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North Korea tells U.S. to not think peace talks are weakness

in ASIA/POLITICS by

Ahead of a historic summit between the U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean President Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang has alleged that America’s tough talk is a provocation. Commenting on recent statements made by the U.S., North Korea warned the U.S. not to misread peace overtures as a sign of weakness. Further, the Kim Jong Un-led regime has accused the Trump administration of deliberately provoking Pyongyang with tough talk and a show of military strength. A spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry told the state-run Korean Central News Agency, “It would not be conducive to addressing the issue if the U.S. miscalculates the peace-loving intention of the DPRK (North Korea) as a sign of ‘weakness’ and continues to pursue its pressure and military threats.”

The statement by North Korea comes at a time when there are merely weeks to go before Trump meets Kim Jong Un in a historic meeting. However, despite all the positive news emerging from the Korean peninsula, the North Korean spokesman accused the Trump administration of misleading the public on Sunday.The spokesman alleged that U.S. claims are misleading that Pyongyang is motivated by fear of U.S. military strength and concerns about aggressive economic sanctions put in place because of the North’s nuclear and missile programs. The spokesman added that movement of U.S. military assets into the region and talk of human rights violations also have hurt the process.

Iraqi warplanes strike ISIS positions in Syria for second time

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

The Iraqi Air Force has launched airstrikes against positions of the Islamic State militant group inside Syrian territory, the media office of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said Sunday. “The heroes of the Iraqi Air Force have dealt a severe blow to the site of the leaders of Daesh south of al-Dashisha village inside the Syrian territory,” the media office said in a statement referring to ISIS by a different acronym. Al-Dashisha village located in south of Hasakah.  The airstrikes by Iraqi warplanes in Syrian territory were second of their kind this year.

ISIS positions were hit by Iraqi airstrikes on April 19 following anorder by the Iraqi Prime Minister. At that time, Iraq said that the threat that ISIS militants pose in Syria to Iraq led to the strikes to be launched. “Our forces, our fighters and their pursuit of the terrorist gangs saved many lives and thwarted plans,” it said, adding that “these strikes will help accelerate elimination of the organization in the region after it was eliminated militarily in Iraq.”

Rouhani: “Iran could remain in JCPOA if interests guaranteed”

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said if the US decided to scrap the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the other parties should guarantee that Iran will get all it wants from the 2015 nuclear agreement.  The US will be the real loser if it walks away from the nuclear accord, he added. “We have our own plan. Either what we demand from the JCPOA is fulfilled by the non-American (parties), (and in that case) the US withdrawal will be the removal of a trouble, or we (will resort to) our legal and rational option… if what we expect is not fully accomplished,” the president said.

He warned Washington against the “strategic mistake” of withdrawing from the nuclear deal, reiterating though that Iran has no concerns about the US’s cruel policies and wrong moves. US President Donald Trump in January set a 120-day deadline for US lawmakers and European allies to “fix” his predecessor Barack Obama’s main foreign policy achievement or face a US exit.

China has promised to protect the Philippines

in ASIA/POLITICS by

China has assured the Philippines that it will come to its aid in the event of external threats, according to President Rodrigo Duterte. “China said, ‘We will protect you. We will not allow the Philippines to be destroyed. We are just here and you can call for our help anytime,'” the President said in a speech in Davao City on Friday. He criticised the United States, saying it would not protect the Philippines because it was afraid of war. The Philippines and the United States are defence treaty allies, but the President is distancing the Philippines from the United States because of US expressions of concern over the thousands of killings in his brutal war on drugs.

The President recalled how he decided to seek help from China and Russia after some American senators filed a bill that would block the sale of assault rifles to the Philippine National Police, as these could be used against Filipinos. He thanked China and Russia for giving firearms to the Philippines without asking for anything in return. “So to this day, China and Russia has not asked me for a single piece of paper or pencil in return. And I told them that I’m not ready to enter into military alliances because we have this pact with the US. If I have a treaty with them, I cannot enter into other treaties,” he said.

 

Iraqi foreign minister looks to boost ties in Ankara

in ECONOMY/MIDLE EAST by

During a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Turkish Minister of Customs and Trade Bulent Tufenkegi expressed on Saturday (May 5) expressed his country’s desire to expand the Ibrahim al-Khalil crossing with Iraq and to open an additional gate in Feshkhabur in northwestern Iraq. “The unity, stability, and well-being of Iraq are the stability of Turkey. Iraq is a strong economic partner of Turkey and Turkish companies account for a large percentage of foreign companies in its southern neighbor,” he said. “Turkey is hosting a forum for the reconstruction of Iraq and providing investment support. [We are also convening] meetings of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce and the Turkish Foreign Trade Relations Commission and meetings between Iraqi banks and Turkish banks, to increase the volume of cooperation,” he said.

