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Donald Trump Threatens ‘National Emergency’ Over Border Wall Funding

The paralysis of the administration affected 10 government agencies, including Transportation and Justice, along with dozens of national parks, which are popular tourist attractions

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Caravans from Central America have inflamed the debate over U.S. immigration policy, with U.S. President Donald Trump using the migrants to try to secure backing for his plan to build a border wall on the frontier with Mexico., VOA

US President Donald Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency that would allow him to order construction of a border wall with Mexico without Congressional approval of the needed funds.

The President’s remarks came on Friday after he met senior Democrats, who refused his requests for funding, CNN reported. The impasse has seen Trump withhold support for a bill to fully fund the government till he gets money for the border wall.

He said he was prepared for the partial government shutdown — now in its third week — to last years. Around 800,000 federal workers have been without pay since December 22.

“I can do it if I want,” Trump told a press conference when asked about the possibility of starting construction on the wall without a go-ahead from Congress, due to the Democrats’ refusal to approve its financing.

“We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly… I haven’t done it. I may do it. If we can do it through the negotiating process, we’re giving that a shot.”

Trump considered the idea of building a barrier of “artistically designed steel slats” as an alternative to a cement wall, though he gave no details about that possibility.

He said there was an immediate need for $5.6 billion for the wall because “we’re not talking about games, we’re talking about national security. It’s a problem of terrorists.”

Trump, U.S.
Donald Trump. VOA

Democrats were equally dug in, saying the matter of a border barrier should only be brought up once the government has reopened. “We cannot resolve this until we open up government and we made that very clear to the President,” Democrat House Speaker Pelosi said after the White House meeting.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said: “We told the President we needed the government open. He resisted.”

White House and Congress officials will scheduled to meet later on Saturday in a fresh bid to resolve the standoff.

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Donald Trump said he designated a group of aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, to participate in the weekend discussions, which he described as meant to “determine what we’re going to do about the border”.

The government has been in a partial shutdown since December 22 as negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in Congress remain blocked by Trump’s demand to include in the budget proposal funding for the border wall.

The paralysis of the administration affected 10 government agencies, including Transportation and Justice, along with dozens of national parks, which are popular tourist attractions. (IANS)

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Things Are Going Very Well With North Korea: U.S. President Donald Trump

The White House announced after talks between Trump and Kim on Friday that the U.S. president would hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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President Donald Trump shakes hands with Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief, after their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 1, 2018. The two also met for talks in Washington (VOA)

U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday that he had an “incredible” meeting with North Korean nuclear envoy Kim Yong Chol and the two sides had made “a lot of progress” on denuclearization.

The White House announced after talks between Trump and Kim on Friday that the U.S. president would hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February, but would maintain economic sanctions on Pyongyang.

“That was an incredible meeting,” Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said of the talks. “We’ve agreed to meet sometime, probably the end of February. We’ve picked a country but we’ll be announcing it in the future. Kim Jong Un is looking very forward to it and so am I.

“We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned and we are talking about a lot of different things. Things are going very well with North Korea.”

Trump and the White House have given no details of the talks, and despite his upbeat comments there has been no indication of any narrowing of differences over U.S. demands that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States and Pyongyang’s demands for a lifting of punishing sanctions.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands after signing documents during a summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore, June 12, 2018. (VOA)

June summit

A summit in June in Singapore — the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader — produced a vague commitment by Kim Jong Un to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but he has yet to take what Washington sees as concrete steps in that direction.

Critics of U.S. efforts said the first summit did little more than boost Kim’s international stature.

Trump did not elaborate on the country chosen to host the summit, but Vietnam has been considered a leading candidate.

Kim Yong Chol, regarded as a member of Kim Jong Un’s inner circle, also had talks on Friday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. special representative on North Korea, Stephen Biegun.

The State Department said the two sides had “a productive first meeting at the working level” and Biegun would travel to Sweden at the weekend to attend an international conference.

Also Read: U.S. President Donald Trump To Address The Nation Regarding The Shutdown

The conference is also being attended by North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui. Washington has been keen to set up talks between Biegun and Choe but North Korea has resisted, apparently wanting to keep exchanges high-level.

Asked if the two would meet in Stockholm, a State Department spokeswoman said: “We have no meetings to announce.” (VOA)