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N.Korean envoy en route to Hanoi ahead of Trump-Kim summit

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SEOUL: The North Korean special representative for the US arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, apparently en route to Vietnam to meet his Washington counterpart ahead of a second scheduled summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.

Kim Hyok Chol arrived in the Chinese capital at around 10 am (0200 GMT) and was
expected to board a plane bound for Hanoi later in the day.

Kim’s trip comes three days after Kim Jong Un’s de-facto chief of staff, Kim Chang Son, landed in Hanoi to discuss protocol and security matters with the US team ahead of the summit on February 27-28.

Kim Hyok Chol and his US counterpart Stephen Biegun were engaged in three days of talks in Pyongyang earlier this month, exploring each side’s positions on denuclearisation ahead of the much-anticipated meeting.

Biegun said they had been productive, but more dialogue was needed.

“We have some hard work to do with the DPRK between now and then,” Biegun said,
adding that he was “confident that if both sides stay committed we can make real progress here”.

The US State Department said talks during Biegun’s trip explored Trump and Kim Jong Un’s “commitments of complete denuclearization, transforming US-DPRK relations and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula”.

Specifically, discussions on declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War could have been on the table, with Biegun last month saying Trump was “ready to end this war”.

The US envoy is expected to fly soon to Hanoi from Washington to resume talks with Kim Hyok Chol.

Experts say tangible progress on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons will be needed for the second summit if it is to avoid being dismissed as “reality TV”.

 

 

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Economy

Pakistan seeks greater partnership with WB: PM

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ISLAMABAD:  Imran Khan has told WB that Pakistan looked forward to greater partnership with World Bank (WB) in critical areas including eco-tourism, mountain, and religious tourism.

Talking to a delegation of World Bank headed by Vice President South Asia Hartwig Schafer in Islamabad today Imran Khan said that these sectors which have a huge potential towards the uplift of the poor and poverty alleviation. He highlighted various steps being taken by the government towards economic stability, poverty alleviation and improving ease of doing business in the country. The delegation comprised of Vice President Human Development Annete Dixon, Country Director Illangovan Patchamuthu, Operations Manager Melinda Good and Senior Country Manager IFC Nadeem Siddiqui. Special Assistant of Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeem-ul-Haq, Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan and others were also present in the meeting.

The delegation appreciated Prime Minister’s vision on the economic stability of the country, human development and addressing the issue of stunted growth due to malnutrition. It briefed the Prime Minister about various ongoing projects of the World Bank in various sectors including water supply, sewerage and waste management, transportation and connectivity, capacity building and ease of doing business in the country.  It also offered WB’s assistance in attracting foreign investments, analytics, sharing of expertise and technical knowledge in various sectors to help the Government translate its vision into reality. Welcoming the offer, the Prime Minister appreciated World Bank’s continued engagement with Pakistan and its support towards capacity building, infrastructure development and economic growth.

 

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World

NATO condemns Russian ‘build-up’ in Crimea

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BRUSSELS: NATO today condemned what it called Russia’s “ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea” on the fifth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.
As Russia celebrated what it terms its “reunification” with Crimea, NATO hit out at Moscow over its plans to further militarise the Black Sea.
The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict sent ties between NATO and Moscow plunging to post-Cold War lows. NATO said there would be no return to “business as usual” with Moscow until there was “a clear, constructive change in Russia’s actions.
“We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea, and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for further military build-up in the Black Sea region,” NATO’s ruling North Atlantic Council said in a statement. NATO holds that it would never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and urged Moscow to return the territory to Ukraine.

 

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Asia

Tokyo stocks open higher!

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

TOKYO: Stocks opened here higher today, tracking gains on Wall Street due to optimism over US-China trade talks, with investors closely eyeing the US Federal Reserve’s meeting later this week.
The Nikkei 225 index added 0.65 percent, or 139.64 points, to 21,590.49 in early trade, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.43 percent, or 6.82 points, to 1,609.45.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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