Trump says Kim has agreed to complete denuclearization of peninsula

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US President Donald Trump holds up a document signed by him and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un following a signing ceremony during their historic summit Singapore on Tuesday, June 12. (AFP)
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US President Donald Trump, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, left, sign documents as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second right, and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong, second left, look on during the signing ceremony on Tuesday, June 12. (AFP)
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North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shaking hands with US President Donald Trump (R) as they sit down for the historic US-North Korea summit. (AFP)
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US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on Tuesday. (REUTERS)
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US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (AFP)
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US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Trump says Kim has agreed to complete denuclearization of peninsula

  • Despite being quizzed by journalists several times, Trump was unable to give a clear deadline or a clear process of denuclearization
  • Trump told reporters that both leaders will pay courtesy calls to each other’s respective countries “at the appropriate time”
SINGAPORE: US President Donald Trump has confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to “an unwavering and complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” although there is no clear deadline for nuclear disarmament.
He made the statement during a press conference at the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore on Tuesday.
The summit at a luxury hotel on the island of Sentosa saw the two leaders expressing their commitment to “vigorous negotiations to implement the agreement as soon as possible” at their first meeting.
Despite being quizzed by journalists several times, Trump was unable to give a clear deadline or a clear process of denuclearization.
However, Trump said that North Korea had already destroyed a major missile engine testing site and that it has not had a nuclear test for the past seven months. “When he lands, he would start the denuclearization process right away,” Trump told reporters.
Keith Fitzgerald, negotiation and conflict management expert and managing director of Sea-Change Partners, commented: “The Trump White House has not shared much information about their plans. If the White House had a strategy, it’s not clear to most analysts what that strategy was.”
Professor James Chin, director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania, agreed that the only strategy the denuclearization talks involved is “the willingness to compromise.”
“There will not be a comprehensive agreement, but it will be more like a roadmap to agreement, and perhaps a statement on the end of war,” added Prof. Chin.
Trump’s negotiating style is guided more by “his personal instincts” than by any strategy, added Fitzgerald. The Trump-Kim talks had gone from words about “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” to talk of making a good start, as the summit approached. Trump praised Kim for taking “the first bold step for a bright full future,” adding that the meeting with the North Korean leader was “honest, direct and productive.”
“He is very talented,” said Trump, adding that 26-year-old Kim was able to “run it tough.” North Korea is infamous for its human rights atrocities, including running a state-sanctioned gulag against its own citizens.
“He wants to do the right thing,” said Trump, adding that human rights were part of the discussion despite being discussed “relatively briefly”. In its 2018 report the Human Rights Watch described North Korea as “one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world.”
Trump told reporters that both leaders will pay courtesy calls to each other’s respective countries “at the appropriate time.”
“It is a strange thing to see an American president have better relationships with North Korea and Russia than with Germany and Canada,” Fitzgerald told Arab News.
Before Trump’s press conference took place, a sleek, propaganda video resembling a big-budgeted Hollywood trailer was shown hailing Trump and Kim as heroes who would “advance” North Korea.
The video was made by a Los Angeles-based, award-winning production house Destiny Pictures, and commissioned by the US government.


Double trouble for Pakistan’s deposed PM Nawaz Sharif

These will be four fresh cases against the Sharif family. (AFP)
Updated 49 min ago
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Double trouble for Pakistan’s deposed PM Nawaz Sharif

  • The government announced it was referring four more corruption cases against the Sharif family to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation

ISLAMABAD: Legal challenges for one of Pakistan’s most influential political families, comprising ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his political heir and daughter Maryam Nawaz, and younger brother Shehbaz Sharif — former chief minister of Pakistan’s powerful Punjab province — seem to be brewing with new allegations of corruption and misuse of authority surfacing against them.

The government announced it was referring four more corruption cases against the Sharif family to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation.

“They misused the taxpayers’ money and authority while in power,” Shahzad Akbar, special assistant to the prime minister on accountability, alleged during a press briefing on Saturday.

Fresh cases

These will be four fresh cases against the Sharif family and the first to be referred to the NAB and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) by the incumbent government.

Detailing the misuse of public resources by Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam, special assistant to the PM on media Iftikhar Durrani alleged that they both enjoyed unauthorized use of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif’s aircraft, besides squandering public funds on the erection of a security fence around their palatial residence in Lahore, and misuse of authority while in office.

Government officials also revealed during the press briefing that a new high-end property portfolio in Frederick Close, central London, worth around £2.3 million ($2.95 million) recently came to the fore, reportedly owned by Sharif’s late wife. 

The documents about its ownership and rental income between 2012 and 2016 had been available, “but were buried in the files,” said Akbar. 

Senator Mushahidullah Khan, veteran leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, however, said that the cases against the Sharif family were “politically motivated” and the prosecutors had failed to present concrete evidence of corruption against Sharif in the accountability court.

“The PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf) government thinks it can politically damage the Sharif family by leveling false allegations of corruption and misuse of authority against them, but this is not going to work,” he told Arab News.

Pakistan’s law required Nawaz Sharif, being a member of the National Assembly and holder of the country’s top public office, to declare his dependents’ assets, including his wife’s, in the official documents, which he did not.

 The undeclared central London property held in the name of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz will now be probed by both the NAB and the FBR.

 “We are handing over all documentary evidence to these institutions for investigation,” said Durrani. 

 The corruption cases that the Sharif family has faced until now were either filed during their own tenure in power in 2013-18, or during the previous governments of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and General Pervez Musharraf.

Shehbaz Sharif, former chief minister of Punjab Province, is currently in the NAB’s custody, facing at least two cases of corruption pertaining to his tenure in the office.

 In July this year, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were handed jail terms of 11 years, six years and one year respectively, in a corruption reference pertaining to their undeclared offshore companies and properties in London.

 The trio is currently on bail while the verdict in two more corruption references against Nawaz Sharif is expected to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Political analysts believe that the Sharif family will still have a long way to go to prove their innocence in the courts and return to the political arena. 

“Any imminent return of the Sharif family in national politics does not seem possible in the given situation,” Professor Tahir Malik, academic and analyst, told Arab News.

Sharif has yet to defend his position in two corruption references currently undergoing hearing against him involving Al-Azizia Steel Mill in Saudi Arabia and monetary transactions made through Flagship Investment Limited, both of which he denies any connection to.