Roundup of news reports

Staff Reports

Donald Trump: Kim Jong-un initiates meeting with POTUS

DONALD Trump’s own staff were caught off guard by his sudden announcement on North Korea — they weren’t the only ones.

Debra Killalea@DebKillalea

March 9, 2018

Kim Jong-un and Trump are going to meet!

DONALD Trump’s own White House staff were caught off guard by his sudden announcement on North Korea, saying it “wasn’t planned”.

White House officials were reportedly blindsided by Mr Trump’s decision to pop into the briefing room today to reveal an announcement would be taking place regarding North Korea.

According to CNN, the President was on his way to the East Wing to meet students when he stopped by the briefing room to tell the media the South Koreans were about to make their announcement.

“This was not planned,” an administration official said. “It was all him.”

Mr Trump appears to have caught his own top foreign policy official off guard as well.

Speaking to the media earlier in the day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed to shoot down the prospect of direct negotiations with North Korea.

“In terms of direct talks with the United States, and you asked negotiations, we’re a long way from negotiations, we just need to be very clear-eyed and realistic about it,” Mr Tillerson said.

CNN reported that Pentagon officials were also not expecting Mr Trump’s announcement.

CNN: Some Pentagon officials were caught off guard by the announcement from Trump or unaware that an announcement had been made.

— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) March 9, 2018

The revelation emerged after the President agreed to accept an invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un who promised to suspend his country’s nuclear testing.

The extraordinary move came after a delegation of South Korean officials met with Kim last week in Pyongyang.

A senior South Korean delegation visited the White House to brief officials on its talks with North Korea.

South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong announced Mr Trump had agreed to meet Kim in May.

No sitting US President has ever met with a North Korean leader and the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.

The two nations technically remain in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

Mr Chung said North Korea has committed to stopping his nuclear and missile tests, a longstanding US demand.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the President had agreed to the meeting.

She said Mr Trump will accept the invitation to meet with Kim at a place and time to be determined.

However she stressed all sanctions and pressure against the regime would remain in place in the meantime.

.@POTUS greatly appreciates the nice words of the S. Korean delegation & Pres Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet w/ Kim Jong Un at a place & time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of NK. In the meantime all sanctions & maximum pressure must remain

— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 9, 2018

South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong pictured outside the West Wing of the White House. Picture: Mandel Ngan/AFP AFP

South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong pictured outside the West Wing of the White House. Picture: Mandel Ngan/AFP AFPSource:AFP

Speaking outside the White House Mr Chung confirmed Kim has committed to stopping his nuclear and missile tests.

“Today I had the honour to invite Donald Trump and his national security team to Pyongyang,” he said.

“He (Kim) expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.

“President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearisation.”

Mr Chung said he explained to Mr Trump his policy, together with international solidarity, had “brought us to this juncture”.

Mr Trump tweeted the move was great progress but also stressed sanctions would remain in place and that meeting plans were underway.

Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018

It is also understood the US and South Korea will still undertake military exercises, a move Pyongyang has called provocative.


Mr Trump had earlier said that South Korea will make a “major announcement” concerning North Korea.

When asked whether the announcement would be about talks with North Korea and he told ABC reporter Jon Karl: “It’s almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit.”

The major move comes after Seoul publicised that North Korea offered talks with the US on denuclearisation and normalising ties, a potential diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.

The two leaders had called each other nicknames for months in an escalating war of words which set the world on edge.

Mr Trump took office vowing to stop North Korea from attaining a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the US mainland and promised to take tough action against the regime.

However he was swayed between threats and insults directed at Kim and more conciliatory rhetoric.

Mr Trump, who has ramped up economic sanctions on North Korea to force it to negotiate on giving up its nukes, has threatened the pariah nation with “fire and fury” if its threats against the US and its allies continued.

Following Kim’s repeated threats against the US in a New Year’s address, Kim mentioned the “nuclear button” on his office desk.

Mr Trump responded by tweeting that he has a nuclear button, too, “but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works.”


Dr Malcolm Davis, senior analyst in defence strategy and capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute told Kim was playing the game.

Dr Davis said the meeting between the two leaders was significant and not in a positive sense.

“Firstly, the North Koreans, in spite of what they say, have no intention of denuclearising. Nuclear weapons are the sole guarantor of regime security and I don’t see that changing any time soon,” he said.

“The North Koreans will seek wide-ranging concessions from Trump in any meeting, including easing of economic sanctions, and will push for a reduction of US military presence on the Peninsula.

“In return they will talk about denuclearising, but they can stretch those talks out dramatically, to focus on the minutia of process, rather than policy substance.”

Dr Davis said he believed North Korea was gaining valuable time to continue working on their capabilities.

It would also allow them to potentially ease economic pressure while undermining US credibility and weakening the US-South Korean defence relationship.

“At the end the process, unless they agree to intrusive and ongoing wide-ranging verification and monitoring, we have only their word that they are actually denuclearising,” he said.

Dr Davis also said Mr Trump going to Pyongyang was “very bad optics.”

“It sends the message that Trump recognises Kim as leader of a nuclear North Korea, which would be a huge win for Kim Jong-un,” he said.

“It would be much better to meet at a neutral location – China does not really count in that sense, and I doubt Kim would go to Seoul. But I worry Trump will accept a meeting in Pyongyang.”

Mr Davis said he doubted the US would get nothing of substance out of this as “we’ve been down this path a few times before.”


