War brewing- North Korea’s fire power could reach South-East Asia

  • South-East Asia region which PNG is also part of is among identified regions which North-Korea’s fire power could reach. (see map)
  • Japan fears that North Korea could send its missiles loaded with sarin gas into Japan.

A war is brewing and possibly might erupt into World War 3. The tensions between the United States and North Korea is taking momentum with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un not backing down on directions issued by the US to stand down its test on Nu-Clear weapons. Instead, North Korea tells US President Donald Trump to “bring it on” and threatens to launch Nu-clear attack against the US.

NK threat

North Korea is indeed a threat with its inter-continental ballistic missiles and nu-clear warhead capable of striking the mainland US. With its ongoing testing of its missiles, North Korea could launch a devastating attack with its conventional weapons. Its fire power is already within reach of South Korea, Japan, Russia and South-East Asia (which PNG is part of). And it’s believed to be developing a missile that could reach the west coast of the United States. However, a sixth missile test by North Korea just days ago was announced as fail by South Korean and US officials.

The US had to advise China to tame North-Korea but China remained natural despite numerous calls. President Trump then announced that the US will act alone on North Korea if China fails to assist. Trump was quoted as saying “if China is not going to solve North Korea, then we will.”

Trump claimed he had ‘great respect’ for China’s President Xi Jiping and ‘great respect for China’, but further warned that things could either turn out well for everybody or things could turn out not so well for anyone.

“China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone,” President Trump said recently.

On the other front in North Korea, dictator Jong-un threatens a preemptive strike on the US if it thinks that the US military attack is imminent.

Already, the US on April 4, deployed a US aircraft carrier-led strike group headed towards the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula. The 97,000-tonne US aircraft carrier known as the USS Carl Vinson, with an escort of three warships travelled northwest with an escort of a guided-missile cruiser and two destroyers from Singapore’s Changi Naval Base.

According to US officials, the move of the USS Carl Vinson strike group is in response to recent provocations by North Korea.

According to reports from CNN, Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of US Pacific Command, directed the USS Carl Vinson strike group to sail north to the Western Pacific after departing Singapore on Saturday, Pacific Command announced.

Other super powers such as Russia and the Europe are watching closely on what may become of the close tensions between the two nations.

Australia slow in addressing Manus asylum issues

Tensions continue to heighten at the Manus asylum detention center in PNG putting lives of thousands of asylum seekers at great risk.

The attack at the camp on the afternoon of Good Friday by locals and some PNG military personal from the nearby Lombrom Navel Base had struck fear into the well-being of women and children detained at the center.

Despite investigations being carried out on the incident, many detainees are still traumatized and in fear.

Parliamentary leader for Manus, Ronny Knight, expressed concerns via social media on what had happened.

“This is just another incident that will ignite again if the Australian government does not accept responsibility and a duty of care for these refugees and process them properly.”

“We do not condone such violence,” Mr Knight said.

The visit by Australia’s Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull few days ago did not prove any positive outcome.

While Turnbull’s government maintains that talks are ongoing with the United States to have some of the asylum seekers resettled in the US, there are still doubts on the arrangement.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced recently that asylum seekers that cannot be resettled in the US will remain in PNG.

Turnbull on the other hand was somewhat tight-lipped on the fate of the detainees by merely saying “ we will take this process one step at a time.”

Dutton told the media in Australia recently that the people presently detained on Manus Island “would not be coming to Australia when the Papua New Guinea centre closes, no matter how hard refugee advocates push.”

“They are not coming to Australia,” Dutton told Sky News on Sunday.

“The advocates can bleat all they want, they can protest all they want. We have been very clear those people are not going to settle in our country because that would restart the people trade.”

Aggrieved locals responded via social media saying PNG was not a dumping ground for Australia and that the asylum seekers should be sent back to Australia.

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PNGDF soldiers rampage on Manus detention centre

Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers based at the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island went on a rampage at the asylum detention centre on Good Friday firing several shots into the air and indiscriminately assaulting policemen, PNG Immigration Officers, other service providers and asylum seekers.

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The incident occurred on Friday April 14 at about 6.30pm at the Manus Regional processing centre.

Manus Provincial Police Commander Senior Inspector David Lapu said a group of drunken soldiers in retaliation for one of their colleague who was allegedly assaulted by an asylum seeker entered the centre shouting and throwing any objects that they could lay their hands on at the asylum seekers.

