2nd Kim-Trump summit deserves more support


North Korea’s Kim Jong-un takes train to China – BBC News[youtube

Kim Jong-un en route to Vietnam summit by train

According to media reports, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un left Pyongyang by train for Vietnam on Saturday for his second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, which reportedly will be held on February 27 and 28.

The upcoming second summit sends positive signals, indicating that Pyongyang and Washington have been moving forward on both denuclearization and permanent peace for the Korean Peninsula since the first summit last June.

Nonetheless, there exist anxieties among certain American and South Korean elites. They worry Trump may make too many concessions and harm Seoul’s interests. In their view, the first Kim-Trump summit was a failure and Trump should not repeat the mistake in the upcoming meeting.

North Korea-US relations achieved a major breakthrough since the first summit, providing a new impetus for fundamentally solving the peninsula issue. However, those elites proclaimed that Trump’s decision to stop the US-South Korea joint military exercise was a unilateral concession, while North Korea did nothing.

Pyongyang declared it would cease nuclear and missile testing, and dismantle its nuclear test site. According to this logic, did Pyongyang make a unilateral concession?

There is a serious lack of mutual trust between the US and North Korea. Washington requests Pyongyang to abandon nuclear weapons completely, while Pyongyang desires security guarantee and permanent peace on the peninsula. Both sides have been playing the game with their own chips from the outset, making the denuclearization process somewhat fragile.

Nonetheless, denuclearization is not something that can be accomplished in a single action, but through a cumulative process.

There are no more nuclear and missile tests, nor US-South Korea joint military exercises on the Korean Peninsula. Even verbal battles and threats between Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang have faded.

In addition, bilateral meetings between Pyongyang and Washington, and between Pyongyang and Seoul have been constantly taking place.

Both denuclearization and permanent peace on the peninsula are positive targets. From the perspective of the big picture, there is no need to argue which country is moving faster toward the two ultimate goals.

The old thinking must be altered of demanding only the other party take the initiative but using one’s own responsibilities as a bargaining chip.

Both Washington and Pyongyang were once extremely tough. Now the peninsula’s situation has been finally reversed. Trump has shown the will to move forward, which should be encouraged by both the US and South Korea.

The US partisan struggle should not take the Korean Peninsula issue as a new battlefield. As for concerns among some South Korean people, it is a disturbed way of thinking to worry US-North Korea reconciliation may undermine the US-South Korea alliance.

China welcomes the second Kim-Trump summit. Chairman Kim’s travel through China from the north to south by train is meaningful. China has played a constructive role in Pyongyang’s new routes. Beijing is both a promoter and a stakeholder in this summit.

We hope that the second summit will achieve new breakthroughs. Although the peninsula issues are complex, peace is obviously a good thing. Nothing is impossible to overcome.

Newspaper headline: Kim-Trump summit deserves more support -Source:Global Times



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More people around the world see U.S. power and influence as a ‘major threat’ to their country



Video

By John Gramlich and Kat Devlin

A growing share of people around the world see U.S. power and influence as a “major threat” to their country, and these views are linked with attitudes toward President Donald Trump and the United States as a whole, according to Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 22 nations since 2013.

As confidence in president, favorable views of America have declined, more see U.S. power as a ‘major threat’

 As confidence in president, favorable views of America have declined, more see U.S. power as a 'major threat'

A median of 45% across the surveyed nations see U.S. power and influence as a major threat, up from 38% in the same countries during Trump’s first year as president in 2017 and 25% in 2013, during the administration of Barack Obama. The long-term increase in the share of people who see American power as a threat has occurred alongside declines in the shares of people who say they have confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing regarding world affairs and who have a favorable view of the United States. (For more about global views toward the U.S. president and the country he leads, see “Trump’s International Ratings Remain Low, Especially Among Key Allies.”)

Despite these changes, U.S. power and influence still ranks below other perceived threats around the world. Considerably larger shares of people point to global climate change (seen as a major threat by a median of 67%), the Islamic militant group known as ISIS (cited by 62%) and cyberattacks (cited by 61%). U.S. power and influence, in fact, is not seen as the top threat in any of the countries surveyed.

