North Korea Monday threatened war if UN sanctions are deployed to bring the recalcitrant country back to the negotiating table of the Six-Party Talks [opening remarks]. An official statement released by the Korean Central News Agency declared "sanctions mean a war and war does not know any mercy' and "if the US applies more sanctions to the DPRK (North Korea) by putting the UN in motion, the DPRK will promptly and resolutely react to it with self-defensive war deterrent force." The multiparty talks have been aimed at uncovering the extent of North Korea's nuclear testing and capability and ensuring that those test are abandoned. North Korea refused to attend the latest round of talks in September, citing the United States' 'hostile attitude', prompting some to speculate on the possibility of implementing UN sanctions against the country. South Korea's President Roh Koo-Hyun has cautioned against pushing his communist neighbor too hard over the nuclear issue. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the nuclear talks in North Korea. The Khaleej Times has more.
In other international news...
- Trial began Monday in the corruption case against Shabir Shaik, the financial advisor to South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma [official profile]. Shaik is charged with accepting and passing along bribes to Zuma from a French arms company in exchange for protecting the company from investigations and probes by the South African government [official website]. The beginning of the trial, being conducted in the Durban High Court in Johannesburg, saw the charges against the French company being dropped. Justice Hillary Squires is also currently considering whether to allow live broadcast of the trial. If Shaik is convicted, prosecutors have stated their intent to file charges against Zuma. Zuma has been widely touted as the likely replacement to current South African President Thabo Mbeki [official profile]. IOL has background on the case. Africa's Mail and Guardian has more.
- The Filipino government [official website] announced Monday that charges have been brought against six individuals in response to the February 27 bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay that killed over 100 passengers and crew. Two of the individuals charged are already in custody, one of whom is also responsible for the beheading of American captive Guillermo Sobero. The police announced that the two, members of the kidnap-for-ransom group Abu Sayyaf [military.com backgrounder], were captured along with a significant stash of explosives. Balita.org has more.
- The Cambodian Senate [official website] approved a draft law Monday that will settle the current monarchy crisis following King Sihanouk's announcement of abdication. The draft law calls for the Royal Throne Council to select a new monarch within seven days of the incumbent's death, retirement, or abdication. The law would require a new monarch by October 14th. The current Cambodian constitution makes no provision for the retirment or abdication of the monarch, which threw the government [official website] into a frenzy of activity in trying to ensure the succession process flowed smoothly. Prince Norodom Sihamoni, who spent the weekend trying to convince his father to remain king, has been endorsed by both Sihanouk and Prime Minister Hun Sen. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the succession issue. BBC News has more.