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Trump: North Korea meeting on nuclear weapons to be in ‘May or early June’

in FAR EAST/POLITICS by

U.S. President Donald Trump said he planned to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month or in early June and hoped the discussions would ultimately lead to an end of the North’s nuclear weapons program. “Hopefully, it’ll be a relationship that’s much different than it’s been for many, many years” he said.

According to a U.S. official North Korea also has told the United States it is prepared to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula when Kim meets Trump. The official said U.S. and North Korean officials have held secret contacts recently in which Pyongyang directly confirmed its willingness to hold the unprecedented summit. The communications have involved State Department officials talking to North Korea, apparently through its United Nations mission, and intelligence officers from both sides using a separate back channel, the official said.

Trump threatens more China tariffs

in ASIA by

China warned it was ready with a “fierce counter strike” of fresh trade measures if the United States follows through on President Donald Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on an additional $ 100 billion of Chinese goods. China’s state media has rallied against the United States warning its trade protectionism actions would end in defeat and that the only option now was to hit the United States hard enough so it will “remember the pain”. 

Trump, in light of what he called China’s “unfair retaliation” against earlier U.S. trade actions, had upped the ante, escalating a tit-for-tat confrontation with potentially damaging consequences for the world’s two biggest economies. 

China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, calling the U.S. action “extremely mistaken” and unjustified, said the spat was a struggle between unilateralism and multilateralism and that no negotiations were likely in the current circumstances.China’s media, which is strictly controlled by the government, has come out in defense of the country, painting the country as a victim of an overly aggressive United States bent on taking illegitimate unilateral action. 

Salehi, Iran will cause a surprise if U.S. scraps nuclear deal

in ENERGY/MIDLE EAST by

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi warned of a “special surprise” if the Trump administration goes ahead with its threat to scuttle the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “The enemies should know that in case of a JCPOA rollback – even though we are never looking for such a situation – special conditions will arise, and when the high-ranking officials decide, there will be a special surprise for those who scuttle the agreement,” he said Thursday, Press TV reported. “We are seriously looking to preserve our national interests and sovereignty, but if the United States withdraws and Europe and other great powers retreat from this agreement, we will definitely do something different,” he added.

Trump talks with Macron and Merkel about China trade practices

in AMERICAS/ECONOMY by

U.S. President Donald Trump discussed trade practices with China in calls on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the White House said. Trump and Merkel also discussed “joining forces to counter” China’s economic practices and alleged intellectual property theft, the White House said, in what would be a further escalation of Trump’s trade actions against China.

The U.S. president also pushed for intensifying cooperation with Turkey on Syria in his call with Macron, according to the White House.

The US State Department approves $1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

During the royal visit in the United States, the US State Department approved three arms sales worth  more than $1 billion to Saudi Arabia. The sales include 6,000 Raytheon TOW-2 anti-tank missiles worth $670 million, $106 million in helicopter support and $300 million worth of vehicle parts. “The proposed sale of TOW 2B missiles and technical support will advance Saudi Arabia’s efforts to develop an integrated ground-defense capability,” the State Department said. However, the sales are not yet finalized, as all foreign military sales  have to be approved by Congress. Prices may change before they are finalized. Analysts have seen great significance in this deal, since it indicates strong political, economic, and defense ties between the two countries. Oubai Shahabandar, a fellow in the Washington, DC-based New America International security program, said: “Ensuring interoperability and integration of weapon systems between long-standing strategic partners has long been a mainstay of US foreign policy in the Arabian Gulf. It’s a win-win for all sides involved in these foreign military sales deals.” He added: “It means more American jobs and ultimately it will help Saudi Arabia to develop a sustainable indigenous military production capacity. No other country comes close to the sheer size and breadth of the foreign military sales cases that the US has with the Kingdom.

“In the long term, Riyadh’s acquisition of new military hardware from the US defense industry must also be met with a joint commitment between the US and the entire Gulf Cooperation Council to enhance the integration of their military readiness against common regional threats.” Sigurd Neubauer, a Middle East analyst and columnist based in Washington, sees Saudi Arabia as a major ally for the US in the region. He said: “Saudi Arabia has arguably surpassed Israel as Washington’s premier regional ally. “But because Trump is strengthening his relationship with Riyadh, balancing relations with Ankara and Tel Aviv also becomes paramount as Washington wants to align all of its regional allies against Tehran and its malign activity. Part of that strategy also centers on GCC unity, even if that issue was not discussed during the public part of the MBS-Trump meeting.”

 

 

Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to hold historic face-to-face meeting

in ASIA/POLITICS by

South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong saud US President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from Kim Jong-un for a historic face-to-face meeting. Chung Eui-yong made the announcement of Kim’s offer in Washington on Thursday, after talks with Mr Trump at the White House. Chung said Kim was “committed to denuclearisation” and would refrain from any further nuclear and missile tests and he wanted to meet Trump as “soon as possible” and that Trump said “he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula. White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, later confirmed Chung’s comments.

“If President Trump and Chairman Kim meet following an inter-Korean summit, complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula will be put on the right track in earnest” South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said.

China also has welcomed the development, saying the Korean peninsula issue was “heading in the right direction” and calling for “political courage”. No American president has ever met with a North Korean leader.

China’s top envoy Yang Jiechi tells Donald Trump: let’s boost coordination on North Korea

in ASIA/POLITICS by

China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi called for Beijing and Washington to improve coordination on the North Korea nuclear threat. Yang met US President Donald Trump during the two-day visit and said both nations should maintain close exchanges at all levels. China and the US have been divided on how to deal with North Korea, with China repeatedly warning the US not to attempt a pre-emptive strike on the country and Trump reportedly mulling precisely that.

Fresh sanctions on Hezbollah

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

The Trump administration announced today that a new session on Hizbullah will be held in Africa and the Middle East; in particular, the Treasury Department has announced that it has seen a network of companies and individuals in Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and other countries connected to the Hezbollah financier, Adham Tabaja. Difficulties block US activities and prevent Americans from doing business with one of the people and seven companies. According to one of the officials, with this move Trump aims not only to limit the operations of the terrorist group, but also a pressure on Iran by hindering the increase in its influence in the region.

Trump rejects peace talks with Taliban in departure from Afghan strategy

in AMERICAS/POLITICS by

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday rejected the idea of talks with the Taliban after a series of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, in an apparent contradiction of his own strategy to end America’s longest foreign war. Trump condemned the militant group for the carnage in Kabul and pledged to “finish what we have to finish”. Trump’s comments suggest he sees a military victory over the Taliban, an outcome that military and diplomatic officials say cannot be achieved with the resources and manpower he has authorized. When he announced an increase in U.S. troops to Afghanistan in August, U.S. officials said the goal was to force the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement.

CIA Helped Russia Foil Terror Plot, Kremlin Thanks Trump

in PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

The CIA reportedly tipped off Russian security forces about an impending terror attack planned for St. Petersburg last weekend, President Vladimir Putin revealed in a thank you call to U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Friday that it detained seven suspected members of an Islamic State (IS) sleeper cell preparing a suicide attack in St. Petersburg the next day. IS is a terrorist organization banned in Russia. “The information received from the CIA was enough to locate and detain the criminals,” the Kremlin said in an English-language statement.

The CIA reportedly provided advanced warning of the plan to set off explosions at the Kazansky Cathedral and other public places in St. Petersburg.

In its readout of the phone call, the White House said “Russian authorities were able to capture the terrorists just prior to an attack that could have killed large numbers of people.”

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