People see U.S. power and influence as a greater threat in the Trump era

 People see U.S. power and influence as a greater threat in the Trump era

Still, in 18 of the 22 countries, there were statistically significant increases in the share of people who see American power and influence as a major threat between 2013 and 2018. That includes increases of 30 percentage points in Germany, 29 points in France, and 26 points in Brazil and Mexico. And while these shares rose substantially in many countries after Trump’s election, they increased further in several nations between Trump’s first and second year in office.

In Germany and France, for instance, the share of people who see U.S. power and influence as a major threat went up by 14 and 13 percentage points, respectively, between 2017 and 2018. Other notable year-over-year increases occurred in Tunisia (11 points), Canada and Argentina (8 points each), South Africa (7 points) and Brazil and Russia (6 points each).

Other nations bucked this trend, however. In Spain, for example, the share of people who see American power as a major threat fell by 17 points between 2017 and 2018 (from 59% to 42%). Still, people in Spain remain much more likely to see the U.S. as a threat today than in 2013.

Overall, there are 10 nations surveyed where roughly half or more now see U.S. power as a major threat, with the biggest shares saying this in South Korea (67%), Japan (66%) and Mexico (64%).

In South Korea, equal shares point to U.S. power and influence and to North Korea’s nuclear program as a major threat to their nation (each is cited by 67% of the public). However, several other perceived threats to South Koreans outrank U.S. power and influence, including global climate change (named by 86% of South Koreans), China’s power and influence (cited by 82%), cyberattacks from other countries (cited by 81%) and the condition of the global economy (cited by 74%). South Koreans have long perceived American power as a major threat to their country: 66% said this in 2013 and 70% said it in 2017.

In many of the surveyed countries, concerns about American power and influence are connected with views of Trump: People who have little or no confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing regarding world affairs are more likely than those who have confidence in Trump to see U.S. power and influence as a top threat to their country. This includes several longtime U.S. allies, including Canada, the UK and Australia.

The same pattern appears when it comes to views of the U.S. in general, as opposed to its president. In most surveyed nations, people who have a more unfavorable view of the U.S. are also more likely to say that American power and influence is a threat to their nation.

Topics: U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, Country Image, Donald Trump
Photo of John Gramlich

is a writer/editor at Pew Research Center.

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US IP hacking allegations reach new depths in whimsical thinking


US Justice Department officials issued indictments on two Chinese nationals who allegedly stole, “in association with” the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), vast amounts of confidential data from at least 45 US tech companies and government agencies over the past ten years.

Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong were charged with three counts each of computer hacking, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, the two men targeted and “stole hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data” in aviation, space and satellite technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and oil and gas exploration, as well as from communications and computer processing firms and maritime technology companies. The indictment also said the hackers stole personal information on more than 100,000 US Navy personnel.

The indictment claimed the two men were part of the hacking unit, and worked for a company called Huaying Haitai, in association with the Chinese MSS.

This most recent charge is part of the unprecedented prosecutorial efforts aimed at so-called “Chinese government-backed hacking,” and serves as an accurate reflection of the escalated attacks against China that have been carried out by the US through legal mechanisms. The indictment refers to specific individuals, which is actually misleading as it suggests the US has evidence worthy of an indictment against China. But the logical fallacies tucked inside the allegations will not prevent outsiders from thinking that the move was nothing more than a carefully constructed effort motivated by political purposes.

It is unknown if the two Chinese nationals in question, and the company they worked for, have hacked anything at all, let alone US corporations and institutions. However, it is an over-exaggeration to say the alleged hackers are so “omnipotent” that they can pilfer anything they desire from key American sectors. Are they capable of doing so in the real world?

