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Controversy over Donald Trump’s decision to skip republican debate in Iowa

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Washington: Amidst the controversy over Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Fox News debate four days before the Iowa meetings, Trump said, he’d move forward with his own competing event.

His “tremendous” rally at Drake University in Des Moines at the same time as his Republican rivals gather for the debate just two miles away will raise money for wounded veterans, he said.

Suggesting that television networks have made millions of dollars in advertising on debates he’s participated in, Trump said he doesn’t mind debating, but “I just don’t like being used.”

“Fox was going to make a fortune off this debate. Now they’re going to make much less,” said the billionaire real estate mogul on another show on the conservative show as the anchor vainly tried to cajole him to reconsider.

Escalating his long-running feud with Megyn Kelly, Trump lashed out at the Fox News anchor whom he has accused of treating him “unfairly” for questioning him on his past derogatory remarks about women at the first Republican debate in August.

Calling it a “conflict of interest” Trump demanded that Kelly should be not allowed to moderate Thursday night’s debate. But Fox News declined to give in. Kelly will be one of the three moderators at the debate.

“I have zero respect for Megyn Kelly,” said Trump. “I don’t think she’s good at what she does and I think she’s highly overrated. And frankly, she’s a moderator; I thought her question last time was ridiculous.”

Kelly herself weighed in that Trump skipping the debate would “probably be a bad decision” while conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh lauded him for “controlling the media.”

But despite Trump’s continued attacks against her, Kelly said he is a “breath of fresh air” in politics.

“He doesn’t care about PC culture,” Kelly said in an interview with Time magazine published on Wednesday. “It’s a breath of fresh air.”

Kelly who spoke to Time on Tuesday, just hours before Trump announced his plan to skip Thursday night’s Fox News debate, said her network can’t give in to “terrorizations toward any of our employees.”

Trump’s other Republican presidential rivals also lost no time in criticising him. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Trump’s decision reminds him of “a 13-year-old arguing.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz challenged Trump to debate him Saturday night in Sioux City, Iowa. But Trump laughed off Cruz’s call to debate, saying in a message on Twitter that if they did it the contest should be held in Canada, where Cruz was born.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio called Trump’s decision to skip the debate, and Cruz’s one-on-one challenge an “interesting sideshow.”(IANS)

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Kim Jong-Un And Donald Trump To Meet In late February

The White House has not confirmed the location of the next Trump-Kim summit

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump talks with Kim Yong Chol, left, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, as they walk from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, June 1, 2018. VOA

The White House has announced that a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be held at the end of February, at a place to be announced “at a later date.”

The announcement was made after Trump met Friday with Kim Yong Chol, North Korea’s top nuclear envoy in the Oval Office, which the White House said was to “discuss efforts to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program.”

Trump’s meeting with the former North Korean spymaster, who often is referred to as Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man, lasted 90 minutes.

After the meeting, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters the administration is continuing “to make progress” on this front.

“The United States is going to continue to keep pressure and sanctions on North Korea until we see full and verified denuclearization,” Sanders said, adding they have seen “good faith from the North Koreans in releasing the hostages and other moves.”

Earlier on Friday, Kim Yong Chol met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a Washington hotel. The meeting’s aim was to revive nuclear negotiations, which have been postponed for months over what U.S. officials say is Pyongyang’s refusal to meet Washington’s demand for a detailed inventory of its nuclear and missile programs.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo escorts Kim Yong Chol, North Korea’s lead negotiator in nuclear diplomacy with the United States, into talks at a hotel in Washington, Jan. 18, 2019. VOA

The latest announcement is being met with some skepticism by analysts about whether enough progress has been achieved in the negotiations to justify a second summit.

There is a “missing ingredient,” said Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea Studies at the Council for Foreign Relations. “Is there some kind of understanding behind the scenes, even at the framework level, that provides a basis or justification for going forward that simply can’t be seen based on public evidence today?”

Snyder said that from Trump’s perspective, a second summit is to be expected because the first summit generated “good ratings.” He noted, however, that in order for a second summit to be successful, “the bar will be higher.”

Denuclearization

On several occasions Trump has expressed his confidence about North Korean denuclearization.

“With North Korea, we have a very good dialogue,” the president said Jan. 6, adding that it’s “very special” and that with “anybody else but me, you’d be in war right now.”

USA, Trump, North Korea
A man looks at a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump shaking hands before their meeting in Singapore, in Tokyo, June 12, 2018. VOA

But critics point out that Pyongyang has not taken measurable steps toward disarmament since the first Trump-Kim historic summit in Singapore last June.

At the United Nations on Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres encouraged both countries to continue talks.

Also Read: Human Rights Situation in North Korea Needs Reforms

“We believe it’s high time to make sure the negotiations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea start again seriously and that a road map is clearly defined for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Guterres told reporters. “We won’t advocate for any anticipation of other measures before a clear negotiation is put in place, aiming at denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula with a road map.”

The White House has not confirmed the location of the next Trump-Kim summit, but American media reports have quoted sources as saying that Danang, Vietnam, is being discussed as one of the likely venues. (VOA)