Comments Off on The office was established after Kim and South Korean Preside
nt Moon Jae-in met at the DMZ for an historic summit last year, which was follow
ed by a meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.
Pyongyang said it would notify Seoul regarding “further practical matters in the future.”
In the statement, the Unification Ministry said South Korea regrets the decisi
on, and urged the North to return soon and continue the work being done at the liaison office towards a full peace settlement.
”We regard such a withdrawal as very sad and unfortunate (and) we hop
e that the North will return shortly and hope that the liaison contact office will operate nor
mally as soon as possible,” Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung said at a press conference in Seoul Friday.
”We believe that we should take some time to judge (the situation).”
North Korea’s pull-out Friday from the Kaesong Liason Office has been on cards since Hanoi, given recent
Comments Off on North Korea has yet to issue any direct public statement on
the decision to withdraw. Chad O’Carroll, an analyst and chief executive of the K
orea Risk Group, said the move was to be expected following the failure of the Hanoi summit.
”North Korea’s pull-out Friday from the Kaesong Lias
on Office has been on cards since Hanoi, given recent no-shows there,” he said on Twitter.
He added that the move was designed to send a message that from
Pyongyang’s perspective “Seoul has insufficient influence” over the US-North Korea rela
tionship and that intra-Korean talks are increasingly pointless, “when sanctions prevent practical cooperation.”
Following the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, the US and South Korea canceled major war ga
mes that have long been a source of tensions on the Korean Peninsula in order to “support diplomatic efforts” with Pyongyang.
Speaking on Thursday, Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he was “absolutely confide
nt” that smaller exercises held in place of the traditional war games enabled the US and South Korean forces to “maintain readiness.”
Comments Off on All the devices were judged to be viable, and the package
sent to Heathrow Airport burst into flames after being opened by staff. Nobody was injured by the devices and no arrests have been made.
The packages were posted with Irish stamps and had return addresses in Dublin, prompting Irish police to join the investigation. The packages were all A4-size
d white postal bags containing yellow padded bags, which were capable of igniting when opened.
Police Scotland confirmed that a controlled explosion was carried out on the p
ackage found at the University of Glasgow on March 6 as a precautionary measure.
The Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland said in a joint statem
ent that the devices “bore similarities” to past packages “linked to dissident groups asso
ciated with Northern Ireland related terrorism,” and that “officers were already looking at this as a line of enquiry.”
The devices did not cause any injuries or damage.
Comments Off on From Israel to Brexit to France: Trump dips into allies’ politics
He’s trashed the British Prime Minister. He’s cheered protesters in France. And now he’s handed Israel’s embattled leader a win days before a re-elect
ion. When it comes to other countries’ domestic politics, President Donald Trump hasn’t hesitated to put his thumb on the scale.
When he first met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office weeks after his inau
guration, Trump heard out the Israeli prime minister’s appeal to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
But Trump didn’t immediately deliver. Instead, he waited until less than three weeks before the most consequential election of Netanyahu’s polit
ical career to announce “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
Combined with the warm embrace Trump will offer Netany
ahu in Washington next week and the White House’s silence on the timing of the annou
ncement, experts quickly identified Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as a brazen attempt to boost Netanyahu’s re-el
ection chances, giving him a foreign policy achievement to tout in the final stretch of the campaign.
Comments Off on And while it was perhaps the most blatant attempt by the
ministration to wade into a foreign contest, it was not the only time the President or his tea
m has weighed in on the domestic politics of other countries. From undercutting British Prime Minis
ter Theresa May during a visit to the United Kingdom to calling attention to protests against French President Emm
anuel Macron, Trump has repeatedly sought to influence the internal affairs of the US’s closest allies — in full public view.
”It’s not without precedent that United States leaders have said things that affect politics in other countries, but it is without prece
dent for them to do it as brazenly as Trump has done,” said Joseph Nye, the former dean of Harvard Uni
versity’s Kennedy School of Government. “His style and the degree to which he intervenes are both unprecedented.”
American administrations have long sought to quietly sway the domestic politics of other countries, whether throu
gh covert influence campaigns or military support. But rarely has a US president so eagerly voiced his opinions or
taken steps to influence another country’s internal affairs, particularly among close US allies.
Instead — even when an administration’s preferred outcome was widely known or assumed — the White Hou
se maintained an officially neutral stance. A country’s internal affairs were off-limits, at least as a matter of stated position.
