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North Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of US VP Harris tour

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North Korea has fired a ballistic missile towards the sea off its east coast, ahead of planned military drills by South Korean and US forces involving an aircraft carrier and a visit to the region by US Vice President Kamala Harris.

South Korea’s military said on Sunday it was a single, short-range ballistic missile fired from near the Taechon area of North Pyongyan Province just before 7 am [local time].

Japan’s Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan estimated it reached maximum altitude at 50 km and may have flown on an irregular trajectory. Hamada said it fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone and there were no reports of problems with shipping or air traffic.

Many of the short-range missiles tested by North Korea in recent years have been designed to evade missile defences by maneuvering during flight and flying on a lower, “depressed” trajectory, experts have said.

“If you include launches of cruise missiles this is the nineteenth launch, which is an unprecedented pace. North Korea’s action represent a threat to the peace and security of our country, the region and the international community and to do this as the Ukraine invasion unfolds is unforgivable,” Hamada said, adding that Japan had delivered a protest through North Korea’s embassy in Beijing.

The US Asia-pacific Command said it was aware of the launch and consulting closely with allies, in a statement released after the launch, while reaffirming US commitment to the defence of South Korea and Japan.

“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilising impact of the DPRK’s unlawful Weapons of Mass Destruction and ballistic missile programs.”

US-South Korea joint drills

The launch comes after the arrival of the nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in South Korea to participate in joint drills with South Korean forces, and ahead of a planned visit to Seoul this week by Harris.

It was the first time the North carried out such a launch after firing eight short-range ballistic missiles in one day in early June, which led the United States to call for more sanctions for violating UN Security Council resolutions.

North Korea rejects UN resolutions as an infringement of its sovereign right to self defence and space exploration, and has criticised previous joint drills by the United States and South Korea as proof of their hostile policies.

The drills have also been criticised by Russia and China, which have called on all sides not to take steps that raise tensions in the region, and have called for an easing of sanctions.

After North Korea conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests earlier this year, including its intercontinental ballistic missiles for the first time since 2017, the United States and South Korea said they would boost joint drills and military displays of power to deter Pyongyang.

“Defence exercises are not going to prevent North Korean missile tests,” said Leif-Eric Easley, an international affairs professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday North Korea may also be preparing to test a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), citing the South’s military.

Source: TRT

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Developmental projects of Maldives progressing substantially

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India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar has affirmed that the developmental projects of the Maldives carried out with the assistance of India have been progressing considerably. The remarks were made by the minister during the Confederation of Indian Industry (CIIs) Annual Business Summit.

Speaking at the summit, Minister Jaishankar stated that some developmental projects were slightly politically influenced, hindering the progress. However, he assured that the progress of the projects have propelled at a notable rate.

Following the Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer’s official visit to India at the invitation of Minister Jaishankar, discussions were held highlighting the spectrum of initiatives across the nation has been kickstarted through loans and grants from the Government of India during the previous administration. He emphasised the current government’s commitment to prioritising the resumption and completion of these projects.

Meanwhile, the Government of India has reaffirmed its commitment to the development and prosperity of the Maldives by extending a budgetary support of USD 50 million to be repaid within a term of one year.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Police officers complete training to prevent maritime terrorism acts

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A team of 22 police officers has successfully completed a specialised training programme focused on thwarting maritime terrorism activities.

Entitled “Training on Strengthening Capabilities to Disrupt Maritime Crimes as Related to Terrorist Threats,” the program was conducted through a collaborative effort between the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Running from May 13 to 15, the intensive training equipped participants with essential skills and knowledge crucial for combating threats in maritime environments.

The concluding ceremony, graced by the presence of Chief Superintendent of Police Ibrahim Adnan Anees, Head of Marine Police, along with senior officials from the Marine Police Department, UNODC’s Head of Office Enrico Boninsegna, and course instructor Kenneth Alferdo Pennington, highlighted the significance of such initiatives in enhancing national security.

Addressing the gathering, Adnan underscored the importance of ongoing education and skill development, urging participants to actively apply the knowledge garnered from the program in their professional endeavors.

The training, conducted at Dhoonidhoo, Kaafu Atoll, imparted vital insights into the prevention and detection of maritime terrorism activities, emphasizing protocols for safe navigation in high-risk areas. Furthermore, officers received guidance on investigative procedures essential for effectively addressing such crimes, thereby bolstering the nation’s capabilities in combating maritime threats.

Source(s): PsmNews

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President reverts land act amendment to parliament

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has reverted the Ninth Amendment Bill to the Maldives Land Act to Parliament for further consideration.

This bill, which seeks to establish criteria for recipients of residential land and mandates that land be allocated within three months of the publication of the permanent list of recipients in the gazette, was initially passed during the twenty-second sitting of Parliament’s first session this year and sent to the President’s Office for ratification on May 2.

In returning the bill, President Muizzu invoked Article 91(a) of the Constitution, which grants the President the authority to return legislation to Parliament for reconsideration.

The President’s Office has confirmed this, indicating the need for further review and potential revisions to the proposed amendment.

Source(s): PsmNews

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