Politics Donald Trump’s future depends in part on Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong Un David Jackson•Donald Trump’s future depends in part on Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong Un SEOUL – Kim Jong Un and North Korea’s nukes.Vladimir Putin and Russian election activities. Xi Jinping, China tariffs, and new talks on a trade deal.These issues dominated President Donald Trump’s four-day trip to Asia for a G20 summit in Japan and a meeting with Kim at the border of North and South Korea border.And many of these same issues will linger in the months ahead as Trump seeks re-election, in part by claiming a new kind of foreign policy leadership. He hopes that includes a new trade deal with China and a new nuclear deal with North Korea, each of which he believes will help his domestic situation in the United States.”The leaders of virtually every country that I met at the G-20 congratulated me on our great economy,” Trump tweeted at one point during the week, spotlighting another campaign issue. „We have the best economy anywhere in the world, with GREAT & UNLIMITED potential looking into the future!”Democrats, meanwhile, will try to cast Trump as an erratic leader who is too friendly with autocrats without getting anything in return. The Asia trip, they said, underscored Trump’s weaknesses, including a tariff policy that hurts farmers and consumers. Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson noted that Trump also spent a lot of time attacking domestic political opponents during his Asia sojourn, even in the presence of foreign leaders.”Trump should reimburse American taxpayers for his trip overseas,” Ferguson said. A look at parts of Trump’s agenda during his brief trip to Seoul and Osaka, Japan:China, tariffs, and the American economy During a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 in Osaka, Trump and Xi agreed to re-start negotiations on a new trade agreement that had collapsed in May.As part of that deal, Trump agreed to hold off on new tariffs targeting Chinese products. A new agreement would also void existing tariffs, ending a trade war that Democrats plan to use against Trump at election time.Thanks to China’s retaliatory tariffs,”manufacturers and especially soy farmers are hurting,” Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said during last week’s debate. „Tariffs are taxes.”Trump defends his tariffs, saying they brought the Chinese to the bargaining topic and have encouraged more people to buy more American products. Most economists disagree with him, however.Some Republicans are concerned that tariffs will hurt their electoral chances in 2020, and feel like Trump needs some kind of new deal with China.Matt Mackowiak, a Texas-based Republican political consultant, said “we know the tariffs are harming the agricultural industry.” But Trump’s base, he said, trusts him on the need to fight what they call China’s unfair trade practices.“It would benefit the Trump re-elect if he can put the trade war behind him, but he needs to achieve a victory for it all to have been worth it,” Mackowiak said,North Korea and KimPresident Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the North Korean side of the border at the village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone on June 30, 2019.Four months after Trump’s second summit with Kim in Vietnam collapsed, the two met again Sunday in the Demilitarized Zone on the North and South Korea border. Trump became the first American president to actually cross that border and set foot in North Korean territory.After meeting for nearly an hour, they agreed to appoint „teams” to try and renew talks on a nuclear weapons deal with North Korea, even as the two sides remain at a basic impasse.The Trump administration says it won’t move to lift sanctions on North Korea until it submits specific plans to dismantle nuclear weapons programs; North Korea says it won’t provide plans until Trump removes sanctions.Many analysts question whether Trump will be able to get a North Korea nuclear deal to show voters at election time next year. They said Kim has no plan to give up his nuclear weapons.”Kim’s intentions all along were to trap Trump into an open-ended negotiation process from which Trump cannot retreat,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, professor of Korean Studies with the Fletcher School at Tufts University.More: Trump arrives at G20 complaining about allies Germany, India and his host, JapanMore: Trump’s own brand of diplomacy is on display at G20. How will it fare with Valdimir Putin, Xi Jinping?Fooling Around With Putin Trump appeared to joke around when reporters asked him if he intended to warn the Russian leader not to seek to interfere in the 2020 election, as happened during Trump’s victorious campaign in 2016.”Don’t meddle in the election, president,” Trump said in a less-than-serious manner as he wagged a finger at the Russian president.Putin just laughed.Trump also got caught on a hot mike telling Putin he wished he could „get rid” of some people who work in „fake news.” This to the leader of Russia, a country where aggressive journalists have been known to wind up dead.Trump has condemned investigations into Russian election interference, calling them „a witch hunt” by people who are trying to make excuses for their election loss in 2016.Democrats often condemn Trump’s seeming coziness with