same themes were taken up at a rare news conference by new premier Li Keqiang, who has taken over the the day-to-day running of the country, succeeding Wen Jiabao.
He addressed the growing inequality gap and public anger at corruption, promising to reform the central government, cut "extravagance" and shake-up "vested interests".
Spending on the government payroll, overseas trips and new offices would be cut while funding for social services would increase, he said.
"A clean government should start with oneself, "Mr Li asserted.
Li Keqiang was elected for a five-year term but, like his predecessor, would be expected to spend a decade in office.
On foreign policy, Mr Li stressed on the importance of further developing relations with the US, saying that "common interests far outweigh our differences".
He described as "groundless" US accusations that China was behind recent cyber-attacks on American government agencies and companies.
On Saturday, the People's Congress approved a number of new ministerial appointments, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Finance Minister Lou Jiwei.
The four vice-premiers are Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang and Ma Kai - all veteran Communist Party officials.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- China's new political leadership has appointed veteran technocrats, many with strong international experience, to staff a cabinet charged with fixing a slowing economy, among other challenges.
The ceremonial legislature on Saturday approved nearly three dozen trusted politicians, experienced officials and career diplomats who make up the State Council under Premier Li Keqiang.
Keqiang was himself named by the parliament on Friday, and Xi Jinping was named president on Thursday.
The appointments largely complete a once-a-decade transfer of power to a new generation of Communist leaders.
During Sunday's proceedings to close the session, Xi promised a cleaner, more efficient government.
"In face of the mighty trend of the times and earnest expectations of the people for a better life, we cannot have the slightest complacency, or get the slightest slack at work,'' Xi told the nearly 3,000 delegates at the Congress' closing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing.
The new leadership has stressed it will make a priority of social spending and other measures to spread prosperity more evenly and narrow a politically volatile gap between China's wealthy elite and poor majority, as well combat endemic corruption.
"We must resolutely reject formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, and resolutely fight against corruption and other misconduct in all manifestations," Xi said, while outlining his vision for the'China dream'.
The country's leadership takes charge at a time of difficult transitions. With the economic model that brought decades of high growth stumbling, the government is looking to transform the world's second-largest economy by nurturing self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and technology industries instead of labour-intensive exports and investment.
A more assertive foreign policy, cyber-hacking and years of pursuing natural resources have caused concern among China's neighbours and the United States.
The officials appointed on Saturday embarked on their careers as China was re-entering world trade and politics after decades of isolation. They are representative of how far China's reach extends, having more international exposure than their predecessors.
Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler, reporting from Hong Kong, said that the Congress' two week session was a "tightly choreographed affair".
"All the decisions and votes that have taken place [...] were already negotiated well before the People's Congress started two weeks ago," he said.
Trade envoy Gao Hucheng, who has a PhD in sociology from the University of Paris and has worked in Europe and Africa, was named commerce minister.
Lou Jiwei, chairman of China's multibillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund and a fixture in international financial circles, was appointed as finance minister.
Their appointments are likely to reassure trading partners and financial markets about policy continuity.
Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, another prominent figure, was also kept on.
Similarly, Wang Yi, a career diplomat with experience working on some of China's most intricate diplomatic issues, was named foreign minister. A former ambassador to Japan, Wang worked with the US in nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea and has charted Beijing's successful outreach to Taiwan, healing an estrangement from their separation in the Chinese civil war.
For defence minister, leaders chose General Chang Wanquan, a soldier from a poor farming family who has commanded the manned space programme.
At home, the new leaders are expected to emphasise social spending and other measures to combat the income gap.
Economic growth fell to 7.8 percent last year, China's weakest performance since the 1990s. Weaker consumer spending has set back rebalancing plans by forcing the government to support the recovery with spending on building subways and other public works.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –A Chinese general who once threatened to nuke the US is visiting Washington this week as part of a military exchange program with the Pentagon.
The Pentagon’s collaboration with Major Gen. Zhu Chenghu, head of China’s National Defense University, is surprising considering the threats the general made against the US in 2005.
“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Zhu told a Financial Times reporter in 2005, describing his country’s predicted reaction if the US were to conflict with China over Taiwan.
A State Department official called the comment “highly irresponsible”. The comment closely reiterated similar statements Zhu had made in the past, describing his intentions to nuke the US if the US were to defend Taiwan in a conflict.
“We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian,” he said in 1995.“Of course, the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”
But despite the Chinese general’s repeated threats to destroy the US, he has been invited by the Pentagon to visit the US this week as part of a military exchange program. Zhu and his delegation of 10 senior colonels from the Chinese military will visit Hawaii and Washington, DC. Later this year, US officials will visit China for a reciprocal exchange, according to the Free Beacon.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Free Beacon that Zhu’s visit will allow the Pentagon to learn more about China’s nuclear weapons intentions, which the US has long struggled to understand.
