U.S. and Chinese diplomats on Wednesday discussed efforts by Beijing to reinvigorate a long-paralyzed process aimed at shuttering North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
In Beijing, Glyn Davies, the Obama administration’s special envoy for North Korea policy, met with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei. China wants the United States to take part in semi-formal talks that it has proposed hosting next week with four additional nations: Japan, both Koreas and Russia.
The six-party talks are aimed at convincing North Korea to permanently close its nuclear weapons program in exchange for considerable foreign-economic assistance and international-security guarantees. Washington and Seoul contend that Pyongyang has shown no sincere willingness to denuclearize, and thus negotiations at this time likely would be unproductive.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said discussions are still taking place around Beijing’s proposal to hold the so-called Track 1.5 talks on Sept. 18. “Talks are still ongoing,” the spokesman said. “We will release relevant information in due course.”
Meanwhile, an inter-Korean business complex in North Korea that has been closed since the eruption of Korean Peninsula tensions this spring is slated to begin operating again next week, CNN reported.
“Companies will begin re-opeation from Sept. 16 on a test run,” the South Korean Unification Ministry said in a statement.
Separately, the South Korean Defense Ministry plans to display its new precision-guided cruise missile in a parade in the South Korean capital in October, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.
The domestically designed Hyeonmu 3 missile was developed for possible precision strikes on North Korea’s strategic assets. In the last year South Korea began fielding it on its warships.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the Seoul-based University of North Korean Studies, is leery that the high-profile display of the cruise missile could antagonize Pyongyang and sour bilateral relations that have gradually improved since the spring.
“In light of the current situation, a low-key event is more desirable than a large-scale parade which is likely to irritate the North,” the academic said.
What We're Following See More »
The Senate voted on Wednesday 72-26 on a bill to fund the government through Dec. 9, averting a looming shutdown. The legislation will now go to the House, where it could be voted on as early as Wednesday. After this legislation is approved by the House, Congress will recess until the lame-duck session following elections.
"Congress voted Wednesday to override President Obama for the first time in his eight-year tenure, as the House followed the Senate in rejecting a veto of legislation allowing families of terrorist victims to sue Saudi Arabia. The House easily cleared the two-thirds threshold to push back against the veto. The final tally was 348-77, with 18 Republicans and 59 Democrats voting no."
Hyperbole alert! Following the Senate's decision to override President Obama's veto of a bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. court, the White House has responded forcefully, specifically White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983," Earnest said on Air Force One. The House is likely to follow suit in overriding Obama's veto when it takes up the vote.
Two weeks after a massive stroke, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president and prime minister of Israel Shimon Peres passed away late Tuesday night. In a political, military, and diplomatic career that lasted nearly 70 years, Peres was influential both in building up the formidable strength of the Israeli military and in seeking to negotiate lasting peace with Israel's many neighboring Arab countries. Within hours of the announcement of his death, both condolences and tributes began pouring in, including from former President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair.