Members of the U.N. Security Council in a Thursday closed-door session reportedly rebuked North Korea for its test earlier this week of two ballistic missiles.
Each representative at the powerful 15-member U.N. body condemned the firing of the Rodong medium-range missiles “as a violation of Security Council resolution[s],” Luxembourg diplomat Sylvie Lucas, the current rotating president of the council, said after the meeting was done, Reuters reported.
Multiple council envoys said further discussions probably would be held next week on potential new measures against North Korea. An unidentified Western diplomat told the news service it would “be an appropriate response” to broaden the number of North Korean entities under U.N. sanctions.
Whether the council decides to expand the sanctions list will depend largely on China’s willingness to go along. Beijing on a number of previous occasions has protected North Korea from Security Council punishments.
Meanwhile, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno on Tuesday told a congressional hearing that the service was “looking at the options” for maintaining deployment of an antimissile system in Guam that could counter intermediate-range ballistic missile strikes, the Pacific Daily News reported.
The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system was deployed to the U.S. island territory in spring 2013 during a period of heightened nuclear tensions with North Korea.
Separately, South Korea, Japan, and the United States have agreed to hold two separate trilateral meetings in April to focus on improving cooperation in responses to North Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reported. One meeting is to involve high-ranking defense officials from the three countries. The other session is expected to involve the nations’ senior negotiators assigned to a stalled multinational process on North Korean denuclearization.
Elsewhere, South Korean President Park Geun-hye in a high-profile speech on Friday said Seoul was prepared to supply North Korea with significant economic assistance, if Pyongyang would agree to surrender its nuclear-weapons program, Reuters separately reported.
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."