One-on-one meeting with Putin a ‘good start,’ Trump says after over 2 hours of tete-a-tete talks

President Donald Trump described his much anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “off to a good start,” after meeting one-on-one with Putin for over two hours on Monday.

Trump made his remarks to reporters before the start of a ‘working lunch’ with Putin and his aides, which followed the two leader’s private session.

Before meeting with Putin, Trump said that the US and Russia will end up having an “extraordinary relationship,” despite current difficulties, adding “I think the world wants to see us get along.” Before his private discussion with Putin, Trump told reporters that he intended to discuss “everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China.”

Before the summit, Trump blamed previous administrations for the deterioration in relations between the US and Russia, tweeting: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” – a reference to the ongoing and thus far unsuccessful Mueller investigation.

The meeting took place amid opposition from both Democrats and Republicans at home. White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 ‘Russian hackers’ on Friday, and the news was expected to cast a cloud over the summit, despite the fact that the ‘hackers’’ alleged offences took place during the Obama administration.

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Trump Kim summit: US president hails deal after historic talks

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US President Donald Trump says his historic talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that ended in a joint agreement were “tremendous”.

The signed document includes a pledge from Mr Kim to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

But in an extraordinary media conference later, Mr Trump announced details not in the paper.

He said he would halt US military exercises in South Korea, something widely seen as a concession.

The meeting was the first time a sitting US president has met North Korea’s leader, and caps a remarkable turnaround for the two.

Last year saw the pair sling insults at each other, while North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of the international community.

For both men the meeting brought much to gain as well as considerable risk.

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The meeting is seen by North Korea as a way of bringing legitimacy to a nation long regarded as a pariah. Should Mr Trump resolve the North’s nuclear threat, he would have achieved something none of his predecessors came close to.

What did they agree?

The summit centred on nuclear disarmament 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.

On nuclear weapons, Mr Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

Observers say the document lacks substance, in particular on how denuclearisation would be achieved.

However, speaking to reporters after, Mr Trump said:

  • The US would suspend “provocative” war games it holds with South Korea. Mr Trump said he wanted to see US troops withdraw from the South. A spokesperson for the US forces said they had yet to receive any new guidance
  • On denuclearisation, he said that Mr Kim had agreed to it being “verified”, a key US demand ahead of the meeting
  • Mr Trump said Mr Kim had also agreed to destroy a “major missile engine testing site”
  • But he said sanctions would remain in place for now and argued “we haven’t given up anything”.

Several reporters asked whether Mr Trump had raised the issue of human rights with Mr Kim, who runs a totalitarian regime with extreme censorship and forced-labour camps.

The US president said he had, and did not retract his description of Mr Kim as “talented”.

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“Well, he is very talented,” Mr Trump said. “Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough. I don’t say he was nice.”

What’s the reaction been?

Largely positive. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who held his own meeting with Mr Kim earlier this year, said the “two Koreas and US will write new history of peace and co-operation”.

A spokesman, though, also said the “exact meaning and intention” of what Mr Trump had said “needs to be assessed”.

China, North Korea’s only major diplomatic and economic ally, also said the meeting created a “new history”. The foreign ministry said sanctions on North Korea could be eased if it stuck to UN resolutions.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised President Trump’s “leadership and effort”, saying he supported North Korea’s pledge on denuclearisation as “a step towards the comprehensive resolution of issues around North Korea”.

But Russia warned that the “devil is in the detail” and Iran said North Korea should not trust the US. Mr Trump recently pulled the US out of a nuclear deal with Iran.

Analysis: What happens next?

By Jenny Town, research analyst at the Stimson Center think tank

The Singapore summit was certainly historic, but the results are harder to judge.

Past US presidents have avoided granting such a meeting without North Korea first making verifiable progress toward dismantlement of their WMD programmes.

Trump has forgone this traditional diplomatic approach for one that could potentially make negotiations more agile.

