Washington: China has not done enough on the issue of North Korea for the US, President Donald Trump has said but appreciated the “great chemistry” he shares with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
North Korea in 2017 increased the pace of its missile programme. Since February, Pyongyang has fired off 23 missiles. On November 29, the North Korean leader said that his country had achieved full nuclear statehood after what he said was the successful test of a new missile capable of striking anywhere in the United States.
Fears of a catastrophic conflict between the US and North Korea spiked as the leaders of the two nations taunted each other, with President Donald Trump calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ‘Rocket Man’.
Trump has called on China to do more to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
“Not helpful enough, but they have been very helpful. Let’s put it this way, they have done more for me than they ever have for any American president. They still haven’t done enough,” Trump was quoted as saying in The Wall Street Journal.
“But they have done more for me than they have, by far, for any—I have a very good relationship with Xi. I like him. He likes me. We have a great chemistry together. He has done far more for us than they ever have for any American president. With that being said, it’s not enough. They have to do more,” Trump insisted.
As a result of Chinese help so far, Trump said he has not been tough on China as he would like to be.
“We have been much tougher on China, but not nearly as tough as I would be, but they are helping us a lot with North Korea, he said in response to a question.
“And you see in North Korea what’s happening with North Korea all of a sudden. China’s been helping us a lot, so you can veer a little bit differently, but for the most part everything I have said I have done,” he said in response to a question on his electoral promise of being tough on China.
North Korea, he said, is a big problem.
“It is a big problem, and they should not have left me with that problem. That should have been a problem that was solved by Obama, or Bush, or Clinton or anybody, because the longer it went, the worse, the more difficult the problem got,” he said.
Trump also said that he probably has a “very good relationship” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un but did not confirm or deny if he had spoken to the leader in Pyongyang.
“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un of North Korea. I have relationships with people, I think you people are surprised,” Trump said.
“Just to be clear, you haven’t spoken to the North Korean leader, I mean when you say a relationship with Korea,” he was immediately asked.
“I don’t want to comment on it—I don’t want to comment, I’m not saying I have or I haven’t. But I just don’t—” Trump responded.
The US president denied that delaying military exercises on the Korean Peninsula for the Olympics sends the wrong message to the North Koreans, that he is in some way bending to them.
Taliban resumes peace talks with US envoy in Qatar
Islamabad :The Taliban and the United States resumed talks in Doha, Qatar with an aim to end the stalemate over the participation of Afghan government in the negotiations for a political settlement of the conflict.
Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman in a statement said, “Following American acceptance of the agenda of ending invasion of Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the future, talks with American representatives took place today in Doha.”
Doha meeting happened as the Taliban fighters attacked an Afghan intelligence agency — National Directorate of Security — installation in Maidan Shahr, Kabul, killing and wounding dozens of security personnel.
The two sides — US and Taliban — had last met in December 2018 in Abu Dhabi in a meeting facilitated by Pakistan and observed by Saudi Arabia and UAE. It had been agreed at the meeting that the engagement process would be continued. But, arranging the next round of talks became difficult due to the Taliban’s inflexibility over negotiating with the Afghan government. The Taliban have, meanwhile, been insisting that US should instead withdraw its forces and release Taliban prisoners.
There was no word from the US side on the Taliban claim after the latest meeting in Doha that US had agreed to discuss withdrawal plans.
Recently, the Afghan Taliban while rejecting media reports of possible talks with the US in Islamabad and reiterated that they will not deal directly with the Afghan Government.
11 die as ships with Indian, Turkish crews catch fire in Kerch Strait
Moscow:Two ships carrying Indian, Turkish and Libyan crew members had caught fire in the Kerch Strait separating Crimea from Russia, killing at least 11 people, media reports said on Tuesday.
The fire broke out off Russia’s territorial waters. Both vessels were flying Tanzanian flags. One of them was a liquefied natural gas carrier and the other a tanker. The fire broke out as the two ships were transferring fuel from one to the other.
One of the ships, the Candy, had a 17-member crew–nine Turkish citizens and eight Indian nationals.
The other, the Maestro, had a 15-member crew–seven Turkish nationals, seven Indian citizens and an intern from Libya, Russian news agency Tass quoted maritime authority as saying.
At least 11 sailors had died, Russian Maritime Agency was quoted by RT news, a Russian television network.
“Presumably, an explosion occurred (on one of the vessels). Then the fire spread to another vessel. A rescue tug is en route,” said a spokesman for the Russian Maritime Agency.
Some three dozen sailors managed to escape the burning ships by jumping off the vessels.
Twelve people have so far been rescued from the sea. Nine sailors were still listed as missing, the spokesperson said.
Severe weather conditions at sea had prevented rescue ships from taking victims to the shore for medical treatment, the report added.
The Kerch Strait is a key waterway that holds strategic importance for both Russia and Ukraine.
It is an important economic lifeline for Ukraine that allows ships leaving the port city of Mariupol to access the Black Sea.
It’s also the closest point of access for Russia to Crimea, a peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014. A Russian-built bridge over the Kerch Strait opened in May last year. PTI
Pak shares Kartarpur draft pact, calls India ‘urgently’ to finalise deal
Lahore/New Delhi: Pakistan said it has shared a draft agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor with India and invited New Delhi to “urgently” send a delegation to Islamabad to “negotiate and finalise” the proposal.
The proposed agreement aims at facilitating travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Gurudwara in Narowal, nearly 4 km away from Gurdaspur border on the Indian side.
“The draft agreement between the two governments has been shared with New Delhi through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.
The move is in line with Pakistan’s policy of promoting inter-faith harmony and religious tolerance and Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood, he added.
Pakistan has appointed Director-General (South Asia and SAARC) as the focal person on its side and requested India to designate its focal person soon.
Pakistan also invited India to “urgently send a delegation to Islamabad to negotiate and finalise the agreement”, Faisal said.
He also tweeted, “Continuing with PM Imran Khan’s initiative, Pakistan, today, shared the proposed draft agreement on Kartarpur Corridor with India. Indian delegation invited to visit Islamabad for an expedited conclusion of the agreement. Keeping promises – Work in progress on Kartarpur Corridor on Pakistan side.”
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district.
Two days later on November 28, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor at Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.
The decision to build the corridor – from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the international border – was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 22.
The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur.
The corridor was a long-pending demand of the Sikh community. Pakistan had committed to open the corridor in November on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.