Pence reassures Japan of U.S. resolve on North Korea, to work with China

UNTV News   •   April 18, 2017   •   2955


U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Japan of American commitment to reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions on Tuesday, after warning that U.S. strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.

Pence arrived in Tokyo from South Korea, where he assured leaders of an “iron-clad” alliance with the United States in the face of the reclusive North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

“The era of strategic patience is over and while all options are on the table, President (Donald) Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region and with China to achieve a peaceable resolution and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Pence said in Tokyo before lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Pence and Abe agreed that they needed to persuade China to play a larger role in dealing with North Korea, a Japanese government spokesman said.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and it showed no let-up in its belligerence after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.

North Korea’s deputy representative to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, accused the United States on Monday of creating “a situation where nuclear war could break out an any time” and said the North’s next nuclear test would take place “at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary”.

North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC that missiles would be tested on “a weekly, monthly and yearly basis”.

The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked. It has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturizing a nuclear warhead.

Pence said on Monday the world had seen Trump’s resolve in the past two weeks, with a U.S. missile attack on a Syrian airfield and the dropping of a powerful non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.

The Trump administration has said military action remains an option for dealing with North Korea.

But, mindful that this would likely trigger massive retaliation and casualties in South Korea and Japan, U.S. officials say Trump’s main focus is on tougher economic sanctions.

U.S. officials say tougher sanctions could include an oil embargo, a global ban on North Korea’s airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang. They also say greater Chinese cooperation is vital.

“DIPLOMACY FIRST CHOICE”

Susan Thornton, acting U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, agreed in a phone call on Sunday on the need for strict enforcement of U.N. resolutions.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeated China’s line that the crisis could only be resolved by diplomacy.

“I’ve seen that the United States has reiterated it is willing to use political and diplomatic means to resolve this, as this is their first choice,” he told reporters in Beijing.

“Of course I think that any country will feel that political diplomatic means are of course the first choice,” Wang said.

Pence’s economic discussions in Tokyo will be closely watched to see how hard a line Washington is prepared to take on trade. Trump campaigned on an “America first” platform, and has vowed to narrow big trade deficits with nations such as China and Japan.

However, Trump has also shown willingness to link trade to other issues, saying he would cut a better trade deal with China if it exerts influence on North Korea.

China banned imports of North Korean coal, its most important export, in February, and Chinese media have raised the possibility of restricting oil shipments to the North.

But North Korea used Chinese-made trucks to display missiles at the military parade on Saturday, according to photographs, underlining the difficulty in enforcing U.N. sanctions.

China and North Korea maintain “normal contacts, including normal business contacts”, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, when asked about the trucks.

“At the same time, as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China strictly adheres to its international responsibilities, including those from Security Council resolutions,” Lu told a daily briefing.

Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-1953 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. South Korea hosts 28,500 U.S. troops to counter the threat from the North.

Trump’s decision to launch a missile strike against Syria, a Russian ally, drop a giant bomb on Afghanistan and stick with Obama-era policies on Crimea mean Russian hopes of him befriending the Kremlin have been on the slide.

Russian state media, which hailed his election win, have made a U-turn. On Sunday, media said he was scarier than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. —
By Roberta Rampton | TOKYO

(Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong in PYONGYANG, Jack Kim, Ju-min Park and James Pearson in SEOUL, Daniel Trotta in NEW YORK, Ben Blanchard in BEIJING and Andrew Osborn in MOSCOW; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

UK to increase visa rights if China pursues Hong Kong security law

UNTV News   •   May 29, 2020

The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada scolded China on Thursday (May 28) for imposing a new security law that they said would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the four countries were “deeply troubled” by the decision of China’s People’s Congress, which democracy activists in Hong Kong fear could erode its freedoms and jeopardise its role as a global financial hub.

China says the legislation will aim to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city but the plan, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first big protests in Hong Kong for months.

Raab said Britain will give greater visa rights to British national overseas (BNO) passport holders from Hong Kong unless China suspends the proposed security laws. (Reuters)

(Production: Ben Dangerfield)

China’s parliament approves Hong Kong national security bill

UNTV News   •   May 28, 2020

China’s National People’s Congress’ third session closed on Thursday (May 28) after parliament members voted on a proposal to implement Hong Kong’s national security legislation.

“The session made a decision to establish a legal system and enforcement mechanism for the national security of Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region,” chairman of the standing committee of the NPC, Li Zhanshu, told delegates at the closing ceremony.

“It will uphold and improve the ‘one country, two systems’ policy. It is in line with the Constitution and Hong Kong’s Basic Law and is in the interest of all Chinese people including Hong Kong people,” he added.

The legislation received 2,878 votes while one voted against and six abstained. The draft national security law has received international criticism with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declaring that Hong Kong is ‘no longer autonomous.’

Hong Kong, which has freedoms not granted in the mainland such as freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, has experienced months-long anti-government protests which sparked from a now-withdrawn extradition bill. (Reuters)

(Production: Joyce Zhou, Pak Yiu)

Trump questions mail-in ballots, Twitter fact-checks

UNTV News   •   May 27, 2020

Twitter on Tuesday (May 26) for the first time prompted readers to check the facts in tweets sent by U.S. President Donald Trump, warning his claims about mail-in ballots were false and had been debunked by fact-checkers.

In a tweet responding to the company’s move, Trump accused the company of interfering in the 2020 presidential election. “Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he said.

Trump on Tuesday also said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper needs to decide within a week whether the Republican National Convention can take place with full attendance in North Carolina in late August as planned.

“We need a fast decision from the governor,” Trump told reporters at a Rose Garden news conference on negotiations with pharmaceutical companies over insulin for U.S. seniors on Medicare. “If he feels that he’s not going to do it, all he has to do is tell us and then we’ll have to pick another location, and I will tell you a lot of locations want it.”

The convention is set to start on August 24 in Charlotte.

In the news conference, Trump also repeated his claims that mail-in ballots would lead to fraud.

Earlier in the day, Twitter placed a notification fact-checking Trump’s tweets claiming that mail-in ballots will be “substantially fraudulent” and result in a “rigged election.”

The notification, which displays a blue exclamation mark underneath the tweets, prompts readers to “get the facts about mail-in ballots” and directs them to a page with news articles and information from fact-checkers debunking the claim. (Reuters)

(Production: Arlene Eiras)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.