Daily Archives: January 2, 2019

Trump Says He Expects to Meet Again Soon With North Korea’s Kim

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he received a “great letter” from Kim Jong Un and will likely meet with the North Korean leader in the near future.

“We really established a very good relationship,” Trump said at a White House Cabinet meeting. “We’ll probably have another meeting.”

Trump’s comments came one day after Kim warned the current goodwill with the U.S. could end if Washington continues to impose sanctions to force his government to denuclearize.

In his annual New Year’s Day address, Kim said it was his “firm will” that North Korea will no longer produce or test nuclear weapons, or “use or spread” its arsenal. Kim added he was prepared to hold another meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump this year. But he said his country may have to follow another path unless Washington takes “corresponding measures.” Kim called on the U.S. and South Korea to end all joint military drills.

Kim and Trump signed a vaguely worded agreement during their historic summit in Singapore last June, but further negotiations have stalled in part over Pyongyang’s opposition to Washington’s call for complete denuclearization prior to granting any concessions.

North Korea is also demanding that the U.S. and South Korea first issue a peace declaration to formally end hostilities and replace the armistice that has been in effect since the Korean War ended in 1953. Critics worry a peace declaration could undermine the justification for the U.S. military presence in South Korea.

Despite Kim’s warning, South Korea’s Unification Ministry welcomed his address, saying it reflected Kim’s commitment toward complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, and the continued improvement of inter-Korean relations.

Tuesday’s speech was delivered exactly one year after Kim announced his willingness to send a contingent of North Korean athletes to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea the following month. The speech set off a series of diplomatic breakthroughs, including three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the meeting with President Trump.

Source: Voice of America

UK Struggling With Post-Brexit Identity Crisis

British ministers are seeking to rebrand Britain for the country’s exit from the European Union, but they’re divided � as their critics are � about how the country should see itself and be seen by others post-Brexit. The divisions are revealing a country deep in the throes of an identity crisis.

The country’s defense secretary, Gavin Williamson, a candidate to succeed embattled Prime Minister Theresa May, has been invoking Britain’s imperial past and has called for the opening of new military bases in the Far East and the Caribbean to boost ‘Britain’s standing’ on the world stage and to make Britain a true global player.

This is our biggest moment as a nation since the end of the Second World War, when we can recast ourselves in a different way, we can actually play the role on the world stage that the World expects us to play, Williamson said in a recent newspaper interview.

He was unable to elaborate, though, when pressed to explain what military purpose the new bases would serve or how they would translate into trade deals to compensate for the likely post-Brexit decrease in trade with Europe, Britain’s largest trading partner. Nor has he explained how the cash-strapped British military, described by a former army chief of staff recently as no longer fit for purpose, could afford the new bases.

Other less military-minded ministers in May’s ruling Conservative government say Britain should look to Singapore as a role model and usher in a low-tax, deregulated future for the country. Britain’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, another possible successor when May finally quits or is ousted, wants Britain to mimic Singapore, saying it transformed itself from a tiny territory devoid of natural resources into the world’s eighth richest country.

Now on a three-day tour of Asia, Hunt says, There could be few better instructions for us as we make our post-Brexit future.

But the talk of copying the Asian city-state and of pursuing a post-Brexit strategy of lower taxes, reduced public spending and fewer regulations, especially when it comes to the finance industry, in order to clear the way, in theory, for a more competitive and entrepreneurial Britain, has prompted the ire of opposition politicians, rights campaigners and organized labor leaders.

They accuse Brexiters of wanting to turn back the clock on labor standards and democratic safeguards, and to dismantle much of the welfare state. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn argues that following the Singapore example would turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven for the rich and international elites. Other critics point out that shadowy offshore financiers from the wilder reaches of casino capitalism and hedge-fund managers have been key donors to pro-Brexit campaigns, as well as the UK Independence Party.

Since Britons voted by a thin majority in the 2015 Brexit referendum to relinquish their 45-year-long membership of the EU, the May government led by its hardline Brexiters have sought to cast Britain’s departure as a huge opportunity that will allow Britain to embrace a golden destiny unfettered by EU rules and regulations.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has urged Britons not to be afraid of breaking out of the EU jail and to reach for a great future outside Europe, which he promises will be filled with sunlit uplands. Last month, during a House of Commons debate, he was sharply rebuked by a fellow Conservative lawmaker, Roger Gale, who mocked his breezy rhetoric and in a fiery exchange demanded Johnson reveal in much clearer detail what his big idea means.

Taking a leaf from the marketing playbook of Tony Blair’s Labor government, which sought to increase national pride by re-branding the country Cool Britannia, a play on the title of the British patriotic song Rule, Britannia, May’s government has come up with its own catchphrase, Global Britain, hoping that will help unite a country bitterly at odds over Brexit.

