Kim Jong-un and South Korean president hammer out US summit plans

The meeting is the second of its kind in two months, with the pair sitting down at a location near the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula

READ MORE: ‘They’re playing with world peace’: What next for US-North Korea relations?

According to Reuters, this latest discussion centered on the on-off summit that was sensationally scrapped by Donald Trump, who cited “tremendous anger and open hostility” displayed by North Korea’s government after they took umbrage at a comment by US Vice-President Mike Pence.

During a Fox News interview, Pence suggested that the country could become like Libya if it does not disarm its nuclear weapons. When asked if that was a threat, Pence said it was “more of a fact.”

The ‘peace’ summit had been billed as an opportunity to encourage denuclearization in the region, as well as a chance to bring North Korea in from the political wilderness.

Saturday’s meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea marks a recent and gradual thaw in relations, which have been almost caustic since the Korean peninsula was divided in 1945. It comes after Trump appeared to raise hope that the cancelled plans for a summit in Singapore on June 12 could be pulled from the fire.

READ MORE: Trump says he’s having ‘very productive talks’ with N. Korea on reinstating summit

“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the summit which if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th,” the US president tweeted on Saturday.

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Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in hammer out US summit plans

Moon Jae-in bids farewell to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has held a surprise closed-door meeting with his South Korean counterpart over the cancelled summit with US President Donald Trump.

The meeting is the second of its kind in two months, with the pair sitting down at a location near the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula

According to Reuters, this latest discussion centered on the on-off summit that was sensationally scrapped by Donald Trump, who cited “tremendous anger and open hostility” displayed by North Korea’s government after they took umbrage at a comment by US Vice-President Mike Pence.

Comment: Pence’s remark and the US military exercises are displays of open hostility towards N. Korea for crying out loud.

During a Fox News interview, Pence suggested that the country could become like Libya if it does not disarm its nuclear weapons. When asked if that was a threat, Pence said it was “more of a fact.”

The ‘peace’ summit had been billed as an opportunity to encourage denuclearization in the region, as well as a chance to bring North Korea in from the political wilderness.

Saturday’s meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea marks a recent and gradual thaw in relations, which have been almost caustic since the Korean peninsula was divided in 1945. It comes after Trump appeared to raise hope that the cancelled plans for a summit in Singapore on June 12 could be pulled from the fire.

“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the summit which if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th,” the US president tweeted on Saturday.

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Trump Cancels Singapore Nuclear Summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un

Trump Cancels Singapore Nuclear Summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un

May 24th, 2018

Via: CNBC:

President Donald Trump canceled his historic nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un on Thursday, accusing North Korea of “tremendous anger and open hostility.”

The meeting, which would have marked the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, was set for June 12 in Singapore.

“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, which was released Thursday morning.




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Provocation and imperial ultimatum or Kim-Trump Summit?, by Julio Yao Villalaz

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John Bolton, the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Donald Trump

Some days ago, we reported that the summit between the President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-un, and the President of the Korean Republic, Moon Jae-in was a monumental historical success for the Korean Peninsular. Denuclearization, disarmament, peace agreement, reunification were some of the key issues on the table [1].

The Kim-Moon Summit of 27 April was supposed to continue on 15 May but President Kim cancelled it, protesting that the United States and South Korea had got together to carry out military manoeuvres and given the slap in his face by impertinent and provocative declarations made by John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security adviser. The latter’s position is that North Korea’s denuclearization should follow the scheme applied in Libya in 2011.

As we all know, Libya was stripped of her nuclear weapons… and ended up being invaded and destroyed by the United States and NATO. Furthermore, the Libyan Leader, Myanmar Gaddafi, was atrociously assassinated. For North Korea, which had agreed to a military alliance with Libya, it became impossible to intervene. This is why this tragedy is right at the fore of Kim Yong-un’s mind. Another matter that feeds his unease is the unusual although not unexpected withdrawal of the United States from the so-called 5 + 1 Agreement (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program.

The response of President Kim to Bolton’s declarations was unexpected: the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea will not denuclearize unilaterally without concessions from the other side. This is primarily because North Korea is the one that has taken many steps and has displayed a number of good will gestures, including the release of three US citizens, whilst Washington has not given the slightest concrete expression of good will towards Pyongyang.