Supposing, as the US DoJ indictment states, that hackers could get whatever they wanted through internet channels, where one or two individuals could steal technology developed by thousands of researchers, then the world’s most profitable sector would be the hacking industry. Computer hackers would have the ability to take down pirates and drug-trafficking enterprises, as well as the top companies in innovation. They would be immune to any kind of legislation. If this really were the case, the best hackers would undoubtedly come from the US and other Western countries as they are most developed in the world.

The US government initially claimed that China’s hacking efforts have so far cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars annually, a preposterous claim from any vantage point. To begin with, and assuming China is so powerful that it has stolen technological information for over a decade that is supposedly worth over a trillion in intellectual property, as the US has indicated, then how is it that China still lags behind the US in so many fields, from chips to electric vehicles, and even aviation engines?

Since the US has been combating hackers for such an extended period, then how is it that some are able to do whatever they want? If American institutions had such fragile cyber systems, then nothing would be worth stealing.

The bias here is rooted in such strong cultural arrogance that some American elites are now convinced that China’s rapid growth could not have happened without first stealing US technology. After failing to find such Chinese cyberspies, US officials amplified concerns by publicly claiming that Chinese scholars and college students in the US were indeed engaged in some level of espionage. Now, these same people whimsically believe that Chinese hackers have an important role on the internet when it comes to US intellectual property theft.

Nobody knows how many hackers are in China, but there isn’t one Chinese citizen who believes that a few online game masters, who could also be cyber thieves, are the true pioneers behind China’s technology modernization. After all, officials from China’s security sector are not that stupid or naïve.

It would be farcical in nature to pair cybersecurity authorities with gaming experts, especially when taking into account the Chinese system. Security officials do not blithely categorize gaming experts, while disregarding Sino-US relations, accusing them of stealing critical foreign technology from a variety of industries, the way a burglar would break into a department store.

Those security officials simply do not exist, who are technology experts that can create a complex system serving the needs of companies in all industries while effectively manipulating would-be hackers with ease. There is not an entity on the planet that would take such a risk when network security is one of the most sensitive issues between China and the US.

The US allegations against China are practically hysterical all by themselves. This latest round shows the US attack on China has become more comprehensive, which could see more of China’s government agencies getting involved. Actually, it is inevitable. Therefore, instead of adhering to a low profile strategy, China must face these provocations from the US and do more to safeguard national interests.

In recent months, the US has taken provocative action, like sanctioning senior-ranking PLA generals, ordering their allies to arrest Huawei executives, to prosecuting and extraditing so-called “Chinese spies,” and signing Tibet-related bills.

China needs to reflect upon the previous passivity that it has shown and respond proactively. China is a country that loves peace and always pursues gentle action. However, now is the time for China to consider new countermeasures against nations who have done nothing but pour dirty water on the country’s basins. – Global Times.

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Bigger thriller in Manila: Asean point man to deal with China


Point man: Asean has designated Manila its ‘leader’ in dealings with China, but can the moody Duterte, here shown bonding with Xi on a visit to Beijing in 2016, clinch a an agreement from China for the regional association? — AP

NOW that the quartet of Asean-related summits is over for the year, so should the niggling criticisms. At least they should – more important matters are at hand.

Over the week Singapore hosted the 2nd RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) Summit, the 13th East Asia Summit, the 21st Asean Plus Three Summit, and – not least – the 33rd Asean Summit.

These summits were held because it was time they were, and Singapore hosted them because it was its turn. But criticisms were not far behind.

US President Donald Trump was a no-show, and so was Chinese President Xi Jinping. Vice-President Mike Pence and Prime Minister Li Keqiang attended instead.

Trump was criticised for his absence, which allegedly “left the region wide open” for Xi’s China to make further inroads here. That complaint was limited only by Xi’s own absence.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was also criticised for not attending an “informal breakfast summit” between Asean and Australian leaders.

His said it was only an informal event, and it was over breakfast which he did not eat.

A casual observer may be forgiven for sensing that there must be more important developments than these scheduled rounds of handshakes and photo opportunities. There are.

One of these begins in two days: Xi’s state visit to the Philippines, following the scheduled 30th Apec Summit in Papua New Guinea.

