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Kim-Trump dialogue welcomed by Russia!

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Kim-Trump dialogue welcomed by Russia

MOSCOW: The Kremlin today said it welcomed the unprecedented meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the start of direct dialogue.

“Just the fact that such a meeting took place and the direct first-hand dialogue was started can only be welcomed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

The Kremlin said the meeting “proved to correct the Russian side and President Vladimir Putin, who said there is no alternative to political and diplomatic methods to resolve the problem on the Korean peninsula and the only way is direct dialogue, which we are seeing now.”

Relevant pieces published earlier!

i) Pakistan Tuesday welcomed the historic meeting between the leaders of the United States of America and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and expressed hope that it would lead to lasting peace and stability in the region, the Foreign Office spokesman said. “Pakistan has consistently supported all efforts towards the peaceful settlement of the issues in the Korean peninsula,” Spokesman of Foreign Office Dr Mohammad Faisal, said in a tweet. Pakistan welcomes the meeting between the leaders of the US and DPRK and hopes that it would lead to lasting peace and stability in the region. Pakistan has consistently supported all efforts towards the peaceful settlement of the issues in the Korean peninsula. The spokesman was commenting on the first ever summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of DPRK, in which the two leaders inked an agreement aimed at complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and reducing tensions. The agreement said the two countries would co-operate towards “new relations” while the US would provide “security guarantees” to North Korea. PML-N President and former Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said the Singapore Summit between the United States of America and North Korea should set a good precedent for Pakistan and India to follow. Welcoming the U.S-North Korea Summit, he said, ever since the start of the Korean War, the two nations had been at odds with one another; both threatening to use military force with their nuclear arsenals facing each other. Shehbaz Sharif stated, if the United States and North Korea could return from the brink of a nuclear flashpoint, there was no reason why Pakistan and India couldn’t do the same, beginning with a dialogue on Kashmir whose heroic people had resisted and rejected Indian occupation. With the example of the Korea, where a peace dialogue had been successful in achieving a major breakthrough, Shehbaz Sharif said, “It is time for comprehensive peace talks to be held in our region.” He urged the international community to focus on the peace process in Afghanistan. He also sought the resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, so that the long-festering Kashmir dispute was resolved in accordance with United Nations resolutions. He also welcomed the initiatives for ceasefire in Afghanistan during Eid-ul-Fitr, mooted by the Afghan government and also by the Afghan Taliban. Terming it as a positive first step towards promoting an Afghan-led & Afghan-owned peace process, the PML-N President said the PML-N government had played a pivotal role in initiating steps for peace in Afghanistan, including hosting the first ever direct, face to face talks between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban in Murree in July 2015. Sharif pledged the top priority of the PML-N government, when in office next Insha Allah, would be to promote peace in the region with a focus on Afghanistan, as peace in Afghanistan was inextricably intertwined with peace and security in Pakistan.(12th June 2018)

ii) History is in the process of being written. US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un have engraved their names in the world’s chronological records by meeting and proving that even problems in tandem with nuclear threats could also be solved by means of dialogue. 

The 32-year old Kim who got his edification from Switzerland and 71-year-old real estate tycoon Trump shook hands. During the dialogue, the two discussed defusing tensions and nuclear disarmament. Following the talks, Trump said that a lot of progress was made.

A comprehensive document had been signed at the end of the summit. There was a brief comment to the press after the signing ceremony. At the signing ceremony, Trump said he expected to “meet many times” in the future with Kim and that he would absolutely invite Kim to the White House.  

THE FLOW OF EVENTS: 

  • 8 p.m. ET (June 11) / 8 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump departs Shangri-La Hotel en route to Capella Singapore, where the two leaders will meet.
  • 8:20 p.m. ET (June 11) / 8:20 a.m. Singapore (June 12): Trump arrives at Capella Singapore.
  • 9 p.m. ET (June 11) / 9 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un greet each other. This is the big moment. Cameras will be there to capture their expected handshake.
  • 9:15 p.m. ET (June 11) / 9:15 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un participate in a one-on-one bilateral meeting.
  • 10 p.m. ET (June 11) / 10 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un participate in an expanded bilateral meeting.
  • 11:30 p.m. ET (June 11) / 11:30 a.m. Singapore (June 12): President Trump and Kim Jong Un have a working lunch.
  • 4 a.m. ET (June 12) / 4 p.m. Singapore:President Trump is expected to speak with reporters.
  • 6:30 a.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. Singapore:President Trump departs Capella Singapore for Paya Lebar Air Base Singapore.
  • 7 a.m. ET / 7 p.m. Singapore: Trump departs Paya Lebar Air Base, Singapore, en route to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. From there, he will travel on to the United States.

What exactly is the North Korea crisis? 

