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Kim-Trump meeting, better than expected!

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SINGAPORE: History is in the process of being written. US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un have engraved their names in the world’s chronological records by meeting and proving that even problems in tandem with nuclear threats could also be solved by means of dialogue. 

The 32-year old Kim who got his edification from Switzerland and 71-year-old real estate tycoon Trump shook hands. During the dialogue, the two discussed defusing tensions and nuclear disarmament. Following the talks, Trump said that a lot of progress was made.

A comprehensive document had been signed at the end of the summit. There was a brief comment to the press after the signing ceremony, Trump said he expected to “meet many times” in the future with Kim and that he would absolutely invite Kim to the White House.  Kim Jong-un at the end of talks with Trump held: “We had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind,” he added. 

THE FLOW OF EVENTS: 

  • 8 p.m. ET (June 11) / 8 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump departs Shangri-La Hotel en route to Capella Singapore, where the two leaders will meet.
  • 8:20 p.m. ET (June 11) / 8:20 a.m. Singapore (June 12): Trump arrives at Capella Singapore.
  • 9 p.m. ET (June 11) / 9 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un greet each other. This is the big moment. Cameras will be there to capture their expected handshake.
  • 9:15 p.m. ET (June 11) / 9:15 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un participate in a one-on-one bilateral meeting.
  • 10 p.m. ET (June 11) / 10 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un participate in an expanded bilateral meeting.
  • 11:30 p.m. ET (June 11) / 11:30 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un have a working lunch.

 Lunch Menu: 

  • 4 a.m. ET (June 12) / 4 p.m. Singapore: President Trump is expected to speak with reporters.
  • 6:30 a.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. Singapore: President Trump departs Capella Singapore for Paya Lebar Air Base Singapore.
  • 7 a.m. ET / 7 p.m. Singapore: Trump departs Paya Lebar Air Base, Singapore, en route to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. From there, he will travel on to the United States.

What exactly is the North Korea crisis? 

1) The Korean peninsula was divided after WWII and North Korea emerged as an authoritarian state;

2) According to North Korea, it needs nuclear weapons as a deterrent;

3) North Korea tested nukes six times (one of them was hydrogen bomb).

4) North Korea says it had developed nukes small enough to be carried by long-range missiles that could reach US;

5) UN, EU, and USA had imposed tough sanctions on North Korea.

Relevant pieces published earlier:

i)  The summit that is due to begin shortly between the leaders of the United States and North Korea is “a promising development for global peace and security,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday. US President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un are due to meet in Singapore on Tuesday morning: the first-ever face-to-face encounter between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader. The UN chief stated that the world is watching. “The two leaders are seeking to break out of the dangerous cycle that created so much concern last year,” Guterres told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York, referring to escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. “Peace and verifiable denuclearization must remain the clear and shared goal. As I wrote to both leaders last month, the road ahead will require cooperation, compromise, and a common cause.” Meanwhile. US has offered North Korea “unique” security guarantees to persuade it to give up its nuclear arsenal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, on the eve of a historic summit in Singapore. 

The White House said preparatory negotiations had “moved more quickly than expected” and Donald Trump would leave Tuesday evening after his talks with Kim Jong Un, ruling out the possibility the unprecedented tete-a-tete would run to two days. The meeting, long sought by Pyongyang, will be the first ever between a serving US president and a North Korean leader and will focus on the nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles the North has spent decades developing. Just hours ahead of the crunch talks, Kim left his luxury hotel for a night-time stroll around some of Singapore’s main sights, even posing for selfies with his guide, the city-state’s foreign minister. Setting out the US position before the summit, Pompeo stressed that the Trump administration would only accept complete denuclearization of the North. But in return, Washington would offer “different and unique” guarantees “to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearization is not something that ends badly for them”. He refused to go into details. But the North has long sought an end to the US military presence in the South, where Washington has around 28,000 troops stationed to protect it from its neighbor. (Published on 12th June 2018) 

ii) US President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore today, ahead of a significant summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It is expected that the Kim-Trump  Summit, scheduled to take place on Tuesday 12th of June, would lay the groundwork for denuclearization of North Korea ending the Pyongyang-Washington tussle. 

