Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea under tighter export controls

Xinhua
Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea under tighter export controls

Imagine china

Men hang up banners calling for boycott of Japan in Seoul, South Korean, on August 6, 2019.

Japan will soon issue its first permit for exporting to South Korea some of the chemicals needed in producing semiconductors and display panels since imposing tighter controls last month, local media quoted sources with knowledge of the matter as saying Thursday.

On July 4, Japan made it a requirement to file applications for each transaction for exporting fluoridated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and photo-resist to South Korea.

The move was believed by Seoul to be economic retaliation for its mishandling of an arbitration process connected to a wartime labor row stemming from Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsular.

Japan believes the matter of compensation for wartime laborers was dealt with “finally and irreversibly” in a 1965 pact inked between both sides that covered the issue.

Tokyo, has maintained that the tighter export controls have been put into place due to reasons of national security, but has also called Seoul out for repeatedly breaching previous pacts and causing mutual trust to be diminished.

Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list

Decision comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

WORLD Updated: Aug 02, 2019 18:44 IST

Reuters
Reuters

Tokyo
Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko.
Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko. (AP Photo)

Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved a plan to remove South Korea from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export controls, a move likely to escalate tensions fueled by a dispute over compensation for wartime forced laborers.

The decision to drop South Korea from the “white list,” a step that has been protested fiercely by Seoul, comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

The cabinet has approved the move, Japan’s industry minister, Hiroshige Seko said.

Japan has said the measures are based on national security concerns, citing South Korea’s insufficient export controls as well as the erosion of trust after South Korean court rulings ordered Japanese firms compensate wartime forced laborers.

Japan says the issue of compensation was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized ties between Tokyo and Seoul.

(The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text, only the headline has been changed)

First Published: Aug 02, 2019 18:31 IST

China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

 

First, the government of China is no one’s friend just as Putin’s government in Russia nor is the fat little Rocket Man in North Korea. I know that statement will bring a rebuke from Mr. Trump who thinks these guys love him, but then again, he is possibly the world’s biggest idiot. I did not say that the people of these countries are ass-hats like their Leaders and Ours are. I have nothing against the people of these Countries, just their Leaders, and our Leaders.

 

Now, about those tariff’s, this is what I wish our government’s policies were toward China. Personally I believe that the whole world should stop buying anything that has to do with China as long as they have a Communists government in place who seems to think that everything on earth should be theirs to control, including all the land, oceans and air space. When anyone buys anything that is made in China you are feeding their military buildup that they will use to subjugate their own people and the people of the Nations around them.

 

But for a more doable emmediate tariff policy I believe the following approach should be adopted. Instead of having a trade war with China via tariff’s I believe that our government should only put tariffs on products that are coming into the U.S. from companies who have outsourced jobs that used to be here in our Country.  Including to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico or any other Nation. For the purpose of an example let us use General Motors. If General Motors wants into the Chinese market for the purpose of making vehicles for the Chinese market I have no problem with that at all. But, if they take jobs away from our people and then want to sell in our market I believe that our government needs to put a 100% tariffs on all of those imports. Make it very un-profitable for the company to take away American jobs if they want to sell to our market. This program would keep American companies from closing factories here and it would force the companies who have closed shops here to reinvest in our Nation, not an enemy Nation like China.

 

As I said earlier, the people of China are not our enemy, but their government damn sure is. And, in my opinion, companies who have outsourced American jobs for the sole purpose of higher profits should be treated as enemies of the American people. If you have noticed, when a company closes shop here in the States and moves to a “cheaper” place to make their products they never ever lower the prices they sell their products for. If a company made a product here in the States and sold it for $20 then they close shop here and move to China they still sell the product for $20, the name of the game is all and only about profits, to hell with the people, they only want your money. We need to quit giving it to them. Force them to move back here, if they refuse then tariff the hell out of them and also sell all of their stock, don’t allow it to be sold on the U.S Stock Exchange, bankrupt their asses. If our Leaders really want to put America, then prove it!

6 Countries With Only One Border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

6 Countries With Only One Border

Every country has boundaries. For island nations and the unique country-continent of Australia, that’s water. But other countries literally rub elbows with other nations. For most, there are many shared borders. But a select few have only one border.

