‘IT’S OFF!’ Trump cancels highly anticipated meeting with Kim Jong-un citing rogue state’s ‘tremendous anger’ toward US

Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — The White House offered new details Thursday on President Trump’s decision to cancel a planned June 12 summit with North Korea, saying he did so after a U.S. team was stood up by the Koreans, and that the letter announcing the decision to Kim Jong Un was 100 percent Trump.

“The president dictated every word of the letter himself,” a senior White House official said.

The letter cited Kim’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” toward the United States in explaining why the meeting was being scrapped.
“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in the letter released by the White House.

The U.S. and North Korea had agreed to hold the summit in Singapore last week, the White House official said.

But when the U.S. sent a deputy chief of staff and other advance team personnel to Singapore to set the meeting up, the North Koreas never showed up.

“They simply stood us up,” the official said.

The senior White House official also cast doubt on whether North Korea truly destroyed its nuclear test site, saying international inspectors were not allowed to attend

“We certainly hope that’s the case, but we really don’t know.”

“Secretary Pompeo and the South Korean government were promised by the North Koreans that international experts and officials would be invited to witness and verify today’s demolition,” the official said, but that promise was “broken.”
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TESTING KIM: Trump targets North Korea weapons program with tough new sanctions

WASHINGTON, D.C., — The Trump administration on Wednesday hit North Korea with a fresh round of new sanctions targeting the rogue state’s weapons programs.

A press release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury declares that “nine entities, 16 individuals, and six vessels” have been sanctioned in an effort to curb Pyongyang’s missile, chemical and nuclear weapons programs (https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0257).

“Today’s sanctions target agents of the Kim regime financing or otherwise supporting North Korea’s WMD programs and other illicit businesses,” the press release states. “As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with any of the designated parties.”

The department also declared it is now targeting “illicit actors” in Russia and China it believes may have worked with North Korean financial assets, as well as oil, shipping and trading companies that do business with North Korea.

“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” the statement continues. “Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions, the U.S. government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside. We are sanctioning additional oil, shipping, and trading companies that continue to provide a lifeline to North Korea to fuel this regime’s nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities.”

The move follows comments by the president earlier this month in which he praised his administration’s non-military efforts.

“Sanctions and “other” pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!” Trump tweeted on January 2.

The latest sanctions come as global leaders have resorted to crippling North Korea’s economy to curb the aggression of leader Kim Jong-un’s military regime.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP: ‘Era of strategic patience’ with North Korea ‘is over’

TOKYO, JAPAN — President Donald Trump stepped up his war of words against North Korea on Monday while speaking at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Speaking of the ongoing tensions with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Trump said the “era of strategic patience is over”.

The president made the comments as he tours Asia alongside wife, Melania Trump.

“Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong,” said Trump. “But look at what’s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are now.”

Prime Minister Abe said he and President Trump are in “complete agreement” on the need to step up efforts against North Korea and pledged to help the United States do whatever is necessary to curb Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions.

“We were in complete agreement as to the measures to be taken on the situation with North Korea,” Abe said, adding that he agrees with President Trump’s assertion that “all options” should remain on the table when it comes to dealing with Jong-un.

“For more than 20 some years, the international community attempted dialogue with North Korea,” Abe said. “Now is the time not for dialogue but for applying a maximum level of pressure on North Korea.”

On Tuesday, President Trump will head to South Korea, where he is expected to meet with South Korean government officials on the growing escalations regarding their neighbors to the north.

When asked by “Full Measure” in an interview that aired Sunday whether or not he would be willing to meet face to face with Jong-un, Trump said he would (http://fullmeasure.news/news/terrorism-security/president-trump-on-security).

“I would sit with anybody I feel. I don’t think it’s strength or weakness. I think sitting down with people is not a bad thing,” he said.

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TRUMP ADDRESSES THE UN: If provoked, we will ‘totally destroy’ North Korea

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Addressing the U.N. General Assembly for the first time since his election, President Donald Trump stepped up his threats against North Korea and vowed to “totally destroy” the communist country should leader Kim Jung-Un continue to provoke the United States.

“If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” Trump told the 193-member panel as he detailed the acts of the “depraved” North Korean regime.

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission,” he said of Kim Jung-Un, citing North Korea’s most recent missile launch. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

While citing the United States’ military capabilities to take North Korea “out”, Trump called upon the UN panel to aid him in finding a more diplomatic solution to the problem.

“We meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” Trump said.”As president of the United States, I will always put America first.” Calling North Korea a threat to democracies around the world, President Trump called on other world leaders to do the same.

“It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior. We face this decision not only in North Korea; it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.”

“Put your countries first,” he said.

In addition to addressing the ongoing issue with North Korea, Trump also took advantage of the opportunity before the world council to condemn his predecessor’s deal with Iran.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me,” said Trump.

“It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers,” he continued.

“Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the people will face a choice,” the president challenged. “Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous once again? The Iranian regime’s support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its finance, and in Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.”

A spokesperson for North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.

