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North Korean Leader, Kim Jong Un Reaffirms Korean Denuclearization Push |RN

Jonathan Cheng, Andrew Jeong
Related: Trump: North Korea summit would be great for the world (FOX News) 

 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had reaffirmed his commitment to the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula and looked forward to meeting President Donald Trump on June 12, in the latest attempt by the two Korean leaders to keep recent engagement efforts on track.

The remarks by Mr Moon came a day after the two Korean leaders met for an unannounced summit at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom on Saturday, in the second meeting between the two men in as many months.

Mr Moon said the North Korean leader reached out to him on Friday for talks, and that the two sides agreed to meet at Panmunjom in a surprise summit that Mr. Moon said on Sunday was “like an ordinary meeting between friends.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a welcoming ceremony in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018 © Getty South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a welcoming ceremony in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018

The meeting, together with optimistic remarks from Mr Trump on Saturday, marked a swift reversal from Thursday when Mr Trump wrote an open letter to Mr Kim calling off plans for a meeting and instead reminded him of the power of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

On Sunday, Mr Moon said that he and Mr Kim expected plans for a June 12 summit in Singapore between Messrs. Trump and Kim to be a success, and added that he hoped to later hold a trilateral meeting with the U.S. president and North Korean leader.

Mr Moon said Mr Kim had expressed concerns at their Saturday meeting about whether the U.S. “could be fully trusted to guarantee his regime’s survival” if North Korea were to give up its nuclear weapons.

“I conveyed President Trump’s message that the U.S. would guarantee his regime’s survival, and provide economic aid if North Korea pursues complete denuclearization,” Mr Moon said.

Asked by a reporter if Mr Kim had agreed to the U.S.’s call for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, Mr Moon said that the U.S. and North Korea needed to work together to come to an agreement on the nuclear issue.

Saturday’s meeting—the fourth in history between leaders of the two Koreas—was the latest turn in a series of diplomatic manoeuvres as the U.S. and South Korea seek to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

a man talking on a cell phone           © Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

It followed an April 27 summit between Messrs. Moon and Kim on the south side of the line dividing the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, at which the two men signed a Panmunjom Declaration vowing an end to war and hostilities between the two sides.

It also came days after Mr. Trump abruptly scrapped a planned summit with Mr Kim in Singapore on June 12—only to say a day later that it might still take place.

Mr. Trump said Saturday that plans for a U.S.-North Korea summit were now “moving along pretty well.”

Speaking in the Oval Office late Saturday, Mr. Trump said “we’re looking at June 12 in Singapore. That hasn’t changed.”

“I think there’s a lot of goodwill,” Mr. Trump said. “We can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Earlier Saturday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said an advance team from the White House would travel to Singapore on Sunday, as scheduled, to prepare for a summit should it take place.

Mr. Trump had scrapped plans for the summit, citing “open hostility” from the North Korean regime, as the White House considered dozens of sanctions on Pyongyang.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018 © Getty South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018

However, he has since expressed his interest in seeing the summit through, following an immediate change in tone from North Korea’s leader following the cancellation.

North Korea confirmed the meeting with Mr. Moon and the discussion of the planned Singapore summit through its state media early Sunday, saying that the meeting between Messrs. Moon and Kim happened “all of a sudden.”

The two Koreas agreed to “meet frequently in the future,” North Korea’s report said, portraying the relationship of Messrs. Moon and Kim in warm terms.

“Kim Jong Un thanked Moon Jae In for much effort made by him for the DPRK-U.S. summit scheduled for June 12, and expressed his fixed will on the historic DPRK-U.S. summit talks,” the North Korean report said, referring to North Korea by the abbreviation for its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The two Koreas also agreed to meet again for working-level talks on June 1, in a resumption of dialogue that Pyongyang had scuttled earlier this month, when it criticized South Korea for participating in an air force drill with the U.S., and for failing to muzzle a North Korean defector who has been critical of Pyongyang’s recent pursuit of dialogue.

Just days before the surprise summit at the DMZ, North Korea’s state media had lashed out at the U.S., saying that it wouldn’t participate in any summit with the U.S. focused on Pyongyang giving up its nuclear weapons while criticizing Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy.” The remarks were cited by Mr. Trump as the reason for the scrapping of the planned Singapore summit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, shakes hands © Getty North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, shakes hands

The tone from Pyongyang was markedly different on Sunday, in line with a conciliatory response from North Korea to Mr. Trump’s summit cancellation. On Saturday, Mr. Kim told Mr. Moon that they should work together to improve U.S.-North Korea relations, and thanked the South Korean leader for his efforts.