iii) Kim Jong-Un the leader of North Korea arrived here today for an extraordinary meeting with Trump who is expected to arrive later today. As he descended from the jet at Changi International Airport, Kim was greeted by the Singapore Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan. After that North Korean leader was sped through the streets to closely guarded St. Regis Hotel. While meeting the Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong the N. Korean leader held: “The entire world is watching the historic summit between North Korea and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit.” It is pertinent to mention here that some 3000 journalists from all over the globe have converged here to witness history in the making. Savants at the helm of affairs reckon that Kim-Trump meeting would find a prominent place in the recent history of mankind, particularly if the standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear bomb arsenal is settled by means of the summit. (10th of June 2018)

iv) Ending the ambiguity, White House has confirmed that Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting will commence at 9 am, Tuesday 12th of June at Shangri-La hotel here. The security of the American and North Korean leaders will be ensured by the Gurkhas who are linked to a British tradition. British were beaten back by Gurkhas in the 19th-century Anglo-Nepalese War.  Later the colonialists recruited them and paying the elite regiments of soldiers from Nepal for over two centuries. They have fought in both world wars, Falklands and Afghanistan conflicts. Presently, Gurkhas serve in British, Indian, Nepalese, Brunei and Singapore armies. (6th June 2018) 

v) Jong Un’s right-hand man met Friday with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office – talks that should include the delivery of a letter from the North Korean leader about their upcoming summit. The official, Kim Yong Chol, was greeted by White House chief of staff John Kelly, who led him to the Oval Office for talks with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders. Kim Yong Chol arrived in Washington from New York, where he met with Pompeo on preparations for the planned June 12 encounter between the US and North Korean leaders in Singapore. After Thursday’s talks, Pompeo expressed confidence that the process was moving in the right direction, but warned that the North’s young leader must be bold enough to make a “strategic shift” in understanding that he will be safer without nuclear weapons. US officials said the letter from Kim to Trump may not clear up all the questions about the agenda but may bring the planned Singapore meeting a step closer. (1st of June, 2018)

vi)  Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man was due at the White House to meet with US President Donald Trump, press secretary Sarah Sanders said – talks that should include the delivery of a letter from the North Korean leader about their upcoming summit. The official, Kim Yong Chol, was expected to arrive at 1:00 pm (1700 GMT), when he was to see Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sanders said. The North Korean envoy will be greeted by White House chief of staff John Kelly and US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who will take him to the Oval Office for the meeting.

vii) The US. delegation is meeting N. Korean officials in *Panmunjom, at the border between North and South Korea, about a possible rendezvous between the leaders of two countries.  A US delegation was holding talks with North Korean officials today at a border truce village amid preparations for a summit between the two countries’ leaders, the State Department said. “A US delegation is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement…We continue to prepare for a meeting between the President and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.” The State Department provided no details on the latest talks but The Washington Post earlier reported that the US delegation had crossed over to the North Korean side of the border at Panmunjom. The US delegation was led by Sung Kim, a former US ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North. It said the Americans met with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui. (28th of May, 2018) *Panmunjom is located in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean peninsula.

viii) US President Donald Trump, a day after his cancellation of a high-stakes summit with North Korea, said Friday that the meeting with Kim Jong Un could still go ahead. “We’re going to see what happens,” Trump told reporters at the White House, after welcoming Pyongyang’s latest statement on the talks as “very good news. “It could even be the 12th,” he said in a reference to the original June 12 date set for the meeting in Singapore. “We’re talking to them now,” Trump said of the North Koreans. 