Comments Off on With the Israeli elections approaching and Netanyahu da
amaged by a pending indictment stemming from a corruption investigatio
n, it became increasingly clear that Trump would look to bolster one of his closest international partners.
Netanyahu in recent weeks had begun to renew his push for the US to recognize the Go
lan Heights as part of Israel. Earlier this month, he brought US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, to the Israeli-occupied territory, touting its strategic imp
ortance. Graham, a close ally of the President’s, promised Netanyahu he would personally lobby Trump to deliver.
The Israeli ambassador’s visit was a precursor to Trump’s announcement on Thursday, a sen
ior administration official told CNN. The Golan Heights recognition had been in the works for sev
eral weeks, the official said, and culminated in a series of meetings between the President and his senior staff this week.
US officials have offered no explanation as to w
hy Trump decided to take this step now, rather than wait until after Israel’s April 9 elections.
Comments Off on I would have done it much differently. I actually told
Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me,” Trump told the tabloid. “The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one people voted on.”
Trump apologized in private to May, one of the rare times he‘s admitted wrong. And tho
ugh he’s expressed a desire to remain diplomatically impartial — “I think we will stay right in our lane,” he sa
id last week when questioned about Brexit — he has nevertheless bemoaned May’s handling of the issue over and over.
”I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,” he said in the Oval Office last week, mome
nts after suggesting he wouldn’t offer an opinion on the issue. “I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to n
egotiate it. And I think you would’ve been successful. She didn’t listen to that, and that’s fine.”
A few weeks before, Trump spoke briefly with one of the UK’s most visible pro-Brexit campaig
ners, Nigel Farage, on the sidelines of a conservative conference outside Washington. And he’s ma
intained close ties to the hardline conservatives who have bemoaned May’s handling of the matter.
Trump wasn’t alone in his criticism. Two of his top confidants — son Donald Trump Jr. and national security adviser John
Bolton — both offered critical views this week of May and her plan to try and delay Britain’s exit from Europe.
Comments Off on Theresa May asks EU for Brexit delayIn his press conference, Don
the President of the European Council, made it clear that the EU would only
approve a delay to the Brexit process if the House of Commons approves the Withdra
wal Agreement signed by Theresa May last year. That suggests a third “meaningful vote” must be held in Parliament next week.
another vote. Earlier this week he ruled that the government could not hold repeated votes on the same issue without substantive changes.
The government will hope that Tusk’s statement will be sufficient to satisfy Bercow’s demand.
After that, there’s the question of persuading MPs to support the deal.
Theresa May lost her first meaningful vote by a historic margin of 230 in January, and lost her second last week by 149.
May faces an uphill challenge to pass the deal a third time – 75 MPs will have to change their mind
s. The Prime Minister will hope that the looming and clear threat of no deal will force opposition MPs to support her deal.
The trouble is, there’s a small group of hardcore Brexit-supporting MPs o
n her own side who would be happy to see the UK crash out without a deal – a clean bre
ak from the EU with no complications. Quite how she persuades them to get onside is unclear.
Comments Off on If Nyusi’s estimated death toll is confirmed, Tropical Cyclon
clone Idai would be the deadliest tropical cyclone on record to have hit southern Africa.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said there was no power in Beira and surr
ounding areas, and nearly all communication lines had been destroyed.
”Main roads leading into Beira have been cut off, buildings have been submerged and se
verely damaged, and all business has been shut down,” said the aid agency, adding that “medical acti
vities in Beira hospital, in local health centers, and throughout the community have ceased completely.”
Though the cyclone hit Mozambique on Thursday, the extent of
the damage has taken days to come into focus due in part to the country’s poor infrastructure.
The scale of #CycloneIdai in Beira, Mozambique, is truly heartbreaking. Initial assessments from @ifrc estimate at le
ast 90% of the area is completely destroyed. Read what IFRC aid workers are witnessing in the ar
Comments Off on Amnesty International in a statement on Tuesday calle
d on foreign governments and international aid agencies to”ramp up” resources and assistance for thousands of pe
ople that have been displaced, and those that are still trapped in the aftermath of the disaster.
The international human rights organization urged authorities in Mozambique and Malawi, countries that are p
rone to flooding to adopt climate change policies that could reduce the impact of such occurrences.
”As the effects of climate change intensify, these ext
reme weather conditions can be expected to revisit us more frequently. The devastation wro
ught by Cyclone Idai is yet another wake-up call for the world to put in place ambitious climate change mitigation me
asures,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.