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 Trump Promises ‘Major Sanctions’ in Response to North Korea ICBM Test


U.S. President Donald Trump says “major sanctions” will be imposed on North Korea, after Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say is likely capable of hitting anywhere in the U.S. mainland. In a tweet Wednesday, Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the “provocative actions” of North Korea. He again vowed that the “situation will be handled,” but did not elaborate. “President Trump underscored the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies from the growing threat posed by the North Korean regime,” the White House said in a statement on the call with Xi. The readout also said Trump “emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization.”
North Korea on Wednesday said it tested a Hwasong-15 missile “tipped with a super-large heavy warhead which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S.”

 Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism, triggers sanctions


President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism on Monday, a designation that allows the United States to impose more sanctions and risks inflaming tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. The Republican president,  said the Treasury Department will announce additional sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday. “In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil”, Trump told reporters at the White House. “This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime”,  Trump, who has often criticized his predecessors’ policies toward Pyongyang, said the designation should have been made “a long time ago”.

House Dems introduce impeachment articles against Trump


A half-dozen Democrats on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, accusing him of obstruction of justice and other offenses, in a long-shot effort that stands little chance in the Republican-led House. Indeed, the large majority of Democrats seem intent on having nothing to do with the effort either as lawmakers await the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Democratic leaders have argued that the impeachment campaign riles up Trump’s GOP base, a critical bloc in next year’s midterm elections. The five articles accused the president of obstruction of justice related to the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, undermining the independence of the federal judiciary and other offenses. “We have taken this action because of great concerns for the country and our Constitution and our national security and our democracy”, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said at a news conference to announce the effort.

Trump skips East Asia summit plenary, but says trip was a success


Trump left for home from the Philippines after a lunch with the other leaders, as meetings were running about two hours behind schedule. He told reporters on Air Force One that he had delivered his prepared remarks during the lunch instead of the summit meeting. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would attend the plenary session in his place, a senior White House official said. Trump said his trip had resulted in at least $300 billion, possibly triple that figure, of deals being agreed. He did not elaborate. “We’ve explained that the United States is open for trade but we want reciprocal, we want fair trade for the United States”, he said. Trade and concern about possible protectionism under Trump’s “America First” agenda have come up during his visit to the region, which included stops in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam before concluding in the Philippines.

Trump says he trusts Putin’s denials of election meddling


U.S. President Donald Trump said he believed President Vladimir Putin when he denied accusations that Russia meddled in last year’s U.S. election after the two met briefly at a summit in Vietnam on Saturday and agreed a statement on Syria. Trump, who has called allegations of campaign collusion with Moscow a hoax, has faced questions from Democrats about the matter since he took office. A special counsel, Robert Mueller, is conducting a probe that has led to charges against Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. U.S. intelligence agencies have also concluded Russians interfered in the election to tip the election in Trump’s favor through hacking and releasing emails to embarrass Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and spreading social media propaganda.

Xi-Trump meeting in Beijing to define future China-U.S. ties


Trump’s visit comes shortly after the 19th National Congress of the CPC, which reaffirmed a mutually beneficial, win-win opening up strategy. The 19th CPC National Congress has outlined the future of China’s diplomacy, said Jia Xiudong with the China Institute of International Studies, noting that China-U.S.ties are crucial to the new type of international relations and the community of shared future for humanity. U.S. President Donald Trump will pay a state visit to China from Wednesday to Friday, the first head of state to visit China since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Apart from the red-carpet ceremony, formal talks and banquet, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart will have some informal get-togethers, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said.  Chinese ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said: “we have everything that is required for a state visit, but we want more than that”. Though the details of these informal arrangements have not been made public, Cui said that there will be “some special arrangements” for Trump and the first family to learn more about Chinese history, culture and people. During Trump’s stay, the two presidents will have sufficient time for the “top-level, strategic conversation”, which is “extremely important for the development of bilateral relations”, Cui said. Trade cooperation and the Korean Peninsula are among the key topics for Trump’s discussions in Beijing. Healthy economic and trade ties serve as the base of relations with last year 520 billion dollars for the according to China’s Ministry of Commerce and U.S. Zheng said that the solution to the trade imbalance between China and the United States is more U.S. exports to China and increased two-way investment, rather than restricting imports from China. The two presidents will discuss major issues of common concern in Beijing, Zheng said, noting that the meeting is of great significance to Sino-U.S. relations and to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. China and the United States are working to ensure Trump’s state visit is a “historic success”, Zheng said.



