North Korea newspaper blasts ‘double-dealing’ US after Pompeo’s trip canceled

Washington abruptly canceled a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 26 August 2018

North Korea newspaper blasts ‘double-dealing’ US after Pompeo’s trip canceled

  • Since the summit, the two sides have struggled to narrow differences over the North’s nuclear weapons program
  • In part to reassure North Korea, Trump canceled or delayed joint military drills with South Korea

PYONGYANG: North Korea’s state-controlled newspaper on Sunday accused the United States of “double-dealing” and “hatching a criminal plot” against Pyongyang, after Washington abruptly canceled a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Negotiations have been all but deadlocked since US President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June.
Pompeo has pressed for tangible steps toward North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear arsenal while Pyongyang is demanding that Washington first make concessions of its own.
North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper said US special units based in Japan were staging an air drill aimed at “the infiltration into Pyongyang,” citing a South Korean media outlet.
“Such acts prove that the US is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK and commit a crime which deserves merciless divine punishment in case the US fails in the scenario of the DPRK’s unjust and brigandish denuclearization first,” the paper said.
“We cannot but take a serious note of the double-dealing attitudes of the US as it is busy staging secret drills involving man-killing special units while having a dialogue with a smile on its face,” it noted.
A spokesman at the US Embassy in Seoul said he had no information on the drill alleged in the newspaper. The US military spokesman in South Korea was not immediately available to comment.
The editorial, which did not mention the Pompeo visit, urged Washington to give up the “pointless military gamble” and implement the Singapore agreement, in which the leaders pledged to work toward a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Since the summit, the two sides have struggled to narrow differences over the North’s nuclear weapons program.
Pyongyang is calling for a declaration of peace as part of security guarantees designed to encourage it to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, while the Trump administration says a peace deal and other concessions will only come after more progress on denuclearization.
In part to reassure North Korea, Trump canceled or delayed joint military drills with South Korea, but smaller exercises continue.
Trump partly blamed China for the lack of progress with North Korea and suggested that talks with Pyongyang could be on hold until after Washington resolved its bitter trade dispute with Beijing. China expressed “serious concern” about Trump’s comments, which it called “irresponsible.”


Samoa shuts schools, declares emergency as measles kills 6

Updated 1 min 10 sec ago

Samoa shuts schools, declares emergency as measles kills 6

  • Schools were closed from Monday after the government declared an emergency on Saturday
  • The National University of Samoa told students to stay home and said exams scheduled for this week had been indefinitely postponed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Samoa has closed all its schools, banned children from public gatherings and mandated that everybody get vaccinated after declaring an emergency due to a measles outbreak that has so far killed six people.

For the past three weeks, the Pacific island nation of 200,000 people has been in the grip of a measles epidemic that has been exacerbated by low immunization rates.

Schools were closed from Monday after the government declared an emergency on Saturday. The National University of Samoa also told students to stay home and said exams scheduled for this week had been indefinitely postponed.

Health authorities said most of those who died were under the age of 2. They counted 716 measles cases reported, with nearly 100 people still hospitalized including 15 in intensive care.

Samoa’s Director General of Health Leausa Take Naseri said in a news conference last week that he expects the epidemic will get worse. He said that only about two-thirds of Samoans had been vaccinated, leaving the others vulnerable to the virus.

But figures from the World Health Organization and UNICEF indicate that measles immunization rates among Samoan infants have fallen steeply from over 70 percent in 2013 to under 30 percent last year.

Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at New Zealand’s University of Auckland, said the Samoan government halted its immunization program for several months last year after two infants died from a medical mishap involving a vaccine.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday it was sending 3,000 vaccines to Samoa as well as nurses and medical supplies.
Ardern said Samoan authorities believe the outbreak was started by a traveler from New Zealand.

“We, of course, have an open flow of people,” Ardern said. “But we see our responsibility as supporting Samoa as they deal with the outbreak, and we are doing that actively.”

Petousis-Harris said it was disappointing that people in New Zealand who were carrying the virus had traveled to Samoa. She said New Zealand has for years known it has immunity gaps.

“But we didn’t deal with the problem,” she said.

Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand have also reported outbreaks of measles but on a smaller scale than in Samoa.