World News

    NKorea Offers Softened Criticism to US-SKorean Military Drill

    North Korea has responded with softer than usual language to an annual U.S.-South Korea war exercise that began this week.

    The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill that began Monday is regularly slammed by Pyongyang officials, who consider it a preparation for invasion.

    The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea on Tuesday mentioned the exercise, but did not specifically criticize it.

    The statement instead blasted South Korean President Park Geun-hye for saying last week Seoul should remain on guard and "not forget about war," despite a recent reduction in tensions.

    Though it did not mention her by name, the statement said Ms. Park's comments "chill the atmosphere for dialogue." It warned of "uncontrollably catastrophic consequences" if the South continues to "pursue confrontation."



    South Korea called the North's statement "regrettable," and said Pyongyang should stop "slamming and slandering" the Seoul government.

    But Aidan Foster-Carter, a Korea scholar at Leeds University, says the statement was relatively restrained, by North Korean standards.



    "Parsed carefully, this is not the toughest statement. Not like the screaming rage we saw in the spring. There was no mention of Park by name and no mention of the U.S., very interestingly."



    Foster-Carter says this suggests Pyongyang is ready, at least for now, to continue down a path of dialogue that has raised hopes of a period of warmer Korean relations.

    Last week, North and South Korea agreed to work toward reopening a joint factory park in Kaesong. On Sunday, the two sides agreed to participate in talks on reuniting families separated during the Korean War.

    The increased diplomacy comes after months of tensions following the North's nuclear test and satellite launch, which received tough responses and expanded sanctions from the United Nations.

    At its most intense point, North Korea was issuing regular threats of nuclear war against Washington and Seoul, and even appeared to move medium-range missiles to its coast.

    But Foster-Carter says the North may now have decided to change course after realizing that its aggressive approach did not yield the results it wanted.



    "All that shouting didn't work. It just annoyed everybody, including friends. China was as cross as anybody, and even tightened sanctions just a bit. And now they're trying a different way."



    A major part of North Korea's angry reaction earlier this year had to do with a separate set of annual U.S.-South Korean military drills, which saw the U.S. send B-2 and B-52 bombers over South Korea.

    The latest drill is much smaller and conducted on computers. Washington and Seoul say the exercise, which involves more than 80,000 troops, is intended to simulate a response to a North Korean attack.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora