Trump’s North Korea summit may bring peace declaration – but at a cost

admin   •   June 6, 2018   •   4095

FILE PHOTO: Trump will meet with Kim Jong Un in Singapore for a historic summit on June 12. © Reuters

The two Koreas, ahead of a leaders’ summit next week, are discussing a peace agreement that could officially end the state of war that has technically lasted since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice but no treaty.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the effort has his “blessing”, if North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal.

South Korea and a U.S.-led U.N. force are technically still at war with North Korea and the idea of an official peace deal to change that is neither new, nor something that can be resolved in a single inter-Korean summit, analysts say.

What exactly might replace the armistice has been another point of doubt, and neither South Korean nor U.S. officials have confirmed what a new agreement would look like.

“There might be some kind of a broad document signed in Singapore, we don’t know yet, that would mark at least, on paper, the formal end of the Korean war, the formal end of hostilities on the Korean peninsula,” explained Jonathan Pollack, a Korea expert and senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institute.

“But the problem with that is that hostilities have not ended on the Korean peninsula. North Korea is armed to the teeth, South Korea also has very substantial capabilities of it’s own, the United States has a very significant presence, so none of those things have changed and that is not even getting into the question of the long-term status of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities,” he added.

At the time of the 1953 armistice, South Korean leaders opposed the idea of a truce that left the peninsula divided, and were not signatories to the armistice, which was officially signed by the commander of North Korea’s army; the American commander of the U.N. Command; and the commander of the “Chinese People’s volunteers”, who were not officially claimed by Beijing at the time.

North Korea has previously maintained that it would only negotiate a peace treaty with the United States.

The North’s first leader and founder of the ruling Kim dynasty, Kim Il Sung, for example, raised the idea of a peace deal with U.S. President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s.

North and South Korea have seriously discussed the idea before. In 1992, the two sides agreed to “endeavor together to transform the present state of armistice into a solid state of peace”.

“We’ve been in situations like this before where the North and South have made momentary accommodation with one another, right now the stakes are much higher, because you now have nuclear weapons deployed in North Korea, you have long-range missiles, you have a variety of threats to the region. Unless and until those issues can be meaningfully addressed, we are not in a … we may be in a cessation of hostilities but the possibility of war would be ever present,” said Pollack.

If Trump and Kim’s summit next week produces a peace declaration formally ending the Korean War as he has suggested, it could give the U.S. president a big headline-grabbing, made-for-TV moment on the world stage.

But the public relations value of such a historic event could quickly fade if Trump fails, in return, to wring any significant concessions from Kim toward the dismantling of his nuclear arsenal, former U.S. officials and analysts say.

“They (North Korea) believe they’ve got a trump card here, and no pun intended. And on that basis, they are going to see what they can milk the United States and others for over a period of time, that looks to me like a script very, very much that was followed in the past. It ended in failure on multiple occasions, and President Trump insisted when this became an issue very early on in his presidency, ‘we are not going down that same path again,’ well he’s going down that same path again,” said Pollack. -Reuters

Trump vows to send troops into cities if needed to quell protest violence

UNTV News   •   June 2, 2020

President Donald Trump said on Monday (June 1) he was deploying thousands of heavily armed soldiers and law enforcement to stop violence in the U.S. capital and vowed to do the same in other cities if mayors and governors fail to regain control of the streets.

“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” Trump said in remarks at the White House Rose Garden as authorities dispersed protesters with tear gas just blocks away.

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

The demonstrations, largely peaceful during the day but turning violent after dark, have erupted over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died in Minneapolis police custody after being pinned beneath a white officer’s knee for nearly nine minutes.

Dozens of cities across the United States remain under curfews at levels not seen since riots that broke out following the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The National Guard was deployed in 23 states and Washington, D.C.

One person was killed in Louisville, Kentucky, overnight where police and National Guard troops returned fire while trying to disperse a crowd. Police in Chicago fielded some 10,000 calls for looting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

The unrest, which erupted as the country was easing sweeping lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus, began with peaceful protests over Floyd’s death.

Derek Chauvin, a since-fired 44-year-old officer, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. (Reuters)

(Production by Katharine Jackson)

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)

Trump threatens permanent freeze of WHO funding, to weigh U.S. membership

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday (May 18) to permanently halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) if it did not commit to improvements within 30 days, and to reconsider the membership of the United States in the body.

Trump suspended U.S. contributions to the WHO last month, accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the coronavirus outbreak, although WHO officials denied the accusation and China said it was transparent and open.

“If the WHO does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the WHO permanent and reconsider our membership,” Trump told its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a letter posted on Twitter.

Earlier, Trump said the WHO had “done a very sad job” in its handling of the virus and he would make a decision soon on U.S. funding.

In his letter Trump said the only way forward for the body was if it could demonstrate independence from China, adding that his administration had already started reform discussions with Tedros.

On Monday, the WHO said an independent review of the global virus response would begin as soon as possible and it received backing and a hefty pledge of funds from China, in the spotlight as the origin of the pandemic. (Reuters)

(Production: Bob Mezan)

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