“The top leaders of the north and the south open-heartedly listened to each other’s opinions on the crucial pending matters without formality, and had a candid dialogue,” the North’s report said.

Photos and video released by the presidential Blue House on Saturday showed Mr. Moon in a bear hug with Mr. Kim, and of the two men wearing broad grins as they shook hands. They met at Unification Pavilion, a building on the north side of the military demarcation line, the South said.

Other photos showed Mr. Moon being greeted by Mr. Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, and of the South Korean leader sitting across a table with Mr. Kim and Kim Yong Chol, a four-star North Korean general who has been a constant presence at his leader’s side in recent weeks. Mr. Moon was accompanied by Suh Hoon, the South’s spy chief.

Mr. Moon will share the details of the inter-Korean meeting Sunday at 10 a.m. Seoul time, said Yoon Young-chan, a spokesman for South Korea’s presidential office, in a statement Saturday evening.

The meeting was the second between Messrs. Moon and Kim in as many months, and the fourth in history between the leaders of the two Koreas. Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, met with South Korea’s presidents in 2000 and 2007, both times in Pyongyang.

Saturday’s summit showed that Messrs. Kim and Moon are both eager to keep the diplomatic momentum going despite recent setbacks, said Markus Bell, a lecturer in Korean and Japanese studies at the University of Sheffield in the U.K.

“Donald Trump has been flip-flopping on whether he’s going to get involved and move forward on a summit, and he’s given the window for North Korea to look like the levelheaded, rational actor,” Mr. Bell said.

Jenny Town, a research analyst at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington and managing editor of 38 North, a North Korea-focused blog, said Mr. Moon’s ability to hold a snap meeting with Mr. Kim highlights the willingness of both leaders to engage in back-channel diplomacy.

“They feel comfortable enough to have direct communication and to be able to meet on short notice,” Ms. Town said, adding that the body language between them underscored that.

Mr. Kim greeted Mr. Moon, she said, “like an old friend, instead of an awkward handshake.”

Mr. Moon had been a chief proponent of direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang, and said he was “perplexed” by Mr. Trump’s cancellation of the meeting.

Go Myong-hyun of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a private think tank in Seoul, said the two Korean leaders may also have been motivated by an attempt to stave off a return to U.S.-led pressure and sanctions against Pyongyang, as Mr. Trump said this week.

“The ultimate goal of this summit was to ensure that ‘maximum pressure’ doesn’t surface again in Washington after the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit,” Mr. Go said.

Mr. Moon, eager to keep talks on track, was able to draw on his historically high domestic approval ratings to continue to push things forward with the North, even in the face of Mr. Trump’s calls for a return to “maximum pressure,” Mr. Bell said.

“Moon has positioned himself as the peacemaker, and he’s riding the wave of 80% approval to basically push forward his agenda to reach out to North Korea,” he said.

The message from Messrs. Moon and Kim, he added, was: “Why do we need the U.S. doing anything if Trump is going to oscillate between ‘fire and fury’ and sharing a hamburger with Kim? Maybe we should move things forward by ourselves.”                  (Wall Street Journal)

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British Government Backs Iran, Says It Has ‘Never Been Naive’ About Iran’s Nuclear Programme

Iain Burns

 Video provided by Fox News

 

Britain has never been ‘naive’ about Iran’s nuclear programme, a spokesman for the government said on Monday night, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Islamic Republic of lying to the world about its ambitions.

The spokesman also said inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are vital to ensure Iran’s nuclear programme is used for peaceful means.

Netanyahu stepped up pressure on the United States to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, holding a primetime address on Israeli TV to present what he called evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in Downing Street on November 2, 2017 in London.        © Getty Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May greets the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in Downing Street on November 2, 2017, in London.

 

‘We have never been naive about Iran and its nuclear intentions. That is why the IAEA inspection regime agreed as part of the Iran nuclear deal is one of the most extensive and robust in the history of international nuclear accords,’ a British government spokesman said in a statement.

‘It remains a vitally important way of independently verifying that Iran is adhering to the deal and that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful.’

