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September 6, 2013

News Briefs September 6, 2013

Vermont F-35 opponents ask city to block planes

Opponents of a proposal that could base F-35 fighter planes at Vermont’s Burlington International Airport want city officials to refuse to allow the plane to be based there.

The airport is located in South Burlington, but it is owned by Burlington. Opponents say the Burlington City Council can refuse to allow the Air Force to base planes there with the Vermont Air National Guard.

The Air Force says Burlington is its preferred location to base up to 24 of the planes to replace aging F-16s. Opponents claim the planes would be too noisy and cause other problems. Another segment of the local population supports bring the planes to Vermont.

A basing decision is expected later this year.

The Burlington City Council has not taken a position on the F-35. AP

 

Two Koreas agree to restore military hotline

North Korea agreed Sept. 5 to restore a cross-border military hotline with South Korea, in another sign of easing tensions between the rivals in recent weeks, the South Korean government said.

North Korea in March shut down the telephone and fax lines used to coordinate cross-border travel to a joint industrial park in Kaesong that has since been shuttered. During the spring, North Korea issued a series of threats including vows to launch nuclear strikes on Seoul and Washington, but later dialed down its rhetoric and made conciliatory gestures.

Sept. 5, the two Koreas agreed at a meeting in Kaesong to restart the hotline starting Sept. 6, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.

The two Koreas agreed last month to work toward a reopening of the industrial complex, which had been the last symbol of reconciliation between the countries before North Korea suspended its operations in April.

In June, the two Koreas restored another communications channel at a border village.

But last week, North Korea withdrew its invitation to a U.S. envoy to visit the country to discuss the release of a detained American, citing the alleged participation of U.S. nuclear-capable bombers in annual military exercises between Washington and Seoul.

The Korean Peninsula remains officially at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,000 U.S. troops are deployed in South Korea in a legacy of the war. AP

 

Lawmakers uneasy over U.S.-Myanmar military ties

The Obama administration wants to restart U.S. defense training for Myanmar that was cut 25 years ago after a bloody crackdown on protesters.

While assistance would be nonlethal, some American lawmakers are resisting, concerned Washington is moving too fast in forging ties with a military still accused of attacking ethnic minorities and blocking humanitarian aid.

The administration has already rolled back tough sanctions, but restoring military ties is particularly sensitive and viewed as one of Washington’s few remaining points of leverage.

Last week, U.S. defense legal experts visited Myanmar, scoping out what help they can provide on teaching human rights and the rule of law. And in Brunei, the U.S. and Myanmar defense chiefs held their first bilateral meeting in two decades. AP




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Air Force photograph by A1C Erin R. Babis

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