The personal relationship now established between Mr Trump and Mr Kim may also help prevent us in the future from returning to “fire and fury”.

The test is now on the Trump administration to see if they have the political will to sustain this process and move the negotiation past broad commitments to durable and sustainable solutions.

How the day unfolded

The summit began with a striking image, unimaginable just months ago.

The two men walked towards each other and firmly gripped each other’s hands in front of US and North Korean flags.

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Sitting alongside each other, ahead of a one-on-one meeting, the pair appeared relaxed against the odds.

“It was not easy to get here,” Mr Kim said. “There were obstacles but we overcame them to be here.”

The two men, accompanied only by interpreters, spoke for a little under 40 minutes. They were then joined by small delegations of advisers for a working lunch.

Over lunch they shared a mix of Western and Korean dishes, including stuffed cucumbers and Daegu jorim, a soy-braised fish dish.

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China warns US sanctions will void trade talks

China has warned that all trade talks between Beijing and Washington will be void if the US sets up trade sanctions.

After talks between Vice Premier Liu He and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, China said it was ready to boost imports from many countries.

Mr Ross’s China visit comes days after Washington threatened to impose extra tariffs on $ 50bn of Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, G7 nations have hit out at the US over its new steel and aluminium import tariffs.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned a trade war could begin in “a few days”.

On Saturday President Trump insisted on Twitter that the US had been “ripped off by other countries for years on trade“.

He says steel tariffs will protect US steelmakers, which he says are vital to national security. Mr Trump has also complained about barriers US firms face in Europe and elsewhere.

“Time to get smart!” he added.

Trade sanctions: The basics

  • What is a trade war? It’s when countries attack each other’s trade with taxes and quotas. One will raise tariffs, a type of tax, causing the other to respond, in a tit-for-tat escalation. This can hurt economies and lead to rising political tensions.
  • What are tariffs? Taxes on products made abroad. In theory, taxing items coming into the country (imports) makes people less likely to buy them as they become more expensive. They’re likely to buy cheaper local products instead, boosting your country’s economy.
  • What’s a trade deficit? The difference between how much your country buys from another country, compared with how much you sell to that country. The US has a massive trade deficit with China. Last year, it stood at about $ 375bn.

What are the Chinese saying?

A statement released by the Chinese side at the talks with the US in Beijing said nothing specific about the outcome, and referred back to an agreement reached in Washington last month to increase the purchase of US goods and services.

“To implement the consensus reached in Washington, the two sides have had good communication in various areas such as agriculture and energy, and have made positive and concrete progress while relevant details are yet to be confirmed by both sides,” the statement said.

But state news agency Xinhua carried a statement which warned against a trade war and said the two sides should meet each other half way.

“Reform and opening up and expanding domestic demand are China’s national strategies. Our established rhythm will not change,” it said.

“If the United States introduces trade sanctions including tariffs, all the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will be void.”

What is the US trying to do?

The Beijing talks were aimed at reducing the bilateral trade deficit. The US currently buys nearly four times as much from China as it sells to them.

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A White House statement last week, which took aim at years of “unfair” trade practices, warned the US would pursue 25% tariffs on $ 50bn (£37bn) worth of Chinese imports.

The tone of the statement suggested that China’s concessions at last month’s talks in Washington were not enough for the Trump administration, says BBC Asia Business correspondent Karishma Vaswani.

Analysts say that the statement could have been designed as a bargaining tactic aimed at increasing pressure on China ahead of Sunday’s meeting, amid criticism at home that Mr Trump is going soft on China.

No joint statement was issued at the end of Sunday’s meeting in Beijing, and there has been no response to the Chinese comments by the US side.

What about the G7?

At a heated meeting in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler, the EU and Canada threatened to retaliate against tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium, whose implementation Mr Ross announced on Thursday.

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied that the US had abandoned leadership in the global economy and said he had passed on the other countries’ strong feelings to Mr Trump.

There was no joint statement at the end of this meeting either, which the BBC’s North America correspondent Chris Buckler says is a clear sign of discord.

