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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.

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.

 

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”.

Nigeria’s President Buhari will meet Trump in Washington

in AFRICA/POLITICS by

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria will meet Donald Trump in Washington on April 30 to discuss issues including “fighting terrorism” and economic growth, the White House announced Sunday. “President Trump looks forward to discussing ways to enhance our strategic partnership and advance our shared priorities: promoting economic growth and reforms, fighting terrorism and other threats to peace and security, and building on Nigeria’s role as a democratic leader in the region,” the White House said in a statement. Nigeria, West Africa’s largest economy, is among the countries combatting Islamist extremism with help from the United States. The nation is battling an array of security threats across its territory, from Boko Haram jihadists in the northeast to oil militants in the south.

Japan to pitch new trade dialogue to draw Trump back to TPP

in ECONOMY/FAR EAST by

The Japanese government on Friday greeted with cautious optimism the news that U.S. President Donald Trump is willing to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, while stressing that Washington should accept the original terms. “If this means that President Trump is correctly evaluating the significance and effects of the TPP, it’s something we want to welcome,” Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s minister in charge of the TPP, said after a Cabinet meeting. But he added: “The 11 participating countries share the thinking that it would be extremely difficult to take out part of the TPP and renegotiate or change it.

“The U.S. withdrawal from the TPP shortly after Trump’s inauguration last year made Japan the largest of the 11 Pacific Rim economies left in the deal. Those countries signed a new version last month that had been revised to account for the U.S. absence. Finance Minister Taro Aso suggested that Trump’s shift on the pact should be approached with caution. The shift comes amid a developing trade dispute between the United States and China, which did not take part in the TPP.

Japan’s former chief negotiator for talks on North Korea warns that U.S. lacks expertise on Pyongyang

in FAR EAST/POLITICS by

In a striking reversal, U.S. President Donald Trump has asked trade officials to explore the possibility of the United States rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a free trade deal he pulled out of during his first days in office as part of his “America first” agenda. Trump’s request comes as he faces pressure from farm-state Republicans anxious that his protectionist trade policies could spiral into a trade war with China that would hit rural America. It was not immediately clear how committed Trump was to embarking on a new path of potentially thorny negotiations. Trump frequently equivocates on policy when faced with opposition, only to reverse course later. It’s unclear how willing the other 11 countries would be to reopen the agreement and make concessions to lure the United States back.

“If the Trump administration doesn’t pose too many demands, it is likely that the other TPP members will see the value of the bringing the U.S. back into the fold,” said Eswar Prasad, Cornell University professor of trade policy. “Undoubtedly, a TPP that includes the U.S. would be stronger and more formidable than one that does not.” Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been renewing their pitches for TPP — rather than Trump’s threats of steep tariffs on steel and other products — as a way to counter China on trade. Sen. Ron Johnson was among a handful of senators who recently visited China to meet with government and business leaders there. He said it’s time to work with a coalition of trading partners to increase pressure on China.

Philippines’ president recognizes alliances with US, Japan

in ASIA/POLITICS by

President Duterte recognized yesterday the importance of the Philippines’ military alliances with the United States and Japan through the years since World War II. “The brotherhood between the Philippines and the US has been forged by the second World War when the Filipinos and American soldiers fought side by side under the flag of freedom, and democracy still remains strong,” it’s possible to read in a note sent to the occasion of the commemoration of “the Day of Valor” at Mt. Samat in Bataan and read by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea before hundreds of guests, including war veterans, foreign dignitaries and local officials.

In the note, Duterte recognized the alliance between the Philippines and the US in terms of military and economic support and also noted how Japan has become a friend from being a foe during World War II. “The Japanese against whom our soldiers defended Bataan for many years now remain as one of our closest allies, a major trading partner and the largest provider of Official Development Assistance, which helps us in the fight against poverty and our quest for economic progress,” Duterte said. During the commemoration, Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda also underscored the importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries as he offered an apology for the atrocities of World War II.

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.

Japanese Foreign Minister protests USA over project on Shikotan

in FAR EAST/POLITICS by

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono says Japan has lodged a protest with both Russia and the United States over a joint project on one of 4 Russian-controlled islands claimed by Japan. Last month, Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of the Sakhalin region in Russia’s Far East, announced a plan to build a diesel power plant on Shikotan Island by September. He said a large US machinery firm was involved in the project. So Kono said economic activities by a company from a third country on the islands claimed by Japan are incompatible with the government’s stance. He called the activities extremely regrettable.

He added that he will try to resolve the territorial dispute and conclude a peace treaty between Japan and Russia. The Japanese government claims the 4 islands controlled by Russia. The government maintains they are an inherent part of Japan’s territory and were illegally occupied after World War Two.

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