Pompeo visits North Korea, forms ‘good relationship with Kim’, says Trump

UNTV News   •   April 18, 2018   •   3185

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows CIA Director Mike Pompeo (L) in Washington, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) in Pyongyang, North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump (R), in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., respectively from Reuters files. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (L) & KCNA handout via Reuters & Kevin Lamarque (R)

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) – CIA director Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee to become the top U.S. diplomat, visited North Korea last week and met leader Kim Jong Un with whom he formed a “good relationship”, Trump said on Wednesday.

Pompeo became the most senior U.S. official known to have met Kim when he visited Pyongyang to discuss a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Trump said on Twitter.

Pompeo’s visit and the Tweet provide the strongest sign yet about Trump’s willingness to become the first serving U.S. president ever to meet a North Korean leader, amid a protracted standoff over the North’s nuclear and missile programs it pursues in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

U.S. officials said earlier Pompeo visited over the Easter weekend, March 31 to April 2. Representatives for the White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to a query on the exact date of the meeting with Kim.

At the same time, old rivals North Korea and South Korea are preparing for their own summit, between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on April 27, with a bid to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War a major factor in talks.

“As one of the plans, we are looking at a possibility of shifting the Korean peninsula’s armistice to a peace regime,” a top South Korean presidential official told reporters in Seoul earlier on Wednesday when asked about the North-South summit.

“But that’s not a matter than can be resolved between the two Koreas alone. It requires close consultations with other concerned nations, as well as North Korea,” the official said.

South Korea and a U.S.-led U.N. force are technically still at war with North Korea after the Korean War ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. The U.S.-led United Nations Command, Chinese forces and North Korea signed the 1953 armistice, to which South Korea is not a party.

“I do not know if any joint statement to be reached at the inter-Korean summit would include wording about ending the war, but we certainly hope to be able to include an agreement to end hostile acts between the South and North,” the official said.

Trump said on Tuesday he backed efforts between North and South Korea aimed at ending the state of war.

Such discussions between the two Koreas, and between North Korea and the United States, would have been unthinkable at the end of last year, after months of escalating tension, and fear of war, over the North’s weapons programs.

But then Kim declared in a New Year’s speech his country was “a peace-loving and responsible nuclear power” and called for lower military tension and improved ties with the South.

He also said he was considering sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, a visit that began a succession of steps to improve ties.

But finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries said in a statement they were still concerned about North Korea’s evasion of sanctions and its “ability to access the international financial system”.

CHINA’S XI TO VISIT PYONGYANG?

Pompeo’s visit to the North was arranged by South Korean intelligence chief Suh Hoon with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, and was intended to assess whether Kim was prepared to hold serious talks, a U.S. official said.

Pompeo flew from a U.S. air force base in Osan, south of Seoul, an official with the South’s defense ministry said. The South’s presidential office declined to comment on the trip.

Amid the diplomatic flurry, CNN reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping also planned to visit Pyongyang soon, after North Korean leader Kim made a surprise trip last month to China, its major sole ally.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she had no information about any Xi visit to North Korea.

“What I can stress is that China and North Korea have a tradition of high level mutual visits,” she told reporters.

“China is willing to strengthen high-level exchanges with North Korea, deepen strategic communications, expand talks and cooperation, and to bring out the important leading role of high-level contact in China-North Korea relations.”

Trump said on Tuesday he believed there was a lot of goodwill in the diplomatic push with North Korea, but added it was possible the summit – first proposed in March and which the president said could take place in late May or early June – may not happen, in which case the United States and its allies would maintain pressure on North Korea through sanctions.

Nevertheless, Pompeo’s conversations in North Korea had fueled Trump’s belief that productive negotiations were possible, according to a U.S. senior official briefed on the trip.

The two Koreas have meanwhile been pressing ahead with preparations for the inter-Korean summit next week.

South Korea’s presidential office said they had agreed to broadcast live, for the first time, parts of the summit, including the hand shake between the two leaders.

Additional reporting by Soyoung Kim and Joyce Lee in SEOUL, Susan Heavey, John Walcott and Steve Holland in WASHINGTON, and Christian Shepherd in BEIJING; Editing by Robert Birsel and Nick Macfie

DFA calls on North Korea to comply with int’l obligations after ballistic missile launch

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 31, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Following the ballistic missile launch of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on March 25, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reiterated its call for the country to comply with international laws.

The Foreign Department, in a statement on Friday (March 31), expressed concern over DPRK’s latest ballistic missile launch saying the actions undermine regional peace and stability, not only in the Korean Peninsula, but also in the entire region.

The department said the DPRK should abide by the obligation under the resolutions set by the United Nations Security Council.

Two missiles were launched by North Korea into the sea near Japan on Thursday (March 25). AAC

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.

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