SEOUL, September 1 -- A senior North Korean diplomat said Saturday the expectation that dialogue with the United States will resume is "gradually disappearing" after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the country's behavior as "rogue."
"Pompeo has gone so far in his language and it made the opening of the expected DPRK-U.S. working-level negotiations more difficult," First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, using the acronym for North Korea's official name. "We are being pushed to re-examine all the measures we have taken so far," Choe said. Pompeo said in a speech to a veterans organization Tuesday that Pyongyang's "rogue behavior could not be ignored." North Korea, meanwhile, has notified the United Nations that the nation's ambassador-level official will deliver a speech at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, a source close to the matter said, indicating Pyongyang may cancel Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho's participation. Ri's potential absence from the U.N. gathering, scheduled to be held in New York in late September, would deprive Pompeo of a chance to make contact with his North Korean counterpart. At their June 30 meeting at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed that Washington and Pyongyang would resume stalled denuclearization talks within weeks, but they have yet to take place. Instead, North Korea has repeatedly launched new weapons in recent months. Last Saturday, it fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, in Pyongyang's seventh round of such launches since July 25.
BIARRITZ, August 26 -- G-7 leaders discussed the return to the G-8 format with Russia's participation at a summitin the French city of Biarritz, Kyodo news agency reported, citing sources from Japanese government circles.
No details were provided about the content of the interview, and an agency source said the information "will never be disclosed". Earlier, US President Donald Trump agreed to a proposal by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, to invite Russia to the G7 summit in 2020 in the US. Vladimir Putin, for his part, said that Russia considered all contacts with the G7 countries useful and did not rule out the resumption of the G8 form. German Chancellor Angela Merkel linked the issue of the resumption of the G-8 with progress in resolving the conflict in Ukraine. The G-7 is an association of economically developed countries that includes the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan. In the form of the seven, the club has existed from 1976 to 1997. After Russia's accession, it became known as the G8
HONG KONG, August 26 -- Hong Kong stocks dived more than 3 per cent in the first few minutes of business on Monday.
Caused by United States President Donald Trump ramped up his trade row with China and the city was hit by fresh violent protests over the weekend. The Hang Seng Index plummeted 3.27 per cent, or 857.33 points, to 25,322 at the open. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index sank 1.6 per cent, or 46.41 points, to 2,851.02, and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, shed 1.96 per cent, or 30.87 points, to 1,547.83.
SHANGHAI, August 26 -- China's currency on Monday (Aug 26) slid to its lowest point in more than 11 years as concerns over the US trade war and the potential for global recession weighed on markets.
The onshore yuan fell to 7.1487 to the US dollar, its weakest point since early 2008, in Asian trading. Global economic tensions have intensified in recent days with the US and China raising tariffs on each other's imports, and President Donald Trump calling on US businesses to pull out of China. The yuan is not freely convertible and the Chinese government limits its movement against the dollar to a two percent range on either side of a figure that the central bank sets each day to reflect market trends and control volatility. The People's Bank of China has set that rate steadily weaker in recent weeks and set it on Monday at 7.057 to the dollar. Allowing the yuan to depreciate makes Chinese exports cheaper and offsets some of the burden of punitive US tariffs. The yuan breached the key 7.0 threshold against the dollar earlier in August, days after the US announced plans to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese imports from September 1.
BEIJING, August 25 -- United States trade groups have joined in a chorus of opposition to the latest escalation of tariffs Washington threatened for all the Chinese imports.
It's been heard that "enough is enough" as intensified tensions roil stock markets, ruin businesses and rid farmers of their most important export markets. Last Friday, US President Donald Trump announced that he would hike duties on US$250 billion (S$346 billion) worth of Chinese goods from the current 25 per cent to 30 per cent starting from Oct 1, and the remaining imports of US$300 billion from the planned 10 per cent to 15 per cent from Sept 1. The move followed Beijing's plan last Thursday to raise tariffs on US$75 billion worth of US goods in retaliation to the US side's planned taxing on an additional US$300 billion worth of Chinese imports, which was announced earlier this month. China's Ministry of Commerce said on Saturday that the country is "firmly opposed" to Washington's "unilateral and bullying acts of trade protectionism and extreme pressure", and urged it to immediately stop its "erroneous practices". The ruling Communist Party's People's Daily said on Sunday that China will fight back against the latest US step to increase tariffs on Chinese goods. “China is confident that it will follow its own path and do its own things well, and will never waver in its stand on countering any provocations by the US side,” the newspaper said in a commentary.
