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U.S. President Donald Trump Claims, Saving “Hundreds of Millions of Dollars” By Cancelling Drills With South Korea

Bolton described Yongbyon as "an aging nuclear reactor and some percentage of their uranium enrichment plutonium reprocessing capabilities." He said Kim was unwilling to make a "big deal" with Trump.

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U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference following the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, Feb. 28, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump says the reason he canceled large-scale springtime military drills with South Korea is to save “hundreds of millions of dollars” that the U.S. is never reimbursed.

“That was my position long before I became president,” Trump tweeted Sunday while adding “reducing tensions with North Korea at this time is a good thing.”

Pentagon officials say instead of the massive war games, the U.S. and South Korea will hold a series of small-scale exercises.

Washington and Seoul have traditionally held the exercises every spring to test military readiness in case tensions with North Korea should boil over.

The war games have always angered the North, which usually responded with its own military exercises. North Korea has denounced the U.S., South Korea joint exercises as aggressive provocations and rehearsals for war.

Meanwhile, National Security Advisor John Bolton was all over the Sunday morning talk shows to say last week’s summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not a failure, even though talks fell apart with no agreements.

“He’s not desperate for a deal – not with North Korea, not with anybody if it’s contrary to American national interests,” Bolton told Fox News Sunday, while also telling CBS’s Face the Nation. “The president held firm to his view. He deepened his relationship with Kim Jong Un. I don’t view it as a failure at all when American national interests are protected.”

FILE - National security adviser John Bolton listens during a press briefing at the White House, Jan. 28, 2019, in Washington.
National security adviser John Bolton listens during a press briefing at the White House, Jan. 28, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Bolton said Kim was willing to make “a very limited concession” to dismantle its Yongbyon nuclear weapons complex in exchange for “substantial” sanctions relief.

Bolton described Yongbyon as “an aging nuclear reactor and some percentage of their uranium enrichment plutonium reprocessing capabilities.” He said Kim was unwilling to make a “big deal” with Trump.

“It was the sanctions that brought the North Koreans to the table. It’s the sanctions they want relief from and relief they can get if they denuclearize,” Bolton said.

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“That was my position long before I became president,” Trump tweeted Sunday while adding “reducing tensions with North Korea at this time is a good thing.” VOA

Bolton conceded that North Korea is continuing to produce nuclear fuel and said while “there is no expiration date” on further talks, future negotiations with North Korea are in limbo.

Bolton also appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, where he defended Trump who said he took Kim “at his word” when the North Korean leader claimed knew nothing about the alleged torture of imprisoned U.S. student Otto Warmbier.

The Ohio student fell into a coma in a North Korean prison and died shortly after he was sent home two years ago.

Bolton said while Trump accepts what Kim said, it does not mean he accepts it as reality.

“The president’s been very clear he viewed what happened to Otto Warmbier as barbaric and unacceptable and I think the best thing North Korea could do right now would be to come up with a full explanation of exactly what happened to him,” Bolton said on CNN.

Also Read: North Korean Hackers Behind Surge in Cyberattacks on Banks: Report
The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff called the entire summit a “spectacular failure” and said Trump made things worse with his comments about Otto Warmbier.

“This the result of a president who is not prepared for these kind of negotiations, a staff that is not well-prepared and that is essentially flying by the seat of its pants,” Schiff said on Face the Nation. (VOA)

Next Story

US President Donald Trump May Blacklist Chinese Surveillance Tech Firm

Administration officials could make a final decision in the coming weeks, the sources said

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FILE - President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 9, 2019. VOA

US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering blacklisting a Chinese video surveillance giants from buying American technology, in a latest attempt to counter Beijings global economic ambitions, a media report said.

The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a US blacklist. It would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of the Uyghur Muslim ethnic minority, informed sources told The New York Times on Tuesday.

The development is also likely to inflame the tensions that have escalated in President Trump’s renewed trade war with Chinese leaders.

Trump, in the span of two weeks, has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, threatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple the Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei.

China has promised to retaliate against American industries.

Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance systems.

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President Donald Trump arrives at a rally at Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wis., Saturday, April 27, 2019. VOA

The company has said that its products enable their clients to track people around the country by their facial features, body characteristics or gait, or to monitor activity considered unusual by officials, such as people suddenly running or crowds gathering.

The Commerce Department might require that American companies obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, limiting the company’s access to technology that helps power its equipment.

Administration officials could make a final decision in the coming weeks, the sources said.

Also Read- Apple Introduces First, Fastest 8-core MacBook Pro

The potential crackdown stems from the Trump administration’s belief that China poses an economic, technological and geopolitical threat that cannot be left unchecked.

China has used surveillance technology, including facial recognition systems and closed-circuit television cameras, to target the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs, who have accused the Chinese government of discriminating against their culture and religion, The New York Times reported.

The country has exported this technology to nations that seek closer surveillance of their citizens, including Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. (IANS)