It appears that Bolton reduces the Kim-Trump Summit to North Korea capitulating before the United States and nothing more. It appears that for him, Pyongyang has lost a war. It does not enter Bolton’s mind that this Summit is a civilized form of exploring possibilities for agreement between the parties.

Bolton’s arrogant and ill-informed attitude demonstrates the dangerous phase that the United States is crossing of wanting to subdue by force anything that does cooperate with the Empire.

Donald Trump has declared that, if North Korea does not de-nuke in the manner prescribed by Bolton; if Kim does not accept his virtual ultimatum, then the United States “will exercise the maximum pressure to force it to negotiate”. “We will have to see if the summit will still take place.” declared the US President.

Thus it appears as if President Trump were oblivious to the fact that no power, no state, can lay down an ultimatum or force another state to negotiate, except in the case of a state that has been conquered or has been previously destroyed in a war.

The Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, Kim Kye-gwan, cleared up any misunderstanding:

“If the United States corners us and asks us to unilaterally withdraw from our nuclear program, we will stop having an interest in the conversations and we will be forced to reconsider if we accept the forthcoming US-North Korean summit.”

This statement cannot be interpreted as a threat to walk away from the announced Kim-Trump Summit of 12 June in Singapore but simply as a warning.

The President of Korea, Moon Jae-in, was a champion of human rights and continued threading into his policy, the peaceful reunification of Korea, promoted by former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. President Moon, also President Roh’s former Presidential Advisor on foreign policy, will have to agree on his own summit with Trump to decide what will happen to the 28 500 US soldiers that today are stationed in the south of the Korean Peninsula.

This objective had to be a pre-requisite at least checked with the US occupant by President Moon before his meeting on 27 April with President Kim. This is because, without this condition, any rapprochement between the two Korean parties that does not obtain the consent of the US may be impossible.

Bolton’s imperialist position, which sets the contours to the Secretary of State’s (Mike Pompeo) policy, constitutes an unequivocal rejection of diplomacy and international law and leads to the mightiest laying down the law [2].

Bolton’s response to the possible denuclearization of Korea reveals the United States’ end-game: the unconditional surrender of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea and not a conciliation of interests supporting peace and security between nations.

Conciliation would open the path for the peace reunification of Korea. This in turn would reduce military costs for both South Korea and North Korea, not to mention military costs for the United States; contribute to eliminating the military bases in Guam, Okinawa and Diego García, around China, and would strengthen international cooperation. Therefore, despite Bolton’s position, it remains for President Moon Jae-in alone to look squarely at President Trump and to ask him, asserting the sovereignty of the Republic of Korea, for Washington withdraws its forces from the south of the peninsula.

If Moon does not do so, the arrogant rhetoric, the threats and the insults will continue. However, now one will not be able to point the finger at the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, rather the United States and John Bolton “de patear la mesa”!

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Hawaii volcano: Kilauea erupts from summit spewing ash 30,000ft into air after thousands are evacuated

A volcano in Hawaii has erupted from its summit, after lava and ash spewing from its fissures forced thousands to evacuate in recent weeks.

The eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano shot ash 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) into the air, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). Authorities warned residents of Hawaii’s Big Island to shelter in place against the resulting plume.

The volcano – one of five on the island – has been active for two weeks, forcing about 2,000 people to evacuate the surrounding area. Lava leaking from the fissures has destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures, according to the Associated Press.

Officials said they did not expect the eruption to be deadly as long as people stayed out of the national park where the volcano sits, which has been closed since 11 May.

The US Geological Survey issued a red alert on Tuesday, warning that a major eruption was imminent. Parks Service staff were evacuated from the area, leaving only a live camera feed to witness the explosion.

Authorities have warned of such an eruption since 9 May, when the lava lake at the volcano’s summit dropped, creating conditions for a major, steam-driven blast.

