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North Korea already fulfilling Singapore summit promises: Trump, By Colin Zwirko

North Korea already fulfilling Singapore summit promises: Trump

Other White House officials, however, offer different assessments of progress on denuclearization

North Korea has begun returning the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War and has already taken steps towards denuclearization, President Donald Trump said at a rally in Minnesota late Wednesday.

The U.S. has already received the remains of 200 individuals, the President said, following an agreement signed by him and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the issue in Singapore last week.

The fourth point in that agreement states that the two countries would “commit to recovering POW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.”A few hours earlier, however, speaking before a meeting with his German counterpart in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis did not indicate that any such transfer of remains had been completed.

“Those discussions are also ongoing right now, but I don’t have any update for you. I know that we’re engaged on it – that’s all I can tell you,” Mattis told reporters.United States Forces Korea (USFK) spokesperson Chad Carroll, too.

Wednesday’s rally also saw Trump claim he was aware of multiple actions already taken by North Korea regarding their fulfillment of another goal of the agreement stating the DPRK “commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”“They stopped shooting missiles over Japan. They stopped all nuclear testing. They stopped nuclear research. They stopped rocketry. They stopped everything that you’d want them to stop,” Trump said.

The President also said the North “blew up sites where they test and do the testing,” appearing to refer to the Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site, though he has also claimed since the summit that the dismantlement of a missile engine test site was also already underway.

Speaking at a press conference directly after the summit in Singapore, Trump told the press Kim was “already destroying” that site, then saying a moment later: “For the missiles that they were testing, the site is going to be destroyed very soon.”

On this point, Secretary Mattis on Wednesday suggested that any such information on halting nuclear research and Trump’s other claims would not have come through continuing negotiations with North Korea.

Asked if he had seen any military indications that Pyongyang had done anything to dismantle or denuclearize, Mattis said he was “not aware of that.”

The third Kim-Xi summit: what did we learn? By Fyodor Tertitskiy

The third Kim-Xi summit: what did we learn?

A week after the Singapore talks, Kim met Xi for the third time this year

This week saw Kim Jong Un visit China for the third time and hold a summit with Xi Jinping – exactly a week after he met Donald Trump in Singapore. Like their March meeting, the June Kim-Xi summit took place in Beijing.

Chinese trade figures delayed, no North Korean data for April, By Leo Byrne

Chinese trade figures delayed, no North Korean data for April

Beijing’s General Administration of Customs nearly 30 days late publishing trade statistics

China has yet to release its figures detailing its April trade with North Korea, as part of a wider, unprecedented delay from Beijing’s General Administration of Customs in issuing monthly import and export statistics. Beijing’s customs agency has delayed publication of its trade statistics for nearly a month, with Reuters reporting on Wednesday .

Kim, Xi discuss “strategic and tactical cooperation” in Beijing: KCNA, By Dagyum Ji

Kim, Xi discuss “strategic and tactical cooperation” in Beijing: KCNA

In third visit to Beijing this year, DPRK leader also tours science and research facilities

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday discussed ways to “further strengthen strategic and tactical cooperation” at a one-on-one meeting, the DPRK’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday. Kim arrived in China for a two-day visit on Tuesday and held a summit with Xi – his third this summit. Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s previous two summits came just a few days before Kim’s meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And with more negotiations for follow-up measures to the North Korea-U.S. summit to take place soon, experts say Kim could be preparing for them with his Chinese counterpart. Others pointed at the delegates that accompanied Kim to China,… including Cabinet Premier Pak Pong-ju and Pak Thae-song, the party’s Vice Chairman for Science and Education.

Kim, Xi discuss denuclearization, Sino-DPRK relations at Beijing summit: KCNA, By Colin Zwirko

Kim, Xi discuss denuclearization, Sino-DPRK relations at Beijing summit: KCNA

Third meeting this year also saw leaders share views on last week’s DPRK-U.S. summit

Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit on Tuesday reiterated their joint support for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, North Korean state-run outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Wednesday morning. The two leaders met in the Chinese capital yesterday for their third meeting this year.