He said the soldiers also assaulted his policemen on deployment at the centre, PNG immigration officers, other service providers and damaged several vehicles and properties worth thousands of kina.

PPC Yapu said the soldiers removed keys from a hired car his officers were using at the centre and drove away and also damaged it.

PPC Yapu said the Commanding officer of the Naval Base, Mr Begsy Karaki intervened and stopped the incident from getting out of hand.

A senior PNG immigration officer and an asylum seeker were treated at the international health medical service at the centre and discharged.

PPC Yapu is concerned about such unethical and unacceptable behaviour of the drunken soldiers. He said only a day ago the PNG Defence Force Chief of Staff Colonel Numa addressed the Commanders parade and made some good comments to the solders to maintain high level of disciple, professionalism and leadership.

However this message had gone to deaf ears and the soldiers showed disrespect to the international and local community at the centre PPC Yapu said.

Mr Yapu has set up an investigation team to investigate the incident and deal with the perpetrators.

“I will leave no stones unturned. Someone will answer for what happened,” said PPC Yapu.

The commanding officer has already commenced his own investigation into the incident.

The situation at the centre is quite but tense.

Man found guilty of K5.3 million fraud

A man charged with misappropriating K5.3 million was found guilty by the Waigani National Court in Port Moresby today.

David Kumalau Pondros, 47, of Timoenai village in the Manus province is among list of others that were investigation by the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITSF).

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Mr Pondros obtained a K6 million under National Agriculture Development Program administered by the National Planning Department in the pretext of doing some projects but the Court found there was no evidence of spending K5.3m for the purposes of the project, according to social media post by the now disbanded Task Force Sweep Chairman Sam Koim.

The matter was adjourned to May 8 for submissions on verdict.

This is yet another success story of ITFS work.

Meanwhile, Mr Pondros is currently serving a term of 5 years for misappropriating K400,000 to build a jetty in Oro province, another ITFS case.

Mr Koim acknowledged the efforts by the Prosecutor, witnesses, and policemen involved in securing the conviction.

PNG Flag designer passes on

A WOMAN who made history by designing the flag of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea passed away at the Port Moresby General hospital this morning.

She fell ill and was rushed to the hospital on Monday, April 10, and admitted at the Intensive Care Unit on life-support.

Her immediate family which included her husband and elder sons called for assistance from the government while she was under critical conditions.

However she was pronounced dead in the early hours of today.

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Susan Karike (centre)

Susan Karike became a household name when at the age of 15 and a student attending Sacred Heart Mission School on Yule Island, her simple design for the PNG flag stole the approval of many Papua New Guineans including the members of the then House of Assembly who voted in favor of it.

Susan Hareho Karike (later Mrs Huhume), from Meii village in the Gulf province, designed the flag in 1971 after she was approached by Sister Joseph Mary, her art teacher that time.

During that year the country was preparing for the Independence, so the government needed one outstanding design for a flag which would symbolize their independence and the birth of a new nation.

Hence, they went ahead and invited all Papua New Guineans to enter through a competition designs which would help find a PNG flag.

Art teacher, Sister Mary asked Susan who was her best student that time to design a flag after she heard of the competition and Susan had agreed.

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Young Susan Karike in 1968

Perhaps not everyone was as enthusiastic about the proposal, but when the government received a draft design from Susan it soon found widespread support.

It wasn’t until July 1, 1971 that the decision to adopt Susan’s design for the new PNG Flag became official. A flag in the proportion of 3:4 was then designed and on the arrival of the Independence on 16th September, 1975, the new PNG flag carrying Susan’s design was raised at the Independence Hill at Waigani, in Port Moresby.

The ceremony was accompanied by the beating of the drums and a loud cheer from the crowd who were present that time to witness the historic event.

During Independence the PNG flag was seen flown alongside the Australian flag on some official ceremonies, and Susan was invited to raise the flag on such occasions or on other important occasions which took place after Independence.

So immense, the applause it may have seemed, on the birth of our nation but for Susan Karike it was her proudest moment and she’s much more humbled by it.

The then 15-year old Susan’s work has received personal credits for her arresting design of Papua New Guinea’s flag from many who’ve seen her work.

And we as a nation can only thank God for a very talented and gifted woman Susan Karike was.

Her proud legacy will leave on.