“They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.” North Korea, responding to Trump’s abrupt cancellation of the meeting over “hostility” from Pyongyang, said Friday that it is willing to talk to the United States “at any time.” Trump welcomed the statement as “warm and productive.” “We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully too long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!” the US president said in a tweet. In a letter to Kim, Trump said Thursday he would not go ahead with the summit in Singapore, following what the White House called a “trail of broken promises” by the North. (25th of May, 2018)

ix)  In a correspondence addressed to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un President Donald Trump has made it clear that due to North Korean anger and hostility the Singapore summit had been canceled. Trump and Kim had been due to hold high-stakes talks on June 12 aimed at ridding the reclusive state of nuclear weapons, but the meeting was recently thrown into doubt as both sides raised the prospect of scrapping the discussions and traded threats. Trump’s letter came a day after North Korea attacked US Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid.” “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim released by the White House.

“Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.” Trump also brandished the threat of America’s nuclear might in his letter, writing: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” The US leader’s letter appeared to leave the door open to a future meeting with Kim, however, stressing that he had been “very much looking forward to being there.” “We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions” relative to the summit, he told Kim. 

It is pertinent to mention here that today North Korea has proclaimed that it had fully demolished its nuclear test site with a series of planned detonations. According to an official declaration: “The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK held a ceremony for completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground on May 24… to ensure transparency of the discontinuance of nuclear test… “Dismantling the nuclear test ground was done in such a way as to make all the tunnels of the test ground collapse by the explosion and completely close the tunnel entrances, and at the same time, explode some guard facilities and observation posts on the site”. It has been confirmed that no leakage of radiation had been detected at the site during explosions.  

x) US President Donald Trump asks North Korea to abandon its nuclear program on Tuesday, ahead of an expected summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un. Earlier, the US leader – who had spent the day in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron – had described Kim as “very open” and “very honorable” – his most positive comments yet about a man he once publicly belittled. But when pressed about what he hoped to gain from Pyongyang, the 71-year-old Republican president was blunt. “Meetings are being set up, and I want to see denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump told reporters.

Asked to explain what he means by denuclearization, Trump replied: “It means they get rid of their nukes – very simple.” “It would be very easy for me to make a simple deal and claim victory. I don’t want to do that. I want them to get rid of their nukes.” While Trump has repeatedly referred to North Korea’s denuclearization, Pyongyang however consistently defines the term as “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” – code for the removal of America’s military presence in the South, a condition Washington is unlikely to accept. Amid preparations for a landmark bilateral US-North Korea summit, which could come in June, Trump had kind words for Kim, whom he once called a “madman” and “little rocket man.”

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Europe

UK seeks ‘legally binding’ Brexit promises

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BRUSSELS: Britain wants “legally binding” assurances from EU leaders it will not be trapped indefinitely in their customs union by the Irish “backstop” clause in the Brexit divorce, a minister said today.

Martin Callanan, junior minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, was speaking on arrival in Brussels for talks as Prime Minister Theresa May tours EU capitals in a bid to save her deal. On Monday, May postponed a bid to get the Brexit deal she negotiated with EU leaders last month past parliament, and now she wants new reassurances over the emergency backstop clause.

EU leaders have warned repeatedly that the deal cannot be “renegotiated” but EU president Jean-Claude Juncker – who May was to meet later today – has said there could be “further clarification and further interpretations”. But this may not be enough for London. Callanan, arriving at the European Council for foreign policy talks with fellow ministers, said May was seeking a binding promise that the backstop is not indefinite. “Each side has the interests that they have to protect, and the Prime Minister is negotiating hard for the best interests of the UK,” he told reporters.