Keep your friends close: Kim Jong Un returns to China, By Adam Cathcart

Keep your friends close: Kim Jong Un returns to China

It seems likely that these two comrades will be seeing one another again soon

Now that he has evidently mastered the North Korean foreign policy and nuclear brief and met with the U.S. President, Kim Jong Un is on the move again. Two unusual aspects bear noting at the outset. The first was the letter from Kim to Xi on the occasion of the Chinese leader’s birthday over the summit.North Korea’s state-run Korea Central News Agency on Wednesday reported on Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Tuesday meeting, highlighting the family-like, harmonious atmosphere at the welcome banquet. The report contained Kim’s comments on the North’s great friendship with China, saying that Pyongyang and Beijing have developed their ties beyond their traditional relationship and that the North will work closely with China in opening a new future for the Korean peninsula and the region. KCNA also mentioned that President Xi praised Kim for his efforts toward peace and stability in the peninsula… and that the two sides are entering a new period in their ties following Kim’s first visit in March. Xi also said that Kim’s latest visit shows the world the unwavering relationship between the two.

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Spy agency warns of fraud schemes involving old N. Korean money

Hasil gambar untuk Spy agency warns of fraud schemes involving old N. Korean money

(Yonhap News) South Korea’s spy agency on Thursday alerted the public to overseas fraud schemes selling defunct North Korean money, taking advantage of the country’s recent move to reach out to the international community.The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said crime rings in China and Southeast Asia have secured massive amounts of old North Korean bills and attempted to sell them on the premise that their value will jump once North Korea denuclearizes and its economy develops.

Most of the bills were issued before the North’s currency reforms in 2009 and are no longer is use, according to the NIS.

They are also offering the money 30 to 40 percent cheaper than the current prices, the NIS said.

A crime organization was caught selling 5 million won worth of such bills in Thailand, it said. A South Korean businessman in Thailand received an offer from a local person to buy 2 billion won worth of bills. Similar cases were reported in other countries, too, largely in Southeast Asia, the NIS said.

South Koreans are mostly negative about possessing North Korean money but chances are high that international crime rings have their eyes on Korean residents as targets, the NIS said.

The spy agency plans to post warnings on websites of South Korean diplomatic missions.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Calls For Step-By-Step Denuclearization

Hasil gambar untuk North Korea's Kim Jong Un Calls For Step-By-Step Denuclearization

(Bloomberg)  In Beijing, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un told China’s President Xi that denuclearization would be a step-by-step process,according to Chinese state media.

China will play a constructive role in denuclearizing the regime. That’s the word from South’s top office as it evaluates the third Pyongyang-Beijing summit in as many months. Reporting from the presidential office in Seoul,… is our Hwang Ho-jun. In his regular press briefing Wednesday morning, the Blue House spokesperson said the latest North Korea-China summit is believed to have moved the denuclearization process a step further. He also said South Korea’s top office hopes Beijing will continue to help North Korea achieve a stable and complete denuclearization. The words “stable” and “complete,”… according to Kim Eui-kyeom,… mean China’s presence would act as a safety valve in the many negotiations to come during the denuclearization process. Those comments from the Blue House… were made after news broke that in their summit… North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to cooperate on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula… and that China has promise to play to a continued, constructive role in the future. This was Kim and Xi’s third meeting in three months. It came just a week after Kim Jong-un had his historic first face-to-face meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12th. The Blue House confirmed that President Moon had had no direct communication or phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart, but emphasized that diplomats from Seoul and Beijing are in constant, active communication.

South Korea, US defense chiefs to discuss details of joint drills next week

(Korea Herald) South Korean and US defense chiefs will hold talks in Seoul next week to discuss their policy options against North Korea and the prospects for the allies’ joint military drills, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Thursday.The meeting between Defense Minister Song Yong-moo and his US counterpart Jim Mattis will take place Thursday during the Pentagon chief’s one-day trip to South Korea, according the ministry.

Scheduled to visit China ahead of his visit to Seoul, Mattis will meet with Song to work out the “details” of the allies’ regular training drills scheduled to follow the Freedom Guardian exercise slated for August, the ministry added. “I think it is likely to happen,” said the ministry’s spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo said during a regular briefing, responding to the question as to whether the two defense chiefs would discuss the prospect of the joint exercises.

South Korea and the US militaries said Tuesday that they decided to suspend the Freedom Guardian exercise, but added that no decisions were made regarding the allies’ other regular training exercises.

