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Pakistan welcomes Trump, Kim meeting

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North Korea returns remains of US war dead

ISLAMABAD: 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.

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.

Relevant pieces published earlier:

i) 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 US;

5) UN, EU, and 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. 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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Islamabad

ITP’s poor strength undermines efficiency: SSP

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ISLAMABAD: Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Furukh Rashid Monday underlining the need to improve the strength of Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) said the dearth of officials was undermining the efficiency with traffic problems worsening with each passing day.
“The traffic flow has increased almost seven times in 13 years and the staff’s strength gradually decreases from 685 to 628 due to the retirement of some officials,” he said in an interview with APP.
The ITP, on its inception in 2005 with 685 officials, was mandated to control 125,000 registered vehicles of the capital besides those coming from different cities. Now, the city exclusively owns some 900,000 vehicles and also bears the burden of those coming from other parts of the country. The situation, he said, requires urgent reinforcement of the ITP.
Farrukh said over 2,000 traffic wardens at some 506 points of the federal capital were required to handle daily traffic business while ITP could only manage to cover some 286 spots around the clock in two shifts and 89 points partially. “Some 131 spots mostly in rural areas go unattended, due to a shortage of staff”, he added.
Islamabad Expressway’s both sides, Tarnol, Bara Kahu, Golra and some sectors of the Capital including G-11, E-7, E-8, E-11 were among the areas where the ITP deployment remained off and on.
At least six sergeants, the SSP said, were required to be deployed at a big crossing junction while four at a small one. “Currently, the ratio is four and one respectively,” he added. The ITP’s another official regretted that the department was not getting required budget and professionals’ strength despite contributing Rs 3 million annually to the national exchequer.
Over two million was being generated from ticketing while one million in form of license fees on monthly basis, he added. Highlighting the ITP’s controlled management with limited resources, the official said “the department does not have even a single crane to remove a damaged vehicle from the road in case it requires emergency clearance.
“We are forced to use outdated fork lifters for the purpose”. he regretted.
Farrukh said 36 patrolling cars, 70 bikes, and six obsolete lifters were the entire support to cover over 906 square kilometer area. “There was no dedicated piece of land for ITP and currently it was running its affairs in a temporary office, designated for the green belt that can be removed anytime,” he said.
Answering to a query, the official said, that VVIP movements and parking issues in the capital markets were also a reason behind the ITP’s officials non-presence at some major stops.
He also termed the amount of fine on traffic violations inadequate, saying it was not helping to improve behavioral changes in violators to respect rules.
He said a recent proposal to review the number of fine tickets was sent to the quarters concerned, requesting to increase the maximum penalty to Rs 5,000 to reign motorists who commit absolute violations deliberately.
The SSP claimed that road accidents were taking more lives than natural disasters, urging the authorities concerned to bring reforms in traffic laws and ensure the provision of required staff to handle the affairs.

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KPK

WAPDA completes Transmission Line on highest-ever altitude

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Electricity failure in Punjab/KP restored

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) achieved yet another landmark, as it succeeded in completing the most difficult transmission line from Golen Gol (Chitral) to Timergara for evacuation of power generated by Golen Gol Hydropower Project to the National Grid.
The 180-kilometer long Golen Gol-Timergara transmission line crosses through the most difficult mountainous terrain having extreme weather conditions. As many as 706 transmission towers including 141 towers of 132 kilo-volts and 565 towers of 220 kilo-volts have been erected on the snow-clad mountain peaks including that of Lowari Top at the highest altitude of 10,312 feet. The transmission towers in Pakistan have never been erected earlier at this altitude.
Tough construction of transmission lines does not fall within the ambit of WAPDA after unbundling of its Power Wing way back in 2007, WAPDA took the construction of transmission line for Golen Gol Hydropower Project as a challenge.
It not only completed the task on its own but also successfully energized the said transmission line two days ago. Resultantly, Golen Gol Hydropower Project has now been connected to the National Grid. Thus, the project has started providing electricity to the system through its second unit on a trial basis via the National Grid. The second unit is being operated on various loads in accordance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) up to its maximum generation capacity of 36 megawatts (MW).
Earlier the first unit of Golen Gol Hydropower Project has been providing electricity to Chitral and its adjoining areas since its commissioning in January this year through a local arrangement developed by WAPDA to evacuate electricity generated by the first unit to fulfill the entire energy requirements of Chitral. The project since its commissioning has provided more than 33 million units of electricity to the consumers. Third and the last unit of the project is also complete. The wet commissioning of the third unit will also commence very soon by connecting it to the National Grid.
Golen Gol Hydropower Project has been constructed on Golen Gol – a tributary of River Mastuj – near Chitral. The installed generation capacity of the project is 108 MW with three generating units, each of them having a generation capacity of 36 MW. The project has been completed in a phased manner. The project will provide 436 million units of electricity to the National Grid every year. Benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs. 3.7 billion per annum.

 

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Lahore

PM directs immediate finalization of LG system

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LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday directed for finalization of the Local Bodies System within next 48 hours.
The prime minister said devolution of powers at the grass-roots level was the most important agenda of the PTI government. The objective behind this agenda was to empower the local people in the real sense, he added.
He gave the directive during a meeting on the Local Bodies system. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah
Farman, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and senior leadership the PTI were present during the meeting, PM office media wing said in a press release.  The prime minister observed that besides, devolution of power at the grass-roots level, effective public accountability of the elected representatives would be ensured.  He further observed that the LG system would remove the status quo. The devolution of powers and the local bodies system would help raise the new leadership, he noted.
He said the new system would be rooted in the democratic norms in which the governance and transparency would be ensured. He stressed upon introduction of an LG system in which the public representatives should be guarded against blackmailing at all levels so that they could fully concentrate their energies on public welfare. Earlier after his arrival, the prime minister met the governor and chief minister at the CM  Secretariat.

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