Our correspondent says acrimonious debate is likely to continue next weekend when the leaders of the G7 countries – including Mr Trump – meet for a summit in Quebec.

Canada, Mexico and the EU together exported $ 23bn worth of steel and aluminium to the US in 2017 – nearly half of the $ 48bn of total steel and aluminium imports last year.

The EU has responded to the US announcement with a 10-page list of tariffs on US goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon.

Canada plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on about $ 13bn worth of US exports from 1 July. Goods affected will include some American steel, as well as consumer products such as yoghurt, whiskey and coffee.

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Trump and South Korea's Moon to hold talks on Kim summit

US President Donald Trump and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in are due to hold talks in Washington, amid uncertainty over a planned US-North Korea summit.

Last week the North said it may cancel the summit if the US insists on it giving up nuclear weapons unilaterally.

Mr Moon will try to calm US nerves to get talks back on track, observers say.

One of his officials said he would “likely tell President Trump what to expect and what not to expect from Kim”, Yonhap news agency reported.

The historic 12 June summit is due to take place in Singapore.

What has North Korea said?

The summit was first thrown into doubt when North Korea cancelled high-level talks with South Korea last Wednesday, saying it was angered by Seoul’s joint-military exercises with the US.

The North called the exercises a “provocation” and a rehearsal for an invasion.

Pyongyang was then highly critical of US National Security Adviser John Bolton, whom it accused of making “reckless statements” after he suggested the North could follow a “Libya model” of denuclearisation.

That was a reference to Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi who agreed to give up nuclear weapons in 2003. He was later killed by Western-backed rebels.

What has been the US response?

Mr Trump later clarified that the US was not pursuing the “Libya model” for North Korea.

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Ahead of the meeting with Mr Moon, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned Mr Kim not to “play” Mr Trump if they meet next month. Mr Pence said in a Fox News interview that such a move would be a “great mistake”.

He also said there was “no question” that Mr Trump could walk away from the planned meeting in Singapore.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the US president is asking aides and advisers whether he should continue to go forward with the summit.

Why is the summit so significant?

The planned summit first came about when Mr Trump accepted North Korea’s invitation for direct talks earlier this year.

That followed more than a year of heated rhetoric between North Korea and the US, and global concern that the hostilities might escalate into military confrontation.

North Korea has conducted several nuclear tests over the past few years and has developed long-distance missiles it says can carry nuclear bombs as far as the US mainland.

If the summit happens, it would be historic as no sitting US president has ever met a North Korean leader.

Even then, is a deal likely?

Many observers believe the two leaders now have too much at stake for the summit not to go ahead.

However, Pyongyang’s professed commitment to “denuclearisation” is likely to differ from Washington’s demand for “comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible” nuclear disarmament.

North Korea has said it will start dismantling its nuclear test site this week, in a ceremony to be attended by foreign journalists.

Journey to North Korea’s nuclear heart

Western, Russian and Chinese journalists are making their way to North Korea’s remote Punggye-ri nuclear test site to witness its dismantling.

Pyongyang had previously said that South Korean journalists would be welcome to attend the event, but later withdrew the offer following the country’s joint military exercises with the US.

The journalists to witness the site’s closure were flown into the North Korean port city of Wonsan. Tom Cheshire from the UK’s Sky News says their onward journey will take in dirt roads and a two-hour hike to an observation area.

The site, in the country’s mountainous north-east, is thought to be the North’s main nuclear facility and the only active nuclear testing site in the world.

Testing has taken place in a system of tunnels dug below nearby Mount Mantap.

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Will Kim Jong Un meet Donald Trump? North Korea suspends talks with South

North Korea on Wednesday threw into question an unprecedented summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump scheduled for next month, denouncing military exercises between South Korea and the United States as a provocation and calling off high-level talks with Seoul.