Duterte had made three visits to China as President, inviting Xi to visit Manila each time. This will be Xi’s first state visit, coming upon the third invitation to him.

There will be handshakes and photo opportunities too, but the substance and symbolism now may be more than the recent multiple summits in Singapore and Papua New Guinea.

The Philippines has been vocal about rival claims to territory in the South China Sea. The previous The region is generally unsettled by China’s recent occupation and construction of islands, with Vietnam remaining most disturbed. Duterte’s critics have also blamed him for being soft on Beijing.

However, Xi’s visit is expected to be smooth with an emphasis on the positives. These include mutual interests deemed to be larger than interminable disputes over distant rocks and islets.

Last year Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang visited Manila for four days amid more audible protests over territory such as Benham Rise. Yet the visit proceeded unhindered.

This time it is President Xi himself, for a state visit of only two days, with no particular complaint against China outstanding. It will also be after one full year of China having become the Philippines’ main trading partner.

For both sides the focus will be quite intense on specific projects backed by Chinese assistance. Duterte left the merrymaking in Papua New Guinea early to return home to prepare for Xi’s arrival.

For China, it would demonstrate to the region how it can cooperate with even a country locked in dispute with it to mutual benefit. This gains added significance when it is the Philippines, historically a US ally.

For the Philippines, there is a host of projects and programmes on Duterte’s wish list requiring Chinese aid. They span his ambitious 9-trillion peso (RM717bil) “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure plan covering all three regions of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

These come under the Six-Year Development Program (SYDP) signed last year with China as a framework for the Philippines’ “Golden Age of Infrastructure.” It is to be Duterte’s legacy for his country.

The 75 projects include a water pump and irrigation scheme, a dam, a north-south railway, a highway, bridges, a park and a rehabilitated power plant. Economic growth is projected to outpace debt.

Duterte is clear-minded enough to know that only China is able and willing to provide the assistance needed. No other country or combination of countries is in a position to do so.

There are also plans for more Chinese business investments, as well as a framework agreement for joint oil and gas explorations at sea. The latter are understood to cover some disputed areas, with China agreeing to only a 40% share of recoverable deposits.

Countries in dispute over territory and the reserves found therein tend to shy from joint exploration, as legally this may imply recognition of the other disputing party’s claim.

But since this condition applies equally to both parties, the Philippines may be confident that China would also be obliged to acknowledge the Philippine claim. Can there be a lesson here for other Asean countries with claims to the South China Sea?

To ensure the success of Xi’s visit, there had been a positive build-up of Philippines-China relations in recent months. Xi’s state visit in turn is envisaged to lead to even better bilateral relations.

Last August, joint simulated naval exercises were held in Singapore among Asean countries and China without US participation. Manila defended that decision by saying that the “tabletop” drill was meant only for neighbouring countries in the region.

Now as Xi prepares for his visit, the US Pacific Fleet is reportedly readying a series of naval operations as a “show of force” in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits. In response to China’s stated concern, the Philippines said it will have no part in those operations.Xi’s visit is important not just for the Philippines but also Asean, which had designated Manila the “point man” in dealings with China. Can Duterte clinch an agreement from China for Asean?

Manila had said that a legally binding Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea was on the agenda, but Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it may take another three years.

If China really wants to prove its goodwill in Manila, Xi could suggest it may happen considerably sooner.

The last Chinese President to make a state visit to the Philippines was Hu Jintao in 2005. That occasion also marked the 30th anniversary of bilateral relations, which is as auspicious a time as any.

This Tuesday’s visit by Xi will be the first Chinese state visit in 13 years. That is an auspicious number in Chinese, but not so in Western culture.

Will it be auspicious for the Philippines, the only Christian-majority country in the region once colonised by Spain and then the US? Duterte’s original style of leadership may yet make the difference.