Intelligence experts and diplomats said Netanyahu did not seem to have presented a ‘smoking gun’ showing that Iran had violated the agreement, although he may have helped make a case on behalf of hawks in the U.S. administration who want to scrap it.

a screen shot of a person: In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs of information from Iran's 'nuclear archives'       © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs of information from Iran’s ‘nuclear archives’

Most of the purported evidence Netanyahu unveiled dated to the period before the 2015 accord was signed, although he said Iran had also kept important files on nuclear technology since then, and continued adding to its ‘nuclear weapons knowledge’.

Tehran dismissed Netanyahu as ‘the boy who cried wolf’, and called his presentation propaganda.

President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the United States out of the international deal unless it is renegotiated by May 12. After Netanyahu spoke, Trump repeated his criticism of the deal, suggesting he backed the Israeli leader’s remarks.

‘Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons,’ Netanyahu said at Israel’s Defence Ministry, standing in front of stacks of files representing what he described as a vault full of Iranian nuclear documents obtained weeks before.

The premier accused the Islamic Republic of 'brazenly lying' to the United States and Europe by maintaining nuclear materials in a secret location - a violation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action          © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The premier accused the Islamic Republic of ‘brazenly lying’ to the United States and Europe by maintaining nuclear materials in a secret location – a violation of…

‘Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied.’

‘Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons programme,’ he said. ‘One hundred thousand secret files prove it did. Second, even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowledge for future use.’

Although the presentation was live on Israeli television, Netanyahu made clear that his audience was abroad: he delivered most of his speech in English, before switching to Hebrew.

Netanyahu said he had shared the intelligence with the United States and would dispatch envoys to France and Germany to present it. He also spoke by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that his intelligence services have obtained documents proving that Iran maintained a secret nuclear program in violation of a landmark agreement Tehran reached with the West. Netanyahu points to a slide which is purported to show 'massive safes' where Iran's 'secret archive' were stored        © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that his intelligence services have obtained documents proving that Iran maintained a secret nuclear program in…

Tehran has denied ever seeking nuclear weapons and accuses its arch-foe Israel of stirring up world suspicions against it.

A senior U.S. official said Netanyahu gave new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a heads-up about the presentation he would give while on a visit to Tel Aviv at the weekend.

‘We were made aware of his plans,’ the official said.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal struck by Iran and six major powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for relief from the U.S. and other economic sanctions.

Trump gave Britain, France and Germany a May 12 deadline to fix what he views as the deal’s flaws – its failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, the terms by which inspectors visit suspect Iranian sites, and ‘sunset’ clauses under which some of its terms expire – or he will re-impose U.S. sanctions.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Before Netanyahu's speech, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the Israeli leader was 'the boy who can't stop crying wolf [and is] at it again'    © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Before Netanyahu’s speech, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the Israeli leader was ‘the boy who can’t stop crying wolf [and is] at it again’

Much of what Netanyahu presented is unlikely to surprise world powers, which have long concluded that Iran was pursuing atomic weapons before the agreement was signed in 2015: that is in part why they imposed sanctions in the first place.

The French ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud, tweeted that information about past Iranian nuclear activity was, in fact, an argument in favour of the nuclear deal, not against it.

A German government spokesman said it was vital to keep the independent inspections provided for under the deal.

Washington’s European allies say Tehran has generally abided by the terms of the deal since then, and have urged Trump not to scrap it. Some independent analysts and diplomats said Netanyahu appeared to be presenting old evidence.

Ali Khamenei wearing a hat: Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that Iran is keen to develop ties with the rest of the world, which is 'not merely' the United States and European countries           © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that Iran is keen to develop ties with the rest of the world, which is ‘not merely’ the United States and…Eran Etzion, a former deputy Israeli national security adviser who now heads the Israeli-European think-tank Forum of Strategic Dialogue, said on Twitter: ‘No ‘smoking gun’ was revealed this evening, nor was it proven that Iran is today developing nuclear weaponry or violating the (nuclear deal) in any other way.’

A senior European diplomat told Reuters: ‘We knew all of this and what especially stands out is that Netanyahu doesn’t speak of any recorded violations’ of the deal itself.

Speaking after Netanyahu’s presentation, Trump told a White House news conference the nuclear deal was ‘a horrible agreement for the United States’. He said it would let Tehran develop nuclear arms after seven years and had ‘proven right what Israel has done today’ with Netanyahu’s disclosures.

