SEOUL: The US hopes to see “major disarmament” of nuclear-armed North Korea by the end of President Donald Trump’s first term in 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
Speaking the day after an unprecedented summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pompeo told reporters in Seoul negotiations on Pyongyang’s atomic arsenal could move forward quickly and would take place “most certainly in the president’s first term.
“Major disarmament… We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the two and half years,” he said, adding that there is “a lot of work left to do”. At the first-ever meeting between sitting leaders of the US and North Korea on Tuesday in Singapore, Trump and Kim pledged in a joint statement to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”.
However, this stock phrase, favored by Pyongyang, stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a “verifiable” and “irreversible” way. When questioned on the wording of the statement, Pompeo said Wednesday that Trump’s intention was to allow the US the opportunity to pursue further productive conversations on the issue with Pyongyang.
“Let me assure you that ‘complete’ encompasses verifiable in the minds of everyone concerned. One can’t completely denuclearise without validating, authenticating,” he said. Critics have said the encounter between Trump and Kim was more style than substance, producing a document short on details about the key issue of the North’s atomic weapons.
Institutions working against corruption: Chohan
ISLAMABAD: Provincial Minister for Information and Culture Fayaz-ul-Hassan Chohan today held that all institutions of the state were working sans pressure.
He told that crackdown would continue against corrupt figures. He informed that all elements were under observation and the party would not allow any corrupt person to escape from punishment for their crimes against the motherland.
He underlined that opposition’s hue and cry the main purpose to escape from punishment but they will not succeed in their malingering.
The Minister revealed that PTI govt did not appoint the Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he was appointed in the tenure of previous government n.
“The NAB is an independent institution of the state like others and government will assist it according to the law,” he added.
The NAB detained Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique in connection with the Paragon Housing Society scam, he mentioned.
Replying a question regarding opposition leader Hamza Sharif said , today he cleverly tried to escape from the country but unfortunately he was not able to leave Pakistan when FIA authorities off loaded him and did not allow to left the country.
Fayaz ul Hassan was questioned why the leader of PML-N was trying to flee the country, he replied NAB has been carrying out a probe against the member of Sharif family as their wrongdoings were surfacing.
Hamza Shahbaz is a big liar and corrupt person, even he didn’t follow his own statements, Fayaz added.
Fayaz said , “The PTI has taken up the task of making all the law enforcement agencies and institutions depoliticized including FIA and NAB.”.
“We have only one agenda that there will be no compromise on the issue of the country’s security and will make the country secure and we will have to take some tough decisions,” he said.
The people of Punjab have now realized that the opposition, mainly the PML-N has nothing to do with democracy, democratic institutions, and the parliamentary politics, he added.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan already had vowed that whenever PTI came to power, each and every corrupt person would be arrested and punished and looted public wealth would be recovered .
He urged people to be part of PTI’s struggle against the corrupt system and said that time had come for the public to resist and play its role to change this system.
UK seeks ‘legally binding’ Brexit promises
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”
PTI govt facing no political challenge, Fawad
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.