Putin and will try to exploit that at election time.After Trump’s performance with Putin at the G20, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris tweeted: „It’s clear more than ever that the president is a national security threat.”No rush with Iran, China, North KoreaTrump’s trip included an unusual verbal tic: frequent claims that he isn’t in a „rush” or „hurry” to address some of these pending global challenges.Tensions with Iran over its nuclear program? „We have a lot of time,” Trump said before a bilateral meeting with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. „There’s no rush. They can take their time. There’s absolutely no time pressure.”The potential China trade deal? „The quality of the transaction is far more important to me than speed,” Trump tweeted Sunday. „I am in no hurry, but things look very good!”A North Korea nuclear deal? „We’re not looking for speed,” Trump said. „We’re looking to make it right.”Politics At the Summit Throughout his short trip to Asia, Trump attacked Democratic opponents even while appearing in traditional non-partisan settings.While attending a series of G20 meetings, Trump tweeted out negative comments about Democrats during their pair of presidential debates. He also ran down the opposition in a pre-meeting photo opportunity with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.At the final stop of the trip, a speech to troops at Osan Air Base in South Korea, Trump said Democrats „want open borders and to hell with the military.”Trump is planning more foreign trips over the next 16 months pre-election. Don’t expect him to quit politicking after he passes the water’s edge.His political rhetoric in Asia did not go unnoticed back home.”In the old days, no one attacked a President when he’s on foreign soil,” Ferguson said. „Now, Trump pals around with our enemies on foreign soil and attacks America instead.”This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump’s future depends in part on Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong Un
Donald Trump stepped onto North Korean soil in a historic first Sunday as he met Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un in a moment of high diplomatic drama on the world’s last Cold War frontier.
Moments after becoming the only sitting US president to set foot inside North Korea, Trump brought Kim back over the dividing line for a meeting where they agreed to start working-level talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons.
Trump, 73, also said he had invited 35-year-old Kim to the White House „anytime he wants to do it”.
„It was an honour that you asked me to step over that line, and I was proud to step over the line,” he told Kim.
As they sat down for discussions, Kim said their „handshake of peace” in a location that was „the symbol of the division of north and south” showed that „we are willing to put the past behind us”.
The impromptu meeting in the DMZ — after Trump issued an invitation on Twitter the day before — came with negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington at a deadlock.
Their first summit took place in a blaze of publicity in Singapore last year but produced only a vaguely worded pledge about denuclearisation. A second meeting in Vietnam in February that intended to put flesh on those bones broke up without agreement.
Contact between the two sides has since been minimal — with Pyongyang issuing frequent criticisms of the US position — but the two leaders exchanged a series of letters before Trump issued his offer to meet at the DMZ.
Trump’s entry onto North Korean soil — which he said was uncertain until the last moment — is an extraordinary sequel to the scene at Kim’s first summit with Moon Jae-in last year, when the young leader invited the South Korean president to walk over the Military Demarcation Line, as the border is officially known.
A Kim trip to Washington would be even more spectacular, although Trump said the visit would happen „at the right time”.
– ‘Very legendary’ –
Moon seized on last year’s Winter Olympics to broker the process between Pyongyang and Washington, after tensions soared in 2017 when the North carried out multiple missile launches and its biggest nuclear test to date, while Trump and Kim traded mutual insults and threats of war.
The significance of the meeting in the no-man’s-land splitting the peninsula — where the two sides and their allies fought each other to a standstill in the 1950-53 Korean War — was „obvious”, said Stimson Centre Asia analyst David Kim.
„It’s historic for Trump to be the first US President (to) enter North Korea soil, historic for Moon to meet, albeit briefly, with both leaders.”
The meeting had the „potential to kick-start stalled negotiations”, he told AFP, but added that working-level discussions would be crucial.
„What we need is substance, not theatrics.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters the two sides would „start exchanging ideas” probably around mid-July.
In Washington, Democratic White House contenders guardedly welcomed the meeting of the two leaders though some questioned the wisdom of granting Kim „legitimacy” despite the lack of progress on curbing North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
„I have no problem with him sitting down with Kim Jong Un in North Korea or any place else. I don’t want it to be a simple photo opportunity,” said Senator Bernie Sanders.
