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N. Korea no longer a nuclear threat: Tweets Trump

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump Wednesday congratulated himself on his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, insisting that country is no longer a nuclear threat.

The remark was part of a blast of tweets that Trump fired off even as Air Force One touched down at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland outside the US capital and brought Trump back home.

He waved as he walked down a red-carpeted staircase and got into a limousine. Trump hailed the summit in Singapore with Kim, in which the North Korean leader agreed to work towards denuclearizing his country, although their agreement did not say how this would be done.

Trump has been criticized for lending legitimacy to the North Korean dictator, whose regime has an atrocious human rights record, by attending the meeting in Singapore.

“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.

Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” he wrote.

“Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!” Trump added.

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

i) 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.

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 the US;

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

Relevant pieces published earlier:

ii)  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) 

iii) 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. 

iv) 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)

v) 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) 

vi) 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)

vii)  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.

viii) 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.

ix) 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)

x)  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.  

xi) 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

 May seeks EU compromise to save Brexit deal

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British PM fends off Brexit defeat by pro-EU rebels

BRUSSELS: Bloodied but not yet beaten, British Prime Minister Theresa May met EU leaders on Thursday to beg for concessions that might save her Brexit deal but admitted she does not expect a rapid breakthrough.
May survived a confidence vote staged by her own party’s MPs late on Wednesday, but admitted as she arrived at the EU summit that she will not fight the next general election planned for 2022.
Instead, her focus is on salvaging her plan for an orderly Brexit and on persuading her European counterparts to offer guarantees that Britain will not remain trapped indefinitely in their customs union.
The other 27 EU leaders have agreed to draft a reassuring political statement, but remain firmly opposed to renegotiating a hard-won withdrawal deal they endorsed less than three weeks ago.
“My focus now is to get those assurances that we need to get this deal over the line because I genuinely believe it’s in the best interests of both sides, of the UK and the EU,” May said.
“I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough but what I do hope is that we can start to work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary,” she said.
European diplomats are discussing a two-step plan that would see a brief political statement issued at the summit, followed in January by a legal interpretation of the deal.
“It’s all about clarification tonight,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
May was due to meet EU President Donald Tusk in Brussels for what he called “last-minute talks” before joining the other European leaders.
EU members have drawn up a draft six-paragraph statement they hope will appease British concerns about the so-called “Irish backstop” and give life to May’s effort to get the deal through parliament.
Last month the withdrawal accord was hailed as the end to a 17-month negotiation, and leaders dared hope they had saved Britain from crashing out of the union on March 29 without a deal.
But when May took it home, she ran into renewed opposition from hardline Brexiteers in her Conservative party and this week she baulked at putting it to a vote in parliament.
Now, with the vote delayed until January, she wants Europe to sweeten the offer with “reassurances” that measures to prevent the return of a hard border with Ireland will not last indefinitely.
According to European diplomats, the proposed summit statement would declare that any backstop “would only be in place for a short period and only as long as strictly necessary”.
And it will add: “The union stands ready to examine whether any further assurances can be provided. Such assurances will not change or contradict the withdrawal agreement.”
This would not be the legally binding promise, sought by Brexiteers, that the backstop would not be used to bind the UK into a customs union indefinitely.
“This is incredibly innocent language. Nothing of this is new. There is no end date for the backstop,” one European source told the Media. 
Brexit will once again dominate an EU summit which had been planned to deal with the thorny issues of migration, budgets and eurozone.
After May made a desperate three-capital European tour on Tuesday to seek assistance from fellow leaders, Tusk had said he would love to help her, but “the question is how”.
European officials insist in public and in private that the backstop must stay. “The idea of a sell-by date won’t stand,” one said.
May also met Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar before the summit. “Nobody is talking about and nobody is being asked to – by the British prime minister – to change the wording of the withdrawal agreement,” Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said in Dublin.
“What is being looked at now seriously is how a political declaration can be put together that is real, that provides reassurance for many in Westminster who need it, that the backstop represents no threat to them, no threat to the United Kingdom.”
Anything May does come away with must convince her own party, its angry Northern Irish allies and a majority of British MPs to back the deal when it returns to for a vote before January 21.
Her victory in a confidence vote of Conservative MPs late Wednesday made her immune from further challenge in her party for a year, but she was forced to admit she would quit by 2022.
And if the Brexit agreement is still found wanting not only would Britain and its main trading partners face economic chaos, but May could be finished off by a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

 

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Politics

Russian military chief accuses NATO of buildup on borders

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MOSCOW: A senior Russian military official on Wednesday warned of a buildup of NATO forces close to the country’s borders, the defense ministry said.
Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia’s General Staff, “noted a strengthening of NATO’s frontline military presence close to Russia’s borders”, while meeting the commander of NATO forces in Europe Curtis Scaparrotti.
Gerasimov added that “this doesn’t help reduce tensions” between Moscow and the alliance, said a defense ministry statement after they met in Baku, Azerbaijan.
NATO and the US have accused Russia of violating a Cold War arms control treaty (known as the INF) with ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 kilometers ( to 5,500 kilometers, which Moscow denies.
The US last week warned it would withdraw from the treaty signed in 1987 within 60 days if Russia does not dismantle missiles that the US claims to breach the deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned such a move would only push Moscow to develop nuclear missiles banned by the treaty.

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Asia

Modi loosing from traditional stronghld!

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NEW DEHLI: India’s ruling party looked set to lose power in at least one of three traditional stronghold states releasing election results on Tuesday, in a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of national polls in 2019.

Early election results in the central state of Chhattisgarh indicated the main opposition Congress party of Rahul Gandhi would win 59 seats compared to just 11 for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Hindu nationalist BJP has ruled Chhattisgarh for the past 15 years.

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