However, Washington itself has concluded that Iran has not violated the deal’s terms. Two U.S. intelligence officials who have monitored Iran’s nuclear weapons program for years said nothing in Netanyahu’s remarks appeared to contradict that view.

‘We have seen no new and credible evidence that Iran is violating the agreement, whether in the Prime Minister’s remarks today or from other sources,’ said one of the officials, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Moments before Netanyahu spoke Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: ‘The boy who can’t stop crying wolf is at it again’.

Abbas Araqchi, a senior Iranian foreign ministry official, was quoted by Iran’s Tasnim news agency as calling Netanyahu’s presentation ‘a childish and ridiculous game’ with the goal of influencing Trump’s decision ahead of the May 12 deadline.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, though it neither confirms nor denies possessing atomic weapons.   (Daily Mail)

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Kim Jong Un Meets Moon Jae-in, Says Koreas’ On Starting Line Of A New History |RN

(Provided by Wochit News)

GOYANG, South Korea — With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly back into the north with him before they returned to the southern side.

Those small steps must be seen in the context of the last year — when the United States, its ally South Korea and the North seemed at times to be on the verge of nuclear war as the North unleashed a torrent of weapons tests — but also in light of the long, destructive history of the rival Koreas, who fought one of the 20th century’s bloodiest conflicts and even today occupy a divided peninsula that’s still technically in a state of war.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim…

“I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of (the two Koreas) writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity,” Kim told Moon as they sat at a table, which had been built so that exactly 2018 millimeters separated them, to begin their closed-door talks. Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a “big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace-loving person in the world.”

Beyond the carefully choreographed greeting, however, it’s still not clear whether the leaders can make any progress in talks on the nuclear issue, which has bedevilled U.S. and South Korean officials for decades. North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests last year likely put it on the threshold of becoming a legitimate nuclear power. North Korea claims it has already risen to that level.

Kim and Moon in their talks vowed to have more meetings, according to Moon’s spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, with Kim joking that he would make sure not to interrupt Moon’s sleep anymore, a reference to the North’s drumbeat of early morning missile tests last year. Kim also referred to a South Korean island that North Korea attacked with artillery in 2010, killing four, saying the residents of Yeonpyeong Island who have been living in fear of North Korean artillery have high hopes the summit will help heal past scars. Kim said he’d visit Seoul’s presidential Blue House if invited.Earlier, both leaders smiled broadly as Moon grasped Kim’s hand and led him along a blindingly red carpet into South Korean territory, where schoolchildren gave Kim flowers and an honor guard stood at attention for inspection, a military band playing traditional Korean folk songs beloved by both Koreas and the South Korean equivalent of “Hail to the Chief.” It’s the first time a North Korean leader has crossed over to the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War ended in 1953.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, attend during a summit at Peace House of the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Friday, April 27, 2018. North Korean leader Kim made history by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. At right is Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, attends during a summit at Peace House of the border village of…

Kim’s news agency said that the leader would “open-heartedly” discuss with Moon “all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula” in a “historic” summit.

The greeting of the two leaders was planned to the last detail. Thousands of journalists were kept in a huge conference centre well away from the summit, except for a small group of tightly controlled pool reporters at the border. Moon stood near the Koreas’ dividing line, moving forward the moment he glimpsed Kim, dressed in dark, Mao-style suit, appearing in front of a building on the northern side. They shook hands with the borderline between them. Moon then invited Kim to cross into the South, and, after he did so, Kim grasped Moon’s hand and led him to the North and then back into the South. They took a ceremonial photo facing the North and then another photo facing the South.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim…

Two fifth-grade students from the Daesongdong Elementary School, the only South Korean school within the DMZ, greeted the leaders and gave Kim flowers. Kim and Moon then saluted an honour guard and military band, and Moon introduced Kim to South Korean government officials. Kim returned the favour, introducing Moon to the North Korean officials accompanying him. They then took a photo inside the Peace House, where the summit was to take place, in front of a painting of South Korea’s Bukhan Mountain, which towers over the South Korean Blue House presidential mansion. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was by his side throughout the ceremony, handing him a pen to sign a guestbook, taking the schoolchildren’s flowers from his hand and scribbling notes at the start of the talks with Moon.