Bunn Nagara

Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

 

 

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China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter Stuns by Brandishing Full Load of Missiles at Zhuhai Air Show


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24841/chinas-j-20-stealth-fighter-stuns-by-brandishing-full-load-of-missiles-at-zhuhai-air-show

https://youtu.be/tNss2y__xGE


In the last day of China’s biennial air show and weapons expo in Zhuhai, a pair of the country’s J-20 heavy stealth fighters  they popped open their weaponsvvbays and showed off full magazines of missiles. This is the first timevv  such a full load of weapons has been fully exposed and the first time China has officially shown off the jet’s complete internal weapons configuration in the flesh.

China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter Will Likely Look Like This At Its Air Show Debut 



What we see isn’t necessarilyvsurprising, but it is interesting nonetheless. In the main ventral bays, the J-20 is carrying four PL-15 medium-to-long-range air-to-air missiles. The type is somewhat analogous to the American AIM-120D AMRAAM. Speculation about what missile actually would hold the PL-15 designation has bounced around a lot, with very long-range missiles and those fitted with throttleable ramjets 
also potentially receiving the designation, but now it seems the PL-15 is indeed a dual-pulse motor and AESA equipped missile with a similar profile as its predecessor PL-12. The PL-12 is loosely analogous to the AIM-120A/B.

Chinese Internet
Note that even with their clipped fins, only four PL-15s are mounted in the J-20’s bays in a similar fashion to the YF-22’s missile configuration. It isn’t clear exactly what the launch mechanism for these missiles is based on these photos. A staggered arrangement with six PL-15s may be possible in the future by the looks of the bays, but this depends a lot on the how the missiles are ejected from the bay itself. The F-22 uses a trapeze launcher system to chuck the missiles clear of the bay. The J-20’s main weapons bays also look remarkably uncluttered, which makes one wonder if the missiles are just mounted to static hardpoints inside, but this is doubtful as what appear to be launchers have been visible in the J-20s bays for years.

Chinese Internet
The most interesting part of this display of the J-20’s lethal payload carrying abilities is the pair of PL-10s deployed on the outside of the jet’s side weapons bays. This novel configuration is one of the most fascinating aspects of the J-20’s design. I was one of the first to point it out and explain its utility back in early 2013, when I wrote the following:

“The F-22, a very loose analog for the J-20 (emphasize very), uses a canted trapeze that pushes the AIM-9’s seeker out into the air-stream for proper establishment of a lock before launch once the bay doors are swung open. Only once the missile has acquired a target and the pilot ‘receives tone’ (the AIM-9 series has an audible growl as it hunts for a heat source, once it finds one it goes from an intermittent
growling sound to a solid tone, cueing the pilot to fire) the missile can be fired and only then do the launch bay doors close up.

This method increases the F-22’s radar signature dramatically while also isturbing the airflow around the jet which makes for lower performance and a rougher ride during close-in air combat maneuvering, or dogfighting. Soon, the F-22 will have the AIM-9X Block II which features lock-on after launch data-link capability. In other words, the pilot can ‘acquire’ a target via his or hers onboard sensors, including the hopefully forthcoming Scorpion helmet mounted display… Once the target is ‘virtually locked’ within the AIM-9X Block II’s engagement envelope the pilot can quickly fire the Sidewinder, with the bay doors opening and closing momentarily, and allow the data-link to transfer the acquiring secondary sensor’s info to the missile after it has left the bay in the form of a vector [to the target]. The missile will fly in this prescribed direction so that it can acquire the target itself, at which point the AIM-9X Block II becomes truly ‘fire and forget.’

Once the AIM-9X Block II is integrated into the Raptor, and especially once the helmet mounted display is operational, the F-22’s side bay doors only have to briefly open to let the AIM-9X on its one-way mission. All this begs the question: If China loves copying the US when it comes to weapons systems, why not just uild something similar for the J-20 when it comes to deploying its short-range air-to-air missiles?