Canada

Credit: Marc Bruxells / iStock

Canada is one of three countries in North America and the only one that can claim a single border, and that’s with the United States. To the north is the Arctic Ocean, and its coasts are bounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. However, its entire southern border is shared with the U.S. along with a solid claim to four of the five Great Lakes. Eight of Canada’s 13 provinces touch one or more of 13 U.S. border states. The two nations share the distinguished title of having the longest international border. You might also be surprised to find that the Canada-U.S. border is the busiest border crossing in North America.

South Korea

Credit: JimmyFam / iStock

South Korea sits on the Korean peninsula and shares its northern border with its former compatriot, North Korea. Once a unified and sovereign nation, the two countries have technically been at war since American and Soviet troops officially ended armed conflict in the region in 1953. South Korea’s northern border sits right on the 38th parallel, an artificial border created at the close of the conflict to create two separate nations.

While the 38th parallel sits within the Demilitarized Zone (the DMZ) they are not the same thing. The DMZ refers to a 150-mile stretch of land that runs along the 38th parallel with 1.2 miles of neutral, unfortified grounds on the north and south sides of the parallel. If you’re feeling brave, you can take guided tours to the DMZ, and legally take a few steps into hermit kingdom North Korea.

Lesotho

Credit: EMBorque / iStock

Some countries only have one border because they’re entirely surrounded by another country. While this is rare, there is one more nation that also has this feature. This is known as an enclave countryLesotho is completely enclosed by South Africa and boasts a population of 2 million people. The nation first came to be in the early 1800s under its original name, Basutoland, under King Moshoeshoe I. Over the years, Basutoland fell under British and Dutch control before being returned to its native people in 1966 and renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Vatican City

Credit: piola666 / iStock

As we mentioned, only two countries in the world have the distinction of being an enclave country, and Vatican City is the other one. Its official title is Vatican City State, and it is the home of the Catholic Church. The history of the Catholic Church’s papal states and autonomous rule within Italy and greater Europe is a long and complex one. But to keep it simple, even though the Vatican has existed for centuries, it didn’t become a separate entity from Italy until 1929. The lands are under the control of the Holy See with the pope serving as its ruler. However, even though the Vatican City State is sovereign from Italy, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t need a special visa or even your passport to visit this famed religious state. As long as you can legally enter Italy, you can walk right into the Vatican.

Haiti/Dominican Republic

Credit: 1001nights / iStock

So we know that there are a few nations in the world with only one border, but sometimes these countries occupy the same general lands. A perfect example of this is the island of Hispaniola, which is home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. If you remember your history lessons, Christopher Columbus mistook the island for India on his initial voyage in 1492. We’ll fast forward through the history lesson and say that the island was divided between the French and Spanish. The French created Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), and the Spanish created La Republica Dominicana or the Dominican Republic. During the island’s colonial days, relations between the two island states were strained, and to a degree, they still remain difficult today. However, both countries are popular tourist destinations for Americans and Europeans.

United Kingdom/Ireland

Credit: benstevens / iStock

Another popular “one island, two nations” situation is in Europe, although this one is a bit of a technicality. When you think of the United Kingdom, your first thoughts are of London, Manchester, or other famed cities in England. But the United Kingdom is comprised of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. So, since Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, the entire nation can claim a single border with the Republic of Ireland. Once again, this border is created by a complicated history.

Northern Ireland was created in 1921 after popular opinion—and the Government of Ireland Act of 1920—pushed for the northern portion of the island to remain with the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland was home to unionists and descendants of Britain. So, it’s understandable that they wanted to remain with their motherland. Today, both nations are also popular destinations with thriving tourism industries.