Nuclear weapons will top the agenda, and Friday’s summit will be the clearest sign yet of whether it’s possible to peacefully negotiate those weapons away from a country that has spent decades doggedly building its bombs despite crippling sanctions and near-constant international opprobrium.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inspect honor guard as Kim crossed the border into South Korea for their historic face-to-face talks, in Panmunjom Friday, April 27, 2018. Their discussions will be expected to focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inspect honour guard as Kim crossed the border into South Korea for their historic face-to-face talks, in…

Expectations are generally low, given that past so-called breakthroughs on North Korea’s weapons have collapsed amid acrimonious charges of cheating and bad faith. Sceptics of engagement have long said that the North often turns to interminable rounds of diplomacy meant to ease the pain of sanctions — giving it time to perfect its weapons and win aid for unfulfilled nuclear promises.

Advocates of engagement, however, say the only way to get a deal is to do what the Koreas tried Friday: Sit down and see what’s possible.

The White House said in a statement that it is “hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. … (and) looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a guest book watched by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, inside the Peace House at the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Their discussions will be expected to focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)© The Associated Press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a guest book watched by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, inside the Peace House at the Peace House at the border village of…

Moon, a liberal whose election last year ended a decade of conservative rule in Seoul, will be looking to make some headway on the North’s nuclear program in advance of a planned summit in several weeks between Kim and Trump.

Kim, the third member of his family to rule his nation with absolute power, is eager, both in this meeting and in the Trump talks, to talk about the nearly 30,000 heavily armed U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and the lack of a formal peace treaty ending the Korea War — two factors, the North says, that make nuclear weapons necessary.

North Korea may also be looking to use the talks with Moon to set up the Trump summit, which it may see as a way to legitimize its declared status as a nuclear power.

One possible outcome Friday, aside from a rise in general goodwill between the countries, could be a proposal for a North Korean freeze of its weapons ahead of later denuclearization.

Seoul and Washington will be pushing for any freeze to be accompanied by rigorous and unfettered outside inspections of the North’s nuclear facilities since past deals have crumbled because of North Korea’s unwillingness to open up to snooping foreigners.

South Korea has acknowledged that the most difficult sticking point between the Koreas has been North Korea’s level of denuclearization commitment. Kim has reportedly said that he wouldn’t need nuclear weapons if his government’s security could be guaranteed external threats were removed.

Whatever the Koreas announce Friday, the spectacle of Kim being feted on South Korean soil was striking.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, Moon, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)

Kim and Moon enjoyed each other’s company in the jointly controlled village of Panmunjom near the spot where a defecting North Korean soldier fled south last year in a hail of bullets fired by his former comrades, and not too far where North Korean soldiers axe-murdered two U.S. soldiers in 1976.  (Associated Press)

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(Video) Russia Prepares For Nuclear War With United States |The Republican News

Cristina Maza
Russian President and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin enters a hall to meet with other candidates in the poll, a day after the presidential election, at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 19, 2018.: Putin-Russia            © Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images Putin-Russia 

Russian state-owned television is urging the country’s residents to stock their bunkers with water and basic foodstuffs because Moscow could go to war with Washington.

Warning that the potential conflict between the two superpowers would be “catastrophic,” an anchor for Russia’s Vesti 24 showed off shelves of food, recommending that people buy salt, oatmeal and other products that can last a long time on the shelves. Powdered milk lasts five years while sugar and rice can last up to eight years, the newscaster explained before showing videos of pasta cooking in a bomb shelter.

The channel’s newscasters also displayed charts explaining how much water people need to store for drinking, washing their face and hands, and preparing food every day—and how that amount changes depending on the temperature of a person’s bomb shelter. The program also recommended that people stock up on gas masks and read guides on how to survive a nuclear war.

Related: Russian warships put to sea from Syrian naval base (Fox News

 Russian warships put to sea from Syrian naval base

The program aired just one day after sources told Newsweek that “there is a major war scare” in Moscow, as President Donald Trump prepares to strike Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons against civilians over the weekend. The Trump administration has said it believes Syria’s Russian-backed President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the attacks, and it plans to ensure that Assad pays the price. Russian military forces have responded by saying that Moscow would meet fire with fire and said that it will shoot down any U.S. missiles.

“If there is a strike by the Americans, then the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” warned Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, during an interview on Tuesday with a television station linked to Hezbollah.