A report on North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency angrily attacked the “Max Thunder” air combat drills, which it said involved US stealth fighters and B-52 bombers, and appeared to mark a break in months of warming ties between North and South Korea and between Pyongyang and Washington.

Any cancellation of the June 12 summit in Singapore, the first meeting between a serving US president and a North Korean leader, would deal a major blow to Trump’s efforts to score the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.

Trump has raised expectations for a successful meeting even as many analysts have been skeptical of the chances of bridging the gap due to questions about North Korea’s willingness to give up a nuclear arsenal that now threatens the United States.

The KCNA report called the air drills a “provocation” that went against the trend of warming ties. “This exercise, targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” KCNA said, referring to a joint statement from an April 27 inter-Korea summit.

“The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities,” KCNA said.

A Trump-Kim summit until recently had looked impossible given the insults and threats the two leaders exchanged last year over North Korea`s development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States.

“Kim Jong Un had said previously that he understands the need and the utility of the United States and the Republic of Korea continuing in its joint exercises,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing.

“We have not heard anything from that government or the government of South Korea to indicate that we would not continue conducting these exercises or that we would not continue planning for our meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un next month,” she said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the United States would examine the North Korean statement “and continue to coordinate closely with our allies.”

South Korea`s National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong said in early March, after meeting Kim, that the North Korean leader understood that “routine” joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States would continue in spite of a warming of ties.

This was widely considered to be a major North Korea concession, though Pyongyang never publicly withdrew its long-standing demand for an end to the drills.

Kim’s latest move could be aimed at testing Trump’s willingness to make concessions ahead of the summit, which is due to be preceded by a visit to Washington next week by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

A US government expert on North Korea said Kim may also be trying to gauge whether Trump is willing to walk away from the meeting, which has prompted the president’s supporters to suggest he deserves to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Any acquiescence by Trump to a North Korean demand for a halt to joint drills would likely undermine South Korean and Japanese trust in his commitment to their security. Kim has also shown a desire to win international approval for his diplomatic outreach, and any sign that he is sabotaging the talks could damage this effort.


KCNA said North Korea was suspending a ministerial-level North-South meeting, which had been due to be held on Wednesday to focus on plans to implement the inter-Korea summit declaration, including promises to formally end the Korean War and pursue “complete denuclearization”.

“The US should make efforts to create an atmosphere for mutual respect and confidence before dialogue, not resorting to a foolish farce that may reverse the good trend created with much effort,” KCNA said.

The Pentagon said the May 14-25 “Max Thunder” exercises were routine and defensive in nature. A spokesman said the exercises would take place at Gwangju air base and would be “at a scale similar to that of the previous years”.

Last year, Max Thunder involved about 1,500 US and South Korean personnel flying aircraft including F-16 fighter jets, according to a US Air Force website.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the United States would agree to lift sanctions on North Korea if it agreed to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program, a move that would create economic prosperity that would rival that of South Korea.

North Korea said on Saturday it would dismantle its nuclear bomb test site some time between May 23 and May 25 to uphold its pledge to cease tests.

Joshua Pollack, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, said Pyongyang appeared irritated by the US administration`s vow to maintain sanctions in spite of North Korean concessions.

“The North Koreans want a change in tone from the US, and at least so far, they`re not hearing one,” he said.

A South Korean presidential adviser warned on Tuesday that an incremental North Korean approach to denuclearization would not be acceptable to Trump or the South Korean public.

Bonnie Glaser, of Washington`s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said Kim may be being influenced by Chinese President Xi Jinping after two recent meetings with the Chinese leader, who has advocated a freeze in North Korea`s nuclear program in return for a freeze in US-South Korean drills.

“The fact this issue is back on the table suggests Xi Jinping may have raised it with Kim, and that Kim is carrying Xi’s water,” she said.