“We do know, as the congressionally mandated US-China Economic and Security Review Commission reported last year, that ‘China has assumed a more muscular nuclear posture, which ongoing improvements will continue to enhance,’” he said. “Before the president reaches out to Russia for yet another round of US nuclear reductions, we should know more about how such reductions will affect the nuclear balance with China.”
Zhu’s comments about China’s willingness to nuke the US may hold more truth than some would be inclined to believe: China specialists told the Beacon that no Chinese general would make such inflammatory statements unless they reflected official military policy, since inaccurate statements could get someone fired or reprimanded. Shortly after making the 2005 statement, Zhu was promoted.
“[This] should be a clear signal to American policymakers that Chinese state policy is to use nuclear weapons as an instrument of intimidation,” said State Department official John Tkacik, who specializes in China affair.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – An American cybersecurity firm has linked one of the world's most prolific groups of computer hackers to the Chinese government, saying in a new report that an extensive cyber-espionage campaign is being waged from a location near Shanghai.
The security firm, Mandiant, detailed the allegations in a 60-page report published Tuesday that describes the group's tactics over a six-year period.
The Virginia-based Mandiant, which helps companies detect and respond to cyber threats, said it has observed the group of hackers -- called the "comment crew" -- systematically steal hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations across 20 industries worldwide since 2006.
Mandiant claims the activity can be traced to four networks near Shanghai -- with some operations taking place in a location that is also the headquarters of Unit 61398, a secret division of China's military.
"The sheer scale and duration of sustained attacks against such a wide set of industries from a singularly identified group based in China leaves little doubt about the organization behind [the group]," Mandiant said. "We believe the totality of the evidence we provide in this document bolsters the claim that [the group] is Unit 61398."
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei dismissed the hacking charges on Tuesday, insisting that China is the victim of many cyberattacks -- most originating in the United States.
"Making baseless accusations based on premature analysis is irresponsible and unprofessional," he said. "China resolutely opposes any form of hacking activities."
Last month, the Chinese defense ministry said the country's military "has never supported any hacker activities."
The latest accusation against Beijing comes amid concerns about the breadth and depth of cyberattacks originating in China. Recently, several leading U.S. news organizations reported their computer systems had been attacked by China-based hackers.
Mandiant estimates that hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people work within Unit 61398, which is housed in a 12-story, 130,663 square-foot facility.
Organizations in English-speaking countries are the primary victims of the comment crew -- making up 87% of the 141 attacks observed by Mandiant. Of that, 115 attacks targeted organizations in the United States.
The hackers have a "well-defined attack methodology," and Mandiant said the group has stolen large volumes of intellectual property, including technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes and business plans.
The report did not list companies or agencies that have been attacked, but the comment crew is known to have attacked Coca-Cola, security firm RSA, and consultancy Chertoff Group.
The Coca-Cola (CCE, Fortune 500) hack occurred in 2009 when the beverage giant was trying to purchase China's Huiyuan Juice Group. According to reports, comment crew stole Coca-Cola's negotiation strategy along with other information about the proposed offer. The deal was scuttled just days after the hack, when the Chinese government said it could not accept the deal on antitrust grounds.
RSA was attacked by the group in 2011, which compromised the security of some of its SecurID tokens used to gain entry into corporate systems. Using information gained from the RSA hack, the group subsequently attacked aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin (LMT, Fortune 500).
All of these attacks started the same way: via a cleverly worded emails -- written in perfect English -- that appeared to be from someone inside the company. Instead, it contained malicious software designed to gain access to the corporations networks.
Mandiant was able to pinpoint the identities of three individuals working with the group. The report identifies the hackers who use the monikers "Ugly Gorilla," "dota" and "SuperHard." It tracks their activities in an unusually detailed manner, including information on their e-mail accounts, cell phones and hacking techniques.
Government and intelligence officials in the United States are increasingly concerned about the threats posed by cybercrime, especially from government actors.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last year that a cyberattack could be crippling, citing risks to the power grid, Wall Street and the financial system.
"We are literally getting hundreds of thousands of attacks everyday that try to exploit information in various agencies and departments and frankly throughout this country," Panetta said.
In a statement, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the administration is aware of the Mandiant report, and is acting to negate these threats.
"The United States has substantial and growing concerns about the threats to U.S. economic and national security posed by cyber intrusions," Vietor said. "We have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels about cyber theft with senior Chinese officials, including in the military, and we will continue to do so."
Earlier this month, President Obama signed an executive order designed to address the country's most basic cybersecurity needs -- and highlighted the effort in his State of the Union address.
