North Korea still building at nuclear site: monitor

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un looks at his document at a signing ceremony with US President Donald Trump (not pictured) during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 27 June 2018
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North Korea still building at nuclear site: monitor

SEOUL: North Korea is carrying out rapid improvements to its nuclear research facility, a monitor said on Wednesday, despite declaring a commitment to denuclearization of the peninsula at the Singapore summit.
The nuclear-armed North’s leader Kim Jong Un promised to “work toward” the goal at a landmark summit in the city-state earlier this month with US President Donald Trump.
But the Singapore meeting failed to clearly define denuclearization or produce a specific timeline toward dismantling the North’s atomic weapons arsenal.
Trump claimed the process would start quickly, saying last week that “It will be a total denuclearization, which is already taking place.”
But recent satellite imagery showed that not only were operations continuing at present at the North’s main Yongbyon nuclear site, it was also carrying out infrastructure works, said the respected 38 North website.
“Commercial satellite imagery from June 21 indicates that improvements to the infrastructure at... Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center are continuing at a rapid pace,” it said.
It noted “continued operations” at the North’s uranium enrichment plant and several new installations at the site — including an engineering office and a driveway to a building housing a nuclear reactor.
But continued operations at the site “should not be seen as having any relationship with North Korea’s pledge to denuclearise,” it added.
Nuclear officials could be “expected to proceed with business as usual until specific orders are issued from Pyongyang,” it said.
The North last month blew up its aged but only nuclear test site at Punggye-ri — where it had staged six atomic tests — in a show of goodwill before the summit.
But Pyongyang has kept its counsel on the denuclearization issue since the meeting, although state media have dialled down propaganda against the US, long dubbed the “imperialist enemy.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been pushing for more follow-up talks to flesh out details over denuclearization but no date has been set for when they would take place.


From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

US President Donald Trump during a working luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, front, at the United Nations in New York Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 26 September 2018
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From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

  • Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy

NEW YORK: The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Espinosa, introduced the concept of “minga” to the packed audience at the organization’s HQ on East 44th Street in New York; but an hour later President Donald Trump had reasserted his own view of the world, under the “Maga” banner.
Opening the first day of the UN general debate — the centerpiece of the organization’s annual get together — Espinosa, from Ecuador, explained that minga was a principle by which the people of the Andes lived their lives. Its main tenet was the principle of living and working together in harmony for the betterment of all — an idea sure to win approval at the UN.
With minga the world could solve the big issues it faces, from gender inequality through the environment down to peace and security.
Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy. Instead, he saw the world through the prism of “strong independent nations” which together would advance the state of mankind.
And, as he made clear, the US was the leader of this band of nation, so his oft-declared amibition of “making America great again” (Maga) would bring the rest of the world along with it to greatness.
“Inside everyone listening here today is the heart of a patriot, filled with the passion that inspired reform and revolutions, economic good, technological progress and works of art. Sovereign independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom, democracy and peace have been enhanced. So we have to protect them,” the president explained.
Not everyone in the audience agreed with Trump’s unilateral view of the world, nor with America’s perceived role in it.
Before he had taken the podium — in presidential dark grey suit, white shirt and long red tie — the two previous speakers had stressed the traditional UN values of collectivism and multilateralism, and received warm applause from the delegates for doing so.
Two South American leaders, President Michel Timer of Brazil and President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador, both talked about the challenges of multilateralism, and obliquely criticized the US over its long-running embargo of Cuba, as well as what they said was the role of American banks in dominating their economies, to the detriment of their people.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that multilateralism was “under fire exactly when we need it the most, and, in contrast to Trump’s later comments about trade deficits, explained that what the world was really suffering from was a “trust deficit”, which could sink the international order in a bloody quagmire similar to the First World War.
President Trump made light of such dire warnings. In fact, he was adamant that the future was good, with a booming US economy, strong stock markets, full employment, tax reform and increased see spending on the US military.
“In the two years of my presidency, we have seen more progress that almost any other administration in the history of this country,” he said. The delegates murmured in response.