1) The Korean peninsula was divided after WWII and North Korea emerged as an authoritarian state;

2) According to North Korea, it needs nuclear weapons as a deterrent;

3) North Korea tested nukes six times (one of them was hydrogen bomb).

4) North Korea says it had developed nukes small enough to be carried by long-range missiles that could reach the US;

5) UN, EU, and the USA had imposed tough sanctions on North Korea.

Relevant pieces published earlier:i)  The summit that is due to begin shortly between the leaders of the United States and North Korea is “a promising development for global peace and security,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday. US President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un are due to meet in Singapore on Tuesday morning: the first-ever face-to-face encounter between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader. The UN chief stated that the world is watching. “The two leaders are seeking to break out of the dangerous cycle that created so much concern last year,” Guterres told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York, referring to escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. “Peace and verifiable denuclearization must remain the clear and shared goal. As I wrote to both leaders last month, the road ahead will require cooperation, compromise, and a common cause.” Meanwhile. The US has offered North Korea “unique” security guarantees to persuade it to give up its nuclear arsenal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, on the eve of a historic summit in Singapore. 

The White House said preparatory negotiations had “moved more quickly than expected” and Donald Trump would leave Tuesday evening after his talks with Kim Jong Un, ruling out the possibility the unprecedented tete-a-tete would run to two days. The meeting, long sought by Pyongyang, will be the first ever between a serving US president and a North Korean leader and will focus on the nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles the North has spent decades developing. Just hours ahead of the crunch talks, Kim left his luxury hotel for a night-time stroll around some of Singapore’s main sights, even posing for selfies with his guide, the city-state’s foreign minister. Setting out the US position before the summit, Pompeo stressed that the Trump administration would only accept complete denuclearization of the North. But in return, Washington would offer “different and unique” guarantees “to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearization is not something that ends badly for them”. He refused to go into details. But the North has long sought an end to the US military presence in the South, where Washington has around 28,000 troops stationed to protect it from its neighbor. (Published on 12th June 2018) 

ii) US President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore today, ahead of a significant summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It is expected that the Kim-Trump  Summit, scheduled to take place on Tuesday 12th of June, would lay the groundwork for denuclearization of North Korea ending the Pyongyang-Washington tussle. 

iii) Kim Jong-Un the leader of North Korea arrived here today for an extraordinary meeting with Trump who is expected to arrive later today. As he descended from the jet at Changi International Airport, Kim was greeted by the Singapore Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan. After that North Korean leader was sped through the streets to closely guarded St. Regis Hotel. While meeting the Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong the N. Korean leader held: “The entire world is watching the historic summit between North Korea and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit.” It is pertinent to mention here that some 3000 journalists from all over the globe have converged here to witness history in the making. Savants at the helm of affairs reckon that Kim-Trump meeting would find a prominent place in the recent history of mankind, particularly if the standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear bomb arsenal is settled by means of the summit. (10th of June 2018)

iv) Ending the ambiguity, White House has confirmed that Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting will commence at 9 am, Tuesday 12thof June at Shangri-La hotel here. The security of the American and North Korean leaders will be ensured by the Gurkhas who are linked to a British tradition. British were beaten back by Gurkhas in the 19th-century Anglo-Nepalese War.  Later the colonialists recruited them and paying the elite regiments of soldiers from Nepal for over two centuries. They have fought in both world wars, Falklands and Afghanistan conflicts. Presently, Gurkhas serve in British, Indian, Nepalese, Brunei and Singapore armies. (6th June 2018) 

v) Jong Un’s right-hand man met Friday with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office – talks that should include the delivery of a letter from the North Korean leader about their upcoming summit. The official, Kim Yong Chol, was greeted by White House chief of staff John Kelly, who led him to the Oval Office for talks with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders. Kim Yong Chol arrived in Washington from New York, where he met with Pompeo on preparations for the planned June 12 encounter between the US and North Korean leaders in Singapore. After Thursday’s talks, Pompeo expressed confidence that the process was moving in the right direction, but warned that the North’s young leader must be bold enough to make a “strategic shift” in understanding that he will be safer without nuclear weapons. US officials said the letter from Kim to Trump may not clear up all the questions about the agenda but may bring the planned Singapore meeting a step closer. (1stof June, 2018)

vi)  Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man was due at the White House to meet with US President Donald Trump, press secretary Sarah Sanders said – talks that should include the delivery of a letter from the North Korean leader about their upcoming summit. The official, Kim Yong Chol, was expected to arrive at 1:00 pm (1700 GMT), when he was to see Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sanders said. The North Korean envoy will be greeted by White House chief of staff John Kelly and US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who will take him to the Oval Office for the meeting.