But defining coherently what that means in practice, especially in trade, security and foreign policy terms, is proving a more difficult task. Unappeased Brexit critics charge the catchphrase merely masks a lack of preparedness by May’s government for the highly disruptive consequences of breaking with the EU.

The ‘Global Britain’ narrative is meant to meet the British public’s great power expectations, Thibaud Harrois, an academic at the Sorbonne University in Paris, argued in a recent paper about Britain’s role in the world after a scheduled exit from the EU on March 29.

This narrative is far from supported by evidence and post-Brexit foreign and defense policy confirms and intensifies Britain’s already-growing isolation on the international stage, Harrois says. He adds, May’s ‘Global Britain’ narrative is fraught with nostalgia of a past when Britain could flourish and stand on its own, but today, to misquote U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s famous remark in 1962, Britain has lost its role and is unlikely to find an Empire.

Source: Voice of America

UK Struggling With Post-Brexit Identity Crisis

British ministers are seeking to rebrand Britain for the country’s exit from the European Union, but they’re divided � as their critics are � about how the country should see itself and be seen by others post-Brexit. The divisions are revealing a country deep in the throes of an identity crisis.

The country’s defense secretary, Gavin Williamson, a candidate to succeed embattled Prime Minister Theresa May, has been invoking Britain’s imperial past and has called for the opening of new military bases in the Far East and the Caribbean to boost ‘Britain’s standing’ on the world stage and to make Britain a true global player.

This is our biggest moment as a nation since the end of the Second World War, when we can recast ourselves in a different way, we can actually play the role on the world stage that the World expects us to play, Williamson said in a recent newspaper interview.

He was unable to elaborate, though, when pressed to explain what military purpose the new bases would serve or how they would translate into trade deals to compensate for the likely post-Brexit decrease in trade with Europe, Britain’s largest trading partner. Nor has he explained how the cash-strapped British military, described by a former army chief of staff recently as no longer fit for purpose, could afford the new bases.

Other less military-minded ministers in May’s ruling Conservative government say Britain should look to Singapore as a role model and usher in a low-tax, deregulated future for the country. Britain’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, another possible successor when May finally quits or is ousted, wants Britain to mimic Singapore, saying it transformed itself from a tiny territory devoid of natural resources into the world’s eighth richest country.

Now on a three-day tour of Asia, Hunt says, There could be few better instructions for us as we make our post-Brexit future.

But the talk of copying the Asian city-state and of pursuing a post-Brexit strategy of lower taxes, reduced public spending and fewer regulations, especially when it comes to the finance industry, in order to clear the way, in theory, for a more competitive and entrepreneurial Britain, has prompted the ire of opposition politicians, rights campaigners and organized labor leaders.

They accuse Brexiters of wanting to turn back the clock on labor standards and democratic safeguards, and to dismantle much of the welfare state. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn argues that following the Singapore example would turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven for the rich and international elites. Other critics point out that shadowy offshore financiers from the wilder reaches of casino capitalism and hedge-fund managers have been key donors to pro-Brexit campaigns, as well as the UK Independence Party.

Since Britons voted by a thin majority in the 2015 Brexit referendum to relinquish their 45-year-long membership of the EU, the May government led by its hardline Brexiters have sought to cast Britain’s departure as a huge opportunity that will allow Britain to embrace a golden destiny unfettered by EU rules and regulations.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has urged Britons not to be afraid of breaking out of the EU jail and to reach for a great future outside Europe, which he promises will be filled with sunlit uplands. Last month, during a House of Commons debate, he was sharply rebuked by a fellow Conservative lawmaker, Roger Gale, who mocked his breezy rhetoric and in a fiery exchange demanded Johnson reveal in much clearer detail what his big idea means.

Taking a leaf from the marketing playbook of Tony Blair’s Labor government, which sought to increase national pride by re-branding the country Cool Britannia, a play on the title of the British patriotic song Rule, Britannia, May’s government has come up with its own catchphrase, Global Britain, hoping that will help unite a country bitterly at odds over Brexit.

But defining coherently what that means in practice, especially in trade, security and foreign policy terms, is proving a more difficult task. Unappeased Brexit critics charge the catchphrase merely masks a lack of preparedness by May’s government for the highly disruptive consequences of breaking with the EU.

The ‘Global Britain’ narrative is meant to meet the British public’s great power expectations, Thibaud Harrois, an academic at the Sorbonne University in Paris, argued in a recent paper about Britain’s role in the world after a scheduled exit from the EU on March 29.

This narrative is far from supported by evidence and post-Brexit foreign and defense policy confirms and intensifies Britain’s already-growing isolation on the international stage, Harrois says. He adds, May’s ‘Global Britain’ narrative is fraught with nostalgia of a past when Britain could flourish and stand on its own, but today, to misquote U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s famous remark in 1962, Britain has lost its role and is unlikely to find an Empire.

Source: Voice of America