North Korea seen “cautious” in announcing stance over upcoming summits

US President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May and the two Koreas will hold a summit by end-April. (KCNA via Reuters)
Updated 12 March 2018
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North Korea seen “cautious” in announcing stance over upcoming summits

SEOUL: North Korea’s silence on its upcoming summits with the US and South Korea is likely due to caution over organizing its stance regarding the meetings, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said on Monday.
“We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-US summit,” said Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman for the ministry, in a regular press conference.
“I feel they’re approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organize their stance.”
North Korean media noted a visit by a senior delegation from South Korea last week but no coverage has been seen of Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet US President Donald Trump or South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
Trump agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un by the end of May and the two Koreas will hold a summit by end-April. A location has not been decided for the North Korea-US summit while Kim Jong Un and Moon will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom straddling the border between the two Koreas.
North and South Korea agreed to hold working talks to hammer out the details of the inter-Korean summit, but the two Koreas have not officially spoken since the South Korean delegation returned from the North last week, Baik said.
The North’s official news agency has been lauding efforts between the North and South to thaw relations, but state media has continued to warn the US and Japan against war-mongering.
Rhetoric in the North’s state media has been tame, however, compared to previous threats last year that went as far as saying Pyongyang would fire missiles to the vicinity of the US territory of Guam if provoked.
The South Korean officials who carried Kim’s invitation to Washington will visit the leaders of China and Japan this week to update them on the talks.


Police fire tear gas as Greeks rally over Macedonia name deal

Updated 14 min 11 sec ago
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Police fire tear gas as Greeks rally over Macedonia name deal

  • Many Greeks believe the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over their country's own northern region of that name

ATHENS: Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters outside parliament on Sunday as tens of thousands of Greeks rallied in Athens to protest against a name deal with Macedonia.
Central Athens turned into a sea of people holding blue and white Greek flags as thousands came from all over the country to rally against the accord to name the ex-Yugoslav state North Macedonia.
Many Greeks believe the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over their country's own northern region of that name.
The issue evokes strong emotions among Greeks who consider Macedonia, the ancient kingdom ruled by Alexander the Great, to be an integral part of their homeland and heritage.
The accord, signed by the two governments, unblocks the ex-Yugoslav republic's desire to join NATO and the European Union once ratified by Greece's parliament.
"We cannot stomach this deal, to give away our Macedonia, our history," said pensioner Amalia Savrami, 67, as she waved a large Greek flag on Athens's Syntagma Square.
"Macedonia is Greek, period."
Locals said the Athens rally was the largest in decades, easily outdoing rallies against austerity in previous years.
Macedonia declared independence in 1991, avoiding the violence that accompanied much of the break-up of Yugoslavia. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has sought to accelerate the country's bid to join the EU and NATO and to work on resolving the decades-old name dispute with Greece.
Greece had agreed that until the name dispute is resolved, its northern neighbour, with a population of about 2 million, could be referred to internationally as "FYROM" - Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. That is the name under which it was admitted to the United Nations in 1993.
Settling the issue would be hailed as a success by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose left-right coalition came to power in 2015. He won a confidence motion this month after the junior partner in his coalition pulled out.
The agreement with Skopje had strained relations with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, his coalition ally, which objected to the use of Macedonia in any agreed name.