vii) The US. delegation is meeting N. Korean officials in *Panmunjom, at the border between North and South Korea, about a possible rendezvous between the leaders of two countries.  A US delegation was holding talks with North Korean officials today at a border truce village amid preparations for a summit between the two countries’ leaders, the State Department said. “A US delegation is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement…We continue to prepare for a meeting between the President and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.” The State Department provided no details on the latest talks but The Washington Post earlier reported that the US delegation had crossed over to the North Korean side of the border at Panmunjom. The US delegation was led by Sung Kim, a former US ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North. It said the Americans met with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui. (28th of May, 2018) *Panmunjom is located in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean peninsula.

viii) US President Donald Trump, a day after his cancellation of a high-stakes summit with North Korea, said Friday that the meeting with Kim Jong Un could still go ahead. “We’re going to see what happens,” Trump told reporters at the White House, after welcoming Pyongyang’s latest statement on the talks as “very good news. “It could even be the 12th,” he said in a reference to the original June 12 date set for the meeting in Singapore. “We’re talking to them now,” Trump said of the North Koreans. 

“They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.” North Korea, responding to Trump’s abrupt cancellation of the meeting over “hostility” from Pyongyang, said Friday that it is willing to talk to the United States “at any time.” Trump welcomed the statement as “warm and productive.” “We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully too long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!” the US president said in a tweet. In a letter to Kim, Trump said Thursday he would not go ahead with the summit in Singapore, following what the White House called a “trail of broken promises” by the North. (25th May 2018)

ix)  In a correspondence addressed to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un President Donald Trump has made it clear that due to North Korean anger and hostility the Singapore summit had been canceled. Trump and Kim had been due to hold high-stakes talks on June 12 aimed at ridding the reclusive state of nuclear weapons, but the meeting was recently thrown into doubt as both sides raised the prospect of scrapping the discussions and traded threats. Trump’s letter came a day after North Korea attacked US Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid.” “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim released by the White House.

“Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.” Trump also brandished the threat of America’s nuclear might in his letter, writing: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” The US leader’s letter appeared to leave the door open to a future meeting with Kim, however, stressing that he had been “very much looking forward to being there.” “We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions” relative to the summit, he told Kim. 

It is pertinent to mention here that today North Korea has proclaimed that it had fully demolished its nuclear test site with a series of planned detonations. According to an official declaration: “The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK held a ceremony for completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground on May 24… to ensure transparency of the discontinuance of nuclear test… “Dismantling the nuclear test ground was done in such a way as to make all the tunnels of the test ground collapse by the explosion and completely close the tunnel entrances, and at the same time, explode some guard facilities and observation posts on the site”. It has been confirmed that no leakage of radiation had been detected at the site during explosions.  

x) US President Donald Trump asks North Korea to abandon its nuclear program on Tuesday, ahead of an expected summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un. Earlier, the US leader – who had spent the day in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron – had described Kim as “very open” and “very honorable” – his most positive comments yet about a man he once publicly belittled. But when pressed about what he hoped to gain from Pyongyang, the 71-year-old Republican president was blunt. “Meetings are being set up, and I want to see denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump told reporters.

Asked to explain what he means by denuclearization, Trump replied: “It means they get rid of their nukes – very simple.” “It would be very easy for me to make a simple deal and claim victory. I don’t want to do that. I want them to get rid of their nukes.” While Trump has repeatedly referred to North Korea’s denuclearization, Pyongyang however consistently defines the term as “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” – code for the removal of America’s military presence in the South, a condition Washington is unlikely to accept. Amid preparations for a landmark bilateral US-North Korea summit, which could come in June, Trump had kind words for Kim, whom he once called a “madman” and “little rocket man.”

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UN peacekeeping chief to visit Pakistan

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MANHATTAN: UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will visit Pakistan and three other South Asian nations to thank troop-contributors for their service and to update them on the ongoing reforms to strengthen the world body’s flagship activity.
Lacroix will visit Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan from June 23 to July 3. He will visit Dhaka, Bangladesh, following which he will travel to Kathmandu. He will then travel to New Delhi, before concluding his trip to the region with a visit to Islamabad.
A note issued to correspondents Friday said that troops and police from these four countries together make up close to one-third of some 91,000 uniformed personnel across 14 UN peacekeeping operations.
The purpose of Lacroix’s visit is to “thank the four countries for their service and sacrifice in the name of peace, as well as to update on the ongoing reforms in the UN peace and security reform area, and specifically the UN Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative to make peacekeeping more focused, safer and stronger,” the note said.
The A4P initiative centers on three areas: refocusing peacekeeping with realistic expectations; making peacekeeping missions stronger and safer; and mobilizing greater support for political solutions and for well-structured, well-equipped, well-trained forces.
While in the region, Lacroix will meet with senior officials from all four countries, including government, military, and police officials.
Pakistan is one of largest contributors of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping. It currently contributes nearly 6,000 military and police personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has lauded Pakistan’s contribution to peacekeeping missions and paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Pakistan also hosts one of UN’s oldest missions — the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which monitors the ceasefire line in the disputed state of Kashmir.
The group, established in 1949 to monitor the ceasefire line in Kashmir, is composed of 44 military observers and 23 international civilian personnel.

