North Korea says American will face trial on Sunday
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Sunday that it would put Matthew Todd Miller, one of the three Americans known to be held in the country, on trial in a week.
Miller will be tried at the North’s Supreme Court on Sept. 14, the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said, indicating that his trial will be a one-day event with no appeals allowed. North Korea had earlier said Miller shredded his tourist visa and demanded asylum upon arriving in the country in April. Accusing him of unruly behavior, the North had said it would indict him on charges of committing a “hostile act” against the country.
Another American, Jeffrey Edward Fowle, also faced trial for a “hostile act.” Last year, an American missionary, Kenneth Bae, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on charges of hatching a plot to overthrow the government through proselytizing.
In separate interviews last month with CNN and The Associated Press, the three Americans admitted to being guilty and beseeched Washington to send a high-level envoy to negotiate their freedom.
The United States has repeatedly offered to send its envoy for North Korean human rights issues, Robert R. King, to Pyongyang to appeal for the release of the Americans, but without acceptance. It has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, and relies on the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to represent the interests of its citizens held there.
North Korea previously used charges of “hostile acts” to sentence Americans to long prison terms as a means of securing visits from high-profile Americans, like former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Washington has advised Americans against traveling to North Korea.
—Choe Sang-hun, The New York Times
India and Pakistan strain as flooding kills hundreds
NEW DELHI — Relief operations struggled on Monday in the Indian-administered portion of Kashmir and in parts of Pakistan where six days of rain and flooding have left hundreds of people dead.
On the Pakistan side of the border, Ahmed Kamal, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority, said more than 190 people had been killed.
Severe damage was caused by the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, which swelled after heavy monsoon rainfall last week, flooding hundreds of villages adjoining the rivers. Thousands of people were displaced, most of them living in tents and waiting for medical supplies and food. The Pakistani military was overseeing relief efforts. On Monday, 970 people were rescued in Punjab, according to a spokesman.
“We did not expect this kind of flood,” said Muhammad Hameed, 54, the head of a family of 13 people in the Chiniot district of Punjab. “We were sleeping at night when all of a sudden, water came and we had to rush out of our home.”
The Jhelum River also breached its banks in the summer state capital of Srinagar, where water levels rose to 15 to 18 feet at points.
The death toll in both countries was expected to rise.
“For the next 48 hours our focus will remain on Srinagar and areas of south Kashmir because there are still a very large number of people stranded without food and water, and our idea is to pull them as quickly as possible,” Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, chief of the Indian army’s Northern Command, said at a news conference.
The army has evacuated about 22,000 people, with 3,000 removed on Sunday, according to a statement. The army distributed food, water, tents and blankets on Monday.
—Nida Najar and Salman Masood, The New York Times
WASHINGTON — With the prospects for future cooperation on arms control hanging in the balance, the Obama administration is sending a team of senior officials to Moscow this week to try to resolve U.S. allegations that Russia has violated a landmark nuclear accord.
At the heart of the dispute is the U.S. allegation that Russia has tested a ground launched cruise missile in violation of the 1987 Soviet-U.S. treaty banning intermediate range missiles based on land. Russia began testing the cruise missile as early as 2008, according to U.S. officials. The Obama administration first raised its concerns with the Russians in May 2013 and formally alleged that the test was a violation in July.
The U.S. delegation, led by Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department’s senior arms control official, is set to meet with Russian officials on Thursday, and includes experts from the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the Energy Department.
The talks would be difficult under the best of circumstances. But they will occur at a time of sharp tensions over Ukraine and broad differences over the future of arms control.
Western experts say that nuclear weapons have assumed a larger place in Russia’s military doctrine to compensate for weaknesses in its conventional forces. President Vladimir Putin of Russia reinforced that impression last month when he highlighted Russia’s nuclear prowess in comments that appeared intended to dissuade the West from providing military support to Ukraine.
“Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts,” he said at a youth camp outside Moscow. “We don’t want that and don’t plan on it.
“I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations,” Putin said, stressing, “It’s best not to mess with us.”
The United States and Russia concluded an arms reduction agreement during Obama’s first term in office to cut the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 by 2018. Russia had already reduced those weapons to 1,512 by March, while the United States had 1,585 warheads.
But senior Russian officials have also signaled that Russia is not ready to negotiate even deeper cuts in long-range nuclear arms.
—Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times