Voices from Russia

Monday, 18 June 2018

Media Reports Speculate that Trump May Meet with Putin in Europe in July

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The Washington Post cited “a senior administration official and two diplomats familiar with his schedule”:

We expect that President Trump shall meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next month while he’s in Europe for a NATO summit. On Friday, in a nod to those plans, Trump told reporters that “it’s possible” he’d meet with Putin this summer.

NATO is going to hold a summit in Brussels 11-12 July. The Post went on:

Trump’s interest in a meeting with Putin became public in March after the Kremlin disclosed that Trump extended an invitation in a phone call with the Russian leader. However, US officials say Trump privately asked his aides for a bilateral meeting ever since he met with Putin in Vietnam in November on the sidelines of a multilateral economic summit. A US official said, “After that meeting, the president said he wanted to invite Putin to the White House. We ignored it. At the time, top aides in the National Security Council opposed the idea of a meeting and said they didn’t view Trump’s interest in a summit as an order to set one up. They decided, ‘Let’s wait and see if he raises it again’”.

The push for engagement with the Kremlin follows months of prodding by Trump, who faced resistance from senior political aides and diplomats questioning the value of meeting with Putin and worry that a tête-à-tête could cast a shadow over the NATO summit in Brussels. Senior officials at the State Department acknowledged that a meeting between the two leaders could, in theory, help resolve long-standing differences on the Ukraine, Syria, cybersecurity issues, and interference in foreign elections. However, some of those officials said a summit between the two leaders is premature given the lack of progress on resolving minor issues, such as the return of Russian dachas on the East Coast seized as punishment for Moscow’s interference in the election.

In late December 2016, the Obama administration introduced a new round of sanctions against some Russian companies, the Federal Security Service, and the Main Intelligence Agency of the General Staff. Besides that, US authorities expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland. Washington attributed these sanctions to cyberattacks against US political institutions, accusing Russia of being involved. However, Moscow fully rejected all allegations and refrained from giving a tit-for-tat response at the time.

On Wednesday, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia with the US National Security Council Richard Hooker told us that Washington and Moscow were considering the possibility to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. On 20 March, the two presidents held a telephone call and agreed to hand down instructions to start preparations for a Russia-USA summit. Putin and Trump earlier held talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit held in Hamburg in July 2017. They had another opportunity to negotiate during the APEC summit in Vietnam in November 2017 but managed only to exchange a couple of phrases. On 4 June, Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said that we’ve taken no specific steps in order to prepare for a summit. Meanwhile, Putin confirmed on 10 June that he was ready to meet with Trump as soon as the USA was also ready for that.

16 June 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/world/1009827

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Saturday, 16 June 2018

16 June 2018. Russia Didn’t Defeat Hillary… Hillary Defeated Hillary… America Remembered Her Evil in the Nineties

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There was no Russian tampering with the election. Note well that those who make such accusations are very comfortable with and passionately defend American interference in foreign elections. That seems like smug hypocrisy and juvenile arrogance to me. I confide that I’m not the only one to come to that conclusion.

BMD

Friday, 15 June 2018

Kommersant: DPRK Gains Equal Footing with USA, Secures Concessions

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The historic meeting between the leaders of the USA and the DPRK in Singapore split those who viewed it as the first step towards normalisation on the Korean peninsula and those who called the document signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un “weak” and “without substance”. Kim gave no guarantees of immediate disarmament, whilst Trump avoided direct security guarantees but promised not to carry out annual US-ROK drills. Experts agree that Kim emerged as the key victor since he succeeded in pulling his state out of isolation and achieving recognition of equality from the USA, neither his father nor his grandfather managed to accomplish this. The preparations for the first-ever meeting between US and DPRK leaders was reminiscent of a tremendous reality show and the historic handshake that was an informal outcome of the Singapore summit gave a clear signal to the world… peace and security on the Korean peninsula are in good hands for the first time over the past dozens of years. A diplomatic “Singapore wonder” occurred… the Little Rocket Man turned into an equal interlocutor and a potential partner of the US leader. Aleksandr Gabuyev, head of the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said:

Kim achieved the most important outcome… the signing of an agreement with Washington diverts the threat of a war on the Korean peninsula, which was quite real this winter. Over the past six months, Kim managed to end diplomatic isolation, restore tarnished relations with China, hold two meetings with ROK President Moon Jae-in, host a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov, and gain recognition by Trump as “a very talented man” who “deeply loves his country”.