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Trade talks expose a chasm between China and America

START with the good news from the trade negotiations between China and America. After weeks of threatening tariffs and counter-tariffs, representatives from the world’s two biggest economies are at last talking. Over two days of meetings in Beijing, which ended on May 4th, Chinese and American officials laid out their grievances and their demands. That, unfortunately, is where the good news ends. The positions that both sides took were so extreme and contradictory that compromise appears a remote prospect. What, until now, has largely been a war of words could easily careen into a full-fledged trade war.

Publicly, the two countries put a positive gloss on the outcome. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, described the talks as candid and constructive. It noted that they had agreed on some issues and recognised their “considerable differences” on others. On the evening the talks closed, President Donald Trump tweeted a sentiment that, by his standards, was sympathetic: “it is…Continue reading

Business and finance

O.J. Simpson Talks About Slow-Speed Bronco Chase After Murders

O.J. SimpsonCuts to the Chase

3/11/2018 1:00 AM PST


O.J. Simpson talked about the slow-speed Bronco chase as if it was a victory for him, because judging from public opinion on the streets — literally — all he saw was support.

Simpson told his story to Judith Regan years ago, and it’s now the centerpiece of the FOX special based on the book, ‘If I Did It.’  

This clip is predictably gross … Simpson, a supreme narcissist, allegedly was contemplating suicide, but when you hear him talk he was reveling in the show of support from people who somehow thought it was a good idea to cheer him on as he drove on the 405. 

It’s almost like he was taking a poll … whether people were buying what the media had been telling them all week long — with blood going from the bodies to his bathroom at Rockingham, and a cut finger that matched a knife wound — he was guilty as hell.

The show airs tonight on FOX at 8 PM. 

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EU freezes Brexit talks until Britain bring the biscuits|Humor

European Council president Donald Tusk has warned Theresa May that Brexit negotiations will be put on hold unless the UK brings some biscuits to the next meeting. Speaking in Dublin Tusk said that open discussion about trade and the Irish border question will not resume until the British negotiating team come to the table with some fresh ideas and a packet of chocolate Hobnobs.

‘Unfortunately, talks now must be a case of ‘biscuits first’’, said Tusk. ‘It is just not possible to reach agreement on the customs union and residency rights of EU citizens when there is an underlying resentment that one side is providing all the croissants. It’s hard to imagine substantive progress in negotiations without some Jaffa Cakes, or at the very least a plate full of Jammie Dodgers. If Britain wants to have its cake and eat it then it better start bringing some cake to the talks’.

However, Brexit Secretary David Davis claims that the cost of biscuits should come from the EU central budget which Britain is currently paying into. ‘We pay £350m a week into EU coffers and now we’re expected to put our hands in our pockets for biccies,’ says Davis. ‘We want a bespoke agreement on biscuits. We don’t just want custard creams we want custard creams plus plus plus’.

As behind-the-scenes talks got underway, Tusk appeared to offer an olive branch to the UK. ‘We might be open to Britain bringing biscuits to alternate meetings, said Tusk. ‘But it would have to be Wagon Wheels or Mr Kipling’s Viennese Whirls. None of your Rich Tea shit’.

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Germany coalition talks: Merkel welcomes breakthrough

German politicians have achieved a breakthrough in talks aimed at forming a new coalition government.

A blueprint for formal negotiations was agreed between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their former coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD).

Politicians stayed up all night to discuss the 28-page document, with the talks lasting more than 24 hours.

But they managed to reach agreement on key sticking points such as migration.

They plan to limit asylum-seeker arrivals to about 200,000 annually. The blueprint also speaks of capping at 1,000 a month the number of migrants who will be allowed to join their family living in Germany.

Stress on ‘social cohesion’

Mrs Merkel and SPD leader Martin Schulz told a news conference they were optimistic that a new “grand coalition” could be formed.

They spoke of a “fresh start” for Germany, and Mr Schulz said that in Europe “we are determined to deploy Germany’s strength”. They signalled that a stronger alliance with France in the EU would be a priority.

Both stressed the need to ensure Germany’s “social cohesion”.

