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Foreign affairs
January 19, 2019

"We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned and we are talking about a lot of different things. Things are going very well with North Korea," President Trump told reporters Saturday of his Friday conversation with North Korean negotiator Kim Yong Chol.

"That was an incredible meeting," Trump said. "We've agreed to [another summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un], probably the end of February. We've picked a country, but we'll be announcing it in the future. Kim Jong Un is looking very forward to it and so am I."

Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore are thought to be under consideration for the summit's location. Read a "plausible roadmap to peace with North Korea" from The Week's Harry J. Kazianis here. Bonnie Kristian

January 15, 2019

A letter from President Trump was hand-delivered to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang this past weekend. The two leaders are reportedly due to meet in person for a second summit soon, and the letter may indicate the details of those talks are close to being finalized.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested as much in an address last week. "The second North Korea-United States summit — to take place soon — and a reciprocal visit to Seoul by Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea will be other turning points that will firmly solidify peace on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Trump has spoken enthusiastically of his correspondence with Kim in the past. "I like him. He likes me. I guess that's okay. Am I allowed to say that?" he rhapsodized in September. "He wrote me beautiful letters. And they are great letters. We fell in love." Bonnie Kristian

December 23, 2018

Canada on Saturday formally demanded China release two Canadians detained by Beijing in apparent retaliation for Canada's arrest of a Chinese tech executive on the United States' behalf.

"We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians earlier this month and call for their immediate release," said Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. "We also believe this is not only a Canadian issue," she added. "It is an issue that concerns our allies."

The U.S., United Kingdom, and European Union issued supporting statements. A message from the U.S. State Department emphasized that Canada is abiding by its extradition agreements with the United States and expressed "deep concern" over the two Canadians' detention. Bonnie Kristian

December 16, 2018

The North Korean government on Sunday issued a typically dramatic statement condemning the United States' sanction regime and suggesting denuclearization plans are in jeopardy.

Pyongyang accused the U.S. State Department of being "bent on bringing [North Korea]-U.S. relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire," warning that additional U.S. sanctions would be America's "greatest miscalculation" and would "block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever."

This comes as Pyongyang observes the seventh anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il and the rise to power of his son, current leader Kim Jong Un. Bonnie Kristian

December 9, 2018

China's Foreign Ministry has summoned the U.S. and Canadian ambassadors to China to protest the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies.

Meng was taken into custody in Vancouver, Canada, on Dec. 1, at U.S. direction. She faces extradition to the United States, where she is accused of helping Huawei, a major electronics manufacturer, evade American sanctions on Iran.

Beijing said the arrest "severely violated the Chinese citizen's legal and legitimate rights and interests," calling it "lawless, reasonless, and ruthless, and ... extremely vicious." Canada should "release the detainee immediately and earnestly protest the person's legal and legitimate rights and interests," the statement said, "otherwise it will definitely have serious consequences, and the Canadian side will have to bear the full responsibility for it." Bonnie Kristian

November 20, 2018

The United States is contemplating placing Venezuela on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

In September, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and two other GOP senators sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a letter stating that Venezuela has ties to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, but did not offer any concrete evidence. They asked for Venezuela to be added to the list, which has four countries on it: North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Sudan.

A U.S. official told Reuters those countries have "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism," and for Venezuela to be added to the list, there has to be sufficient proof. Venezuela is experiencing food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation, and if the country ends up on the list, it could limit economic assistance from the United States. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said he is the victim of an "economic war" with the U.S. Catherine Garcia

November 18, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence took a harsh line on China at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Papua New Guinea on Saturday, pledging Washington "will not change course" on trade policy "until China changes its ways."

"We have great respect for [Chinese President Xi Jinping] and China," Pence said, "but as we all know, China has taken advantage of the United States for many, many years, and those days are over." He accused Beijing of unfair trade and lending practices and suggested additional tariffs may be on the way.

President Xi also spoke, arguing, "Unilateralism and protectionism will not solve problems but add uncertainty to the world economy." He called for further cooperation on trade and infrastructure development, defending his signature Belt-and-Road Initiative against Pence's critique. "History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war, or a trade war, produces no winners," Xi said. Bonnie Kristian

November 10, 2018

Hours after President Trump declared French President Emmanuel Macron "very insulting" for his recent advocacy of a "true European army," the two leaders touted their friendship and minimized differences Saturday afternoon.

"We have become very good friends over the last couple of years. We're very much similar in our views," Trump said of the French president. "We want a strong Europe; it's very important to us, and whichever way we can do it the best and more efficient would be something we both want," he continued. "We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now the burden sharing has been largely on the United States."

Macron continued to argue for "more European capacities, more European defense," though he couched it in language closer to Trump's gripes about burden sharing. "It's unfair to have the European security today being assured just by the United States," Macron said. "When President Trump has to protect or to defend one of the states of the United States, he doesn't ask France or Germany, or another government of Europe to finance it." Bonnie Kristian

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