Vladimir Putin           © Getty Vladimir Putin

The increasingly bellicose rhetoric has sparked fears that a conflict could break out between two nuclear-armed superpowers. On Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to issue a stark warning to Russia, which he accused of partnering with “a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

But he later walked back the statement, calling for an end to the arms race with Russia.  Newsweek

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UK Submarines Move Within Missile Range Of Syria As Theresa May Convenes ‘War Cabinet’

Iain Burns
British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Photo by MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Getty Images)© Getty British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Photo by MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Getty Images)

 

Theresa May was poised last night to defy calls for a Commons vote on military action in Syria

The Prime Minister summoned ministers back to London to seek their support for joining an American-led attack on the Assad regime within days.

Clearing the way for action, she declared the use of chemical weapons could not go unchallenged and said ‘all the indications’ suggested that Bashar Assad’s forces were responsible for Saturday’s atrocity near Damascus.

Military chiefs are said to have ordered British submarines armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles to move within range of Syria.

a small boat in a body of water: General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of Joint Forces Command, said Russia's warnings that launch platforms could be targeted in response to air strikes meant 'they are going to try and sink ships, sink submarines and shoot aircraft out of the sky - that's war'© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of Joint Forces Command, said Russia’s warnings that launch platforms could be targeted in response to air strikes… 

Despite fears of a military confrontation with Russia, no preparations are being made to recall MPs from their Easter recess. It is understood No 10 believes it can launch a one-off, punitive strike without consulting Parliament.

Donald Trump dramatically escalated the crisis yesterday by telling Russia to ‘get ready’ because ‘nice and new and smart’ cruise missiles would be coming.

He warned Vladimir Putin not to stand by President Assad, who he described as a ‘gas killing animal’.

a close up of a newspaper            © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 

Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon had said his country was ready to target US planes and ships if they fired at Syrian regime forces. That would effectively lead to a state of war, according to Sir Richard Barrons, a senior former military commander.

And Julian Lewis, who chairs the Commons defence committee, was among MPs to warn of the risks of intervention. ‘Embroiling ourselves in a military clash with Russia in the context of a civil war between an inhumane government and opposition-controlled by jihadi fanatics is not a sensible one, to put it mildly,’ he said.

In other developments:

British officials were said to be in talks with their counterparts in France and the US about which military assets should be deployed for military action.

a group of people standing around a table: Mrs May has said Britain will co-ordinate its response to the incident in the rebel-held town of Douma - where at least 40 people are reported to have been killed - with the US and France© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mrs May has said Britain will coordinate its response to the incident in the rebel-held town of Douma – where at least 40 people are reported to have been killed -… 

‘We are committed to deter and prevent the use of chemical weapons,’ said a government source.

‘We now have to establish the best way of getting there, and those conversations are carrying on, officials are speaking to their counterparts in France and America right now. In terms of precisely what happens next, that is still to be confirmed.’

The PM will hold a Cabinet meeting this afternoon. Ministers were understood to be privately urging her to act, although is not clear whether the British public would support an expansion of military action in Syria.

Brexit Secretary David Davis voted against military action against the Assad regime in 2013.

Speaking on a visit to Birmingham yesterday, Mrs May said: ‘The continued use of chemical weapons cannot go unchallenged.’

Asked whether she was concerned about Mr Trump’s tweet, she replied: ‘We are working with our allies, we have been working to get an understanding of what happened on the ground. We are rapidly reaching that understanding. All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible.

‘We will be working with our closest allies on how we can ensure that those who are responsible are held to account and how we can prevent and deter the humanitarian catastrophe that comes from the use of chemical weapons in the future.’

Tory MP Mr Lewis insisted there should be a vote before the UK took action. ‘There is a real danger that what starts out as justified punishment for the use of chemical weapons ends up with the Royal Air Force serving as the air arm of the jihadi extremist rebels in Syria,’ he said.

The U.S. has maintained its threat of rocket attacks in response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's sickening chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on Saturday© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The U.S. has maintained its threat of rocket attacks in response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s sickening chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma…

‘It sends a very bad signal to the country that they don’t submit themselves to parliamentary scrutiny before involving in taking military action by choice in the context of a civil war where both sides equally atrocious.’

Tory colleague Bob Seely said: ‘Trump is declaring war on Twitter. Both Trump and Putin need to remember what the stakes are.