It was a veiled recognition of voter frustration with centrist politics, amid tensions over the influx of asylum seekers.

The September election saw the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) win 94 seats in parliament – a first for post-war Germany.

Both the CDU and SPD suffered their worst election results for more than 50 years.

Uneasy partnership

By Jenny Hill in Berlin

After a gruelling all-night session – fuelled by currywurst – Angela Merkel appears to have clinched the deal.

The breakthrough is no doubt a relief to the chancellor, who might have faced the prospect of fresh elections had the talks failed. But Mrs Merkel won’t be cracking open the Sekt straight away.

These were just exploratory talks, aimed at establishing whether there’s a basis upon which a coalition can be formally negotiated. Before the next round of talks can go ahead, the SPD must give the go-ahead at a special party conference.

Bear in mind that many in the SPD – which had originally refused to work with Mrs Merkel again – blame her for their disastrous election result, and are still uncomfortable about another four years in her shadow.

Even if they approve the negotiations, any coalition treaty will be put to the SPD’s 400,000 members in a postal ballot. Mrs Merkel is not out of the woods yet.

German official figures show that 280,000 asylum seekers arrived in 2016, a drop of more than 600,000 on the total for 2015. Arrivals fell after EU countries and Turkey tightened border controls.

However, the number of asylum applications continued to rise in 2016. The huge 2015 influx – many of them Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing war – created a major integration problem for German authorities.

Stumbling blocks

The centre-right CDU and its Bavarian CSU ally have been unable to form a government since the inconclusive election.

Mrs Merkel admitted there had been difficult “blockages” during the Berlin talks. Mr Schulz said they had been “tense and turbulent” at times, and “we argued very intensively”.

The German daily Die Zeit published the text of the CDU/CSU-SPD blueprint for formal negotiations.

The talks also focused on tax changes. The CDU is pushing to scrap the solidarity tax paid for developing former communist east Germany.

Initially the SPD ruled out governing with Mrs Merkel in charge again. But Mr Schulz changed his mind after CDU coalition talks with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens broke down.

It is Germany’s longest ever post-war period of coalition-building and there is still a long way to go before a coalition deal can be clinched.

The SPD will hold a special congress in Bonn on 21 January to decide how to proceed.

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Russia may mediate nuke talks between the two Koreas – top MP

Moscow may act as mediator in the denuclearization talks between the two Koreas, as the nuclear issue affects Russia’s national interests, Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, said.

“It highly likely that efforts by international mediators will be required to promote the issue of denuclearization and the nuclear dossier” on the Korean peninsula, Slutsky said, as cited by TASS. “Considering the fact that this issue directly affects Russia’s interests, primarily because of the territorial proximity to our borders, Russia can play such a role,” he said.

Read more

A South Korean government official checks the direct communications hotline to talk with the North Korean side at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea, January 3, 2018. © Reuters

Russian parliamentarians welcome “any kind of dialogue between Seoul and Pyongyang,” Slutsky said as he commented on the peace talks between South- and North Korea, which resumed this week after a two-year break. However, he pointed out that “it’s early to talk about specific results” of the intra-Korean negotiations.

Russia has constructive relations with both Seoul and Pyongyang and “remains a consistent supporter of the notion that all disputes on the Korean peninsula should be decided behind the negotiating table and that escalation of tensions may lead to unpredictable consequences for the international community,” the MP said.

Slutsky also addressed the Trump administration, which threatened to use force in order to make North Korea curb its nuclear and ballistic missile program, saying: “As for the US, which considers itself to be the center of the world, in my opinion, it should now curtail its anti-Pyongyang rhetoric, stop provoking North Korea and wait for the first results of the inter-Korean talks.”

READ MORE: Pyongyang & Seoul hold ‘serious and sincere’ high-level peace talks

Following talks between Seoul and Pyongyang on Tuesday, it was announced that the sides agreed to hold consultations between the military officials of the two countries in order to defuse tensions on the border, as well as to intensify exchanges in other areas.

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