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 »
"Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday. A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday."
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.