The volcano last erupted on 3 May. At least 17 fissures have opened up since then, issuing ash, lava, and “dense ballistic blocks” weighing up to several tons. The longest of the fissures is more than a mile wide, and has been shooting lava spatter more than 100 feet in the air, according to the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

The fissures are also emitting sulfur dioxide – a poisonous gas that officials say has reached dangerous levels in some areas.

“Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe,” the Hawaii county civil defence agency said. “This is a serious situation that affects the entire exposed population.”

The Hawaii State Department of Health has warned the public to steer clear of any areas with fissures. Airlines and pilots have also been warned to avoid the area, as sulphur dioxide and volcanic ash can damage aeroplane engines.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned pilots to avoid an area of nearly 100 square miles around the volcano, and says that the National Park Service is in charge of emergency responses.

“Only relief aircraft operations under direction of National Park Services are authorised in the airspace,” warns the FAA.

Operations to and from Hilo International Airport, which is located about 25 miles from the eruption, have not so far been affected.

Hawaiian Airlines is allowing passengers who booked before the current bout of activity to postpone their journeys without penalty.

One resident described the volcanic activity as “like a nuclear reaction”.

“I’ve actually seen rocks fly over the tree line and I can feel it in my body,” resident Richard Schott told the Associated Press.

Hawaii Governor David Ige has said the state is forming a joint task force to handle mass evacuations if lava from the volcano covers major roadways in the area.

Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. A major eruption in 1924 killed at least one person.

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Russian FM Lavrov calls off visit to G20 ministerial summit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will not attend a forthcoming meeting of G20 foreign ministers, the ministry said on Saturday, as cited by media. “The foreign minister will not visit Argentina and Cuba on the scheduled date due to a series of events linked to the work of the newly formed government,” a spokesperson told journalists, adding that the G20 summit would be attended by one of the deputy foreign ministers, without providing further details. The G20 ministerial summit is scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires on May 21.

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EU-Western Balkans Summit Declaration

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Sofia Declaration

We, the leaders of the European Union (EU) and of its Member States, in consultation with our Western Balkans partners, and in the presence of relevant regional stakeholders, today concluded the following:

1. The EU welcomes the shared commitment of the Western Balkans partners to European values and principles, and to the vision of a strong, stable and united Europe, underpinned by our historic, cultural and geographic ties and by our mutual political, security and economic interests.

2. Recalling the Thessaloniki Summit of 2003, the EU reaffirms its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. Building on the progress achieved so far, the Western Balkans partners have recommitted to the European perspective as their firm strategic choice, to reinforcing their efforts and mutual support. The credibility of these efforts depends on clear public communication.

3. The EU is determined to strengthen and intensify its engagement at all levels to support the region’s political, economic and social transformation, including through increased assistance based on tangible progress in the rule of law, as well as in socio-economic reforms, by the Western Balkans partners.

4. The EU welcomes the Western Balkans partners commitment to the primacy of democracy and the rule of law, especially the fight against corruption and organised crime, good governance, as well as respect for human rights and rights of persons belonging to minorities. Their effective implementation of reforms rests on these foundations. Civil society and independent media play a crucial role in the process of democratisation.

5. The EU supports the Western Balkans partners pledge to continue strengthening good neighbourly relations, regional stability and mutual cooperation. This includes in particular finding and implementing definitive, inclusive and binding solutions for their bilateral disputes rooted in the legacy of the past and devoting additional efforts to reconciliation.

6. Constructing a dense web of connections and opportunities within the region and with the EU is vital for bringing our citizens and economies closer together, and for enhancing political stability, economic prosperity, cultural and social development. Building on progress made, including through regional initiatives, we pledge to enhance substantially connectivity in all its dimensions: transport, energy, digital, economic and human.

7. The EU agrees to promote a market- and investment-friendly environment in the Western Balkans to move faster towards a digital economy and to sustainable and climate-friendly societies in line with the Paris agreement. Energy security will be prioritised, including through improved energy efficiency, better cross-border inter-connections, diversification of sources and routes, as well as a balanced energy mix better integrating renewable energy.

8. Special emphasis will be put toward creating further opportunities for the youth, while ensuring that this contributes to the socio-economic development of the Western Balkans.