According to the Military Times, Mattis said Wednesday he would meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton on the issue of the military exercises to “sort out some of the details.”

The Pentagon chief added that he would take up the issue again with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo in Seoul. It is their second meeting in less than a month. They held talks in Singapore on June 2 on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum.

“We are meeting on Friday morning over here on this issue and then when I come out of Beijing next week I’ll go into Seoul,” Mattis said. “Usual close consultation ongoing as we sort out the way ahead.”

White House deputy chief of staff to leave in July

Hasil gambar untuk White House deputy chief of staff to leave in July

(The Japan News) The White House aide who led the planning for U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting last week with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has decided to leave the Trump administration to return to the private sector.

Joe Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, has served in every Republican White House since the Reagan administration. He held the same title in George W. Bush’s White House.

Hagin’s departure comes as the Trump administration continues to set records for staff turnover. More than 60 percent of those who served in senior positions at the beginning of the administration have exited.

No successor has yet been identified.

A White House official said that after departing Singapore last week, Trump made a rare appearance in the staff cabin of Air Force One to praise Hagin for organizing the Kim summit and led White House staff in a round of applause for the aide.

Hagin was recruited to the Trump White House by former chief of staff Reince Priebus to bring a seasoned hand to a West Wing that had few experienced veterans.

North Korean summits bring sense of peace along DMZ border 

(Korea Herald) Lt. Col. Hwang Myong Jin has been a guide on the northern side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas for five years. He says it’s gotten quieter here since the summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the presidents of South Korea and the United States, in perhaps the last place on earth where the Cold War still burns hot.

“A lot of things have changed. Listen to how quiet it is,” he said as he stood on the balcony of a large building overlooking the blue and white barracks and concrete demarcation line that mark the boundary between North and South.

“The South used to blast psychological warfare propaganda at us,” he said. “But since the summits, they have stopped. Now there is a peaceful atmosphere here.”Indeed, all is quiet — deceptively so — in the DMZ these days.

On Wednesday, as Kim Jong-un was in Beijing for his third summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the northern part of the zone was buzzing with busloads of Chinese tourists taking selfies and eating ice cream cones outside the surprisingly well-stocked souvenir shop near the DMZ entrance.

A group of ethnic Korean high school students from Japan filed out of their tour bus as North Korean People’s Army soldiers watched disinterestedly with automatic rifles slung over their shoulders. Inside the souvenir shop, still more tourists, from Europe, looked over hand-painted propaganda posters. American tourists are still banned from visiting North Korea under an order issued last year by President Donald Trump that restricts all non-essential travel.

Though the DMZ has taken on something of a tourist trap atmosphere over the years — the South side is also a popular tourist destination and also has its share of kitschy souvenirs — Lt. Col. Hwang stressed that it remains first and foremost a military site.

“It’s not that we want tourists to come, but people want to see,” he said. “There are dangers.”The dangers are, in fact, all around the DMZ, though they are invisible to the throngs of day-tripping tourists.

While world attention tends to focus on the North’s development of nuclear weapons, North Korea has for decades stationed most of its conventional fire near its border with the South. South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is only about 80 kilometers (50 miles) away from the DMZ and would be vulnerable to heavy artillery, and possibly chemical shells. Such an attack could cause hundreds of thousands of casualties.Getting North Korea to agree to move at least some of its big guns away from the border will likely be a key topic of negotiations in the months ahead, particularly now that the US and South Korea have agreed to halt their next set of annual war games, which never fail to outrage the North and heighten tensions on the peninsula.

Hwang generally follows a strongly patriotic and unapologetic script as he shows visitors around the usual spots — the building where the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War was signed, a giant stone engraved with North Korean founder Kim Il Sung’s last words, various other spots where talks took place. He still stays strongly on message — his job is to get the North’s position across to the tourists, even if they aren’t especially interested in listening.

But he also pointed out a tree planted by Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in when they held their first summit here in April, and the pavilion where Kim hosted Moon when he came to the North’s side last month. And when speaking to an American journalist, Hwang also seemed a tad less belligerent — or perhaps just a bit more relaxed — on Wednesday.

“War only brings disaster to our people. Nobody wants a war,” he said. “We held military talks with the South here, too. The talks are moving in the direction of what humanity wants. That’s peace. That’s a positive thing.”


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