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North Korea warns of strong response to US-South Korea military drills

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North Korea warns of strong response to US-South Korea military drills

North Korea on Friday threatened an “unprecedentedly” strong response to upcoming US-South Korea joint military drills, describing them as preparations for war. 

The warning came ahead of a tabletop exercise next week in Washington, in which the two allies will discuss responses to the use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang.

North Korea has long condemned joint US-South Korea military drills, calling them rehearsals for an invasion.

It regards the exercises planned for this year “with just apprehension and reason… as preparations for an aggression war”, a spokesperson for the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement released by state media.

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If Washington and Seoul go ahead with the drills, “they will face unprecedentedly persistent and strong counteractions”, the statement added.

Under its hawkish President Yoon Suk Yeol, South Korea has beefed up military drills with the United States, which had been scaled back during the Covid pandemic.

They were also paused for a bout of ill-fated diplomacy with Pyongyang under his predecessor.

Yoon’s government is eager to convince the increasingly nervous South Korean public of Washington’s commitment to deter Pyongyang, which last year declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power and conducted a record number of weapons tests.

The exercise next week will focus on “joint planning, joint management and joint response with Washington’s nuclear assets” in case of a nuclear attack by Pyongyang, a South Korean defence ministry official told AFP on Friday.

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Pyongyang’s aggressive statement reflects the significance of this drill, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

The exercise will be an important criterion for the extent to which the US nuclear arsenal will be involved in deterring North Korea, Yang told AFP.

Pyongyang has repeatedly said it is not interested in further talks, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently called for an “exponential” increase in his country’s nuclear arsenal.

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Ukraine sharply boosts delivery of drones to armed forces

Ukraine sharply boosts delivery of drones to armed forces

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Ukraine sharply boosts delivery of drones to armed forces

Ukraine has delivered three times more drones to its armed forces so far this year than in the whole of 2023, a top commander said, as Ukrainian forces accelerate the use of unmanned craft in the war against Russia.

“This process continues and will only grow,” said Colonel Vadym Sukharevskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s drone forces.

Ukraine, which has been fighting off a full-scale Russian invasion for nearly 26 months, is seeking to ramp up its domestic arms manufacturing and use of innovative technologies to compete against its much larger and wealthier enemy.

He was speaking at an exhibition on Saturday showcasing Ukrainian-made unmanned vehicles for land, sea and air, electronic warfare systems and armoured vehicles.

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Ninety-nine percent of drones used by the Ukrainian military are produced domestically, Sukharevskyi said.

“It’s no secret that our resource limitations in artillery are compensated by drones, such as FPVs (first-person view) and (bomber) drop drones,” he told reporters, referencing an imbalance of artillery firepower between Ukraine and Russia which analysts put at six to one in Russia’s favour.

As the Ukrainian military is outgunned and outmanned on the battlefield, Moscow’s forces have been increasing pressure along the entire frontline and making gradual gains.

The increased use of drones by both sides has been shifting the conflict away from the battlefield to strikes on each other’s military, energy and transport infrastructure.

Ukrainian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), used to hit targets inside Russia in recent months, can now hit targets more than 1,200 km (750 miles) away, Sukharevskyi said.

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Tesla will lay off more than 10% of its workforce.

Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries, said Ukrainian weapons manufacturers had fuelled both military and economic progress in the country.

Ukraine’s booming military-industrial complex grew GDP by 1.5% in 2023, a significant chunk of the total GDP growth last year of around 5%.
Kamyshin said he was confident that figure would double to 3% of GDP growth this year. But he warned Ukraine’s government could not afford to buy up all its domestic weapons production.

Ukraine was in discussions with international allies about the purchase of weapons for Ukraine from Ukrainian makers to cover the financial shortfall, he said.

“I am convinced that we will start purchases from Ukrainian manufacturers with foreign funds in the new future,” he said. 

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Aseefa Bhutto Zardari sworn in MNA

Aseefa Bhutto Zardari sworn in MNA

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Aseefa Bhutto Zardari sworn in MNA

Aseefa Bhutto Zardari was sworn in as a member of the National Assembly.

NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath.

During the session, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari provided headphones to Aseefa Bhutto Zardari to reduce the noise disturbances as PTI MNAs raised slogans calling for the release of the PTI founder.

Following Aseefa Zardari’s swearing-in, PPP members also chanted slogans in support of the Bhutto family like ‘jiye Bhutto’. 

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British jets shot down Iranian drones, PM Sunak says

British jets shot down Iranian drones, PM Sunak says

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British jets shot down Iranian drones, PM Sunak says

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that British military jets shot down drones launched by Iran in its attack on Israel and called for “calm heads to prevail” to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

“I can confirm that our planes did shoot down a number of Iranian attack drones,” Sunak told broadcasters.

“If this attack had been successful, the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate. We stand by the security of Israel and the wider region, which is of course important for our security here at home, too. What we now need is for calm heads to prevail.”

Sunak was due to join discussions between Group of Seven leaders later on Sunday.

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“It’s important that we coordinate with allies and we’ll be discussing next steps at that moment,” he said

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