South Korea: 5 Architectural Marvels in Seoul

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Architectural Marvels in Seoul

In the aftermath of the 1950 Korean War, which saw Seoul all but brought to ruins, the city underwent a huge renovation program that focused on practicality and the rebuilding of the city as quickly as possible. Fast-forward to today and the vibrant capital of South Korea boasts an eye-catching cityscape that features a veritable cornucopia of contemporary architectural designs. Here’s our list of five of the most impressive buildings to see in this UNESCO Creative City.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Credit: TwilightShow / iStock

At the heart of the Dongdaemun fashion district is a neo-futuristic landmark designed by the award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Its mushroom-like exterior is instantly recognizable for its undulating shapes made from a combination of aluminum, concrete, steel, and stone. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza functions as a cultural center and has five exhibition halls. Among its most popular attractions is a design market and food court. This was Korea’s most Instagram-tagged location in 2015 and it is a major venue for the bi-annual Seoul Fashion Week. The surrounding park offers the chance to see the masterpiece at varying angles.

Ewha Womans University

Credit: pius99 / iStock

View the Ewha Campus Complex from above and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is an urban park. Arrive at ground level and you’ll soon realize that it is in fact an underground faculty building. A wide, valley-like promenade provides access to this ingenious construction by French architect Dominique Perrault. He created a tranquil education space that, despite its subterranean setting, is airy and bathed in natural light reflected in interior mirror panels. The park, which is also the campus roof, is used as a recreation area by students.

Lotte World Tower

Credit: sayun uranan / Shutterstock.com

The world’s fifth tallest building reaches a height of 1,821 feet in Seoul’s Songpa-gu district. Its tapered shape is purposely designed to appear smooth against the city’s mountainous backdrop, while the pale-hued glass is a reference to Korean ceramics. In spite of its size and thinness, the Lotte World Tower can withstand winds speeds of 178 miles per hour and magnitude-9.0 earthquakes. Occupying the 123 floors are retail units, offices, private residences, and a luxury hotel. Visitors can ride a double-decker elevator to the top-floor Seoul Sky observation deck.

Samsung Jong-no Tower

Credit: ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock.com

Rising above downtown Seoul is the 433-feet-tall Samsung Jong-no Tower, inaugurated in 1999 by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. This 33-floor office block is unique in that floors 23 through 30 have been removed, leaving an empty space topped by what at night resembles a UFO. Anyone familiar with Viñoly’s work will know that removing floors is a recurring theme: check out the 432 Park Avenue skyscraper in Manhattan. At one time there was a restaurant located on the floating upper floors, which granted fortunate diners unprecedented views of Seoul’s skyline.

Some Sevit – Seoul Floating Islands

Credit: dumpling123 / iStock

Here Is The Reason Ivanka Trump Was Acting Like A Diplomat In North Korea

Here Is The Reason Ivanka Trump Was Acting Like A Diplomat In North Korea

(The idea for this oped came from two headlines I just read online, the headlines were from the Daily Beast and from CNN)

 

The headlines were asking why, why was Ivanka Trump acting like a diplomat and doing photo bombs while she was with her Dad at the DMZ last week, the following is my personal belief as to why. If you remember a couple of weeks ago when the President was in England all of the Trump kids were also trying to act as if they to were Royalty. I guess the first thing that we all need to realize is that the Trump clan has a major ego problem just like all totally phony people do. But I believe there is a very good ‘other’ reason why Ivanka is acting the part that she is playing and that is as her Daddy said a couple of years ago, he believes that she would make a great President. There is also the reality that if Daddy Trump can’t get the law changed to where he can be King until he dies or if he gets evicted and convicted he has an in place contingency plan in place. He plans on being President until at least January of 2025 then it would be his best option to keep him out of prison is for his daughter to be in place to pardon him. If Mike Pence thinks that the Donald will favor him over Ivanka for the 2024 elections then he is as stupid as the people of Indiana have told me that he is. The only way Pence becomes President is if Trump is impeached during his term and I would bet almost anything that Pence got the job as the VP was with the written clause that Pence choose Ivanka as his VP so that when Pence is finished with his term then Ivanka would be next in line. Keeping that ‘Royal Linage’ in tack. What we have all been seeing with Evanka will be sold to the rest of us that this is where she has gotten her qualifying foreign policy experience. Don’t laugh to much folks, do you remember how the former Governor of Alaska told us that she had experience dealing with Russia was because she could see Russia from her home porch? Also, do you remember how the habitual liar Hillary Clinton talked about her experience under live fire for the time her and their daughter Chelsea went to Bosnia? My question is simple, which is worse, idiots or frauds, or frauds who take us all to be idiots?

