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Trump to VOA: ‘We’re Going to Denuke North Korea’

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President Donald Trump spoke with VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren after his summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore about what the two discussed and what to expect next.

Van Susteren: What surprised you about Kim Jong Un?

Trump: “Really, he’s got a great personality. He’s a funny guy, he’s very smart, he’s a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I’m surprised by that, but he loves his people. And I think that we have the start of an amazing deal. We’re going to denuke North Korea. It’s going to start immediately and a lot of other things are happening, including getting the remains back. You know — that’s been— know you’ve been so involved in North Korea, but getting the remains back Greta is so important to so many people. They’ve called me, they wrote me letters, “Please can you do it?” and he’s agreed to do that, thousands of people so— who died in the war— so that’s a big deal.”

Van Susteren: So you put the human rights issue on the table today and he reacted how?

Trump: “Very well. I mean, we obviously were talking about the denuclearization 90 percent of the time, but we put a lot of other things, including human rights were mentioned, getting the remains back were a big factor, in fact we put it in the document, we were able to get that in the document, we got a lot of good things in that document, that was far beyond what anyone thought was going to happen.”

Van Susteren: Give me some behind the scenes, did you issue an ultimatum to him, did he issue an ultimatum to you? What was the back and forth?

Trump: “No, not an ultimatum. We’ve been dealing for three months really and we’ve been dealing through our various representatives including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who’s done a really fantastic job. So we’ve been dealing for a pretty good period of time and when we met today, we got along right from the beginning. You know for me this is hour number 25. I haven’t been sleeping for 25 hours, it’s been a big long negotiation and I’m very proud of it. It starts a process. You know that could have ended in a war, that could have ended with many millions of people— you know North Korea very well, Seoul has 28 million people, that could have ended up with millions of people dead but we’re gonna end up with a deal.”

Van Susteren: What about our troops? Are they staying in South Korea?

Trump: “Yeah they are going to stay. We didn’t even discuss that, that wasn’t discussed. We are going to get out of the war games that cost so much money. You know where we— cause I think number one, it’s very provocative, and I want to do it, and I think they’re very happy about it because it is so provocative. But it cost a fortune to do it. And we won’t do that as long as we are negotiating in good faith.”

Van Susteren: What brought Kim to the table this time after saber-rattling over decades?

Trump: “Well actually I don’t think there’s been too much saber rattling, prior to me I don’t think, they basically had a silencio attitude – silence – they didn’t want to talk about it and you can’t do that. And I think the initial rhetoric was very important. Frankly, as much as I hated to do it and as much as some people thought I was doing the wrong thing. I think without that, we wouldn’t be here. I also think he really wants to make a deal, he wants to do something. “

Van Susteren: But why?

Trump: “Because he knows that we mean business. I don’t think he felt that in the past. I think in the past, look it was different people, it didn’t work out. But he knows that we want to do business, we have to do business and we will do business. And now we do have— it’s been you know not a long time— although you could say from day one, we’ve been talking about North Korea in a very tough manner. But I think we signed a document today which was far, far greater and more comprehensive than people thought – and nobody thought this was possible.”

Van Susteren: What do you think he thought of you after he left?

Trump: “I think he liked me and I like him. And I understand the past and, you know, nobody has to tell me, he’s a rough guy. He has to be a rough guy or he has been a rough person. But we got along very well. He’s smart, loves his people, he loves his country. He wants a lot of good things and that’s why he’s doing this.”

Van Susteren: “But he’s starved them. He’s been brutal to them. He still loves his people?”

Trump: “Look, he’s doing what he’s seen done, if you look at it. But, I really have to go by today and by yesterday and by a couple of weeks ago because that’s really when this whole thing started. Again, without the rhetoric and without the sanctions — the sanctions were very important — the sanctions are going to remain on until such time as we see, you know, this is going to happen. And we pretty much see that now but the sanctions will remain on until we really start dismantling or dismantle the nuclear weapons.”

Van Susteren: “Because this is Voice of America it will be heard in North Korea by the citizens of DPRK of North Korea. What do you want to say directly to the citizens of North Korea?”

Trump: “Well, I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them. He wants to do right by them and we got along really well. We had a great chemistry — you understand how I feel about chemistry. It’s very important. I mean, I know people where there is no chemistry no matter what you do you just don’t have it. We had it right from the beginning, I talked about that and I think great things are going to happen for North Korea.”

Van Susteren: “Mr. President, nice to see you. All the way from Washington.”

Trump: “That’s true. It’s been a long time. At some point I’ll be able to go to sleep, I think. You know, get a little rest.”

Van Susteren: “Indeed. Have a safe trip back sir.”

Trump: “Thank you Greta, a great honor.”

 

This content is republished with written permission from Voice Of America under license to NewsThisSecond

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7.3 Earthquake hits New Britain island in Papua New Guinea

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7.3 Earthquake hits New Britain island in Papua New Guinea.

Preliminary reports warn tsunami waves could hit areas within 300km of the earthquake’s epicentre.

The quake hit off the coast New Britain region of Papua New Guinea earlier today. (Daily Star)

This is a breaking story and will be updated shortly

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NY Man Planned to Blow Himself Up at Washington Mall

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Police and FBI agents searched a Hudson Valley home Wednesday after learning about a man who was allegedly building a bomb in order to blow himself up in Washington D.C., two law enforcement officials told News 4 New York.

