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.


‘Makkah Road Initiative’ to fast-track Malaysian and Indonesian Hajj pilgrims

Updated 1 min 47 sec ago
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‘Makkah Road Initiative’ to fast-track Malaysian and Indonesian Hajj pilgrims

  • Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Indonesia join forces to launch the “Makkah Road Initiative"
  • It will help Hajj pilgrims to fast-track journeys to the Holy Land

KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Indonesia have joined forces to launch the “Makkah Road Initiative” this year, a pre-clearance system that will help Hajj pilgrims to fast-track journeys to the Holy Land.
Two flights carrying Hajj pilgrims were commissioned at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to mark the official launch, which was attended by officials from Malaysia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
According to Minister in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office for Islamic Affairs, Dr. Mujahid Yusuf, who also launched the Makkah Road Initiative, pilgrims will no longer have to wait in long queues to finalize documentation such as visa stamps, customs, and health screenings.
“All these will be sorted out in KLIA, and when our (Malaysian) pilgrims arrive (in Madinah), they can just take the bus to the hotel. Their luggage will be managed by the Saudi authorities,” Dr. Yusuf added.
A world first, the initiative has been made possible by multi-agency collaboration within Saudi Arabia, as well as weeks of preparation by officials in the Kingdom, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Makkah Road Initiative will cut time and entrance procedures for pilgrims from Malaysia and Indonesia to Saudi Arabia through a “unified electronic paths” and “pre-clearance procedures” before arrival at Madinah airport, according to officials.
The services provided under the initiative include issuing visas, customs and passport procedures, facilitating health requirements, baggage management, and housing arrangements in Makkah.
The initiative also involves checking off the pilgrims’ entry visas into the Kingdom at the airport when the flight departs. Travel arrangements will be “confirmed electronically”, including health requirements where pilgrims can skip the paper documents on vaccines at the airport in their own country.
Fingerprints and passports are to be taken and stamped “electronically” in their home country before departure. Pilgrims will fly from either the Kuala Lumpur International Airport or the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, and will arrive at the Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz in Madinah.
The pilgrims will check out at the airport arrival hall “like a domestic flight” while their luggage will be sorted to their places of residence by the Ministry of Hajj.
With an increasing number of Muslim pilgrims to Makkah each year, the Saudi Arabian government has made serious efforts to streamline the process.
“We really appreciate this progress by the Kingdom,” said Zainol Rahim Zainuddin, Malaysian ambassador to the Kingdom, adding that the initiative showcased the close partnership between the governments of the Kingdom and Malaysia.
Indonesia, which has the biggest Muslim population in the world, had 221,000 of pilgrims arriving in Makkah last year. Malaysia, a Muslim majority nation, increased its number of pilgrims to 31,300 in 2017 from an initial projection of 30,200.
The Makkah Road Initiative is part of the National Transition Programs (2020). It aims to fulfil the Vision 2030 objective of having well-developed public services and infrastructure throughout the Kingdom.