China’s Xi urges peaceful resolution of North Korea tension in call with Trump

UNTV News   •   April 12, 2017   •   3253

A combination of file photos showing Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) at London’s Heathrow Airport, October 19, 2015 and U.S. President Donald Trump posing for a photo in New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Lucas Jackson/File Photos

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a peaceful resolution of rising tension on the Korean peninsula in a telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, as a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group steamed towards the region.

Trump’s call with Xi, just days after they met in the United States, came as an influential state-run Chinese newspaper warned that the Korean peninsula was the closest it has been to a “military clash” since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.

The communication between the leaders underscores the increasing sense of urgency as tension escalates amid concern that reclusive North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test, or more missile launches, and Trump’s threat of unilateral action to solve the problem.

Trump had ordered the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to head to the Korean peninsula in an attempt to deter North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile ambitions, which it is developing in defiance of U.N. resolutions and sanctions.

Trump pressed Xi to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear programme when they held their first face-to-face meeting in Florida last week.

He said on Twitter on Tuesday that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without China’s help.

In their telephone call, Xi stressed that China “is committed to the target of denuclearization on the peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and advocates resolving problems through peaceful means”, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who said Trump had initiated the call, urged everyone to lower the tension.

“We hope that the relevant parties do not adopt irresponsible actions. Under the current circumstances, this is very dangerous,” Lu told reporters at a regular press briefing.

China’s Global Times newspaper said in an editorial North Korea should halt any plan for nuclear and missile activities “for its own security”. While widely read in China and run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, the Global Times does not represent government policy.

The newspaper noted Trump’s recent decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield in response to a deadly gas attack last week.

“Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honours his promises,” it said.

“The U.S. is making up its mind to stop the North from conducting further nuclear tests. It doesn’t plan to co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang,” it said.

“Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time.”

The Global Times said if North Korea made another provocative move, “Chinese society” might be willing to back unprecedented sanctions, “such as restricting oil imports”.

‘NOT AFRAID’

North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression.

Officials from the North, including leader Kim Jong Un, have indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket carrying a satellite on April 13, 2012, marking the anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founding president Kim Il Sung.

Saturday will be the 105th anniversary of his birth.

Residents thronged Pyongyang’s boulevards on a sunny spring morning, some practising for a parade to be held on the weekend, with no visible sign of the tension.

“So long as we are with our supreme leader Marshall Kim Jong Un we are not afraid of anything,” a woman who gave her name as Ri Hyon Sim told Reuters journalists, who were escorted by North Korean officials.

Russia has said it is worried about the possibility of a U.S. attack on North Korea and it would raise the issue with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian media quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.

Earlier on Wednesday, two sources in Tokyo said Japan’s navy planned exercises with the Carl Vinson carrier group in a joint show of force.

Japan’s Maritime Self Defence Force and the U.S. Navy could conduct helicopter landings on each other’s ships, as well as communication drills, they said.

A senior Japanese diplomat said it appeared the U.S. position was to put maximum pressure on North Korea to reach a solution peacefully and diplomatically.

“At least, if you consider overall things such as the fact that the U.S. government has not put out warnings to its citizens in South Korea, I think the risk at this point is not high,” said the diplomat, who declined to be identified.

South Korea’s acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, has warned of “greater provocations” by North Korea and ordered the military to intensify monitoring.

China’s Defence Ministry, in a one-line statement posted on its website, dismissed foreign media reports about a build-up of Chinese troops on its border with North Korea as “pure fabrication”.

The North fired a liquid-fuelled Scud missile this month, the latest in a series of tests that have displayed its ability to launch attacks and use hard-to-detect solid-fuel rockets.

North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and its ally South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. It regularly threatens to destroy both countries. —  By Michael Martina and Christian Shepherd | BEIJING

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in SEOUL, Sue-Lin Wong and Natalie Thomas in PYONGYANG, Nobuhiro Kubo, Tim Kelly in TOKYO, and Philip Wen in BEIJING; Writing by Michael Perry; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

Joe Biden takes presidential oath, says ‘Democracy has prevailed’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 21, 2021

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. simply known as Joe Biden took his oath of office as the 46th president of the United States of America (USA) on a sunny day on Wednesday (January 20) at the Capitol Building in a ceremony that broke tradition.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden discouraged his supporters from attending the ceremony and opted to be with the company of thousands of National Guards to keep the peace and order following an assault on the Capitol Building on January 6.

For the first time since John Quincy in 1869, the outgoing commander-in-chief Donald Trump snubbed the ceremony as he still refused to accept his election defeat.

After Trump’s tumultuous four years, Biden implied that finally, democracy has been restored in the US.

“America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.” he said.

“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” he added.

Biden did not mention his predecessor but referred to the incident at the Capitol perpetrated by Trump supporters two weeks ago. Biden said he will not let any attempt “to stop the work of our democracy” to triumph.

Moving forward, the new US president called for unity among Americans in facing the challenges ahead, especially the impact of the current pandemic which he called “dark winter”.

“In the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter,” Biden said.

“We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” he added.

Biden promised to be a president for all Americans saying “every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

“To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength,” he said addressing his critics.

“Yet hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans,” he vowed, calling for a stop on the war of colors referring to the conflicts between the Democrats and the Republicans.

Towards the end of his speech, President Biden called on US citizens to be more open and keep the value of humility as a new administration begins under his command.

“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility… because here’s this thing about life: There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you,” he said.

Duterte looking forward to closely working with Biden – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

(L-R) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President-elect Joe Biden

MANILA, Philippines –  President Rodrigo Duterte said he is “looking forward to closely working” with Joseph Biden as he congratulated the latter for winning the United States presidential elections.

“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to former Vice President Joseph “Joe” Biden on his election as the new President of the United States of America,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

“We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President-elect Biden anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he added.

Roque also said that the Philippines is committed to further strengthening its ties with the US under Biden’s administration.

“The Philippines and the United States have long-standing bilateral relations and we are committed to further enhancing the relations with the United States under the Biden administration,” he said.

“Congratulations and we wish him all the best,” he added.

Democrat Biden became the 46th President of the United States after he defeated Republican Donald Trump, according to US media on Sunday.

Biden becomes 46th US president after Pennsylvania win

Maris Federez   •   November 8, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democratic party has won Pennsylvania, surpassing the needed 270 electoral votes to take the White House and become the 46th president of the United States.

Biden on Saturday’s election results released the following statement as president-elect:

“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Biden also won Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan as he heads to the presidency, “flipping states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.”

Trump needed the Pennsylvania win to stay in power. 

Biden’s win came after days of uncertainty as the processing of some ballots was delayed when election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes.

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992, the AP said.

The 77-year-old Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and sought to contrast his working-class roots with the affluent Trump’s by casting the race as “Scranton versus Park Avenue.” —/mbmf

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