U.S. envoy Biegun meets Seoul’s top security adviser to discuss North Korea
UNTV News • July 9, 2020 • 269
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)
MANILA, Philippines – The remaining shipment containing 6,000 metric tons of household hazardous waste was finally sent back to South Korea from the Port of Cagayan de Oro, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Wednesday.
In a statement, the BOC said the shipment, comprised of 80 containers and loaded on MV Mahia, was re-exported to its origin in Pyeongtaek City on August 4.
There-exportation of the wastes resumed on Tuesday after being halted for some time due to the restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it added.
The re-exportation of 251 containers of wastes from South Korea was initiated by the BOC in January but got delayed due to the pandemic, and the failure of the consignee to secure prior import permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The bureau said that waste shipments arrived in the country in 2018 at the Port of Cagayan on two separate occasions. It was consigned to Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation.
The shipments were both declared plastic synthetic flakes but an inspection conducted by the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau revealed that these contained household hazardous wastes.
The bureau ordered the immediate return of the shipments pursuant to Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act, and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday (July 30) the “tide is turning” in U.S. dealings with China, saying there is international support for American policies, including the step-up of maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.
Reflecting rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, Pompeo took a tough line on China in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We see the Chinese Communist Party for what it is: the center threat of our times,” Pompeo said.
In recent days, Washington and Beijing have each closed one of the other country’s consulates – the United States closing China’s office in Houston and China retaliating by shuttering the U.S. facility in Chengdu – and Pompeo recently announced an end to Hong Kong’s special trading status.
“We closed the consulate in Houston because it was a den of spies,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo was testifying publicly at Foreign Relations Committee hearing for the first time in 15 months, discussing the State Department’s annual budget request.
President Donald Trump’s administration has tried to slash the State Department budget since it took office, which has been rejected by Congress every year. Democratic lawmakers told the hearing that they would not support steep cuts this year either. (Reuters)
North Korea’s state-run television on Tuesday (July 28) released a video of Pyongyang workers disinfecting the city as the state introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus, after it locked down the town Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.
Strict quarantine measures and the screening of districts were in progress and test kits, protective clothing and medical equipment were being supplied, the North’s KCNA state news agency said.
The measures come after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency on Sunday (July 26) after a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the highly fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ) to Kaesong this month with symptoms of COVID-19, KCNA reported.
Reclusive North Korea had reported testing 1,211 people for the virus as of July 16 with all returning negative results, the World Health Organisation said in a statement sent to Reuters. The report said 696 nationals were under quarantine. (Reuters)
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