“Well, she wants additional legal reassurances that the UK cannot be permanently trapped in the Irish backstop. That’s been the issue all along and that is the issue that is the heart of the concerns expressed by many members of the parliament.” Asked whether these assurances could be made as a political declaration separate to the text of the deal itself, which EU leaders say cannot be reopened, Callanan said: “I think that it is very important that these have to be additional legally binding reassurances”

 

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Pakistan

PTI govt facing no political challenge, Fawad

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National economy top priority

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Tuesday said that the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf government faced no political challenge as main opposition leaders Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari have already contested their last elections.
Talking to media persons outside the Parliament House, the minister said that the challenges being faced by the present government were governance and economy and pragmatic steps were being taken to improve those. Fawad said that history was created by the special meeting of federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the performance of ministries on Monday.
Chaudhry Fawad quoted Prime Minister Imran Khan as saying that the government sincerely believed in changing the lot of the poor. He said that the main difference between the present and the previous governments was that the present government was sincere in changing the lot of the poor. He said the performance of ministries would be reviewed after every three months. Each ministry would be given more targets to achieve during the stipulated time frame, he said. He said the PM told the cabinet that foundation of new Pakistan had been laid during last 100 days and stressed for devising a strategy to achieve the targets within the stipulated time frame. To cope with the current situation of the country extraordinary work needed to be done, he said.
He said that the Prime Minister considered power as a sacred trust of the people and that was the concept of the state of Madina. He said there was no doubt about the intentions of the Prime Minister for serving the masses and bring real change in the lives of the poor. He said in the past the performance of the ministers and ministries were never reviewed as the ministers used to enjoy the perks at the cost of public money. He said that PTI government believed that it was answerable to the people of Pakistan and it was committed to improving governance and economy, the two big challenges being faced by the country due to the misrule of past ten years by mediocre political leadership.
Mediocre leadership of the past ruined politics, governance and institutions, he said adding that the former rulers came to power without any struggle. On the contrary, he said that Imran Khan came to power after 22 years of political struggle and knew the importance of coming to power and serving the masses. He said that the decision to sell luxury vehicles and buffaloes in the Prime Minister House was a message that the government believed in austerity and all ministries will have to follow the policy.
Referring to the spending of taxpayers money on treatment of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, he said that about Rs40 million were spent on his treatment in London while almost Rs40 million were wasted on the special PIA plane on which he traveled to the United Kingdom. He said that Nawaz Sharif which claimed to be a billionaire did not pay a penny during his rule. Even when he was not the prime minister, refreshment bills at Punjab House meetings were paid by Punjab government headed by his brother Shahbaz Sharif. This showed the mentality of the former rulers whereas Prime Minister Imran Khan was mindful of the use of every rupee from the national exchequer, he remarked.
The Minister said that a portion of the population was living below the poverty line and stunted growth in children was a major issue in the country and the government was duty bound to improve the situation.  Fawad stressed that tax payment culture needs to be promoted to take forward the country. He justified taxation on imported mobile phones saying the country is importing cellular phones worth two billion dollars and the wealthy people who purchase costly imported phones and makeup item have to pay taxes so that the poorest segments of the society could be provided health and education facilities.
He said as per vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his economic team, tax net would be increased so that the dependence on foreign loans should be ended. To a question, he said that it was prerogative of the prime minister to change portfolios of the minister, though in the cabinet meeting he did not give any impression of the reshuffle in the cabinet.

 

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Pakistan

Fawad for countering fake news spread

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National economy top priority

ISLAMABAD:  Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday stressed the need for evolving a strategy to counter fake news being spread through media.
“We were facing problems regarding fake news having a negative impact on the country’s economy”, he stated. He said figure and facts of news coming from government’s sources should be authenticated or correct. He said that anybody could quote such piece of a news item for vested interest. There is a need to tackle that type of news, he stressed.
Commenting on Prime Minister’s cabinet meeting held today, he said the premier Imran Khan was happy over the performance of State Minister for Communication, Murad Saeed, adding that he [PM] was contemplating to give Mr. Murad Saeed a portfolio as a full minister.
He said that prime minister had asked the ministers about future plan of their respective ministries. He added that premier was more concerned about the performance of the ministries given to the concerned public representatives.

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