The North has carried out six nuclear tests and developed missiles capable of reaching the entire US mainland.
„What’s happened here is that this president has raised the profile of a dictator like Kim Jong Un,” while „we haven’t gotten anything out of it,” another Democratic White House hopeful, Julian Castro, said on ABC.
The DMZ has been a regular stop for US presidents visiting the South, a security ally, while Panmunjom saw the first two summits between Moon and Kim last year.
„This was a great day,” the US president said before flying out on Air Force One.
„This was a very legendary, very historic day.”
Truce in US-China trade war as 2 rivals seek breakthrough JONATHAN LEMIRE and ZEKE MILLER•Cease-fire in U.S.-China trade war as 2 rivals seek breakthroughScroll back up to restore default view.OSAKA, Japan (AP) â€” President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping agreed to a cease-fire Saturday in their nations’ yearlong trade war, averting for now an escalation feared by financial markets, businesses and farmers.Trump said U.S. tariffs will remain in place against Chinese imports while negotiations continue. Additional trade penalties he has threatened against billions worth of other Chinese goods will not take effect for the „time being,” he said, and the economic powers will restart stalled talks that have already gone 11 rounds.”We’re going to work with China where we left off,” Trump said after a lengthy meeting with Xi while the leaders attended the Group of 20 summit in Osaka.While Trump said relations with China were „right back on track,” doubts persist about the two nations’ willingness to compromise on a long-term solution. Among the sticking points: The U.S. contends that Beijing steals technology and coerces foreign companies into handing over trade secrets; China denies it engages in such practices.The apparent truce continues a pattern for Trump and Xi, who have professed their friendship and paused protectionist measures, only to see negotiations later break down.The United States has imposed 25% import taxes on $250 billion in Chinese products and is threatening to target an additional $300 billion, extending the tariffs to virtually everything China ships to America.China has countered with tariffs on $110 billion in American goods, focusing on agricultural products in a direct and painful shot at Trump supporters in the U.S. farm belt.Some progress seemed to be made in a dispute involving the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which the Trump administration has branded a national security threat and barred it from buying American technology. Trump said Saturday he would allow U.S. companies to sell their products to Huawei, but he was not yet willing to remove the company from a trade blacklist.The U.S. has tried to rally other countries to block Huawei from their upcoming 5G systems.The Trump-Xi meeting between the two leaders was the centerpiece of four days of diplomacy in Asia for Trump, whose re-election chances have been put at risk by the trade dispute that has hurt American farmers and battered global markets. Tensions rose after negotiations collapsed last month.Trump said the talks with Xi went „probably even better than expected.”Both men struck a cautiously optimistic tone after they posed for photographs.”We’ve had an excellent relationship,” Trump told Xi as the meeting opened, „but we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade.”Xi recounted the era of „pingpong diplomacy” that helped jump-start U.S.-China relations two generations ago. Since then, he said, „one basic fact remains unchanged: China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation.””Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,” he added.The meeting with Xi was one of three that Trump held Saturday with world leaders who display authoritarian tendencies.Trump had his first face-to-face discussion with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman since U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the crown prince directed the murder of Washington Post columnist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi last year.Trump, who referred to the Saudi royal as his „friend,” has long tried to minimize the prince’s role in the murder and has been reluctant to criticize the killing of the Saudi critic at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last year. Trump views Saudi Arabia as the lynchpin of U.S.’ Middle East strategy to counter Iran.At a news conference after the summit, Trump said Khashoggi’s killing was „horrible,” but that Saudi Arabia had „been a terrific ally.” Trump suggested he was satisfied with steps that the kingdom was taking to prosecute some of those involved, while he claimed that „nobody so far has pointed directly a finger” at Saudi Arabia’s future king.U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that bin Salman must have at least known of the plot.The summit came a week after Trump pulled back from ordering a military strike on Iran for downing an American unmanned spy plane. Iran now stands on the threshold of breaching uranium enrichment thresholds set in a 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew. Trump said he would not preview his response should Iran top that limit, but said, „We cannot let Iran have a nuclear weapon.”Trump also met with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an ostensible NATO ally whom the U.S. sees as drifting dangerously toward Russia’s sphere of influence.Trump said the two will „look at different solutions” to Turkey’s planned purchase of the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system. U.S. officials have threatened to halt the sale of U.S.