 

 

N. Korea: Kim to ‘seriously contemplate the interesting content’ in Trump’s letter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Kim to ‘seriously contemplate the interesting content’ in Trump’s letter

AFP
Kim to 'seriously contemplate the interesting content' in Trump's letter

AFP

This undated picture released by DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency yesterday shows Kim Jong Un reading a letter from US President Donald Trump.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong Un received a personal letter of “excellent content” from US President Donald Trump, the country’s state media said yesterday.

Talks have stalled since the collapse of a second summit between the two leaders in February. The two sides have blamed each other for the breakdown but both have expressed a willingness to meet again, with Trump saying earlier this month that he had received a “beautiful letter” from Kim.

Yesterday, the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that Trump had written to Kim, who “said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content.”

“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong Un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” KCNA said.

The report gave no further detail about the content of the letter or when it was sent and received.

In a statement, the White House confirmed that “a letter was sent by President Trump and correspondence between the two leaders has been ongoing.”

South Korea’s presidential Blue House said it was aware of the correspondence through its communication with Washington, and described the exchange as “positive.”

The KCNA report came just two days after Kim hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping, who wrapped up an official visit to the DPRK on Friday. Kim told Xi that his visit was an opportunity to demonstrate “the immutability and invincibility of the DPRK-China friendship before the world,” KCNA said.

Analysts say the DPRK’s apparently friendly overtures to Trump signaled that Pyongyang was ready to break the deadlock with Washington.

Trump and Kim held a groundbreaking summit in Singapore last year — the first-ever meeting between a DPRK leader and a sitting US president — where the pair signed a vaguely worded deal on denuclearization.

But in Hanoi this year, Washington accused Pyongyang of effectively demanding an end to all sanctions for partial disarmament, while the DPRK said it wanted some measures eased in return for closing all the nuclear facilities at its Yongbyon complex.

Since then, Pyongyang has accused Washington of acting in “bad faith” and given it until the end of the year to change its approach. The DPRK last month fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said the written correspondence between the leaders was “very meaningful.”

“The letter diplomacy shows they are communicating even though there is a lull in talks,” Yang said.

This is not the first time the two leaders have opted for more traditional means of communication. Less than a month before the Singapore summit, Trump wrote to Kim to call it off, telling the DPRK leader not to “hesitate to call me or write.” And in September 2018, the White House said Kim sent a “very warm” letter to Trump seeking a second summit.

Xi’s DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS NETWORK ‘SHINE’)

 

Xi’s DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

Xinhua
Xi's DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

Xinhua

Xi Jinping (2nd L), general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, and his wife Peng Liyuan (1st L) pose for photos with Kim Jong Un (2nd R), chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and his wife Ri Sol Ju ahead of talks between the two leaders in Pyongyang, DPRK on June 20, 2019.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a major diplomatic action that comes as the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century and the international situation is seeing complex and profound changes, a senior Chinese official said on Friday.

According to Song Tao, head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the visit, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and the DPRK, is also Xi’s first trip to the neighboring country since he became the Chinese president and general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC, which bears key significance for the development of bilateral ties.

A new chapter for traditional friendship

The DPRK has attached a great importance to Xi’s visit and received the Chinese leader with grand and warm welcome, Song noted, saying that Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, welcomed Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at the airport, and accompanied the couple for various activities during the visit.

The two leaders had on multiple occasions conducted friendly, frank and in-depth exchanges, and have reached key consensus on writing new chapters for the China-DPRK friendship, and safeguarding peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, said Song.

During the visit, Xi has engaged a series of exchanges with officials and ordinary people in the country, while hundreds of thousands of residents in Pyongyang lined up the streets to welcome and later see off the Chinese president. Xi also watched a large group callisthenics and art performance, which was specially prepared for him.

Song said these have fully reflected a deep and profound friendship of the party, government and people of the DPRK towards the party, government and people of China, and demonstrated the vitality of the friendship between the two sides.

