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U.S., South Korea and Japan discuss military drills, North Korea denuclearization

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a bilateral meeting with South Korea’s President Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji/Pool

SEOUL, South Korea – The top diplomats from United States, South Korea, and Japan promised on Thursday (June 14) to work together to ensure North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons programme after U.S President Donald Trump’s summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met in Seoul two days after Trump and Kim signed a statement agreeing to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo insisted that Pyongyang was committed to giving up its nuclear arsenal but said it would “be a process, not an easy one,” while Kono said he expects arrangements to be made for a summit between Japan and North Korea to resolve long-standing issues.- Reuters

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US temporarily eases trade restrictions vs Huawei

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

The United States (U.S.) has temporarily eased trade restrictions on Huawei to minimize disruption for customers. This will last for 90 days.

The U.S. Commerce Department will allow Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
to purchase American-made goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets.  

READ: Internet abuzz over Google suspending business with Huawei

Last week, Donald Trump signed an executive order blacklisting Huawei due to the tech company’s alleged involvement in activities contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.

In a statement on Monday (May 20), U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the temporary ease in trade restriction is for telecommunication operators relying on Huawei equipment to make other arrangements.

READ: Purchased Huawei products will function properly on our network—PLDT

Meanwhile, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei told a Chinese state broadcaster that they already made preparations for the trade restrictions regardless of U.S. recent action to ease the said restrictions.

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PH, US, Japan and India navies sail for maritime cooperative activity

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110). | Photo credit: Philippine Navy

The Philippines, United States (US), Japan, and India navies sailed together in the South China Sea as part of the maritime cooperative activity.

This is the first phase of the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers’ Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 in Busan, Republic of Korea.

The Philippine Navy patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110). 

According to Captain Roy Vincent T. Trinidad, who is leading the Philippine Navy delegation for the ADMM-Plus maritime exercise, “The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies.”

For the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.

The ships will transit through the West Philippine Sea where the conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.

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Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito officially takes up post

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito ascends throne in a solemn ceremony of abdication by his father, Akihito

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito formally invested on Wednesday (May 1) in a solemn ceremony which took place in the Imperial Palace in the heart of Tokyo after his father, Akihito, stepped down on the day before.

In his first speech, Naruhito said he said he would act according to the Constitution and fulfill his responsibility as the symbol of the state.

“In acceding to the Throne, I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement,” Japanese Emperor Naruhito said.

“I also swear that I will act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them,” he added.

Akihito, the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in two centuries, became an active symbol of peace, reconciliation and democracy during his three-decade Heisei era. Many expect Naruhito to follow that model, but with his own style

“I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world,” Naruhito said.

While regarding the Emperor as the symbol of the state and Unity of the people, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his determination to create a bright yet peaceful and hopeful future for his country, amid the fast-changing international environment.

“We are determined to create, amidst the fast-changing international environment, a bright future for a Japan that is proud, that is peaceful and full of hope, and an era in which culture is born and will develop as people bring together their hearts in a beautiful way,” Abe said. (REUTERS)

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