Trump releases ‘very nice’ letter from Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump released a letter from Kim Jong Un in which the North Korean leader describes his June 12 summit with Trump in Singapore, and the resulting joint statement agreed by both sides, as the start of a meaningful journey. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Trump releases ‘very nice’ letter from Kim Jong Un

  • A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea Trump tweeted alongside a copy of the letter dated July 6
  • However after Pompeo visit to Pyongyang North warned that the future of the peace process was being jeopardized by overbearing US demands

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump Thursday released a letter from Kim Jong Un, in which the North Korean leader voices confidence in efforts to end their nuclear standoff, while calling on his US counterpart to take “practical actions” to build trust.
“A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea,” Trump tweeted alongside a copy of the letter dated July 6 — the day that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Pyongyang for what turned out to be difficult talks with Kim’s regime.
“Great progress being made!” Trump added in his tweet.
In the letter Kim describes his June 12 summit with Trump in Singapore, and the resulting joint statement agreed by both sides, as the “start of a meaningful journey.”
“I firmly believe that the strong will, sincere efforts and unique approach of myself and Your Excellency Mr. President aimed at opening up a new future between the DPRK and the US will sure surely come to fruition,” Kim writes.
“I deeply appreciate the energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr. President for the improvement of relations between the two countries and the faithful implementation of the joint statement,” he adds.
The North Korean leader also voices hope that “the invariable trust and confidence in Your Excellency Mr. President will be further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions.”
Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang for two days last week in a bid to flesh out denuclearization commitments made during last month’s historic summit between Trump and Kim.
North Korea has long trumpeted a denuclearization goal, but one that it sees as a lengthy process of undefined multilateral disarmament on the entire Korean peninsula, rather than a unilateral dismantlement of its nuclear arsenal.
Speaking afterwards in Tokyo, Pompeo insisted the talks were making progress and were being conducted in “good faith.”
But in stark contrast, Pyongyang’s take was overwhelmingly negative, with the North warning that the future of the peace process was being jeopardized by overbearing US demands for its unilateral nuclear disarmament.


AU leaders agree reforms to reduce donor dependence

Updated 55 sec ago
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AU leaders agree reforms to reduce donor dependence

  • Heads of state and ministers had gathered at the body’s headquarters in Addis Ababa for what was seen as a last-ditch attempt to push through reforms

ADDIS ABABA: African Union leaders on Sunday finally agreed measures compelling members states to pay their dues as part of a drive to reform a body often seen as toothless and donor-dependent.
Heads of state and ministers had gathered at the body’s headquarters in Addis Ababa for what was seen as a last-ditch attempt to push through reforms that have been mulled for nearly two years.
The AU in 2016 charged its chairman and Rwandan President Paul Kagame with getting reforms passed, but observers have said time is running out because Egypt — which is set to assume the chairmanship — is thought to oppose aspects of the agenda.
In proposals unveiled last year, Kagame envisioned a more narrowly focused AU headed by a powerful commission whose bills were covered by its 55 member states rather than foreign donors.
Although not all his reforms were passed, Kagame welcomed the progress made at the two-day summit.
Their effect would be “felt for decades” to come, he said.
“We have done our part to continue the journey, and I expect the coming... chairperson of the African Union to continue with the same momentum and the same progress,” he added.
The majority of the bloc’s 55 member states rejected Kagame’s plan to give the head of the AU commission — the body’s executive branch — the power to appoint their own deputy and commissioners.
This was seen as a move to make the administration more accountable to their leader.
However members backed moves to streamline the body while bringing in revenue from member states and sanctioning those who don’t pay their dues.
The AU currently depends on foreign donors, who in 2019 will pay for 54 percent of a total budget of $681.5 million (596 million euros).
The AU also agreed to reduce the number of commissions to six from eight, with peace and security merged with political affairs and trade and industry merged with economic affairs, AU commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told journalists.
On Saturday the AU launched a fund dedicated to paying for responses to crises on the continent before they evolve into full-blown conflicts.
The Peace Fund is part of the AU’s proposals to wean itself off donor money, the centerpiece of which is a 0.2 percent import levy meant to finance the body which 24 countries are in the process of implementing.
But the US has opposed the duty, arguing it violates World Trade Organization rules.
The US mission to the AU issued a statement saying it supports the AU’s self-funding goals but opposed “trade measures” to achieve them.
“We are proud of our partnership with the AU and will continue to work with the AU... to find impactful ways to bring peace and security to the continent,” the statement sent to AFP said.
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