‘This crisis could escalate very quickly into a shooting war in Syria. If Russians are injured, the Kremlin will hit back. The most important thing our generation can achieve is to avoid actual conflict with Russia.

‘If we are reckless or thoughtless in our actions, it will make conflict now or in future more likely to happen.’

Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, said any US missiles fired at Syria would be shot down along with the ships or planes that fired them.

He told Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV: ‘If there is a strike by the Americans then … the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired.’

Then, in the early hours of yesterday morning, Mr Trump responded on Twitter, saying: ‘Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart! You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it.’

In a further tweet 40 minutes later, he said: ‘Our relationship with Russia is worse now that it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War.

‘There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy.’

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman responded by saying ‘smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not lawful government’.

General Barrons, who led the UK’s joint forces command until 2016, said of the Russian ambassador’s warning: ‘He is saying not only are they going to shoot down the missiles in flight, but by saying launch sites, he is saying they are going to try and sink ships, sink submarines and shoot aircraft out of the sky. That’s war.’

Charles Crawford, former British Ambassador to Bosnia, warned the range of options for dealing with the crisis varied between ‘terrible and catastrophic’.

Don’t attack without a vote, MPs from all parties urge May 

MPs from across Parliament last night urged Theresa May to change her mind as she prepared to launch military action against Bashar al-Assad without a Commons vote.

Cabinet sources said there was now a ‘broad view’ in Downing Street that the Prime Minister does not need to seek the approval of MPs before launching strikes.

Some senior Tories yesterday joined Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP in demanding MPs are given a say, as they warned of the dangers of how the crisis could escalate.Since the Iraq War a precedent has been set that all military action abroad is first approved by Parliament, but sources last night told the Mail that no preparations have been made for MPs to return to Westminster before Monday when their Easter recess ends.

When asked if she would recall parliament yesterday, Mrs May declined to answer the question directly. Tory MP Sir David Amess said the Prime Minister needed to come to the Commons before retaliating against Assad following the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

He said: ‘I think we have to look at this situation very, very carefully because since I have been in Parliament we have been involved in conflicts in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Neither with terribly good outcomes.’

a circuit board              © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 

All three of the main opposition parties – Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats – yesterday called on Mrs May to hold a Commons vote before embarking on the action.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘Parliament should always be given a say on military action. That’s a case that I’ve made going back many, many years in parliament.

‘Listen, what happened last weekend was terrible.

‘What we don’t want is bombardment which leads to escalation and leads to a hot war between Russia and America over the skies of Syria,’ he added.

 Jeremy Corbyn’s brother has claimed the chemical weapons attack in Syria was a hoax. Piers Corbyn retweeted a fake news video from a US conspiracy theory website and tagged his brother in the tweet.

Piers Corbyn tweeted: ‘Video of Syria chemical attack is fake news. Some actors masked, others not in danger zone. Slosh water on children to cry. That’s it!’

The video, on the Infowars website, suggests the attack on Douma was not carried out by the Assad regime and was the work of actors.

Daily Mail

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Russia Tests Its ‘Satan 2’ Nuclear Missile As Putin Taunts Trump In Arms Race |RN

Putin Missile Russian President Putin watching the launch of a missile during naval exercises in Russia’s Arctic North aboard the nuclear missile cruiser Peter the Great in 2005. REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

  • Russia says it has tested a new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile; Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the missile can defeat any US missile defences.
  • Putin and President Donald Trump have been squaring off over who has the better nuclear arsenal, with Trump reportedly telling Putin he would beat him in an arms race.
  • Putin and Trump seem on the path toward escalating an arms race that has already produced horrific nuclear devices.

Russia on Friday said it had tested a new type of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile known by NATO as the “Satan 2.”

The country’s president, Vladimir Putin, has said the missile can defeat any US missile defences amid growing talk of an arms race with the US and President Donald Trump.

Putin spent much of his State of the Nation address on March 1 hyping up and showing animations of new nuclear weapons systems Russia was developing. He claimed they could all defeat US missile defences.

But an arms race requires two to tango, and Trump has also been vocal about establishing US nuclear supremacy. The US also recently conducted a routine test of its Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile, which is so accurate that experts fear it may put Russia on edge and actually make it more likely to strike first.

And the feeling of nuclear inadequacy may be mutual.

