Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Moon urges aides to prep for ties with North

John Bolton Enlarge Image John Bolton Getty Images
Leonard Rios | 05 March, 2019, 07:01

President Trump on Sunday blamed the congressional testimony of Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer and fixer, for the collapse in negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program last week - continuing to vent about the investigations encircling him and his associates.

Trump left his summit in Vietnam with the North Korean leader last week without reaching an agreement after Trump said he wasn't willing to give in to Kim's demand to lift USA sanctions at this time.

"I don't think the leverage gets reduced because I think we will keep the maximum pressure campaign in place even before the summit", the USA national security advisor said.

When asked about Cohen's testimony at a press conference in Hanoi after the summit ended earlier than the scheduled time, Trump called it a "fake hearing" and said to have the hearing in the middle of the very important summit was a bad thing.

The proposal for the talks came during a National Security Council meeting on Monday led by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who said it was Seoul's "outmost priority" to prevent nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea from derailing.

On Monday night, Trump also dismissed the idea that he discussed curbing joint U.S. -Republic of Korea (ROK) military drills during his summit with Kim. The last was on June 14 a year ago, a day after the first Kim-Trump summit in Singapore.

Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly complained about the military drills, saying they are too costly and the USA bears too much of the financial burden. At a news conference last week, the California Democrat suggested that it should not have taken Trump so long to recognize that Kim is not serious about denuclearization.

'No agreement was reached' at Trump, Kim summit - White House
Trump took to Twitter to declare that his was superior. "I'd much rather do it right than do it fast", the president said. Just a few days earlier, he said Kim had the chance to turn his impoverished state into "a tremendous economic behemoth".

Guaido vows to return to Venezuela after ecuador visit
The US also revoked the visas of 49 Venezuelan officials and their family members, the State Department said. Guaido did not say when exactly or how he would return to Venezuela.

SpaceX launches capsule bound for International Space Station
SpaceX's Crew Dragon - the first crew-capable spacecraft the company has ever produced - is about to be tested in a big way. It will then undock and head back to Earth before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. "We've got NASA "rocking" again ".

Asked during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" whether he takes Kim at his word, Bolton replied, "My opinion doesn't matter ..."

"What he's trying to convey is that he's got a hard line to walk to negotiate with Kim Jong Un", Bolton said on "Fox News Sunday", arguing that Trump's statement did not necessarily mean that he believed what Kim was saying.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., maintained on ABC News' "This Week" that the North Korean leader was aware of Warmbier's condition and responsible for his death."I think Kim knew", McCarthy said.

The UN atomic watchdog said Monday there were indications that Yongbyon's reported centrifuge enrichment facility had been in use as recently as the end of February.

Bolton conceded that North Korea is continuing to produce nuclear fuel and said while "there is no expiration date" on further talks, future negotiations with North Korea are in limbo. "But I do think what North Korea would benefit from most is a full description of what happened, a full accounting".

Trump has repeatedly complained about the Cohen testimony and the escalating investigations of him since he returned from Hanoi without an agreement with Kim. The report didn't mention his meeting with Trump.

Still, Washington and Seoul are committed to keeping an atmosphere of dialogue alive and announced on Sunday that they would be eliminating their massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises in what they call an effort to support diplomacy with Pyongyang. These projects provided much-needed cash to North Korea before the South shut them down during past periods of tensions.

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