Senior U.S. and Chinese officials on Monday assessed the security climate in North Korea amid reports of ongoing purges and executions by Pyongyang.
Speaking in Beijing, U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy Glyn Davies said he and Chinese officials reviewed “in great depth” the domestic situation in the North, where the surprise December execution of Jang Song Thaek — the uncle of ruler Kim Jong Un — has unnerved the East Asia region and raised questions about the stability of the Kim regime, Kyodo News reported.
In recent days, multiple reports from unidentified sources described further executions of relatives and associates of Jang, prompting heightened global concerns. Were there to be an abrupt government collapse in Pyongyang, it could have disastrous implications for the security of the nation’s nuclear devices or materials.
Davies told reporters he discussed with senior Chinese officials how best “to put pressure” on the North to engage in “credible” denuclearization negotiations.
The special envoy is next scheduled to travel to Seoul where, on Wednesday, he is to meet with senior South Korean nuclear negotiator Cho Tae-yong for more talks about the North Korean nuclear impasse, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The discussions probably will look at the internal security situation in the North as well as Kim’s recent peace overtures to the South, unidentified Seoul officials said.
North Korean government newspaper Rodong Sinmun in a Tuesday editorial renewed calls for Seoul to accept Pyongyang’s offer for a mutual truce on provocative activities and armed hostilities, Yonhap 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."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."