He also said Xi’s visit was a visit of friendship and peace, and has displayed China’s determination to stay committed to consolidating the traditional China-DPRK friendship, supporting the implementation of DPRK’s new strategic line and promoting a political solution to solving the nuclear issue in the peninsula.

The traditional friendship between the two countries has been forged and fostered by their elder generation of leaders, and the top leaders of the two sides have maintained a tradition to keep a close contact, said Song.

Xi’s trip, said Song, has realized not only the historical exchange of visits by the top leaders of the two parties and countries in such an important year as the one that marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and the DPRK, but also the 5th gathering between them in 15 months, adding that it will be a much-told story in the two countries’ high-level exchanges.

During the visit, Xi and Kim have conducted in-depth exchanges on furthering the development of the China-DPRK relationship, and have reached extensive major consensus, which helps draw a blueprint for the future of bilateral ties, Song said.

The Chinese president pointed out that the China-DPRK relationship has entered a new historical era, adding that the CPC and the Chinese government will stay firmly committed to maintaining, consolidating and nurturing the bilateral ties, and China is willing to work with the DPRK in creating a bright future for the relationship.

Song said the visit is a huge political support and encouragement for the party, government and people of the DPRK and has shown the world the unbreakable China-DPRK friendship, adding that both sides have agreed that they will step up high-level exchanges and strategic communication so as to promote an even greater achievement in the traditional friendship and the relations between the two parties and countries.

Xi's DPRK visit writes new chapter of friendship, promotes peninsula stability

Xinhua

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president, holds talks with Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in Pyongyang, DPRK on June 20, 2019.

Strengthening governance experience exchange

During the visit, the two leaders exchanged in-depth views on the socialist construction of their respective countries, said Song, adding that Xi spoke highly of the positive achievements made by the DPRK in implementing its new strategic line.

Xi stressed that China firmly supports the DPRK in pursuing a development path in line with its national conditions, adding that China stands ready to deepen exchanges and mutual learning with the DPRK on party and state governance so as to push forward the socialist construction of the two countries.

Kim expressed deep gratitude to Xi, noting that the Chinese leader’s close attention to the DPRK’s socialist construction as well as its development in economy and livelihood has strengthened the confidence of the party and people of the DPRK in their cause, Song said.

Xi and Kim, Song said, jointly blueprinted in detail a future of the bilateral relationship and agreed to take commemorating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to expand practical cooperation and deepen friendly exchanges.

The two sides will conduct exchanges and cooperation in such fields as agriculture, tourism, education, health, sports, media, youth as well as at local levels, so as to improve the well-being of both peoples, Song said.

Injecting new vitality into political dialogue

On the Korean Peninsula issue, the two leaders had in-depth and candid exchange of views on the current situation in the peninsula as well as how to maintain the dialogue process, Song said.

The situation of the Korean Peninsula concerns regional peace and stability, Xi pointed out, calling it a right choice to resolve the issue through dialogue.

Xi also called for a strategic and long-term perspective to accurately guide the evolution of the situation and effectively maintain peace and stability in the peninsula.

During his visit, Xi spoke highly of the DPRK’s efforts to promote the denuclearization of the peninsula and re-launch the process of political settlement to the issue, stressing that China is ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the DPRK and other related parties on the issue so as to safeguard peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

For his part, Kim thanked Xi for his positive remarks and said the DPRK will stay patient and control the situation to safeguard peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and create a favorable external environment for the DPRK’s development.

Kim said the DPRK hopes that the relevant party will work with the DPRK to seek solutions that accomodate each other’s legitimate concerns and push for results from the dialogue process, according to Song.

Mamata Banerjee trying to suppress her political opponents like Kim Jong-un: Giriraj Singh

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Mamata Banerjee trying to suppress her political opponents like Kim Jong-un: Giriraj Singh

Singh was talking to reporters at the party’s state headquarters upon his first visit to Bihar after being sworn in as a Union cabinet minister.