Go Myong-hyun, an expert from the ROK ASAN Institute for Policy Studies, noted:

The DPRK denuclearisation path is a Libyan scenario vice versa. The USA halts drills, pulls the DPRK out of isolation, and Pyongyang vowed to “work towards denuclearisation” without any particular timeframe and a plan. Kim pledged to move towards a nuclear-free DPRK rather than “a denuclearised Korean peninsula”.

13 June 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/pressreview/1009261

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Kim Jong-un Departs for Singapore Summit

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According to the Yonhap News Agency, an Air China flight departed from Pyongyang airport at 0830 local time. Kim Jong-un boarded a Chinese Boeing 747 commonly used by high-ranking Chinese officials. However, the popular tracking online source Flightradar24 reportedly didn’t specify the destination of the aircraft. The website also didn’t detect any other flights departing from the DPRK. According to Yonhap, many government-chartered planes keep their routes secret due to security issues. According to Reuters, one more plane, an Il-76 cargo jet, departed early on Sunday from the DPRK for Singapore. According to media reports, the cargo plane carried food items as well as several cars to escort Kim Jong-un. The flight tracking service also reportedly showed that the Il-76 landed in Guangzhou in southern China before being airborne again, likely heading for Singapore. Reportedly, Kim Jong-un took only one known overseas trip by air since becoming DPRK leader in 2011. An Il-76 cargo plane accompanied his personal Il-62M jet to China in May.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the White House said that US President Donald Trump also departed for Singapore, where he should meet with Kim on Tuesday. Trump took off from Canada on Saturday after participating in the Group of Seven (G7) summit, and shall arrive in Singapore on Sunday. According to Japan’s Kyodo News agency, citing a diplomatic source, the DPRK leader will arrive in Singapore on Sunday. Earlier, a ROK Air Force official told the South China Morning Post that Chinese fighter jets would secure Kim’s flight route to the historic meeting.

The USA-DPRK summit will mark the first-ever meeting of the leaders of the two countries. The highly-anticipated talks were at risk following Trump’s 24 May declaration that he was cancelling the meeting with Kim over Pyongyang’s hostile rhetoric. Last week, however, Trump reinstated the summit after meeting with Kim’s top aide, Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol, at the White House.

10 June 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201806101065275784-singapore-trump-kim-summit-departure/

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According to ROK military sources, the PLA Air Force is preparing to send fighter aircraft to escort DPRK leader Kim Jong-un to an upcoming summit in Singapore where he’ll meet US President Donald Trump after years of hostile relations. A ROK Air Force official told the South China Morning Post that Chinese aircraft will secure Kim’s flight to the meeting… and perhaps remind the US side that Beijing will support Pyongyang. the ROK source told SCMP Thursday:

Escorting [a head of state] with jets is one of the highest security protocols that the air force can provide. If China sends air assets to conduct the escort, then, it may be a message directed to the USA-ROK alliance that China is strongly backing up Kim.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper, acquired by Alibaba Group in December 2015, also reported that Beijing is seeking to broaden its influence over Pyongyang ahead of the summit. In recent months, the USA, the ROK, and the DPRK engaged in unprecedented meetings that sparked hopes that the 68-year Korean War will finally be brought to an end, reducing the risk of nuclear conflict in the Korean peninsula.

Trump is also seeking to reduce the US trade deficit with its many trading partners, and China is America’s second-largest such partner, 2018 US Census Bureau data shows. On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported:

Trump got fed up with hearing he was weak on China, calling on advisers at a 22 May meeting to get moving on imposing more tariffs against Beijing as a weapon to force trade concessions.

Sceptics of Trump’s approach to relations with China said Beijing is aware of Trump’s two-prong approach and, therefore, unlikely to allow major US victories on both trade and Korean Peninsula denuclearisation.

7 June 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201806071065208322-chinese-jets-escort-kim-jong-un/

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