 

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Pakistan expresses concerns over humanitarian crisis in Yemen!

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Pakistan Saturday expressed its concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and urged all parties to return to the negotiation table as only a political settlement could ensure lasting peace in the country.
Addressing the Meeting of the Information Ministers of the Coalition Countries for the Support of Legitimacy in Yemen here, Shafqat Jalil, Additional Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting who led the Pakistani delegation in the meeting, said Pakistan supported all peace efforts in Yemen and looked forward to an early cessation of hostilities in the country and its return to peace and tranquility.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Culture and Information of Saudi Arabia Dr. Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad and information ministers and delegates from the member countries of the coalition.
Shafqat Jalil told the meeting that Pakistan desired de-escalation of the ongoing crisis and an early commencement of negotiation among the rival factions, to restore peace in the country.
“Pakistan calls for the unconditional restoration of the legitimate government of President Abdurabuh Mansour Hadi and withdrawal of rebel forces from territories seized by them, including Sana’a,” he said.
He said the resolution passed by Pakistan’s parliament on April 10, 2015, endorsed these principles and strengthened the hands of the government for playing a positive and constructive role.
He said despite four years of war, peace in Yemen still remained elusive in spite of tireless efforts of the international community.
“The ongoing war in Yemen poses a serious threat to peace and stability of the entire region and, therefore, calls for our immediate attention,” he remarked.
He said the role of non-state factors in Yemen conflict was of particular concern for all regional countries and their unremitting attacks on civilian population and sensitive targets in Saudi Arabia were viewed as a threat to the entire Muslim world.
He said Pakistan was concerned and seized with the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which called for more concerted efforts at the global level to alleviate the sufferings of the Yemeni people.
Shafqat Jalil said Pakistan welcomed and appreciated the generous efforts of the international community, including those of the UN and OIC to help the Yemeni people through the provision of much-needed humanitarian aid.
Pakistan also contributed US$ 1 million worth of food assistance to Yemen last year; he recalled and lauded the Saudi initiative of providing relief to the war victims in Yemen.
Pakistan also appreciated the contribution of King Salman Relief and Humanitarian Aid Centre and Saudi for various humanitarian projects in the country since 2015, including its contribution to the UNICEF.

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Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud is the new TTP Leader

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KUNAR: The banned militant outfit TTP’s Shura Council has today disclosed the name of their new chief, 40-year-old Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud.

Noor Wali Mehsud will be their Amir after Mullah Fazlullah, who was droned to death on 14th June (2018) in Kunar Province (close to Pakistan border) like two of his predecessors. 

Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud who had got his Islamic edification at a number of seminaries in Pakistan had penned the details of planning the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud. 

Death of Mullah Fazlullah: 

Hours after COAS Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa left Kabul for Pakistan*, US armed forces carried out a drone attack here on Wednesday 13th June at 9 am local time, killing (Fazal Hayat, commonly known as) Mullah Fazlullah or Maulana Radio.**

Mullah Fazlullah was made the TTP chief when his predecessor Hakimullah Mehsud was droned to death in North Waziristan by US forces on 1st of November 2013. It is pertinent to mention here that Fazlullah was the first non-Mehsud*** to head TTP. 

Graves of Maulana Radio and his associates!

Afghan defense ministry spokesman proclaimed: “I confirm that Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a joint air operation – with the US – in the border area of Marawera district of Kunar province.”Confirming the death of Mullah Fazlullah, TTP said that Afghan intelligence service (National Directorate of Security/Riyāsat-e Amniyat-e Milli – NDS) provided information facilitating the drone attack. It is yet to be ascertained who got the head money of $5million****.

A spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan told:  “US forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization.”

According to sources while 3,739 were killed in 2012 by armed groups including TTP, the number came down to 748 deaths in 2017. Pakistan Military claims to have killed over 4000 TTP fighters.

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* So far Pakistan and Afghanistan have held seven meetings on Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS – formed following the deadly attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel that also claimed life of Afghan envoy to Pakistan) during 2018. In one such meetings Afghanistan has been asked by Pakistan to hand over 43 militants including Fazal Hayat.

* *Fazal Hayat/Fazlullah was called Maulana Radio as he also used to transmit broadcasts of his sermons on a clandestine local FM radio channel. 

***Mehsud is a tribe mostly based in South Waziristan Agency (in Pakistan).

****US designated him a global terrorist and put a bounty of $5 million.

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