-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Turkey if the Russian purchase goes through; Erdogan has called it a done deal.”Turkey has been a friend of ours,” Trump said. He blamed the Obama administration for not agreeing to sell U.S.-made Patriot missile batteries to Turkey, calling the situation a „mess” and „not really Erdogan’s fault.”A day earlier, Trump met with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and, with a smirk and a finger point, jokingly told him, „Don’t meddle with the election.” It was their first meeting since special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that Russia extensively interfered with the 2016 campaign.Pressed whether he pushed the issue more seriously in private, Trump said he had raised it with Putin, adding, „You know he denies it, totally. How many times can you get someone to deny something?”Putin told reporters that „we talked about it,” but he did not elaborate. He said he believes it’s necessary to „turn the page” in relations with the U.S., which have plunged to the lowest level since the Cold War times._Associated Press writers Patrick Quinn in Bangkok and Paul Wiseman, Darlene Superville and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report._Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire and Miller at http://twitter.com/@zekejmiller
By Andrew Chung
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider reviving a class action lawsuit against U.S. Bancorp that accused it of mismanaging an employee pension plan in a manner that violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
The justices took up an appeal by the bank’s pension plan beneficiaries of a lower court ruling that threw out the lawsuit because the plan’s participants had not suffered any personal financial harm and lacked the necessary legal standing to sue. The plaintiffs said the plan’s administrators pursued an investment strategy that, beginning with the 2008 financial crisis, led to nearly $750 million in losses.
The plaintiffs accused pension plan managers of breaching their fiduciary duty toward them from late 2007 to 2010 by adopting an overly risky and conflicted strategy of piling the plan’s assets solely into equities and a bank subsidiary’s mutual funds.
Plan participants, led by retired Missouri bank accountant James Thole, filed the proposed class action lawsuit in 2013 in federal court in Minneapolis, where the company is based.
ERISA, enacted in 1974, is a federal law that set up minimum standards for most voluntarily established retirement and health plans in private industry to protect beneficiaries. At issue is whether the plaintiffs can sustain their lawsuit alleging ERISA violations even if there is no current risk that the bank will not fulfill its pension obligations.
The lawsuit alleged that the 2008 stock market crash caused the plan’s assets to plummet in value, causing it to be underfunded.
The St. Paul, Minnesota-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 threw out the lawsuit because in the course of the litigation the bank made contributions and returned the plan to a surplus. The 8th Circuit said that since the plan had become overfunded there was no risk of underpayment of participants’ benefits, eliminating the basis for a lawsuit.
Backed by President Donald Trump’s administration, the plaintiffs urged the justices to hear their appeal and revive the lawsuit. The Justice Department told the justices that pension plans may frequently swing between overfunded and underfunded.
„It would be bizarre to tether a plaintiff’s standing – and thus a federal court’s power to hear a case – to such a volatile and arbitrary metric,” the Justice Department said in a legal filing.
The court will hear arguments in the case during its next term, which begins in October, with a ruling due before June 2020.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)
LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that their countries can only have a different relationship if Russia stops the behavior that threatens to undermine international security, her spokeswoman said.
May also Putin to hand over the Russia suspects Britain blames for poisoning a former double agent and his daughter with a nerve agent in Salisbury, southern England last year.
„She told the president that there cannot be a normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the UK and its allies,” the spokeswoman said.
„The prime minister said that the use of a deadly nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury formed part of a wider pattern of unacceptable behavior and was a truly despicable act.”
(Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison)
Why Donald Trump Will Push Iran Into a War
Kenneth Adelman, a former assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and a prominent figure in the U.S. foreign policy community, famously predicted in 2002 that a war to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would be a “cakewalk.” President Donald Trump apparently learned nothing from Adelman’s hubris and rosy optimism. Although he aborted a planned airstrike on Iran at the last minute, Trump later warned Iranian leaders that the military option was still very much on the table. He added that if the United States used force against Iran, Washington would not put boots on the ground but would wage the conflict entirely with America’s vast air and naval power. There was no doubt in his mind about the outcome. He asserted that such a war “wouldn’t last very long,” and that it would mean the “obliteration” of Iran.