The answer is quite simple, lock-on after launch capability is not an easy one to achieve. It is technologically complex, requires deep systems integration (software architecture permitting), and robust testing using live missiles, and thus it is expensive. China, being the resourceful and cuning folks that they are, figured out a way to employ any new or elatively archaic high-off-bore-sight short ranged air to air missile while keeping the jet’s aerodynamics relatively intact (doors closed during prolonged maneuvering while the missile hangs out on its rail)
while also minimizing the impact a ‘deployed missile’ has the J-20’s low
radar cross-section.

That is right folks, China just said “we don’t want to have to rely on LOAL capability, so why not just temporarily (as in for seconds or minutes) mount a similarly agile, but much less complex and expensive, short ranged air-to-air missile outside of the bay during times when close range combat is imminent?”

This is exactly what they did, and honestly, I think it is genius. Radar signature becomes a small factor when fighting for one’s life at close range, having a reliable missile ready to make a u-turn off the rail and subsequently turn your enemy into chaff is so important that is can be seen as a life and death  requirement [especially for a big, not remarkably maneuverable fighter]. The alternative, such as the reality the F-22 has faced for the better part of a decade, is that you open the bay up for prolonged periods of time and pay a large penalty in radar cross section and [some] performance. Also, by building a relatively simple contraption, kind of similar to one of those bars that goes on your lap on a roller coaster, albeit with a missile attached, Chinese engineers simplified the launch system and also probably made it much lighter than an F-22 type design. Once again, genius.

Another point to be taken from the J-20’s short-range air-to-air missile launch mechanism revelations are that designers absolutely thought it was necessary to give this jet high-off-bore-sight close range missile capability from day one, and in a reliable and persistent nature when needed. This could be due to lack of  aneuverability and/or because of its mission, which I have said for years 
is to break through the enemy’s (American, Taiwanese etc.) fighter cover and take out their enablers (see tankers, AEW&C, C2 and connectivity nodes). In such a case, being electronically silent is your best bet at surviving, so using infra-red passively guided missiles, which require no electronic emissions, at medium-close ranges may be your only play, at least for anything that does not put out a ontinuous or semi-continuous form of radiation (see AWACS or JSTARS). In that  case, a passively guided anti-radiation missile may be the J-20’s weapon of choice, or a medium-long range AAM that can get within locking distance and featuring active radar or IR for terminal homing, via a traditional data-link feeding the J-20’s targeting picture to it provided by passive sensors (IRST, ESM etc).

Korean historic Kim-Trump summit begins with handshake in Sinapore, is ‘very, very good’


China Air carried Kim to Singapore talks with Trump

The historic meeting on Tuesday between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump began with a handshake at the Capella hotel, Singapore.

The handshake lasted about 20 seconds before the two leaders walked to the meeting room accompanied by their interpreters.

Trump and Kim sat next to each other and answered a few questions from the media. Trump said he hopes the historic summit would be “tremendously successful,” adding, “We will have a terrific relationship ahead” as he faced Kim.

Kim said there were a number of “obstacles” and “prejudices” which made today’s meeting more difficult. “We overcame all of them and we are here today,” he told reporters through a translator.

Of particular note is the display of the two countries’ flags at the hotel, which is unusual between two countries with no formal diplomatic ties. Observers believe that this is a positive sign.

Trump arrived at the hotel about 8:30am, with Kim arriving five minutes after.

Displaying the national flag of North Korea shows that the US wants to express its sincerity and kindness to North Korea, Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China’s School of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

“The move toward establishing formal diplomatic ties could be an achievement of the summit,” Cheng said.

Hundreds of journalists are gathered at the Press Filing Center of the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore, where they can watch the livestream of the historic moment. Dozens of photographers attempted to get closer to Sentosa Island in the morning to film and take photos for the two leaders’ motorcades.

Trump and Kim met alone at 9:15 am and held an expanded bilateral meeting 45 minutes after. At 11:00, the two leaders are scheduled to have a working luncheon. Trump will leave Singapore at 7pm on Tuesday, the White House said.

