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Russian Foreign Minister to visit N. Korea today!

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to North Korea today to discuss the reclusive state’s nuclear programme and bilateral cooperation, the foreign ministry said.

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s official visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will take place on May 31,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lavrov and his North Korean counterpart will discuss bilateral ties, North Korea’s nuclear programme and other key international problems, the foreign ministry said.

Last month North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho held rare talks with Lavrov in Moscow as Pyongyang moves to improve strained ties with global powers.

Lavrov will travel to North Korea amid preparations for a high-stakes, high-drama summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Washington wants North Korea to quickly give up all its nuclear weapons in a verifiable way in return for sanctions and economic relief.

Pyongyang has a different view of denuclearization and remains deeply worried that abandoning its deterrent would leave it vulnerable, especially while the United States maintains a robust military presence in South Korea.

Piece published earlier:  Stock markets fell today, hit by concerns over a new transatlantic trade conflict as the US mulls tariffs on car imports and the decision by US President Donald Trump to call off a planned summit with North Korea. While share prices in Frankfurt and Paris had been higher on bargain-hunting earlier in the day, markets were back in negative territory by mid-afternoon, pulled down by a weaker opening on Wall Street. In New York, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6 percent. London was showing a loss of 0.5 percent, Paris slipped by 0.2 percent and Frankfurt shed 0.7 percent. The region’s bourses had already fallen heavily on Wednesday after Trump said he was not satisfied with talks aimed at averting a trade war with China. Comments by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who said he had initiated an investigation into whether auto imports “are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security”, added to the sour sentiment. Trading was “rather muted… as traders digest the overall impact of a host of geopolitical events, including the revival of US-China trade tensions, aggressive North Korea rhetoric and President Trump taking a swipe at auto equipment makers,” said Accendo Markets analyst, Artjom Hatsaturjants. CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden said that while the sell-off on Wednesday had attracted some buying at the start of the session, the bounce back did not last long. It is pertinent to mention here that today 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. 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. (24th of May, 2018)

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.