Trump returns to White House after summit collapse clouds future of U.S.-North Korea nuclear diplomacy
Robie de Guzman • March 1, 2019 • 3392
(REUTERS) — U.S. President Donald Trump returned to Washington D.C. Thursday (February 28) from Hanoi, Vietnam after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed over sanctions, and the two sides gave conflicting accounts of what happened, raising questions about the future of their denuclearisation negotiations.
Trump said two days of talks in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi had made good progress in building relations and on the main issue of denuclearisation, but it was important not to rush into a bad deal. He said he had walked away because of unacceptable North Korean demands.
“It was all about the sanctions,” Trump told a news conference after the talks were cut short. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that.”
However, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told a news conference past midnight and hours after Trump left Hanoi that North Korea had sought only a partial lifting of sanctions “related to people’s livelihoods and unrelated to military sanctions”.
He said it had offered a realistic proposal involving the dismantling of all of its main nuclear site at Yongbyon, including plutonium and uranium facilities, by engineers from both countries.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told the same briefing she had the impression that Kim “might lose his willingness to pursue a deal” after the U.S. side rejected a partial lifting of sanctions in return for destruction of Yongbyon, “something we had never offered before”.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, asked about North Korea’s statements, said the president was aware of the comments and the White House had nothing to add to what Trump said at the Hanoi news conference.
The international community has criticized the U.S. decision to quit the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the move has posed negative influences on its own anti-pandemic efforts and also global cooperation.
The United States on Tuesday officially submitted its notification of withdrawal from the WHO to the UN secretary-general, following an announcement made in May. The move came amid a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the Americas over the past week.
The administration’s move to formally withdraw from WHO is short-sighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous, CEO of the United Nations Foundation Elizabeth Cousens said in a statement.
She said the WHO is the only body able to lead and coordinate the global response to COVID-19 and terminating the relationship undermines the global effort to beat this virus.
Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn said the “U.S. withdrawal from the WHO is a setback for international cooperation,” and called for global coordination which is necessary for fighting the pandemic.
“The U.S. withdrawal from WHO is a mistake. It is the public health authority for the world’s poorest and many will now see the U.S. as less reliable, diminishing its influence,” tweeted Tom Tugendhat, a UK Conservative Member of Parliament and also chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza made comments saying that the U.S. withdrawal decision is “serious and wrong”.
With regard to the U.S. move of pulling out from international organizations and treaties, Pascal Boniface, Founder and Director of French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), said its unilateralism inclination sabotages the current international mechanism.
“The move of withdrawing from international organizations has become a customary gimmick by the U.S. government. The U.S. pulled out from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Paris Agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty,” he said.
“We can say that the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO has reflected the overall attitude of the government, which broke the current international mechanism and multilateralism. It is to pursue unilateralism,” he added. (Reuters)
United States Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun held a meeting with South Korea’s top security adviser on Thursday (July 9) before heading off to Japan in a trip overshadowed by stalled denuclearisation talks with North Korea.
According to Seoul’s presidential office, Biegun met with Suh Hoon, a former spy chief, and discussed the North’s recent movement and ways to foster peace on the Korean peninsula. Suh said he “highly appreciated” the U.S. envoy’s efforts to resume talks with North Korea.
North Korea has said it has no intention of sitting down again with the United States, though U.S. President Donald Trump said this week he would be open to another summit with leader Kim Jong Un. (Reuters)
If the United States were willing to reduce its nuclear arsenal to China’s level, China would “be happy to” participate in trilateral arms control negotiation with the U.S and Russia, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday (July 8).
The U.S. has repeatedly called for China to join in trilateral negotiations to extend a flagship nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia that is due to expire in February next year.
Fu Cong, head of arms control department of Chinese foreign ministry, reiterated to reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that China has no interest in joining the trilateral negotiation. (Reuters)
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