Trump says summit with North Korea’s Kim is ‘very, very good’

SINGAPORE: U.S. President Donald Trump said he had forged a “good relationship” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the start of a historic summit in Singapore on Tuesday, as the two men sought ways to end a nuclear standoff on the Korean peninsula.

Should they succeed in making a diplomatic breakthrough, it could bring lasting change to the security landscape of Northeast Asia, like the visit of former U.S. President Richard Nixon to China in 1972 led to the transformation of China.

“There will be challenges ahead,” Kim said, but he vowed to work with Trump. Both men sat against in the hotel’s library against a backdrop of North Korean and U.S. flags, with Kim beaming broadly as the U.S. president gave him a thumbs up.

With cameras of the world’s press trained on them, Trump and Kim displayed an initial atmosphere of bonhomie.

Both men had looked serious as they got out of their limousines for the summit at the Capella hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa, a resort island with luxury hotels, a casino, manmade beaches and a Universal Studios theme park.

But they were soon smiling and holding each other by the arm, before Trump guided Kim to the library where they held a meeting with only their interpreters. Trump had said on Saturday he would know within a minute of meeting Kim whether he would reach a deal.

After some initial exchanges lasting around 40 minutes, Trump and Kim emerged, walking side-by-side through the colonnaded hotel before re-entering the meeting room, where they were joined by their most senior officials.

Kim was heard telling Trump through a translator: “I think the entire world is watching this moment. Many people in the world will think of this as a scene from a fantasy…science fiction movie.”

Asked by a reporter how the meeting was going, Trump said: “Very good. Very, very good. Good relationship.”

Kim also sounded positive about the prospects.

“We overcame all kinds of scepticism and speculations about this summit and I believe that this is good for the peace,” he said.

Trump was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, for the expanded talks, while Kim’s team included former military intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol, foreign minister Ri Yong Ho and Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party.

MARKETS CALM

As the two leaders met, Singapore navy vessels, and air force Apache helicopters patrolled, while fighter jets and an Gulfstream 550 early warning aircraft circled.

Financial markets were largely steady in Asia and did not show any noticeable reaction to the start of the summit. The dollar was at a three-week high and the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares was largely unchanged from Monday.

While Trump and Kim search each other’s eyes and words for signs of trust or deceit, the rest of the world will be watching, hoping that somehow these two unpredictable leaders can find a way to defuse one of the planet’s most dangerous flashpoints.

A body language expert said both men tried to project command as they met, but also displayed signs of nerves.

In the hours before the summit began, Trump expressed optimism about prospects for the first-ever meeting of sitting U.S. and North Korean leaders, while Pompeo injected a note of caution whether Kim would prove to be sincere about his willingness to denuclearise.

Officials of the two sides held last-minute talks to lay the groundwork for the summit of the old foes, an event almost unthinkable just months ago, when they were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war.

Staff-level meetings between the United States and North Korea were going “well and quickly,” Trump said in a message on Twitter on Tuesday.

But he added: “In the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”

The combatants of the 1950-53 Korean War are technically still at war, as the conflict, in which millions of people died, was concluded only with a truce.

On Tuesday morning, Pompeo fed the mounting anticipation of diplomatic breakthrough, saying: “We’re ready for today.”

He earlier said the event should set the framework for “the hard work that will follow”, insisting that North Korea had to move toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

North Korea, however, has shown little appetite for surrendering nuclear weapons it considers vital to the survival of Kim’s dynastic rule.

Sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until that happened, Pompeo said on Monday. “If diplomacy does not move in the right direction … those measures will increase.”

He added: “North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearise and we are eager to see if those words prove sincere.”

The White House said later that discussions with North Korea had moved “more quickly than expected” and Trump would leave Singapore on Tuesday night after the summit, rather than Wednesday, as scheduled earlier.

Kim is due to leave on Tuesday afternoon, a source involved in the planning of his visit has said.

One of the world’s most reclusive leaders, Kim visited Singapore’s waterfront on Monday, smiling and waving to onlookers, adding to a more affable image that has emerged since his April summit with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

‘CHANGED ERA’

Just a few months ago, Kim was an international pariah accused of ordering the killing of his uncle, a half-brother and scores of officials suspected of disloyalty.