INDIA Updated: Jun 08, 2019 12:30 IST

Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Patna
mamata banerjee,kim jong-un,west bengal
The countdown to the end of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s rule has begun as she has been trying to suppress her political opponents with a ruthlessness comparable to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Union minister Giriraj Singh said in Patna on Friday.(REUTERS)

The countdown to the end of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s rule has begun as she has been trying to suppress her political opponents with a ruthlessness comparable to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Union minister Giriraj Singh said in Patna on Friday.

Singh was talking to reporters at the party’s state headquarters upon his first visit to Bihar after being sworn in as a Union cabinet minister.

“Ulti ginti (countdown) has begun for Mamata Banerjee…fear of an imminent defeat has left her frustrated. The treatment she has been meting out to her political opponents remind us of King Jong-un,” the firebrand BJP leader alleged when asked about the running feud between his party and the Trinamool Congress headed by the West Bengal Chief Minister.

“She has been displaying contempt for the country’s federal structure. She has said that she refuses to acknowledge Narendra Modi was the Prime Minister of India and has never attended meetings of the Niti Aayog where Chief Ministers of all states turn up,” he said.

Banerjee had at an election rally last month defended her inability to take calls from Modi for discussing the devastation wrought by the Fani cyclone, saying he was an “expiry prime minister” and she would talk to the PM upon the formation of a new government at the Centre.

Earlier in the day, she caused a flutter by announcing that she would not attend the meeting of the Niti Aayog scheduled later this month terming it as “fruitless” and suggesting in a letter to the Prime Minister conveying her decision that focus be shifted to the Inter-State Council for deepening cooperative federalism.

Sidestepping queries about Banerjee seeking “professional help” from poll strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor who is also the national vice president of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), a BJP ally in Bihar, Singh said, “I do not know whose help she is seeking. But I am certain that she has ceased to get help from the common people of Bengal.” The BJP recorded a remarkable victory in West Bengal in the recent general elections as it ended up winning 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, only four less than the ruling TMC. The party’s tally soared from only two in 2014.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

First Published: Jun 08, 2019 08:35 IST

Kim Jong-un Executed and Purged Top Nuclear Negotiators

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

South Korean Daily Says That Kim Jong-un Executed and Purged Top Nuclear Negotiators

Kim Hyok-chol, left, the special envoy to the United States, during summit preparations in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February.CreditAssociated Press
Image
Kim Hyok-chol, left, the special envoy to the United States, during summit preparations in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February.CreditCreditAssociated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has executed its special envoy to the United States on spying charges, as its leader, Kim Jong-un, has engineered a sweeping purge of the country’s top nuclear negotiators after the breakdown of his second summit meeting with President Trump, a major South Korean daily reported on Friday.

Kim Hyok-chol, the envoy, was executed by firing squad in March at the Mirim airfield in a suburb of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest daily, reported on Friday, citing an anonymous source. Mr. Kim faced the charge that he was “won over by the American imperialists to betray the supreme leader,” the newspaper said.

Four officials of the North Korean Foreign Ministry were also executed, the South Korean daily reported, without providing any hint of who its source might be or how it obtained the information.

South Korean officials could not confirm the Chosun Ilbo report. North Korea has not reported any execution or purge of top officials in recent months. The country remains the world’s most isolated, and outside intelligence agencies have sometimes failed to figure out or have misinterpreted what was going on in the closely guarded inner circles of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

But some signs in recent weeks have led analysts in South Korea to speculate that Mr. Kim may be engineering a reshuffle or a purge of his negotiating team in the wake of the summit meeting, held in February in Hanoi, Vietnam. The meeting was widely seen as a huge embarrassment for Mr. Kim, who is supposedly seen as infallible in his totalitarian state.

On Thursday, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, carried a commentary warning against “anti-party, anti-revolutionary acts” of officials who “pretend to work for the supreme leader in his presence but secretly harbor other dreams behind his back.”

“Such characters won’t escape the stern judgment from the revolution,” the North Korean newspaper said. North Korean state media has issued such warnings when it needed to engineer a political purge or warn against possible lagging loyalty among the elites, South Korean analysts said.

Chosun Ilbo, the South Korean newspaper, reported Friday that Kim Yong-chol, a senior Workers’ Party vice chairman who visited the White House as the main point man for diplomacy with the United States, had also been purged, sentenced to forced labor in a remote northern province.