The strategic town of Gharyan, retaken on June 26 by forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognised government, served as a main supply base for strongman Khalifa Haftar in his offensive to take the capital Tripoli (AFP Photo/Mahmud TURKIA) Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) – Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has threatened to attack Turkish interests and accused Ankara of backing his rivals after he suffered a major setback in his push to take the capital Tripoli.Anti-Haftar forces that nominally back Libya’s internationally recognised government announced Wednesday they had retaken the strategic town of Gharyan in a surprise attack, seizing Haftar’s main supply base for his months-long offensive.Haftar on Saturday promised a „tough response” and accused militias backing the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord of executing his wounded troops at the town’s hospital — allegations refuted by both the GNA and authorities in Gharyan.Dozens of pro-Haftar fighters were killed in the clashes some 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the capital, with at least 18 taken prisoner, a GNA spokesman said.AFP correspondents who toured Gharyan were shown signs of a hasty retreat by Haftar’s forces, who left behind their wounded, a command post, arms, ammunition and even food burning on stoves.”The speed (of the attack), the surprise element and the revolt (by the area’s residents) sowed fear” in the ranks of Haftar’s fighters, General Ahmad Bouchahma, a senior GNA officer, said during a tour of the area.Among the weaponry the GNA says it seized were US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles packed in wooden crates marked „armed forces of the United Arab Emirates”, a major buyer of American weapons and one of Haftar’s main international backers.On Saturday, it showed journalists three Javelin missiles and seven Chinese-made Norinco GP6 artillery weapons it said had been seized from Haftar’s base.”These are a sample that we have obtained permission to bring here,” GNA fighter Ibrahim al-Touil said, adding he could not disclose the total number of such weapons.The US State Department said earlier it was looking into the find.”We take all allegations of misuse of US origin defence articles very seriously,” a spokesperson said on condition of anonymity. „We are aware of these reports and are seeking additional information.”In retaliation for the defeat, Haftar ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) to target Turkish ships and companies, ban flights and arrest Turkish nationals in the country, his spokesman said.General Ahmed al-Mesmari accused Ankara of „directly” helping GNA forces „with its soldiers, planes and ships”.He also accused Gharyan residents of „treason”.The LNA, which holds eastern Libya and much of the country’s south, seized Gharyan two days before launching its offensive on Tripoli in early April.Its initial lightning advance was quickly brought to a standstill in Tripoli’s southern outskirts as GNA-aligned militias rushed to defend the capital.- ‘Rebalance’ -Both sides accuse each other of using foreign mercenaries and receiving military support from external powers, despite a UN arms embargo in place since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that overthrew Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.Haftar has the backing of the UAE and Egypt and accuses Turkey and Qatar of supporting the GNA.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed his country backs the GNA and provides weapons to it under a „military cooperation agreement”.He told reporters on June 19 that Turkish backing had allowed Tripoli to „rebalance” the fight against Haftar.On Saturday, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan, Erdogan said he had no information on Haftar’s threat against Turkish assets.”If there is an order like this from Haftar, my colleagues will study (it). We have already taken the necessary measures regarding this anyway, and after this, we will take much more different measures,” he said.- ‘Legitimate targets’ -Since the fall of Gharyan, Haftar’s forces have carried out several air raids on Tripoli as GNA fighters push to keep up pressure on the LNA.On Friday, GNA militias claimed they had launched another successful offensive, this time in Esbiaa, more than 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Tripoli.But Mesmari said the attack was repulsed after a „very violent battle”.Mesmari said orders had been given to the LNA’s air force „to target Turkish ships and boats in Libyan territorial waters”.”Turkish strategic sites, companies and projects belonging to the Turkish state (in Libya) are considered legitimate targets by the armed forces,” he added.
„All Turkish nationals on Libyan territory will be arrested (and) all flights to and from Turkey will be banned”.Regular flights to Turkey operate from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport and a second airport in the western city of Misrata, held by pro-GNA forces.Mesmari did not explain how the flight ban could apply to areas not under Haftar’s control.