Japan’s Abe: North Korea must take real steps to denuclearization

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe greet South Korea’s intelligence chief Suh Hoon at the start of their meeting on Tuesday in Tokyo. (AP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Japan’s Abe: North Korea must take real steps to denuclearization

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with South Korea’s intelligence chief on Tuesday and said that while he welcomes any dialogue with North Korea regarding the country’s denuclearization, the North must take action as well.
“I believe it is extremely important that North Korea takes concrete actions to achieve what it has said,” Abe said at the beginning of talks with South Korean intelligence chief Suh Hoon.
President Donald Trump has agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by May, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in is set to meet Kim in late April.
Suh is in Tokyo to brief Japanese officials on developments. He was part of a South Korean delegation that met Kim in Pyongyang last week. Another senior member of the delegation has briefed Chinese officials in Beijing.
“I think it was very meaningful that Workers Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un expressed his intentions toward denuclearization in his own words,” Suh said. He said he hoped to convey Moon’s message that cooperation between the two countries is crucial to push forward a move toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.
On Monday, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, after meeting with Suh, credited recent changes in North Korea’s position to increased pressure by the international community, and said the pressure must continue until the North fulfills its promises with concrete actions.
In Beijing on Monday, South Korea’s national security director, Chung Eui-yong, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and praised his role in contributing to the recent positive changes on the Korean Peninsula. Xi told Chung the peninsula was “facing an important opportunity of mitigation and dialogue,” according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
North Korea’s foreign trade, more than 90 percent of which passes through China, has taken a hit since Beijing agreed to increasingly harsh UN Security Council resolutions aimed at pressuring the North into ceasing its nuclear and missile tests and rejoining denuclearization talks.


UK PM Theresa May to ask lawmakers to vote on a second Brexit referendum

Updated 48 min 44 sec ago
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UK PM Theresa May to ask lawmakers to vote on a second Brexit referendum

  • May is offering concessions in what she says is a “last chance” to secure British departure
  • May said she was 'making a new offer to find common ground in Parliament'

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May said her government will include in her Withdrawal Agreement Bill a requirement for lawmakers to vote on whether to hold another Brexit referendum.

“I recognise the genuine and sincere strength of feeling across the House on this important issue,” May said. "The government will therefore include in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at introduction a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second referendum."

“So to those MPs who want a second referendum to confirm the deal - you need a deal and therefore Withdrawal Agreement Bill to make it happen,” May said.

May is offering concessions in what she says is a “last chance” to secure an orderly British departure from the bloc.

The deal that she struck with the EU has been rejected by UK lawmakers three times already.

Since then, she has tried to secure backing from lawmakers with promises to maintain high standards on workers' rights and environmental protections — issues that are priorities for the left-of-center opposition Labour Party.

She also said UK lawmakers would get to decide how close a trade relationship to seek with the EU after Brexit, in a concession to Labour's demands for a customs union.

May said she was “making a new offer to find common ground in Parliament.”

“I have compromised. Now I ask you to compromise too,” she said.

May has said that after Parliament votes on the bill she will set out a timetable for her departure as Conservative leader and prime minister. Pro-Brexit Conservatives blame May for the country's political deadlock and want to replace her with a staunch Brexit supporter such as Boris Johnson, a former foreign secretary.

(With agencies)