North Korea’s Kim asks Trump for another meeting in new letter

A combination photo shows US President Donald Trump in New York, US September 21, 2017 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, September 4, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 September 2018
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North Korea’s Kim asks Trump for another meeting in new letter

  • The timing of a second Trump-Kim meeting was unclear

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asking for a second meeting and the White House is already looking at scheduling one, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday.
The two leaders have been discussing North Korea’s nuclear program since their June 12 summit, which has been criticized for being short on concrete details about how and whether Kim is willing to give up on a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States.
The timing of a second Trump-Kim meeting was unclear. The sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month may provide an opportunity, although Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton said he did not believe Kim would attend.
Trump had told reporters on Friday that a personal letter from Kim was on the way.
“It was a very warm, very positive letter,” Sanders said at a briefing.
“The primary purpose of the letter was to request and look to schedule another meeting with the president which we are open to and are already in the process of coordinating that,” she said.
Sanders told reporters the letter exhibited “a continued commitment to focus on denuclearization of the peninsula.” She said a military parade in Pyongyang on Sunday was “a sign of good faith” because it did not feature any long-range nuclear missiles.
Trump is doing the right thing in trying to set up another meeting with Kim, said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies from the Center for the National Interest, a think tank in Washington.
“When you combine Kim’s pledge to denuclearize by the end of Trump’s first term, as well as not displaying any long-range ballistic missiles during the north’s recent 70th anniversary celebrations, there are reasons for optimism,” he said.


UK Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

Updated 13 November 2018
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UK Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

LONDON: Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.
After a year and a half of stalled talks, false starts and setbacks, negotiators agreed on proposals to resolve the main outstanding issue: the Irish border.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said the Cabinet would hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider the proposal. Its support isn’t guaranteed: May is under pressure from pro-Brexit ministers not to make further concessions to the EU.
Ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries are also due to hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
May told the Cabinet earlier Tuesday that “a small number” of issues remain to be resolved in divorce negotiations with the European Union, while her deputy, David Lidington, said the two sides are “almost within touching distance” of a Brexit deal.
Britain wants to seal a deal this fall, so that Parliament has time to vote on it before the UK leaves the bloc on March 29. The European Parliament also has to approve any agreement.
Negotiators have been meeting late into the night in Brussels in a bid to close the remaining gaps.
The main obstacle has long been how to ensure there are no customs posts or other checks along the border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
Irish national broadcaster RTE said the draft agreement involves a common customs arrangement for the UK and the EU, to eliminate the need for border checks.
But May faces pressure from pro-Brexit Cabinet members not to agree to an arrangement that binds Britain to EU trade rules indefinitely.
May also faces growing opposition from pro-EU lawmakers, who say her proposed Brexit deal is worse than the status quo and the British public should get a new vote on whether to leave or to stay.
If there is no agreement soon, UK businesses will have to start implementing contingency plans for a “no-deal” Brexit — steps that could include cutting jobs, stockpiling goods and relocating production and services outside Britain.
Even with such measures in place, the British government says leaving the EU without a deal could cause major economic disruption, with gridlock at ports and disruption to supplies of foods, goods and medicines.
On Tuesday, the European Commission published a sheaf of notices outlining changes in a host of areas in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They point to major disruption for people and businesses: UK truckers’ licenses won’t be valid in the EU, British airlines will no longer enjoy traffic rights, and even British mineral water will cease to be recognized as such by the EU.
The EU said Tuesday it was proposing visa-free travel for UK citizens on short trips, even if there is no deal — but only if Britain reciprocates.
“We need to prepare for all options,” EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said. On a deal, he said: “We are not there yet.”
Meanwhile, official figures suggest Brexit is already having an impact on the British workforce.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of EU citizens working in the country — 2.25 million— was down 132,000 in the three months to September from the year before. That’s the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.
Most of the fall is due to fewer workers from eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.
Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said the prospect of Brexit “has clearly made the UK a much less attractive place for Europeans to live and work.”