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Linking northeast India to southeast Asia is of US’s interest to counter China

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One of the reasons for the US’s interest in integration of northeast India with southeast Asia is a “lurking concern” about China’s looming presence in the region, a political science expert said here on Thursday.

“Regional integration (by the US) is seen as a good thing as it will lead to prosperity and greater prosperity means greater trade with the US and the possibilities of American investment,” Sumit Ganguly, director, Centre on American and Global Security at Indiana University, told

“… and it would be dishonest not to say at least one word… a lurking concern about China’s looming presence
particularly in Myanmar, Thailand and in Bangladesh,” Ganguly said here when quizzed on the US interest in linking northeast India with southeast Asia.

Ganguly opined China’s presence is probably not entirely benign.

“If this presence was entirely benign then the US could afford to shrug it off but there is probably something more than completely benign in China’s active interest in having possibilities of having bases in Myanmar, increasing Chinese presence in northern Myanmar and Chinese behaviour elsewhere… it is all sort of seamless. That looming shadow does exist,” he contended.

Ganguly is the co-author of the book “Heading East: Security, Trade, and Environment between India and Southeast Asia” that was unveiled here as a follow up to ‘Building Pan-Asian Connectivity Conference’ that was held in the city last year.

“It highlights both the challenges and the promises that are involved in linking northeast India to the southeast of Asia,” he said.

Ganguly, who holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilisations at the varsity, pointed out not enough has been done despite the announcement of the Look East policy.

“Despite physical proximity, not enough benefit has accrued to this part of the world and not enough has been done despite the announcement of the Look East policy as early as 1992 and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls it Act East.”

“… and one hopes it will not simply be a stated policy but a policy that will actually have teeth and will have actual significance and help in the development of the people in northeast India.”

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Donald Trump to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12

The two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and testing program, which has deepened long-seated tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore for a first ever summit between the leaders of the two countries.

“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” Trump said on Twitter.

The two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and testing program, which has deepened long-seated tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Trump’s announcement came just hours after three Americans who had been held prisoner in North Korea arrived at a U.S. military base outside Washington, having been released by Kim.

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Trump’s staffers walk out of White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer deemed the evening a “disgrace” in a tweet, to which Wolf replied: “Thanks!”

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Washington, April 29 : Members of Donald Trump’s administration walked out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner after comedian Michelle Wolf ripped into them including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the absence of the US President who didn’t attend.

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Comedian Michelle Wolf

A year after the White House boycotted the annual dinner, the Director of Strategic Communications, Mercedes Schlapp, and her husband, conservative activist Matt Schlapp, were among those who marched out of the ballroom on Saturday night at the Washington Hilton long before Wolf’s keynote routine was over, reports Politico news.

Footage broadcast live on cable TV networks showed Sanders sitting at the head table on stage stone-faced, wincing and at times raising her eyebrows as Wolf compared her to a character on the dystopian “Handsmaid’s Tale” and to an “Uncle Tom” for white women.

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“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye,” Wolf joked about Sanders. “Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

Wolf laced into Trump and repeatedly brought up his comments from the “Access Hollywood” tape where he spoke of groping women.

Wolf opened her act with the line: “Good evening, here we are at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with Trump, let’s get this over with.”

Wolf’s other targets included Vice President Mike Pence, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway and the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, Politico reported.

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer deemed the evening a “disgrace” in a tweet, to which Wolf replied: “Thanks!”

Echoing Spicer, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus called Wolf’s set “R/X rated” and said the performance left Trump as the clear winner.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who was honoured during the dinner for her reporting, said Sanders’ refusal to walk out amid the barbs was “impressive”.

Besides the administration, Wolf also hit out at the media but excluded the print media, because “it’s illegal to attack an endangered species”.

For the second year in a row, Trump avoided one of the annual highlights for a profession he has routinely called “the enemy of the American people”.

On Saturday, he was at a campaign rally in Michigan where he said a possible meeting between him and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un would take place in the next “three or four weeks”.

Begun in 1921, the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner has been attended by every President at least once during their term in office, beginning with President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

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Trump says Kim Jong Un wants to meet ‘as soon as possible’ and that he’s ‘very honorable’

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  • President Donald Trump continued his recent trend of praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday by saying he was “very honorable” and “very open.”

  • Trump has a habit of mixing praise of Kim with threats, but has lately taken to praising the North Korean leader.

  • Trump is set to become the first US president to ever meet face to face with a North Korean leader after Kim made a set of stunning concessions and appeared to cave to US demands, but experts are skeptical.

President Donald Trump continued his recent trend of praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday by saying he was “very honorable” and “very open” ahead of a planned meeting between the two leaders.

“Kim Jong Un – he really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we’re seeing,” Trump said to reporters, as French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House.

Trump has proven eager to meet with and conduct diplomacy with Kim despite spending almost all of 2017 threatening North Korea with nuclear annihilation and responding to Pyongyang’s own threats.

But since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, and sweeping rounds of US-led sanctions after intercontinental ballistic missile tests and a massive nuclear test, Kim has opened himself up to diplomacy.

First North Korea offered to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, then made the same offer to Trump, and then Kim unexpectedly went to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump reportedly accepted the offer to meet Kim without consulting his secretary of state at the time, Rex Tillerson. South Korea’s Moon was less eager, but ultimately agreed when Kim agreed to meet his conditions.

Trump previously said he’d be “honored” to talk to Kim, which he now looks likely to achieve.

He’s also expressed admiration for Kim’s leadership of North Korea, despite the fact that the regime runs labor camps that have been likened to Auschwitz in Nazi-controlled Europe.

“Not many 27-year-old men could go in and take over a regime … Say what you want, but that’s not easy – especially at that age,” Trump told ABC News before his inauguration in January 2016.

“How many young guys – he was like 26 or 25 when his father died – take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden … he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss,” Trump said. “You gotta give him credit.”

Trump is set to become the first US president to ever meet face to face with a North Korean leader after Kim made a set of stunning concessions and appeared to cave to US demands.

But experts warn Business Insider that North Korea has entered into and backed out of talks with the US before, and may simply be working to gain sanctions relief as the country’s economy falters.

 

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