Washington: US President Donald Trump Wednesday slammed his predecessor Barack Obama for being “impotent” and not stopping China from expanding its influence in the South China Sea, saying the Chinese Navy was now posing a confrontational challenge for America in the disputed region. President Trump’s remarks came hours after he was briefed at the White House by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his meetings with the top Chinese leadership in Beijing this week.
“The Obama administration was impotent about the South China Sea,” Trump said during an interaction with reporters Abroad Air Force One. He said the Chinese Navy was now posing a confrontational challenge for America in the disputed region. China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and with Japan in the East China Sea. Both the areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. They are also vital to global trade.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area. The US has been conducting regular patrols in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation in the area where Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
During Pompeo’s trip, Trump earlier told reporters at the White House that China was sending a message to him, but those messages did not work. He said Pompeo was treated him great respect during his trip to Beijing.
“They’re just trying to get me a message. But those messages don’t work. They don’t work. But no, I think they treated him with great respect, actually. You know, they had meetings besides just the news conference. And I think they treated him with great respect,” he said when asked if he was concerned the way the Chinese treated Pompeo.
Trump also said Pompeo did not have a great meeting in China. “It wasn’t so much – I guess he was giving them a message, and they were giving him a message to come back to me,” Trump said.
However, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters at a news briefing that Pompeo had a good, constructive meetings with his Chinese counterparts.
“They’re certainly a competitor. It’s a complex and broad-based relationship that we have with China, as you all saw in the comments and exchanges between the Secretary and his counterparts. We have areas of common interest. North Korea is one of them,” Nauert said.
“Working to combat illegal narcotics is another area where we work well together. We also have areas of disagreement and areas where we have challenges, and we’ll keep working together on that. It’s obviously an important relationship that we need to work hard to maintain,” she said.
US ending decades-old nuclear arms treaty with Russia, announces Trump
Washington: US President Donald Trump has announced that America is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia, a decades-old agreement signed in 1987.
“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years,” Trump told reporters on Saturday before boarding Air Force One to leave Nevada following a campaign rally.
“And I don’t know why President (Barack) Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to. We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honoured the agreement.
“But Russia has not, unfortunately, honoured the agreement. So we’re going to terminate the agreement. We’re gonna pull out,” he said of the agreement, which was signed in December 1987 by former President Ronald Reagan and former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev.
The treaty forced both countries to eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between approximately 300 and 3,400 miles.
It offered a blanket of protection to the US’ European allies and marked a watershed agreement between two nations at the centre of the arms race during the Cold War.
The Trump administration has said repeatedly that Russia has violated the treaty and has pointed to their predecessors in the Obama administration who accused Moscow of violating the terms of the agreement.
In 2014, CNN reported that the US had accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty, citing cruise missile tests that dated to 2008.
The US at the time informed its NATO allies of Russia’s suspected breach.
Earlier this month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the military alliance remained “concerned about Russia’s lack of respect for its international commitments, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the INF Treaty”.
Moscow’s failure to adhere to the agreement was also addressed in the most recent Nuclear Posture Review published by the US Defence Department in February, which said Russia “continues to violate a series of arms control treaties and commitments”.
However, pulling out of the treaty could provoke a similar arms race across Europe akin to the one that was occurring when the agreement was initially signed in the 1980s, CNN said.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi death ‘a mistake’: Saudi Arabia
Riyadh :Saudi Arabia described as “a mistake” the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month.
In an interview with Fox News, Saudi Foreign Minister Abel Al-Jubeir said that this was a “rogue operation”.
“They made a mistake and killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” Al-Jubeir said.
Khashoggi, journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, had been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
A joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case on Thursday after searching the residence of the Consul General as well as the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The kingdom acknowledged early Saturday that Khashoggi died in a brawl in its consulate, but did not give any explanation on the cause of his death.
As of now, 18 Saudi suspects have been taken into custody in connection with the incident and two senior Saudi officials fired.
Saudi King, Crown Prince send condolences to Khashoggi son
Riyadh:The King of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince sent their condolences to a son of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who died at his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Saudi state media reported.
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Sunday that the Monarch, Salman bin Abdulaziz, and his son, Mohammed bin Salman, telephoned Salah Jamal Khashoggi to express their condolences, reports Efe news.
Salah thanked the king and expressed his “sincere gratitude” to Prince Mohammed for the calls, according to separate press releases published by the SPA.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said in an interview with US television channel Fox on the same day that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of Khashoggi’s death.
In that interview, al-Jubeir described the death of Khashoggi as “a grave mistake” and said that those responsible will be held to account.
The Saudi authorities at first denied the death of the regime-critical journalist.
The Saudi authorities said that Khashoggi died in the course of a “fight” with agents who were trying to interrogate him in the legation.
The UK, France and Germany said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia’s version of Khashoggi’s death needs to be supported by “facts” to be considered “credible”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the suspension of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia on the grounds that they cannot be done under the “current circumstances”, in reference to the Khashoggi case.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he will reveal details about the Turkish investigation of the alleged murder of the journalist on Tuesday.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
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