U.S. President Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York

TRUMP RESPONDS TO NORTH KOREA; President on whether or not US will attack: ‘We’ll see’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Sunday responded to news of the latest nuclear test by North Korea, calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s actions “hostile and dangerous to the United States”.

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” the president said in a series of tweets. “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success. South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

The president’s comments came hours after North Korea tested what experts have estimated to be a 120 kiloton hydrogen bomb, its most powerful nuclear weapon to date.

The president refused to give North Korea any hint as to when or how the United States will respond to their latest round of tests. Later Sunday morning, after issuing statement on social media, the president was asked by waiting reporters whether the US would launch a preemptive attack.

“Will you attack North Korea?” the president was asked by a sea of waiting reporters.
“We’ll see,” he responded.

The president is scheduled to meet with his national security team Sunday to discuss the latest developments in North Korea, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday morning.

“The National security team is monitoring this closely,” Sanders said. “The President and his national security team will have a meeting to discuss further later today. We will provide updates as necessary,” said Sanders.

Meanwhile, Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said on Sunday that he plans to draft a new sanctions package that would cut economic ties with anyone who did business with North Korea, including China, the country’s only major ally.

“There’s a lot we can do to cut them off economically, much more than we’ve done,” Mr. Mnuchin said, speaking on “Fox News Sunday”. Mnuchin called Pyongyang’s actions “unacceptable” and stressed the need for stronger steps.

Last month, the president warned that if the threats from North Korea continued, they will be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

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President of the European Commission: ‘Swift and decisive reaction’ necessary over latest North Korean nuclear test

BRUSSELS, FRANCE — European Commission president Donald Tusk called for “swift and decisive” reaction to the latest nuclear tests carried out this weekend by North Korea.
 
In a statement on Sunday, Tusk said the EU is calling on the U.N. Security Council “to adopt further U.N. sanctions and show stronger resolve to achieve a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” adding, “The stakes are getting too high.”
 
Tusk said North Korea must abandon its nuclear weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a verifiable and irreversible manner and it must cease all related activities at once in order to avoid a military response.
 
Response has also been coming in throughout the day from political leaders in the U.S. who were quick to condemn the latest round of tests, which based on the tremors that followed the test, had an explosive yield of approximately 120 kilotons. By comparison, the nuclear bomb dropped at Hiroshima’s had 15 kilotons.
 
“Well, what we have been doing over the years has certainly not slowed the advance of their nuclear program, but I don’t think that harsh rhetoric does either,” Jeff Flake, (R)- Arizona, said on Sunday. ” I think that they’re moving. Certainly, sanctions are — are not, you know, arresting that development either. So just about nothing we have done so far has helped slow it down. They seem intent on moving forward. Obviously, we hope that China exercises its leverage. They have considerably more leverage than we do. But I think, given where they are, we see the limits of economic sanctions obviously on North Korea.”
 
Ben Sasse, (R) – Nebraska, echoed Flake’s comments and said North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “must be confronted”.
 
“If North Korea has in fact successfully tested a nuclear warhead that can be loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile, Kim Jong-un is clearly threatening the American people,” Sasse said on Sunday. “He must be confronted. The United States, our allies and partners, and those who are still enabling Pyongyang must confront and change Kim Jong-un’s calculus of terror. Diplomatically if we can. Militarily if we must.”
 
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BREAKING NEWS: NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR THREAT

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to military officials, North Korea has successfully tested a nuclear weapon that has the ability to be loaded on to a long-range missile that is capable of reaching the United States.

The rogue nation tested the weapon overnight, causing a 5.6 magnitude tremor. South Korean officials said the latest test took place in Kilju County, where the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site is located.

China, North Korea’s only major ally, has publicly condemned the test.

North Korea “has ignored the international community’s widespread opposition, again carrying out a nuclear test. China’s government expresses resolute opposition and strong condemnation toward this,” a Chinese foreign ministry official said in a statement.

I will, of course, be watching for developments on this breaking story and will report the latest updates as they come available.

 

…STORY DEVELOPING

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NORTH KOREA ‘READY FOR WAR’ WITH UP TO 60 NUKES CAPABLE OF REACHING US

WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Korea has developed an arsenal of up to 60 nuclear weapons capable of reaching the U.S., say latest intelligence reports.

The rogue state has lashed out at the United States over the last week in response to tough new sanctions imposed by the United Nations over it’s refusal to disarm it’s forbidden nuclear program.

A July assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency found North Korean military leaders have already developed a compact nuclear warhead that can be placed inside one of its advanced missiles, which intelligence officials say are capable of reaching approximately half of the United States.

“The [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” an excerpt of the DIA analysis reads.

The DIA assessment coincides with a report published on Tuesday by the Japan defense ministry which documents similar findings.

“It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons into warheads and has acquired nuclear warheads,” the Japanese white paper reports (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/08/north-korea-nuclear-miniaturised-warhead-advanced-considerably-japan).

