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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un expresses faith in Trump, reaffirms commitment to nuclear-free peninsula



…In swift reversal, Donald Trump threatens government shutdown over border wall***

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his South Korean counterpart will meet later this month to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, his state-controlled media reported Thursday.

Kim also expressed faith in President Trump efforts to settle a nuclear impasse, despite recent bumps in the diplomacy., the report said.

Chung Eui-yong, a special envoy from South Korea, told reporters that Kim stressed that “he has never talked negative about President Trump to his staff or anyone else,” South Korea’s Yonhap News reported.

Chung reportedly said North Korea expressed hope to improve the “North-U.S. relationship within Trump’s first term.”

The statement comes after a South Korean envoy met with Kim to set up the inter-Korean summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

KCNA said Kim and the South Korean delegation reached a “satisfactory agreement” over the planned inter-Korean summit.

Kim was paraphrased as saying it was “his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat.”

The dates of the summit were expected to be released sometime Thursday.

Kim’s commitment to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula comes amid an impasse with the United States and growing skepticism of his intent to dismantle his nuclear weapons program.

His statement raises hopes that talks can get back on track following his meeting with President Trump in Singapore.

To overcome increasing dispute between Pyongyang and the U.S., Seoul is trying to persuade both countries to proceed with the denuclearization process simultaneously.

In addition, the South is aiming for a four-nation summit that would include China, to declare a formal end to the Korean War. Many see the peace declaration as a precursor to the North calling for the removal of all U.S. troops in the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. officials have insisted that the North must first takes steps to abandon its nuclear weapons before any peace declaration. Steps include allowing outside inspections, giving up some nuclear weapons during the early stages of negotiations and providing an account of components of its nuclear program.

Experts believe an end-of-war declaration could make it easier for North Korea to move toward discussions of a peaceful regime, diplomatic recognition and security concessions.

The North has routinely accused the United State of holding back the end-of-war declaration and making “unilateral and gangster-like” demands for denuclearization.

On Tuesday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a lengthy statement where it said an end-of-war declaration would be a necessary trust-building step that would “manifest the political will to establish the lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

The declaration would be among several issues discussed, South Korean officials said, between North Korean officials and South Korean envoys.

Nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have settled into a stalemate since the summit meeting between Kim and Trump.

Citing a lack of progress in denuclearization, Trump called of a planned visit to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month.

Moon recently said the inter-Korean summit could warm relations between the Unites States, which maintains that efforts to improve relations should coincide with efforts to denuclearize the North.

“If needed, we should pull forward the negotiations for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula with the development in relations between the South and North,” Chung said.

Two past summits between the two Koreas in April and May removed fears of war between the two nations.

The frosty relationship between the United States and North Korea could present a tougher challenge for Moon’s third meeting with Kim, with his commitment to abandon his nuclear weapons in doubt.

In the meantime, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be willing to shut down the US government if Congress does not provide enough funding for border security, reversing a stance he took a day earlier.

Trump made his comments at a meeting with congressional Republican leaders at the White House about the legislative agenda for the next few months, including extending government funding past a September 30 deadline.

He said Congress was making “tremendous progress” on funding, but that he wanted to make good on a promise to fund border security. Trump has repeatedly threatened not to sign funding legislation if Congress fails to include enough money for a wall on the border with Mexico.

Trump reiterated that threat on Wednesday. Responding to a reporter`s question about a possible shutdown, he said: “If it happens, it happens. If it`s about border security, I`m willing to do anything. We have to protect our borders.”

His stance contradicts an interview he gave to the Daily Caller on Tuesday, when he said: “I don`t like the idea of shutdowns.”

“I don’t see even myself or anybody else closing down the country right now,” Trump was quoted as saying.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview with Fox News, called the meeting with Trump a “good discussion” and said he expected the president to sign funding bills before the end of fiscal year, averting a shutdown.

McConnell said there was “no chance” of a government shutdown.

“We are still in favor of the wall. We still want to get funding for the wall. But we think the best time to have that discussion is after the election,” he said.


Republican lawmakers had welcomed Trump`s move away from a possible government shutdown, saying party leaders wanted “no drama” ahead of the November 6 election to decide whether fellow conservatives keep hold of Congress.

House Republicans, who were leaving a closed-door party meeting held on Capitol Hill before Trump made his remarks, said the message from leadership was aimed at avoiding any crises before the midterm contest, an approach echoed by several Republican senators.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, a Republican representative with close ties to the administration, said he did not expect the federal government to shut, and that any decision on the controversial issue of funding border security would likely be delayed.

“We were told no drama,” Representative Thomas Massie, a Kentucky conservative, said after the closed-door meeting.

The planned border wall, the Trump administration`s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries and other immigration issues loom large as Americans prepare to head to the polls in November.

Trump campaigned heavily on a promise to build a wall that would be paid for by Mexico, which it has refused to do. He has subsequently turned to Congress to seek $25 billion for the project, along with other immigration demands.

Still, lawmakers have not reached a consensus on any immigration steps.

While a few conservatives like Republican Representative Jim Jordan insist the border issue should be dealt with now, others seem resigned to waiting at least until the new Congress takes office in January following the election.

Trump and US lawmakers averted a government shutdown in March after passing a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30.

A shutdown could backfire on Trump if voters blame Republicans for any federal government service disruptions.

“It doesn’t benefit anybody, certainly not Republicans,” Republican Senator Jeff Flake said.

Fox with additional report from Zee


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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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