…As ‘Monstrous’ Hurricane Michael set to hit Florida***
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his second summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be held after the US midterm elections on November 6. Speaking to reporters as he flew to Iowa for a political rally, Trump said: “It’ll be after the midterms. I just can`t leave now.”
Earlier, Trump had said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had very good talks with Kim over the weekend and that three or four locations were being considered.
Pompeo had echoed Trump`s comments when he briefly spoke to reporters during a Tuesday afternoon visit to the White House. “While there`s still a long way to go and much work to do, we can now see a path where we will achieve (our) ultimate goal, which is the full and final verified denuclearisation of North Korea,” he said.
Trump and Kim held a historic first summit in Singapore on June 12 at which Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. However, his actions have fallen short of Washington`s demands for a complete inventory of its weapons and facilities and irreversible steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, which could threaten the United States. Still, Trump was upbeat on progress made so far.
“You got no rockets flying, you have no missiles flying, you have no nuclear testing,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “We`ve made incredible progress – beyond incredible. “But I have agreed to meet,” he said. “We have a very good relationship with Chairman Kim. I like him, he likes me, the relationship is good.”
Pompeo said on Monday the two sides were “pretty close” to agreeing on details for a second summit. He also said Kim had said he was ready to allow international inspectors into North Korea`s Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility as soon as the United States and North Korea agreed on logistics.
However, experts questioned what Pompeo had achieved on Sunday on his fourth visit to Pyongyang this year. They said the North Korean leader appeared simply to be repackaging and dragging out past pledges.
Trump noted that the United States has not lifted the “very big sanctions” it has imposed on Pyongyang. “I`d love to remove them, but we have to get something for doing it,” Trump said.
North Korea is very interested in reaching some sort of agreement on denuclearization so that it can grow economically with the benefit of the foreign investment closed to it now, Trump said.
The U.N. World Food Program said on Tuesday that the supply of food remains precarious in North Korea, where one in five children is stunted by malnutrition. More than 10 million North Koreans, nearly 40 percent of the population, are undernourished and need humanitarian aid, it said.
“I will tell you they`re calling, wanting to go there and wanting to invest,” Trump said. “At some point, when Chairman Kim makes that decision, I think he`s going to unleash something that`s going to be spectacular, really spectacular. “And I think he knows it and I think that`s one of the reasons that we`re having very successful conversations.”
In the meantime, hurricane Michael has been upgraded to an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm, hours before it is due to make landfall in Florida.
The storm has sustained winds of 130mph (210km/h) and is due to make landfall at about midday (16:00 GMT).
More than 370,000 people in Florida have been ordered to evacuate and move to higher ground.
At least 13 people reportedly died in Central America over the weekend as a result of storm rains and floods.
Florida has declared a state of emergency, as have Alabama and Georgia.
What are the latest developments?
In its latest bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Michael had become “an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane”.
It warned of a life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall along the north-eastern Gulf coast.
Michael, it added, could see some additional strengthening before it made landfall in the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend area.
At 02:00 local time on Wednesday, the eye of Michael was about 170 miles south-west of the coastal city of Apalachicola.
The NHC warns that some regions of Florida may experience storm surges of up to 13ft (4m).
Michael is currently moving northwards at 12mph.
On the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, category 4 includes winds of up to 156mph with possible severe damage to even well-built homes and trees being felled.
“Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves across the south-eastern United States,” the NHC added.
Florida Governor Rick Scott called Michael “monstrous storm” and urged residents to listen to officials.
Zee News with additional report from BBC