The threat of impending war between North Korea and the U.S. have led to mandatory emergency disaster drills being carried out by the Japanese government due to the geographical proximity of North Korea to Japan’s north west (http://kotaku.com/japan-preparing-for-north-korean-missile-strikes-with-d-1797626196).

Last week, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said Washington would not seek UN Security Council action following North Korea’s latest missile test, because “the time for talk is over”.

On Saturday the UN Security Council voted unanimously to approve new sanctions against North Korea that included a ban on coal and other exports worth more than $1bn. North Korea responded by blaming the Trump administration for the sanctions and claimed the U.S. teetered “on the knife’s edge of life and death”.

“We are ready to retaliate with far bigger actions to make the US pay a price
for its crime against our country and people,” said the official Korean Central News Agency, adding it would send “packs of wolves” to “strangle” any nation who opposes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Reactions to Tuesday’s disturbing developments were swift, with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton tweeting, “We’ve been playing the diplomatic game for a long time with #NorthKorea and it’s only given them time to advance their weapons program. North Korea’s rhetoric is always over-the-top, but we need to continue to prepare against possible provocative or hostile action.”

President Trump also took to Twitter to address the American people on the ever growing danger over North Korea, tweeting,”After many years of failure,countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive!”

In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the concept of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped intercontinental weapons would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said.

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NORTH KOREA THREATENS US WITH NUCLEAR STRIKE IN WAKE OF TOUGHER SANCTIONS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Korea said on Monday that it’s ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” in the wake of stricter sanctions imposed upon the rogue state by the United Nations.

The statement came after the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to approve tough new U.S.-drafted sanctions last Saturday, which included a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion.

Speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho blamed the Trump administration for the UN crackdown and said it’s ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” if met with military force to surrender it’s nuclear weapons.

“We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table,” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday.

Yong Ho’s comments coincided with a statement released by North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency in which North Korean officials accused the United States of “trying to drive the situation of the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, running amuck to conduct missile drill against the DPRK and deploying massive strategic equipment to the peninsula.”

“(North Korea) will make the US pay dearly for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country,” KCNA said.

In response, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the new UN measures were necessary to send a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the international community is united in its efforts to disarm North Korea of it’s nuclear weapons.

“We hope again that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to a conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically,” Tillerson said.

When asked about a time frame while speaking at the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila, Tillerson said America’s patience is wearing thin but that the Trump administration is doing everything it can to avoid bloodshed by first taking the strategic route.

“We’re not going to give someone a specific number of days or weeks,” Tillerson said. “This is not a ‘give me 30 days and we are ready to talk.’ It’s not quite that simple. So it is all about how we see their attitude toward approaching a dialogue with us.”

“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Tillerson added.

However, according to a White House statement, during a phone call between President Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in on Sunday, the leaders “affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world.”

Chinese state media on Monday said it agreed that North Korea must be punished for its missile tests, but criticized the U.S. for its “arrogance”. China, the second largest foreign creditor of the United States behind Japan, is North Korea’s most important ally.

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NORTH KOREA DEMANDS TRUMP ‘WAVE WHITE FLAG’; WARNS US ‘ON KNIFE’S EDGE OF LIFE AND DEATH’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Korea on Thursday threatened the United States with “unexpected gift packages” in the wake of it’s latest successful test missile launch.

Rodong Sinmun, the rogue nation’s official propaganda newspaper, issued the threat in a column titled “Heed the Warning of Juche Korea” in which the North Korean government criticized the Trump administration and warned that the U.S. is “on the knife’s edge of life and death” and urged President Trump to “wave a white flag” amid ongoing tensions with Pyongyang.

“Every minute and every second, the new reality that U.S. mainland is on the knife’s edge of life and death is forcing U.S. administration to wave a white flag and fundamentally change her North Korea policy,” the warning stated. “It is not the denuclearization of N. Korea, but the security of U.S. mainland which should be the top priority of Trump administration,” the piece added.

If Trump refuses to comply, the paper warned, “gift package” would be heading its way to “American bastards.”

“If U.S. still refuses to accept such a realistic demand and doggedly pursue hostile policy against North Korea in order to save face, she will receive unexpected ‘gift packages’ which we will continue to send,” the paper threatened.

Kim Jung-Un’s latest threat comes as U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said the U.S. and its allies are prepared to use “rapid, lethal and overwhelming force,” in order to stop the communist regime.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” O’Shaughnessy said during a press briefing on Jung-Un’s latest missile tests.

U.S. passport holders will not be able to travel to North Korea beginning September 1, according to a statement issued by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-02/pdf/2017-16287.pdf).

State Department officials say American citizens currently in North Korea who hold a U.S. passport are being directed to leave before the restrictions take place next month and that the restrictions will remain in effect for a period of one year unless the order is extended or revoked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens under North Korea’s system of law enforcement,” the statement read.

The State Department order was issued after University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier died after being released to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds because he was in a coma. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster in March 2016. The 22-year-old died on June 19, days after he returned to the U.S. as a result of what doctors treating in Ohio determined were “severe injuries to all areas” of his brain.

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