Also sent to a prison camp was Kim Song-hye, a senior female nuclear negotiator who teamed up with Kim Hyok-chol in working-level negotiations ahead of the Kim-Trump summit, the South Korean newspaper said. North Korea even sent a summit translator to a prison camp for committing a translation mistake, it said.

During the Hanoi summit meeting, Mr. Kim demanded that Mr. Trump lift the most painful international sanctions against his country in return for partially dismantling his country’s nuclear weapons facilities. The meeting collapsed when Mr. Trump rejected the proposal, insisting on a quick and comprehensive rollback of the North’s entire weapons of mass destruction program before lifting sanctions.

Kim Yong-chol, left, a senior Workers’ Party vice chairman, and Kim Song-hye, a senior nuclear negotiator, with President Trump at the White House last year.CreditAndrew Harnik/Associated Press
Image
Kim Yong-chol, left, a senior Workers’ Party vice chairman, and Kim Song-hye, a senior nuclear negotiator, with President Trump at the White House last year.CreditAndrew Harnik/Associated Press

Mr. Kim took a long train ride to Hanoi to meet Mr. Trump, and North Korean state media reported high expectations for the summit meeting. But Mr. Kim had to return home empty-handed, without the sanctions relief that he badly needed to help ease his country’s deepening economic isolation.

Outside analysts have since wondered whether Mr. Kim’s negotiating team had failed to prepare him for such a breakdown in the talks or considered how Mr. Kim might react.

Kim Hyok-chol was appointed as North Korea’s special envoy only weeks before the Hanoi summit and had led pre-summit working-level negotiations with Stephen Biegun, Mr. Trump’s special envoy on North Korea.

Their negotiations could not narrow wide differences between their governments over the terms under which North Korea would give up its nuclear arsenal. As a consequence, Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump met without having crafted a draft agreement, as the negotiators from both sides left it to their leaders to sort out the thorniest problems that have bedeviled negotiations for decades.

Kim Yong-chol, the Workers’ Party leader, has seemed to disappear from state news media in recent weeks. Although he retained some of his top posts during a parliamentary meeting in April, he was replaced as head of the United Front Department, a key party agency in charge of relations with South Korea and the North’s intelligence affairs.

Both Kim Hyok-chol and Kim Yong-chol were absent from the North Korean delegation when Kim Jong-un met last month with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. In their places were senior officials from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, like Minister Lee Yong-ho and First Vice Minister Choe Son-hui, who have emerged as the new faces of North Korean diplomacy.

Mr. Kim has said he will give Washington until the end of the year to make a new denuclearization proposal he can accept, or he may abandon his diplomacy with Mr. Trump. As if to press the point, North Korea has recently resumed tests of short-range missiles.

Even Kim Jong-il’s sister and adviser, Kim Yo-jong, did not accompany Mr. Kim to the meeting with Mr. Putin, although she has been a fixture in high-profile summit meetings with American, Chinese and South Korean leaders.

Chosun Ilbo said the sister may have been reprimanded by Mr. Kim or may be sick with pneumonia.

Jung Chang-hyun, head of the Korean Peace and Economy Institute, a research group affiliated with South Korea’s Moneytoday news media group, said he had heard that four North Korean Foreign Ministry officials were executed by firing squad around March, not because of the breakdown of the Hanoi summit meeting, but rather for a separate corruption scandal.

It remained unclear whether the four officials included Kim Hyok-chol, said Mr. Jung, an expert on the North Korean regime and author of books on the North. But Mr. Jung said that officials under Kim Jong-un’s sister were also involved in the corruption scandal and that as a consequence, Ms. Kim was put on probation by her brother. Mr. Jung said he acquired the information from third-country sources who meet or communicate with North Korean officials through China.

Since taking power seven years ago, Kim Jong-un has engineered a series of bloody political purges to remove or execute many of the top officials who had served under his late father, Kim Jong-il, and consolidate his own leadership. The most prominent victim has been Jang Song-thaek, Mr. Kim’s uncle, who was executed in the Mirim airfield in 2013 on charges of corruption and plotting a military coup against Mr. Kim.