Saturday November 17, 2018
Home Lead Story Trump Won&#82...

Trump Won’t Let North Korea ‘Play Him’

Trump Convinced North Korea No Longer Playing Around

0
//
One of the main reasons explaining Trump's unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House.
One of the main reasons explaining Trump's unpopularity was reviews in mass media, according to the head of communications of White House. VOA
Republish
Reprint

Key U.S. leaders are expressing a growing optimism that decades of hostility on the Korean Peninsula are closer than ever to coming to an end.

“I don’t think he’s playing, I don’t think he’s playing,” U.S. President Donald Trump said at a White House news conference, when asked about Friday’s historic summit between North and South Korea.

“It’s never gone this far,” Trump said, standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump added the U.S. will be “setting up a meeting very shortly,” but didn’t specify a timeline, saying officials are considering two or three possible sites for his much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late May or early June.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in raise their hands after signing a joint statement at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in raise their hands after signing on a joint statement at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Friday, April 27, 2018. VOA

Earlier Friday, Kim became the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea, when he crossed the border to shake the hand of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The two leaders agreed to work toward removing all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and vowed to pursue talks that would bring a formal end to the Korean war.

North Korea has in the past made similar commitments about its nuclear program, but failed to follow through. Asked whether Pyongyang’s commitment is real this time, Trump said “we’re not going to get played.”

“This isn’t like past administrations. We don’t play games,” said Trump, adding that previous administrations had been “played like a fiddle.”

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

“We will come up with a solution, and if we don’t we will leave the room,” he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also expressed hope Friday that talks with North Korea will bear fruit.

“I can tell you that we are optimistic right now that there’s opportunity here that we have never enjoyed since 1950,” Mattis said before a meeting at the Pentagon with the Polish defense minister.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” he added. “So, we’re going to have to see what they produce.”

The White House and the Pentagon see the diplomatic progress as the result of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign, which included heavy sanctions and frequent threats of military force. Trump had said he was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary.

Defense Secretary James Mattis answers a question from members of the Polish media, before a arrival ceremony for Poland's Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak, April 27, 2018, at the Pentagon.
Defense Secretary James Mattis answers a question from members of the Polish media, before a arrival ceremony for Poland’s Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak, April 27, 2018, at the Pentagon. VOA

“Things have changed very rapidly from a few months ago — you know, the name calling and a lot of other things,” Trump said Friday.

For now, the threats have faded. But it’s not clear how much North Korea is willing to offer at the talks or what it will demand in return. Nor is it clear how much the U.S. is willing to give.

Mattis Friday did not rule out the possibility U.S. troops could come home from South Korea if a Seoul and Pyongyang are able to reach an agreement.

Also Read: Donald Trump Negotiates Trade Deal With Japan

“That’s part of the issues we’ll be discussing in the negotiations with our allies first and, of course, with North Korea,” he told reporters. “Right now we have to go along with the process, have the negotiations, not try to make preconditions or presumptions of how it’s going to go.”

On Friday, Moon and Kim’s statement said the two leaders “confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free peninsula.”

After the meeting, Trump tweeted his support for the talks, saying “good things are happening, but only time will tell!”

Fifteen minutes later, Trump tweeted: “KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!”

“I think the responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of the president of the United States,” Trump said alongside Merkel. “I think I have a responsibility to see if I can do it.”

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Steps Down As Asked By Donald Trump

It remains to be seen whether Trump will tap Whitaker for the job permanently and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.

0
Trump
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions attends a news conference on the arrest of a suspect in the sending of at least a dozen parcel bombs to Democratic politicians and high-profile critics of President Trump. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump forced his controversial Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign Wednesday, setting up a possible showdown with newly energized congressional Democrats over the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions, in a resignation letter to Trump, wrote that he was stepping down at “your request,” accepting a fait accompli he’d long sought to avert despite Trump’s repeated public humiliations of the attorney general over his recusal from oversight of the Russia probe.

The forced departure of Sessions, a former Republican senator and early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, capped a turbulent tenure that hit a rough patch in early 2017 when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation shortly after taking office.

Trump blamed Sessions’ recusal for the speedy appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, over the course of the attorney general’s 20-month tenure, repeatedly castigated Sessions for failing to rein in what he called a “witch hunt” being led by Mueller and “17 Angry Democrats.”

While undertaking a wholesale repeal of Obama-era policies and implementing Trump’s tough-on-crime and immigration agenda, Sessions was increasingly shunned by the president, to the point that Trump told an interviewer earlier this year, “I don’t have an attorney general.”

In a pair of tweets Wednesday afternoon announcing Sessions’ resignation, Trump thanked the attorney general for his service and said Matt Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff and a former U.S. attorney under former President George W. Bush, would take over as acting attorney general. A permanent replacement would be announced later, Trump said.

Though long expected, Sessions’ departure fueled Democratic fears that Trump may be maneuvering to assert control over the Mueller investigation through a trusted appointee or possibly shut down it all together.

Donald Trump, democrats
U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. VOA

Congressional probe urged

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee and a frequent Trump critic, urged Congress to investigate “the real reason” for the attorney general’s “termination.”

At a testy White House news conference earlier Wednesday, Trump said he could end the Mueller investigation “right now,” but “I stay away from it … I let it just go on.”

Other Democratic congressional leaders, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner issued nearly identical tweets urging Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, citing his vocal criticism of the probe.

 

“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Schumer tweeted.

 

trump
Then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker is pictured before a televised debate in Johnston, Iowa. VOA

 

Whitaker served as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa from 2004 to 2009. According to his LinkedIn profile, he headed Foundations for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a self-described ethics watchdog, until September 2017, shortly before joining the Justice Department.

In an opinion piece for CNN.com in July 2017, two months after Mueller’s appointment, Whitaker wrote that he agreed with Trump that investigating the president’s finances fell outside Mueller’s mandate, and he urged Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to limit the special counsel’s authority.

‘In charge of all matters’

Asked whether Whitaker would take control of the Russia probe, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, “The acting attorney general is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.”

Flores did not directly answer questions about whether Whitaker had consulted or planned to consult Justice Department ethics experts on whether he should recuse himself from the Russia probe.

Trump
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., departs Capitol Hill, Oct. 6, 2018, in Washington. VOA

“We’re following regular order here,” she wrote via email.

John Malcolm, a former federal prosecutor now with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, said he saw no reason for Whitaker to step aside.

“He is the acting attorney general. He has no reason to recuse himself,” Malcolm told VOA.

Malcolm said Sessions did “a solid job of implementing the president’s law enforcement priorities,” and he praised the attorney general for “protecting the integrity of the department and trying to keep it above politics.”

It remains to be seen whether Trump will tap Whitaker for the job permanently and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.

Also Read: U.S. Midterm Elections See Muslim American Women Making History

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and close Trump ally, tweeted that he looked “forward to working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor. (VOA)