Baghdad took control of the Ibrahim Khalil and Feshkhabur border crossings with Turkey following law enforcement and security operations carried out in the disputed areas with the Kurdistan region in October. The 18th session of the Iraqi-Turkish Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation was held in Ankara on Saturday, during which the minutes of the meetings were signed, including the activation of the comprehensive economic partnership agreements signed in 2009, the promotion and protection of mutual investments. Additionally, they discussed the issues of water, energy, industry, agriculture, health, environment, culture, tourism, education, science, and technology, “according to Jaafari.

France slams Trump for remarks on guns and Paris attacks

in EUROPE/POLITICS by

France has condemn Donald Trump’s comment that armed civilians could have stopped the 2015 armed attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people. In a statement, the French governement declared that Paris is calling for “respect for the memory of the victims” after Donald Trump used the 2015 attacks in Paris to defend the right to carry a weapon. François Hollande,  president at the time of the attacks, strongly denounced Donald Trump’s “shameful” remarks. Furthermore, the National Federation of the victims of attacks and collective accidents (FENVAC) called the French diplomacy to “react”.

China calls for innovation in Asian Development Bank

in ASIA/ECONOMY by

China proposed four steps that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) could take to further promote inclusive development in the Asia-Pacific region.  “Looking to the future, I hope that based on the development experience of the past 50 years, ADB can keep pace with times and engage in innovation, and actively support the promotion of inclusive development in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Yu Weiping, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Finance. Yu represented Minister of China’s Ministry of Finance Liu Kun at the business session of the 51st annual meeting of the ADB Board of Governors. ADB can “innovate development strategies to promote high-quality development” in the region. Poverty reduction is one of the key goals of ADB, but it should not be the only one, said Yu.

“With more and more developing members entering the ranks of middle-income countries, ADB should strengthen its cooperation with middle-income countries to help them achieve high quality development while supporting low-income countries, small island countries, and vulnerable countries.” Yu said ADB can also “deepen regional cooperation and promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind.”

20 Islamic State members, planning to target parliamentary elections, arrested in Nineveh

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

Police troops have arrested 20 Islamic State militants as they were planning to carry out terrorist operations during the parliamentary elections in Nineveh, a security source said on Thursday. “Information from the intelligence helped in arresting 20 terrorists who were planning to carry out terrorist operations during elections in Mosul city and its vicinity,” the police source told Alghad Press. The troops, according to the source, “managed to arrest the terrorists in several regions in al-Shuhadaa al-Thaniya district in Mosul.” Moreover, the Nineveh Police Command announced arresting an IS member in an operation in west of Mosul. Maj. Gen. Hamad Namis al-Jabouri, the commander, said troops arrested “IS member, known as Khaled al-Loweizi, in the market of Sumar district in west of Mosul.” Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against security troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

Zarif: U.S. must accept consequences if nuclear deal is ditched

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Thursday that Iran reserves the right to respond should the US, as a party to the 2015 nuclear deal, withdraw from the landmark agreement. Zarif compared Tehran’s full commitment to its side of the bargain to Washington’s breach of the deal, which is officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Press TV reported. On 11 occasions, he said, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has implemented all its obligations under the JCPOA, but “the US has consistently violated the agreement especially by bullying others from doing business with Iran.” Zarif also slammed the European countries’ appeasement to US President Donald Trump as a deadline looms for Washington to announce whether it will continue suspending anti-Iran sanctions that were lifted under the nuclear accord.

“In the last year or so, we’ve been told that President Trump is unhappy with the deal and it now appears that the response from some Europeans has been to offer the United States more concessions from our pocket,” he said. “This appeasement entails promises of a new deal that would include matters we all decided to exclude at the outset of our negotiations, including Iran’s defensive capabilities and regional influence. But please understand on both issues, it is Iran, not the West, that has serious grievances and much to demand,” he added.

No regrets: Xi Jinping says Marxism still ‘totally correct’ for China

in ASIA/ECONOMY by

The decision of China’s ruling Communist Party to stick with the political theories of Karl Marx remains “totally correct”, President Xi Jinping said. Since coming to power in 2012, Xi, widely seen as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has said the party must not forget its socialist roots as it works to attain the”great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. At the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday (May 4), Xi said, “Writing Marxism onto the flag of the Chinese Communist Party was totally correct… Unceasingly promoting the sinification and modernisation of Marxism is totally correct.” Xi also instructed all party members to adopt the reading of Marxist works and the understanding of Marxist theories as a”way of life” and a “spiritual pursuit”.

Xi’s speech came near the end of a week-long propaganda blitz by state media, with chat shows saying “Marx was Right”and cartoons of his wild youth aiming to show his theories remain relevant to modern China and the next generation. Today, China, the largest self-identified socialist country, outwardly displays all the trappings of a modern capitalist society, from rampant consumption to a massive gap between the urban elite and rural poor.The apparent contradiction between party rhetoric and appearance has prompted many analysts to suggest the party is no longer really motivated by Marxism but puts practical and economic concerns above all else.

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