The summit was part of a “changed era”, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said in its first comments on the event.

Talks would focus on “the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern”, it added.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea rejected unilateral nuclear disarmament, and KCNA’s reference to denuclearisation of the peninsula has historically meant it wants the United States to remove a “nuclear umbrella” protecting South Korea and Japan.

Trump spoke to both South Korea’s Moon and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday to discuss developments ahead of the summit.

“I too, got little sleep last night,” Moon told his cabinet in Seoul as the summit began in Singapore.

“I truly hope it will be a successful summit that will open a new age for the two Koreas and the United States and bring us complete denuclearisation and peace.” – REUTERS

 

Related:

Kim Jong-un visits China for 3rd time in three months

Chinese President Xi Jinping met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Beijing on Tuesday, and the two leaders discussed topics including the US-North Korea summit in Singapore.

Strong navy steers more balanced, steady rise of China


 https://youtu.be/e9O21AljMow

 

On April 12, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made important remarks during a naval parade held in the South China Sea. The event is the largest maritime military parade in the history of the People’s Republic of China, showcasing a new height of the People’s Liberation Army Navy via its Liaoning carrier battle group and the new-generation nuclear submarine. China’s ability to defend world and regional peace has reached another milestone.

During his speech, Xi noted that the mission of building a strong navy has never been more urgent. This is crucial to point out in today’s international environment and his tone carried a robust sense of mission.

Xi has expressed in several key reports that China is closer than ever to achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. However, history reminds us that the closer we are to accomplishing a glorious goal, the more the pressure and risk. Building a strong navy, as well as national defense, has never been more significant to China.

After 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has risen to become the world’s second largest economy. In this process, China has further advanced its unstoppable economic potential. However, China’s elevated status, accompanied by its incredible progress, has attracted both friendly and hostile gestures. Thus, catching up in national defense is necessary to attain balanced growth. For any big nation, strong economic development without balanced efforts in national defense is a dangerous combination. This might give other powers the idea and temptation to subdue China with non-economic methods.

A country’s navy is considered the force that bears most pressure, while also being the most active in the modern military. Despite all the military forces of a country, the navy usually stands at the forefront in crucial moments. The technologies for naval forces are complex and at a high cost, representing the refined strength of its country. Strong naval forces only belong to a powerful country, reflecting the accumulation of a nation’s strength, and indicating the nation’s future and destiny.

The step-by-step development of Chinese navy is steady and strong. Through the South China Sea military parade, Chinese people can see that part of China’s economic strength is quickly converting to military strength. We can also predict that China’s ability to convert between its strengths will be stronger in the future.

The logic of maintaining peace is different among major, mid-sized and small countries. China must objectively understand the security situations we are dealing with and build the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to show that it projects power and focuses on maintaining peace. This is an urgent task which requires racing against time.

China must ignore the noise of the “Chinese military threat” theory from some Western countries. The theory is a misrepresentation of China’s role as the world’s second-largest economy and its role in securing global peace. The theory is also a discrimination to China’s status as one of the world’s major powers.

To build a top-tier navy, China has a long way to go. To understand the enormous challenges China faces in building a blue-water navy, one should look at how other countries monitor and scrutinize China’s foreign ports and naval supply checkpoints. Furthermore, China’s navy needs to accumulate vast experience to become an effective instrument in China’s toolbox for deterrence.

There are two essential strategic questions for China: How do we show others our determination in defending national interest under the thesis of ‘China’s peaceful rise’? How do we communicate our simultaneous dedication to world peace and resolution to fight aggression?

Many WWII-era ships are still commissioned by other navies around the world, and yet more than half of the ships participating in this parade started their service around the time of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Chinese navy has rapidly developed, and we believe it will continue to do so until it reaches its maturity. China will be more secure and the world more peaceful as the Chinese navy sails into the deep blue sea. – Global Times

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