Investigators said they were concerned the man, identified as Paul Rosenfeld, at the home on Slocum Avenue in Orangetown was in the process of acquiring bomb parts.

Officials tell News 4 Rosenfeld had no criminal history but had told a reporter in Pennsylvania he planned to blow himself up on the Washington Mall around Election Day because he was angry about the country’s direction. 

He had no plans to hurt anyone else, officials said. He is believed to be a lone actor not affiliated with any international terror group or ideology. 

Full Article at https://nts24.co.uk/2A2oWjM 

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Trump ‘demanding’ answers from Saudis about missing writer

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S. is “demanding” answers from Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of a well-known Saudi writer and government critic Turkish authorities say was slain inside his country’s diplomatic mission in Istanbul.

Trump said he plans to invite to the White House the fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, a writer for The Washington Post who has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 to get paperwork for his marriage.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question during an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

Members of Congress have grown increasingly insistent that the administration find out what happened to Khashoggi. The Saudi government has become a closer ally under Trump and some lawmakers warn that relations could be jeopardized if it turns out the kingdom was involved in his disappearance.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he has a call in to the fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who had been waiting outside the consulate when Khashoggi went inside and has appealed to the president and first lady Melania Trump for help.

Trump said nobody knows exactly what happened and expressed hope that Khashoggi is not dead. He also said he had spoken with the Saudis about what he called a “bad situation,” but he did not disclose details of his conversations.

Saudi Arabia denies involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, a former insider in Saudi government circles who has been living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. for the past year after fleeing a crackdown on intellectuals and activists in the country.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House national security adviser John Bolton and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke on Tuesday to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about Khashoggi. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then had a follow-up call with the crown prince to reiterate the U.S. request for information.

While angry members of Congress likely won’t cause the administration to turn away from Prince Mohammed and end decades of close security ties with Saudi Arabia, they could throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the U.S. scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said “there will definitely be consequences” if it turns out the Saudis were involved in Khashoggi disappearance. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said it would be “devastating” to the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, said if Saudi Arabia had lured a U.S. resident into a consulate and killed him, “it’s time for the United States to rethink our military, political and economic relationship with Saudi Arabia.” But he said it was unclear whether the Trump administration was willing to “go beyond words.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a longtime critic of the Saudi government, said he’ll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He told local radio in his home state Tuesday that he wants to end the arms shipments if there’s “any indication” the Saudis are “implicated in killing this journalist that was critical of them.”

Trump’s comments Wednesday were the toughest yet from his administration on the Khashoggi case. Officials have expressed concern but refused even to entertain questions about what the consequences would be if Turkish allegations turn out to be true. Pompeo has called on the Saudi government to conduct a thorough investigation and to be transparent about its results.

The reaction from European governments has also been cautious. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told his Saudi counterpart that if media reports about Khashoggi were correct, it “would be extremely concerning and the U.K. will treat the incident very seriously,” according to the Foreign Office.

The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, has described the allegations as “malicious leaks and grim rumors” and said the kingdom is “gravely concerned” about Khashoggi. Saudi officials maintain he left the consulate shortly after entering, although it has failed to provide evidence.

Washington Post CEO and publisher Fred Ryan said reports suggested the journalist was victim of “state-sponsored, cold-blooded murder.” He demanded answers in a statement Tuesday, saying “Silence, denials and delays are not acceptable.”

Analysts said there were reasons for skepticism about the Turkish account. Ties between Ankara and Riyadh are at a low point over Turkey’s support for Qatar in that country’s yearlong dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim power, is also annoyed by Ankara’s rapprochement with the kingdom’s Shiite archrival, Iran.

Saudi authorities’ failure to provide video footage of Khashoggi’s movements at the consulate to rebut the Turkish allegations have only deepened suspicions.

The Trump administration, from the president on down, is heavily invested in the Saudi relationship. That’s unlikely to change, said Robin Wright, a scholar at the Wilson Center think tank and close friend of the missing writer. The administration’s Middle East agenda heavily depends on the Saudis, including efforts to counter Iranian influence in the region, fight extremism and build support for an expected plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Indication of those stakes came within four months of Trump taking office, when Saudi Arabia became his first destination on a presidential trip and he announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales.

Prince Mohammed has introduced some economic and social reforms, allowing women to drive and opening movie theaters in the deeply conservative Muslim nation. The flip side, however, is that he’s also squelched dissent and imprisoned activists. He has championed the three-year military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen that has pushed that nation toward famine and caused many civilian deaths.

Still, the Trump administration last month stood behind its support for that campaign with weapons, logistics and intelligence, certifying that the Saudis were taken adequate steps to prevent civilian despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Karen Elliott House, a veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chair of the board of trustees at RAND Corp., said U.S. support for the Yemen war is likely to be the focus of congressional criticism but won’t endanger a relationship that has endured for decades, underpinned by shared strategic interests. Even under the Obama administration, which had difficult relations with Riyadh compared with Trump, there were some $65 billion in completed arms sales.

“The U.S.-Saudi relationship is certainly not about shared moral values,” House said. “It’s about shared security interests.”

___

Associated Press writers Susannah George, Matthew Lee and Deb Riechmann and video journalist Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

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