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Trump says received ‘great letter’ from Kim Jong-un, looks forward to second meeting

Press Trust of India

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Washington: US President Donald Trump has said that he has received a “great letter” from Kim Jong-un and is looking forward to meet the North Korean leader for a second time in the “not-too-distant future” to restart talks about the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump’s announcement came after the North Korean leader warned that Pyongyang may change its approach to nuclear talks if Washington persists with sanctions.

“I just got a great letter from Kim Jong-un. Those few people that I’ve shown this letter to, they’ve never written letters like that. This letter is a great letter.

 

We’ve made a lot of progress with North Korea and Kim Jong-un,” Trump told his Cabinet colleagues during a meeting on Wednesday.

“North Korea has tremendous economic potential and so I look forward to our meeting with Chairman Kim. We’ll set that up. We’ll be setting it up in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

Trump said he and Kim had established a very good relationship.

“A lot of good things are happening. I never said speed. Look, it’s been this way for 80 plus years,” he said.

Kim and Trump held a historic meeting in Singapore on June 12 last year. They issued a vague goal for the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

“We’ll probably now have another meeting. He’d like to meet, I’d like to meet, but we’ve established a very good relationship,” he said.

Trump said his administration was not getting any credit for this peace initiative which has averted the world from a major war.

“We’re given no credit for frankly if this administration didn’t take place, if another administration came in instead of this administration, namely (Vice President) Mike (Pence) and myself and the group around this table, you’d be at war right now,” he said.

“You’d be having a nice big, fat war in Asia and it wouldn’t be pleasant,” he added.

Trump said he was in no rush for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

“We’re getting along fine. I’m not in any rush. I don’t have to rush. All I know is there’s no rockets, there’s no testing,” he said, expressing satisfaction over the progress in talks with the North Koreans.

North Korea really want to do something, he said.

“Now, does that mean it’s going to be done? Who knows? Who knows? Deals are deals. You never know but I tell you, we’ve established a very good relationship with North Korea,” he said.

“That was going to be a war, that could have been a World War III to be honest with you because a lot of people would’ve had to get involved in that all over Asia and then it spreads beyond Asia, and instead we have somebody that I really think wants to get onto economic development and making a lot of success and money, frankly, for his country because North Korea has tremendous potential and will help them out,” Trump said.


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International

Pakistan rules out India’s role in Afghan peace process

Agencies

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Islamabad: Pakistan has ruled out any role for India in the Afghan peace process, the media reported on Friday.

“India has no role in Afghanistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing on Thursday while responding to a query about Islamabad’s position on New Delhi’s part in the reconciliation process.

Faisal acknowledged that Pakistan has a difficult relationship with India, saying that despite Pakistan’s efforts for normalisation, no concrete progress could be achieved in ties with India, Dawn news reported.

 

“You all know that India is not willing to engage with Pakistan,” he reminded.

Faisal’s remarks were in sharp contrast to what Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had told the National Assembly last month.

“Since India is present in Afghanistan, its cooperation in this regard (facilitating a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict) will also be required,” he had told legislators.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to discuss with the senior civil and military leadership the latest efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country.

Khalilzad, who met Taliban representatives last month in Abu Dhabi, is leading an inter-agency delegation to India, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan from January 8-21 to “facilitate a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan”.

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US, India in talks over strategic missile defence cooperation: Pentagon

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Washington: The Trump administration has discussed a potential missile defence cooperation with India as part of its effort to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership, the Pentagon has said, asserting that New Delhi is a “key element” in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

The Pentagon’s announcement in the 81-page ”Missile Defence Review” report released by President Donald Trump gains significance in view of India placing a USD 5 billion order to purchase S-400 air defence system from Russia, for which the US had publicly expressed its displeasure.

Noting that the threats posed by offensive missile capabilities are no longer limited to a few regions around the world, the Pentagon in its report said there were now a number of countries in South Asia that are developing an advanced and diverse range of ballistic and cruise missile capabilities.

 

“Within this context, the United States has discussed potential missile defence cooperation with India. This is a natural outgrowth of India’s status as a Major Defence Partner and key element of our Indo-Pacific Strategy,” said the Pentagon report on Thursday.

The report, which identifies missile development projects by Russia and China as major threats to the US, did not give any further details about its potential missile defence cooperation with India.

The US has shown reluctance to offer its missile defence system to India.

Given the tough neighbourhood that India is in, New Delhi several years ago had approached US and expressed its desire to acquire a missile defence system from it, particularly the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system popular as THAAD.

The previous Obama administration was not very forthcoming in sharing its advance missile defence system with India, following which New Delhi went ahead to procure it from Russia.

As part of its Indo-Pacific strategy, the Trump administration now seems to be more than inclined to let India procure its missile defence system with talks between the two countries having already started.

“We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region,” said the 2017 National Security Strategy of the US, which has been mentioned in the Pentagon report.

The Missile Defence Review report said that the cornerstone of US’ security and diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region is its strong bilateral alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia, and emerging security relationships with others such as India.

Japan and South Korea are working with the US to build missile defence systems that are increasingly interoperable with American defences and increasingly capable against regional offensive missile threats and coercion.

This cooperation includes bilateral missile defence training exercises with the US.

Australia participates in a trilateral discussion on missile defence with the US and Japan. The US and Australia meet annually to discuss bilateral missile defence cooperation. New areas of focus include joint examination of the challenges posed by advanced missile threats, it said.

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400 migrants detained after crossing under fence into US

Agencies

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Washington: Nearly 400 migrants burrowed under a fence on the US-Mexico border earlier this week and crossed into the US, informed sources told CNN. US Border Patrol officers stationed in Yuma, Arizona, took about 375 migrants into custody after they had made it into the US, the officials said on Thursday, calling it an unusually large apprehension.

It was not immediately clear if the migrants voluntarily surrendered to Border Patrol officials or if they were caught after attempting to evade authorities. The “vast majority” of the group were family members arriving from Guatemala, said National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd.

“It`s the largest I`ve ever heard of,” said Judd when asked if this was a significant number for a single group. There are often groups of 20 to 30 people, sometimes as large as 100, apprehended in the Yuma area, according to a Customs and Border Protection official.

 

The incident comes as President Donald Trump continues to demand funding for new barrier construction on the US-Mexico border as the government shutdown entered its 27th day , saying there was a “crisis” at the border that can only be solved with the construction of new border walls or fencing.

In November, a group of around 80 migrants from Guatemala — primarily families — were apprehended by Border Patrol after climbing over the legacy landing mat border wall east of the San Luis Port of Entry.

Hours later, another group of around 80 people entered the US by digging a shallow hole underneath the same portion of the wall, according to CBP. There has been a recent spike in total Border Patrol apprehensions in Yuma, up from 2,117 in fiscal year 2017 to 26,244 last year.

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