9. To that end, the EU welcomes the Western Balkans partners commitment, inter alia, to accelerate the implementation of the acquis under the Energy Community and Transport Community Treaties, to remove all administrative barriers at borders, to complete the Regional Electricity Market and to urgently implement the July 2017 Multiannual Action Plan for the Development of a Regional Economic Area. The EU will continue to support these efforts.

10. The EU and the Western Balkans partners share many security challenges that demand coordinated individual and collective action. When we work together, we are able to address these challenges effectively. Our cooperation in stemming illegal migration flows has demonstrated its value and will be developed further.

11. Countering terrorism and extremism, including financing, radicalisation and the return of foreign terrorist fighters require our increased cooperation.

12. The EU and the Western Balkans partners acknowledge that results in fighting corruption and organised crime are essential for the region’s political and socio-economic transformation and also for regional stability and security, which are in the best interest of their citizens. The EU welcomes their commitment to take resolute action, in cooperation with the EU and with each other, against human trafficking, drug cultivation, and smuggling of human beings, drugs and arms.

13. The EU welcomes the contribution of the Western Balkans partners to its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in all its aspects and expects a progressive deepening of cooperation in this area, especially an enhanced level of alignment, notably on issues where major common interests are at stake.

14. Disinformation and other hybrid activities will be fought together through greater collaboration in resilience, cyber security and strategic communication.

15. To accelerate improvement in the lives of our citizens in the areas of connectivity and security in view of the European perspective of the Western Balkans, today, drawing on the relevant aspects of the Commission’s Communication adopted on 6 February 2018, the EU launched a Sofia Priority Agenda for the EU and the Western Balkans, which is annexed to this Declaration.

16. The EU welcomes the intention of Croatia to host an EU-Western Balkans Summit during its Presidency in 2020.

17. We note that our Western Balkans Partners align themselves with the above points.

Annex to the Declaration

Sofia Priority Agenda

Strengthening support to the rule of law and good governance

• Enhance support for judicial reform and efforts to fight corruption and organised crime, including capacity building for corruption prevention

• Extend rule of law advisory missions with increased support from Member States and from the EU

• Enhance monitoring of reforms through more systematic, case-based peer-review missions

• Introduce trial monitoring in the field of serious corruption and organised crime

• Work towards better measurement of results in justice reform

• Roll out support for the Western Balkans through the European Endowment for Democracy in the area of independent and pluralistic media and civil society

Reinforcing engagement on security and migration

• Step up joint work on counter-terrorism and preventing radicalisation and violent extremism, in coherence with the Western Balkans Counter-Terrorism initiative

• Enhance significantly operational cooperation in the fight against international organised crime in priority areas such as firearms, drugs, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings

• Prepare a renewed action plan for cooperation on firearms to address more effectively illicit firearms and the large stockpile of weapons

• Increase support to capacity-building in the area of cyber-security and fight against cyber-crime

• Enhance cooperation on migration and border management

• Further enhance cooperation between the liaison officers deployed by the EU (European Commission and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency), Member States and competent authorities of the Western Balkans

• Create an EU JHA inter-agency Task Force coordinated by the Commission

• Deepen and expand substantial cooperation and dialogue on Common Foreign and Security Policy/Common Security and Defence Policy

• Further develop cooperation in activities related to hybrid threats, including by enhancing strategic communication

Supporting socio-economic development and putting a special focus on youth

• Expand the Western Balkans Investment Framework to further attract and coordinate bilateral donors’ and International Financing Institutions’ investment

• Significantly boost the Western Balkans Investment Framework’s provision of guarantees to crowd in private investment

• Enhance support to education, in particular launch a pilot project for mobility in vocational education and training

• Double Erasmus+ funding for the region, including establishment of a “Western Balkans Youth Lab” in 2018, providing space for innovative policy-making addressing the needs of young people, and tackling brain drain

• Expand the scope and reach of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, and introduce an intra-regional mobility scheme

• Ensure progress in the implementation of the Regional Economic Area, including stepping up work on recognition of qualifications, and progress on trade facilitation within the Western Balkans

• Progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in their World Trade Organisation accession processes