CNN international correspondent Will Ripley, who has visited North Korea dozens of times, said the credit for these talks was all down to South Korea’s efforts.

“You have to give a real hats off to President Moon Jae-in here in South Korea,” he said.

Ripley said Kim knows the President likes drama which is why he would have offered to meet him, adding sanctions were starting to bite.

“He’s taking a page from the Trump playbook,” Ripley said. “He looks at what is happening right now.”

“The trucks coming from China have gone to almost none and it’s going to have a negative effect on North Korea’s economy in the coming months and years if the sanctions continue,” Ripley said.

“There’s also the messaging from President Trump that he would be very willing to move to a military option, an attack on North Korea if diplomacy doesn’t work.”

“You have to give a real hats off to President Moon Jae-in here in South Korea.” @willripleyCNN says the South Korean leader’s diplomatic skills have to be praised in bringing Trump and Kim together.

— CNN (@CNN) March 9, 2018

New York-based Park Strategies senior vice president Sean King, an expert on Asian politics, told Kim’s offer to freeze without asking the US to suspend its military exercises was a major win.

“Trump’s accepted Kim’s invitation. I’m fine with that, so long as South Korea’s in the lead which it is,” he said.

“Just don’t overlook Japan which has been our most steadfast regional ally and is in North Korea’s immediate line of nuclear fire.”

Mr King said the US lost nothing by Mr Trump agreeing to meet Kim.

“I still don’t think there’s any real deal to be made, though, as eventual regime change is the only practical way out,” he said.

“But I don’t want to diminish what’s happened, as we just witnessed history. Enjoy the moment.”

Mr Chung pictured meeting Kim in Pyongyang last week. Picture: KCNA/AFP

Mr Chung pictured meeting Kim in Pyongyang last week. Picture: KCNA/AFPSource:AFP


Anti-nuclear weapons campaigner John Hallam said any opportunity to take tensions down should be seized with both hands, calling the talks an “outbreak of common sense”.

Mr Hallam said Mr Trump was taking a risk by meeting Kim and that this meeting would legitimise the regime, but this was still a better outcome than war.

“You’ve got to start small, he said.

“Yes in some ways it legitimises the regime, but having a jihad against it isn’t going to be particularly helpful.”

Mr Hallam said the meeting was potentially seismic “provided that the Trump administration does not ruin the opportunity”

Mr Hallam said further sanctions at this point would be silly.

He also said he didn’t believe Mr Trump should win the credit for these talks which was all down to the Korean leaders.

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, also welcomed the historic meeting which she said it was all down to South Korea.

“ICAN commends South Korea’s leadership in achieving history dialogue between the US and North Korea, which is the only pathway to nuclear disarmament in the face of fire and fury,” Ms Fihn said.

“We urge both North Korea and the United States to join the majority of countries in pursuing permanent denuclearisation through The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ”

— with wires

Comment on Facebook

The time has come for ALL Americans to decide if they are going to support America or Donald Trump and the immoral GOP because we cannot do both.

As Americans we can no longer support a vindictive president who ridicules disabled people, insults P.O.W’s, veterans and Gold Star families, or brags about sexually assaulting the wives, daughters, sisters and mothers of this country.

As Americans we can no longer support a narcissistic president and Congress who continues to divide our country with hate, anger and fear by only appealing to his base instead of trying to unite America.

As Americans we can no longer support a deceitful president who lies by changing his story every time he speaks, violates human rights and would destroy our health care system along with this Republican congress just to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

As Americans we can no longer support a vengeful president who attacks the free press declaring that freedom of speech is the enemy of the people and who denigrates, insults and undermines our intelligence agencies.

As Americans we can no longer support an unpatriotic president who will criticize our allies yet will not denounce our enemies.

If you still support this president, you also support all the deviate behavior listed above including the abandonment of human values, a corruption of our Constitution, and a betrayal of the America we hope to be.

As Americans we pledge our allegiance to America not to Donald Trump.

This was written by Ken Sosinsky.

Franciscan Blessing:

May God bless you with a restless discomfort

about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger

at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears

to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,

so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness

to believe that you really can make a difference in this world,

so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Sinclair TV Group Requires Local News Anchors to Echo President Trump in Bashing ‘Fake News’

President Trump Took Aim at Fake News Media During CPAC Speech

He expressed his dislike for fake news and the use of anonymous sources.

By Emily Price

March 8, 2018


Sinclair Media Group, one of the largest local TV station owners, is reportedly requiring its anchors to read promotional messages on air that many are calling “pro-Trump propaganda.”

The script, which is required to be read during news time rather than using up commercial spots, includes anchors saying they’re “extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [proper news brand name of local station] produces.” The anchors are then supposed to follow by saying, “But I’m [we are] concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”

The message continues: “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’ … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy,” CNN reports.

The anchors are then told to close the statement by saying that their station pursues the truth and “We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left or right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.”

A staffer who wished to remain anonymous told CNN that everyone at the station was uncomfortable reading the script. While the message isn’t explicitly political in nature, many feel the message of “fake news” echos President Donald Trump’s often-inaccurate accusation about “fake news.”

Sinclair employees also claim they have been forced to air stories during newscasts that have nothing to do with their local audience and instead advance hot-button topics for conservatives.

Sinclair, which is known for its right-leaning news, owns or operates 173 local television stations across the country.

Staff Reports