US politicians, seeking to hamper China’s economic development, still want to use the tactics of exerting maximum pressure on China that has achieved few results, the paper said. But the US will not win the trade war because of the plight faced by its farmers and businesses. In the US, Mr Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of the Consumer Technology Association, said that "enough is enough", as shown by the 623-point drop in the Dow last Friday. "Global markets are reeling on fears of a global recession. And today's (last Friday) announcement only inflicts more pain on American businesses, workers and families," said Mr Shapiro. "These escalating tariffs are the worst economic mistake since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 - a decision that catapulted our country into the Great Depression," Mr Shapiro said. "Instead of making America great again, the president is using tariffs to make a great economic mistake - again." He continued: "How much longer will our families, companies and economy be forced to bear the financial burden of this misguided trade policy?" Mr Rick Helfenbein, president and chief executive officer of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, also lamented that what the US businesses now get is "a 1930s trade strategy" that will be a disaster for consumers, businesses, and the economy.
BIARRITZ, August 25 -- Leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations shared the view Saturday that Iran should not possess nuclear weapons while still differing in their approaches to finding a resolution to the issue as they kicked off a three-day summit in France.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who visited Iran in June to help diffuse heightened tensions in the Middle East, told the other G-7 leaders in the French coastal city of Biarritz that Tokyo will continue to engage with Tehran on the diplomatic front, a senior Japanese government official said. "The leaders exchanged various views (on issues such as Iran) and efforts were made by each country toward finding common ground," the official said. G-7 members have been jittery over U.S. President Donald Trump's strategy to shake up multilateral arrangements to advance U.S. interests -- notably his withdrawal from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that has ratcheted up tensions in the Middle East. The big question of whether the G-7 -- made up of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States plus the European Union -- is an effective forum for tackling global issues still looms large following past clashes between the United States and other members. The leaders also discussed Russia's potential return to the G-7 framework over dinner that lasted nearly three hours, the official said without giving further details. Russia was dropped from the then Group of Eight after its annexation of Crimea in 2014 which it drew sharp international outcry.
Despite Trump's push for readmitting Russia, other G-7 members are opposed due to a lack of progress on the Crimea issue. With its unity in doubt, the G-7 leaders are expected to discuss a range of topics in the coming days from the global economy and digitalization to inequality and North Korea. They agreed Saturday on the need to extend assistance over Amazon rainforest fires in Brazil.
Trump, who reportedly had reservations about attending the G-7 meeting, said on Twitter that his evening meeting with world leaders went "very well," adding, "Progress being made!"
PARIS, August 24 -- Donald Trump landed in France with First Lady Melania for the G7 summit Saturday, after taking a swipe at fellow leaders, calling them "friends of mine, for the most part" but not in "100 percent of the cases".
The president threw shade at some of America's closest partners on Friday evening, mere hours before he'd see them in Biarritz at the Group of Seven summit. He threatened to tax French 'like they've never seen before' and characterized world leaders attending the event as 'friends for the most part' in front of Marine One. 'We're going to France. We'll have a good few days. I think it will be very productive, seeing a lot of leaders who are friends of mine, for the most part,' he said of his trip, smirking as he added, "Wouldn't say in 100 percent of the cases, but for the most part." He did not say which leaders were getting under his skin, but Trump offered several hints in the comments he delivered outside the White House before he left for Europe with first lady Melania. She arrived into Biarritz wearing a yellow dress with pink stiletto heels and sunglasses. The first lady had departed Washington wearing a Chanel jacket, white pants and a black top. Trump harped on France's digital tax, which he said U.S. tech companies don't deserve. He noted that he's 'not the biggest fan of the tech companies,' which he again accused them of interfering in his election.
Yet, he said, their regulation should be up to the United States, and not foreign countries like France. "I don't like what France did. They put a digital tax on our tech companies," he said. "Those are great American companies, and frankly, I don't want France going out and taxing our companies, very unfair." He cautioned French President Emmanuel Macron against moving ahead with the action that could spark a protracted trade war with the United States. It is understood the two world leaders will have an unscheduled lunch together Saturday. "If they do that, we'll be taxing their wine, or doing something else. We'll be taxing their wine, like they've never seen before," Trump promised. Whether he meant for the earlier jab about his 'friends' in the global community to land on Macron or another leader he'll be seeing like German Chancellor Angela Merkel was unclear.
WASHINGTON, August 23 -- President of Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer said that this is not the first time US President Donald Trump has brought up the idea of reinstating the G8 format with Russia's participation.