The order will make it easier for private companies in control of the nation's critical infrastructure to share information about cyberattacks with the government. The order also directs the government to work with the private sector on standards that will help protect companies from cybercrime.
In recent weeks, The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have disclosed that their computer networks had been targeted by hackers in China.
The New York Times, which hired Mandiant to help mitigate the threat, reported Tuesday that the comment crew was not the source of the attack on its network.
China is not the only country believed to be involved in cyberattacks. The existence of several other state-sponsored cyberweapons have also been reported in recent years, with names like Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame. The U.S. government is widely believed to have played a role in developing some of those viruses, with an eye toward containing Iran. -www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The anticipated North Korean third nuclear test may trigger an eruption of Mt. Baekdu, a dormant volcano, which is located not far from the North Korean Punggye-ri nuclear site, claims a South Korean geologist.
"A nuclear test will probably exert a direct or indirect impact on volcanic activity at the mountain, and this is worrisome,” said Yoon Sung-ho as cited by Yonhap News agency. Yoon is a geological scientist at Pusan National University, who is considered to be the South Korean leading expert on Mt. Baekdu.
In the past he’s commented on the increased emission of sulphur dioxide from the volcano. This is interpreted as a sign of magma expanding, as volcanic gases undergo a tremendous increase in volume when magma rises to the Earth's surface and erupts.
Backing the scenario of the growing eruption threat is the changing height of Mt. Baekdu. It has risen nearly 10 centimeters since 2002 due to the expanding magma pool. Also in 2006 a satellite detected an increase of the surfaces temperature just days after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in its northern territory, which may have been a catalyst reactivating magma flows, says the South Korea-based newspaper The Korea Times.
At 2,744 meters, Baekdu Mountain is the highest mountain in the Korean peninsula. It is a volcanic mountain located on the border between North Korea and China. There is large crater lake, called Heaven Lake, in the caldera atop the mountain. The Baekdu Mountain has been worshipped by the surrounding peoples throughout history. Both the Koreans and Manchus consider it the place of their ancestral origin. Mt. Baekdu is a tourist destination for foreigners. Koreans argue that recent activities conducted by the Chinese on their side of the mountain, such as promotion of the tourism and attempts at registration as a World Heritage Site, are an attempt to claim the mountain as Chinese territory.
Mt. Baekdu is an active volcano located on the North Korean-Chinese border with its last activity recorded in 1925. The volcano lies about 110 kilometers from the Punggye-ri nuclear site.
Another test will certainly affect the volcanic activity at Mt. Baekdu and may even lead to a massive eruption, said Shin Young-soo, a member of South Korean Parliament's Construction and Transportation Committee. He added that in 2010 underground magma was detected near Punggye-ri test site according to the information by China's earthquake monitoring office.
The first nuclear test conducted in Punggye-ri in 2006, with an explosive yield of about 1 kiloton, resulted in a magnitude 3.6 tremor.The second test was carried out in 2009 and the yield was estimated at 2-6 kilotons, which led to a tremor with a magnitude of 4.4 on Richter magnitude scale, according to The Korea Meteorological Administration.
North Korea watchers speculated that the third test may lead to the detonation of a boosted fission weapon with the yield around 20 kilotons, Yonhap News agency reports. If true, this can be compared to the Nagasaki bomb estimated yield of 21 kilotons dropped by the United States on Japan in 1945 during World War II.
Meanwhile, Japanese scientists connected previous eruptions of Mt. Baekdu with major subterranean stresses in the region. According to Hiromitsu Taniguchi a volcano expert from Tohoku University,Mt. Baekdu erupted at least six times between the 14th and 20th centuries,and every time it followed an earthquake in Japan.
North Korean volcanologists observed abnormal activity at a lake atop the mountain after the March 2011 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan, The Korea Times reports.The lake’s water was shaking and splashing, causing a 60 centimeters rise. An eruption is likely to cause severe flooding of the neighboring area within a 30-kilometer radius, causing devastating damage of infrastructure and endangering people’s lives. The volcanic ash spreading 10 kilometers into the atmosphere will affect air traffic in the Koreas, China, Russia and Japan disrupting business activities, Yonhap News agency says.
On January 24 North Korea announced that it is planning to conduct a third nuclear test. It comes in the wake of sanctions enforced by the UN Security Council, following the December 12th long-range rocket launch. The launch was in violation of UN resolutions, banning the country from developing missile or nuclear technology after nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
In the beginning of February intelligence reports from South Korea detected activity at two tunnels at the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, causing speculation that Pyongyang is going to carry out two simultaneous tests.
On February 5th North Korea threatened to take stronger measures and go beyond its promised third nuclear test, KCNA state news agency reported.-www.shfaqna.com/English