As Trump heads to Asia, U.S. simulates strike in Korea


On the eve of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia, North Korea has alleged that the U.S. military practiced ‘surprise strike’ bomber runs on key targets in its country. North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said on Thursday that U.S. B-1B bombers ‘simulated surprise attacks’ on the country overnight. The move by U.S. further inflamed tensions just ahead of Trump’s visit to Asia. North Korea claims that the simulated strike was conducted in an effort to ‘threaten and blackmail’ its leader Kim Jong Un’s regime. KCNA said, “The frenzied U.S. scheme of threats and blackmail, which aims to crush our republic with nuclear (weapons) continues in November as it did in October. The U.S. may make frantic last-minute efforts to block our powerful advances by shoving nuclear strategic assets at us, but our army and people are not ones to be startled.” KCNA added that the bombers’ movements only inflamed an already tense situation with three U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers now operating in the western Pacific. General McMaster, however, pointed out, “His trip is a great opportunity to demonstrate America’s and the Trump administration’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific and our efforts to strengthen longstanding American alliances and expand new partnerships”, Experts believe that Trump’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely be key to the tour. Trump is expected to pressure China on multiple fronts, including the most contentious issues – North Korea. McMaster said, “China is definitely doing more but obviously it is not enough until all of us achieve denuclearization.

North Korea attacks Donald Trump as ‘incurably mentally deranged’


North Korea slammed US President Donald Trump as “incurably mentally deranged” in a personal attack ahead of his first visit to Asia, as the South’s leader insisted Washington could not take military action on the peninsula without his agreement. The US has 28,500 troops stationed in the South to defend it from the North, Trump dubbed Kim “Rocket Man” in the same speech – Pyongyang has tested missiles apparently capable of reaching much of the US mainland – and days later Kim responded with a personal statement calling him a “dotard”, an obscure term for a weak or senile old man. Washington has deployed key military assets including jet fighters and aircraft carriers near the peninsula following the North’s sixth nuclear test in September, which also saw the United Nations impose an eighth set of sanctions on the isolated country. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday said his country would not develop or possess nuclear weapons, unlike its neighbour. In his address to the National Assembly Moon, who has advocated engagement to bring the North to the negotiating table, insisted: “There should be no military action on the peninsula without our prior consent.” Pyongyang hails its nuclear arsenal as a “treasured sword” to protect itself from potential invasion by its “imperialist enemy” the US, but has threatened to bracket the US Pacific island of Guam with missiles.

Trump’s itinerary includes Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, with all eyes on his message to the North and Kim. In the South Trump is due to address parliament, visit a US military base, and hold a summit with Moon, although he will not go to the Demilitarised Zone that divides the two Koreas.

Anticipating war, North Korea conducts evacuation drills


Following North Korea’s threat to detonate another hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, U.S. officials who have visited Seoul ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned Asia trip have not hesitated to return the threat at Pyongyang. On Sunday, following America’s threat, North Korea conducted mass evacuation drills in secondary and tertiary cities and towns, particularly along the east coast, across the country. According to Chun In-bum, a former South Korean military officer, “I have never heard of this type of training exercises before in North Korea, but am not surprised. They must realize how serious the situation is”. The drills are being seen as a preparation of war, and come at a time of heightening tensions between the hermit state and the U.S. after a series of nuclear and missile tests, including the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking mainland America. On Saturday, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis held a meeting with his counterpart, Defence Minister Song Young-moo during a trip to the South Korean capital, Seoul. Mattis warned that the U.S. would never accept a nuclear north and that dictator Kim Jong Un was overmatched by American firepower. The unusual North Korean drills have divided experts too, who are wondering whether the drills are a sign that the regime feels more threatened than before, or wants to create the perception that it is taking care of its citizens. Meanwhile, Christopher Green, a PhD candidate at University of Leiden, Germany, has argued that it was unclear “whether genuine security concerns are driving this, or the wish to portray the image of a government that has concerns over security.”Reports also emerged on Sunday, stating that the Pentagon is preparing to conduct a huge missile defense drill at its base in the Reagan Test Site in the Pacific.

US commerce secretary says that Trump and Xi share ‘good personal relationship’


US President Donald Trump has spoken with President Xi Jinping regularly in “cordial” phone conversations since the two sides first met at Trump’s Florida estate in April, with the most recent chat taking place immediately after a key leadership conference in Beijing that solidified Xi’s position. “At the Mar-a-Lago summit back in the spring, President Xi and President Trump began to develop a very good personal relationship and that’s been fostered since then,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at an event in New York. “They speak on the phone quite often and they’re by and large relatively cordial conversations, so at the human level there’s a much better rapport than the prior administration had had with the Chinese leadership”. The close ties with Beijing, which Trump administration officials have publicised, underscore the US leader’s preference for negotiating with power brokers. China’s 19th party congress made Xi the most powerful Chinese leader in decades when his name was added to the party constitution, a move that put him on a level with late paramount leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The meeting, expected to take place during Trump’s visit to China on November 8-10, is part of a broader Asia trip likely to be dominated by concerns about North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear programmes. China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported that Xi expressed a desire to work with Trump to “jointly blueprint future development of China-US ties”. The 19th Party Congress provides the opportunity for us to get some things done in the relationship to put us on a good footing deep into the future.



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