There is no possibility of the G8 with Russia's participation being reinstated, president and founder of Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer said on Thursday. He was commenting on recent statements by US President Donald Trump on the need to reinstate the G8 format with Russia's participation. "It's not the first time that [US President Donald] Trump has brought this up actually. He mentioned it during the Canada-hosted G7 as well," Bremmer said. "But the reason for Russia's removal wasn't [former US President Barack] Obama being 'outsmarted' by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, but the response to the annexation of Crimea, which the G7 countries considered, and still consider, illegal. There is no possibility of the G8 being reinstated," he added. "As you may have heard, French President Emmanuel Macron has decided not to even attempt a communique at the end of the summit that will be held on August 24-26 in France's Biarritz - the first time that's happened since the meetings started in 1975. It's a G-zero world," Bremmer noted.
The Group of Seven (G7) is an association of industrialized countries that brings together the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan. In 1997, it was renamed the Group of Eight (G8) after Russia joined the association. In 2014, Western countries decided to return to the G7 format after the developments in Ukraine and deterioration of relations with Russia.
BEIJING, August 22 -- China is hopeful that US President Donald Trump can “honour” his earlier hands-off stance on Hong Kong, although the Commerce Ministry spokesman neglected to mention the latest statement from the American leader linking the trade talks between Washington and Beijing with the anti-government protests in the city.
China is hopeful that US President Donald Trump can “honour” his earlier hands-off stance on Hong Kong, although the Commerce Ministry spokesman neglected to mention the latest statement from the American leader linking the trade talks between Washington and Beijing with the anti-government protests in the city. Trump had been distancing himself from the tensions until earlier this week saying that trade talks with China would be hampered if Beijing used violent means to crack down on the ongoing protests in Hong Kong similar to those employed against pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.Trump said that if a similar crackdown happened in Hong Kong, “there’d be tremendous political sentiment not to do something”, referring to trade negotiations between China and the United States. “It does put pressure on the trade deal. If they do something negative, it puts pressure,” he added. “We noticed that President Trump had said that Hong Kong is part of China and [China and Hong Kong] can sort it out on their own. We hope the US side can honor these words,” said Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng on Thursday.
Protests have taken place in Hong Kong since June 9, sparked by demands for the city’s government to withdraw an unpopular extradition bill that would have allowed the transfer of suspects to mainland China. Protests have continued in the city for over 11 weeks despite Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam stating that the bill “is dead”. The stance from China’s Commerce Ministry is in line with China’s Foreign Ministry and state media as Beijing is opposed to linking the situation in Hong Kong with the talks over the ongoing trade war. Earlier on Wednesday, Trump added that “I don’t view it as leverage. I hope Hong Kong works out in a very humane way. I don’t view it as leverage or non-leverage. I hope it works out in a humane way. And I think that President Xi Jinping has the ability to make sure that happens”. Gao said China’s negotiating team has maintained contact with their American counterparts, with Vice-Premier Liu He believed to have taken part in a scheduled phone call with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week.
WASHINGTON, August 21 -- The US president told reporters that buying Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has extensive home rule, would be “a large real estate deal” that could ease a financial burden on Denmark, but Denmark’s prime minister did not want to talk about a possible US purchase of the island of Greenland.
President Donald Trump said he would be putting off a planned meeting with Denmark’s prime minister because she did not want to talk about a possible US purchase of the island of Greenland. “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump said in a Twitter post on Tuesday night. “The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!” the president wrote. Trump had been scheduled to make a state visit to Denmark on Sept. 2 on the invitation of Queen Margrethe II.
Hours before the trip was called off, Carla Sands, the U.S. ambassador to Denmark, tweeted that the Scandinavian country was “ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit! Partner, ally, friend.” Earlier this week, the president told reporters that buying Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has extensive home rule, would be “a large real estate deal” that could ease a financial burden on Denmark.
Frederiksen had ruled out any sale. Danish officials have been adamant about no-sale since reports emerged last week that Trump had directed advisers and lawyers to review a possible deal. “Greenland isn’t for sale, Greenland isn’t Danish, Greenland is Greenlandic,” she said Sunday during a visit to Greenland, according to local newspaper Sermitsiaq. “I keep trying to hope that this isn’t something that was seriously meant.” Larry Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, earlier Sunday said Greenland is a “strategic place” rich in valuable minerals and that discussions are continuing. “The president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look at a potential Greenland purchase,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.” However serious White House discussions of a sale might have been, the topic prompted jokes on both sides of the Atlantic since Trump’s interest was first reported. He got into the act on Monday night with a tweet showing an image of a golden Trump tower on an austere Greenland landscape. “I promise not to do this to Greenland,” Trump wrote.