Chinese leader calls for ‘smooth’ Kim-Trump talks

A South Korean soldier walks past a television screen showing pictures of US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul on March 9, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Chinese leader calls for ‘smooth’ Kim-Trump talks

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes “smooth” talks between North Korea’s leader and the presidents of the United States and South Korea can produce progress toward Pyongyang’s denuclearization, according to state media.
Xi made the remarks during a meeting Monday with South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, who was in Beijing to brief Chinese leaders about his meetings with Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump last week.
Kim has agreed to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in late April in the Demilitarized Zone, while Trump and the North Korean leader could meet by the end of May.
“We expect a smooth DPRK-ROK summit and DPRK-US dialogue,” Xi said, using the acronyms for North Korea and South Korea, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Xi voiced hope that the talks will lead to “substantial progress” in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and toward the normalization of relations between the countries involved.
The peninsula faces “an important opportunity for easing tension” and all sides should be “patient and cautious,” the Chinese leader said.
Xi said China is willing to work with the international community to promote Beijing’s “dual-track approach” along with “helpful proposals from all sides.”
China has called for a dual framework of committing to denuclearization while establishing a peace mechanism. It has also proposed a “suspension-for-suspension” plan in which the United States, South Korea and Japan freeze military drills in return for North Korea halting its nuclear and missile tests.
“As long as all parties can focus on the fundamental goal of denuclearization, peace and stability, the Korean peninsula will finally usher in the spring, when ice will thaw and flowers will bloom,” Xi said.
For his part, Chung thanked Xi for his “big role” in the diplomatic process that led to the “very positive changes.”
Beijing has played a key role in implementing UN sanctions on the North, which are believed to have put immense pressure on the country’s fragile economy.
China is North Korea’s only diplomatic ally and its most important trade partner.
Still, some in China are afraid the country, which hosted failed six-nation talks on the nuclear issue a decade ago, could be cut out of negotiations on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
While Chung briefed Xi, South Korea sent the head of its National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon, to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe, a hawk on North Korea who also has tense relations with the South’s Moon, promised Tuesday to cooperate with Seoul as it embarks on the bilateral summit talks.
He reiterated that Japan also felt passionate about resolving the issue of the abductions of its citizens by Pyongyang.
North Korean agents kidnapped a number of ordinary Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s, in order to train its spies in the Japanese language and culture.
“With Japan, South Korea and the United States closely cooperating, I wish to put all my strength toward resolution of the nuclear issue, the missile issue and the abduction issue,” Abe said.


Indian sailor rescued from yacht stranded off Australian coast

Updated 4 min 19 sec ago
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Indian sailor rescued from yacht stranded off Australian coast

  • The sailor, Abhilash Tomy, called for emergency assistance on Saturday after the yacht was badly damaged in a storm
  • He became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe in 2013
SYDNEY: An Indian sailor injured in a solo round-the-world race has been rescued, the Indian Navy said on Monday, after Australian authorities said a French ship was nearing his storm-damaged yacht off Australia’s west coast.
The sailor, Abhilash Tomy, called for emergency assistance on Saturday after the yacht was badly damaged in a storm about 3,500 kilometers west of Australia, leaving him with severe back injuries.
“Tomy rescued safely,” the Indian Navy said on Twitter, without giving further details.
Earlier, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue, had said it expected a French fisheries patrol vessel to reach Tomy’s yacht as soon as 0700 GMT.
“All indications are the vessel is upright and floating high in the water but at any moment, a wave could push one of the damaged masts into the vessel and compromise its integrity,” Phil Gaden, a search and rescue official, told reporters in Canberra, the Australian capital.
The mast hanging precariously over the yacht stoked fears it could become dislodged and damage the watertight body of the boat, Gaden added.
Despite the nearness of the French ship, Gaden had cautioned that rescuers might not be able to evacuate Tomy because of the damage to his yacht, in which case an Australian naval boat, positioned further away, might have had to undertake the rescue.
Tomy, whose website says he became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe in 2013, was a contestant in the grueling 48,000-kilometer Golden Globe Race.
The Indian-built yacht, ‘Thuriya’, left the seaside town of Les Sables-d’Olonne in western France on July 1 in the roundtrip race.
Participant crafts, similar to those used 50 years ago in the first such race, which features a solo circumnavigation of the globe, are barred from using modern technology, except for their communications gear.