Increasing connectivity

• Launch a new package of connectivity projects (with significant EU grants as leverage) through the Western Balkans Investment Framework, including support to the Blue Highway and the Peace Highway (Nis-Pristina)

• Support increased take-up of opportunities under the current provisions of the Connecting Europe Facility in the Western Balkans

• Expand the EU Energy Union to the Western Balkans, focusing on energy security and diversification of sources and suppliers, including a strategy at regional level to benefit from renewables, notably hydropower

• Work to complete the Regional Electricity Market in the Western Balkans, and ensure that it is integrated into the EU Internal Electricity Market, including though the Central and South-Eastern European Connectivity (CESEC) initiative

• Further support the creation of a single regulatory space and effective energy market reform process under the Energy Community Treaty

• Sign a commitment/Memorandum of Understanding on the Bulgaria/Serbia gas interconnector

• Start the implementation of the Transport Community Treaty and full operation of its secretariat

• Sign the agreement on the Transport Community Treaty Headquarters (Belgrade)

• Endorse the Transport Ministerial Declaration from Ljubljana TEN-T Days, including the action plan for the priority border crossings list

• Endorse the Transport Ministerial Declaration on road safety from Ljubljana TEN-T Days and its Action Plan

• Support a new rail strategy to bring the Western Balkans into the main EU network and market

A Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans

• Launch a Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans, including a roadmap to facilitate lowering the cost of roaming

• Launch a substantial technical assistance package for the identification of potential digital investments (including broadband) through Western Balkans Investment Framework/Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance

Supporting reconciliation and good neighbourly relations in the Western Balkans

• Support the fight against impunity through support to the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals and to the Kosovo* Specialist Chambers, through EULEX

• Open a window in the EU’s Creative Europe Programme

• Promote deepening of links among civil societies of the Western Balkans, including through the support for the Western Balkans Fund projects

This Priority Agenda will be implemented in a status-neutral manner and without prejudice to discussions on the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

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Mid-June Kim Jong-un/Trump Summit Scheduled

Mid-June Kim Jong-un/Trump to Meet Summit Scheduled

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

What matters is whether anything positive can be accomplished through talks and their aftermath – not where and when a summit is held.

Based on seven decades of US hostility toward the DPRK, prospects aren’t encouraging – especially because Washington targets all sovereign independent governments for regime change.

Trump suggested possibly holding talks in Peace House on the South Korean side of Panmunjom in the DMZ where late April inter-Korean summit talks took place.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, Singapore was chosen as the venue for Kim and Trump. The US president confirmed it, saying talks will take place on June 12 in the city-state/island country on June 12, days after the June 8 and 9 G7 summit.

On May 22, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with Trump in Washington ahead of the planned DPRK/US summit.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang issued a statement, saying “(w)e hope that all parties will seriously consider the ‘dual-track’ approach China proposed, and work hard to maintain the positive momentum to resolve issues on the peninsula.”

He referred to a joint Beijing/Moscow proposal for North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons development along with Washington suspending provocative regional military exercises – rejected by neocon hawks running Trump’s warmaking agenda.

On Sunday, the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency cited a Foreign Ministry spokesman, warning against provoking Pyongyang with hostile rhetoric and military threats, stressing Washington shouldn’t mistake “the peace-loving intention of the DPRK as a sign of weakness.”

On Tuesday, Beijing’s Xinhua said President Xi Jinping and Kim met for talks in Dalian, China, a coastal city in Liaoning Province on May 7 and 8.

Both leaders discussed issues relating to bilateral relations, April inter-Korean talks, and the planned Kim/Trump summit. Xi was quoted saying after meeting with Kim in March and May that “China-DPRK relations and the Korean Peninsula situation have made positive progress.”

Kim made similar comments, stressing he’s committed to “the principle of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula…possible (only) after the relevant parties gave up hostile policy in relation to Pyongyang and threats to its security.”

It wasn’t achieved earlier and won’t likely be ahead given Washington’s rage for global dominance.

That’s the key issue facing Kim in talks with Trump – along with knowing Washington can never be trusted, the lesson driven home again with the US president withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

Can North Korea hope to fare better than Tehran? Chances are virtually nil!

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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