This is how you get an arms race

Putin’s nuclear chest-thumping “really got under the president’s skin,” according to a White House official cited by NBC News on Thursday.

On a recent phone call between the two leaders, which made headlines for Trump’s decision to congratulate Putin on his less-than-democratic reelection, Trump and Putin reportedly butted heads.

“If you want to have an arms race, we can do that, but I’ll win,” Trump told him, according to NBC.

Putin said in his address that Russia was working on more and more-varied nuclear weapon delivery systems than the US. Trump has also planned a few new nuclear weapons for the US, but they show a very different philosophy.

While Putin described working on a weapon experts have called a “doomsday device” that would render large swaths of the world uninhabitable for decades, Trump’s nuclear posture review put forth the idea of building smaller nuclear warheads — with the idea that smaller nukes would be easier to use and less likely to start a massive escalation.

“We had a very good call,” Trump said last week of his chat with Putin. “I suspect that we’ll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have.“

The US and Russia once endangered the world with almost 70,000 nukes

US USSR nuclear_stockpiles.svg Nuclear weapons stockpiles and inventories of the US and the Soviet Union/Russia from 1945 to 2006. Wikimedia Commons User: Fastfission

In saying he would not allow anyone to match the US’s nuclear might, Trump may have unknowingly articulated just how arms races spiral out of control. Because Trump won’t allow Russia to catch up with the US’s nuclear might, and Russia feels the same way, the two sides seem destined to continue building up arms.

putin trump g20 hamburg

But arms races have come and gone before. At the height of the Cold War, for instance, the US alone had 30,000 nuclear weapons, with Russia holding a similar number.

As the Soviet Union collapsed and a climate of reconciliation allowed for arms control, that number dropped down to today’s total of approximately 6,800 nuclear weapons in the US and 7,000 in Russia.

But even with today’s limited stockpiles, the US or Russia could single-handedly destroy almost all life on earth. The risk of miscalculation runs high, and even the best-maintained nuclear-arsenal is prone to accidents.   (Business Insider, UK)

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Trump, North Korea’s Kim To Hold Historic Meeting |The Republican News

Donald-Trump-and-Kim-Jong-Un
         US President Donald Trump; North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un

President Donald Trump has agreed to a historic first meeting with Kim Jong Un in a stunning development in America’s high-stakes nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Standing in front of the White House, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong announced the first-ever meeting between a US president and North Korean leader, which he said would take place by the end of May.

Chung had recently returned from Pyongyang, where he met Kim, who, he said: “expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”

Trump hailed “great progress” in the push to persuade Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program.

“Meeting being planned!” he tweeted. “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time.”

“Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached.”

News of the summit is the latest step in a quickening diplomatic detente that has seen North and South Korea exchange envoys.

Pyongyang also sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South, which Seoul had dubbed the “Peace Games” and which saw the two countries marching under a unified flag.

The thaw came after a period of extreme tension between Washington and Pyongyang that sounded like the growing drumbeat of war.

Just months ago, Trump mocked Kim by calling him “little rocket man” and Kim returned the favour by describing Trump as “mentally deranged” and a “dotard.”

The United States and North Korea were foes throughout the Cold War and fought on opposite sides of a bloody war in the 1950s.

In the last two decades, they have been engaged in what is perhaps the world’s most dangerous nuclear standoff, with 30,000 US military personnel stationed just over the border in the South.

– Paradigm shift –

Pyongyang’s decades-long race to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the continental United States has proved a problem for successive administrations.

Trump’s strategy has been to ramp up sanctions, tighten the diplomatic screws and regularly threaten military force.

The White House said in a statement that strategy of “maximum pressure” would stay in place, for now.

“We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”

But the prospect of a top-level meeting is a paradigm shift.

North Korean leaders have sought face-to-face talks with consecutive US presidents, who have rebuffed the idea as an effort to achieve strategic parity that does not exist.

Pyongyang now seems to have achieved its goal, while only agreeing to a temporary suspension of nuclear tests.

It is a gambit fraught with risk for Trump. On multiple occasions, Kim’s father Kim Jong Il dangled the prospect of talks and denuclearization as a means of buying time, easing sanctions and dividing South Korea from its allies.

However, his decision also carries historic echoes of Richard Nixon’s visit to communist China or Barack Obama’s overture to Cuba, both of which offered the hope of better ties.

AFP

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