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Asia Minute: Rising Border Tensions on the Korean Peninsula

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A South Korean official says North Korea test-fired two missiles today….and both of them failed.  It’s the latest development in what has been an active time in the region. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Tensions are even higher than usual these days on the Korean peninsula.  Thursday’s failed missile launches are the latest in a series of test firings.  This past weekend, North Korean military officials said they launched a ballistic missile from a submarine…while western observers say an attempted launch a couple of weeks ago failed.

China is paying close attention to developments in North Korea.  Last week, the Hong Kong based Information Center for Human Rights said China had sent 2,000 troops to the North Korean border.  China’s Foreign Ministry denied that report…saying its recent deployments in the area are “normal.”

US and South Korean military personnel have been conducting joint exercises on the peninsula for nearly eight weeks.  According to United States Forces Korea, the training known as “Foal Eagle” involves ground, air, naval and special operations forces---and will continue until this weekend.

Korea’s Hankook Ilbo reports one of the more unusual recent border developments: a new initiative from South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.  The Ministry plans to have a dozen K-pop girl bands visit twelve military installations over the next month.  The newspaper says its part of a broader plan to boost the morale of soldiers stationed along the border.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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