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China’s Xi supports progress in inter-Korean talks: South Korea’s Blue House

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday welcomed recent progress in inter-Korean talks during a telephone call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the South’s Blue House said in a statement.

At Tuesday’s talks, North Korea said it would attend the Winter Olympics in the South next month, and both sides agreed to resolve problems through dialogue and revive military consultations to avoid accidental conflict.

Seoul and Beijing agreed in October to move beyond a year-long stand-off over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, a dispute that has been devastating to South Korean businesses that rely on Chinese consumers.

Moon made his first visit to China last month.

During the 30-minute call, Xi said he supported Moon’s stance that the advancement of inter-Korean ties and the denuclearisation of the peninsula should “go in parallel”, Moon’s office said.

“The two leaders agreed to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation,” the statement said.

It added that the two leaders hoped the latest dialogue effort would lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and the establishment of peace on the Korean peninsula, beyond next month’s Olympics.

In Beijing, the official China Daily cited Xi as telling Moon that China wanted to work with South Korea to “jointly maintain regional peace and stability”.

In a telephone call on Wednesday, Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump also said the dialogue “could naturally lead to talks between the United States and North Korea for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.”

Washington welcomed the talks as a first step towards resolving the crisis over North Korea’s program to develop nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, but it has reiterated that any talks involving the U.S. must be aimed at the North’s denuclearization.

However, Pyongyang said it would not discuss its nuclear weapons because they were aimed only at the United States and not its “brethren” in China, Russia and South Korea, showing that a diplomatic breakthrough to the crisis remains far off.

Source : Reuters

World

Nawaz Sharif’s daughter to contest from two seats in Pakistan elections

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Islamabad, June 23: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz will contest from two seats in the upcoming general elections in the country on July 25.

Maryam has filed her candidature from the National Assembly (NA)-127 in Lahore and from Punjab assembly constituency PP-173 respectively for contesting in Pakistan general elections.

The returning officers (ROs) approved Maryam’s candidacies. However, she would be now contesting the polls from NA-127 and PP-173 seats.

Earlier, Maryam announced that she would contest elections from NA-120, which is considered as the bastion of the Sharif family and was represented by Nawaz himself, and later by his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.

Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz Sharif formally took charge of the PML-N after an earlier court ruling banned the former premier from heading the party.Pakistan’s supreme court had in April banned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from participating in elections for life.

Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial described the ban on Sharif as “permanent” in a judgement read to the court, clarifying the length of an earlier ruling that disqualified the former premier from office.

Sharifs and their supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the former prime minister is the victim of a conspiracy by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.

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Hafiz Saeed’s son, son-in-law to contest Pakistan elections

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Islamabad, June 23: Mumbai terror- attack mastermind Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed’s son and son-in-law will contest July 25 Pakistan general elections from Punjab province on the little-known Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek’s (AAT) ticket registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Saeed’s son Hafiz Talha Saeed is a member of proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and son-in-law Hafiz Khalid Waleed is a member of Milli Muslim League (MML).

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has accepted the nomination papers of Hafiz Talha Saeed (son) and Hafiz Khalid Waleed (son-in-law) for National Assembly seat-91 (Sargodha-IV) and National Assembly seat-133 (Lahore-XI) respectively, the Dawn, quoted JuD’s Deputy Information Secretary Ahmed Nadeem, as saying.

Mumbai-terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s son and his son-in-law are among 265 candidates fielded by the Jamaat-ud -Dawah for contesting the upcoming polls.

The Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) was formed about 15 years ago and was registered with the ECP in 2013.

The MML-backed candidates have been fielded in Karachi, interior Sindh and Kyber-Pakhtunkhawa and other parts of the country .

The JuD, a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit which carried out the 2008 Mumbai attack which claimed 166 lives, launched its political front Milli Muslim League (MML).

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has denied registration of the MML as a political party following objections from the Interior Ministry which argued that “MML has links with banned militant outfits and  was an offshoot of the JuD, led by Saeed, banned by a UN resolution.

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America

Trump declares North Korea ‘extraordinary threat’

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Washington, June 23 : US President Donald Trump cited an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to American national security as he maintained long-standing economic restrictions on North Korea, including the freezing of any assets in Washington, a media report said.

An official declaration, contained in a notice to Congress, came on Friday despite Trump’s assertion this month that his June 12 historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons threat, reports The Washington Post.

Harsh economic restrictions will continue for one year under the declaration Trump signed Friday.

The paperwork keeps in place restrictions first imposed a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

The ban on the transfer of any American assets by North Korea’s leaders or its ruling party has been extended or expanded several times by former President Barack Obama and Trump himself in response to North Korean missile tests and other actions.

“The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula (and the actions and policies of the government of North Korea… Continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the US,” Trump wrote in the declaration.

Friday’s development comes in contrast to a tweet on June 13 where Trump said: “Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office… There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

The move follows as the US and South Korea cancelled two more training exercises on Friday, reports the BBC.

The Pentagon said the goal was to support diplomatic negotiations.

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