(AP) – Several Democratic presidential candidates are weighing in on President Trump’s visit on North Korean soil today with leader Kim Jong Un. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted “our President shouldn’t be squandering American influence on photo ops and exchanging love letters with a ruthless dictator.”
In a statement, Joe Biden’s campaign said President Trump is “coddling dictators at the expense of American national security and interests and it’s one of the most dangerous ways he’s diminishing us on the world stage.” On CNN’s State of the Union, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said she isn’t sure if the meetings are worth it unless there are results, adding that is still yet to be seen.
However on ABC’s This Week, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he had “no problem” with the meeting. After stepping into North Korea, President Trump spent some time today in a closed-door meeting with Kim Jong Un in South Korea.
(North Korea – AP) – There’s a report that North Korea billed the U.S. two-million dollars for the hospital care of American Otto Warmbier.
The Washington Post reports that the North would not release the comatose Warmbier to the U.S. in 2017 without a signed pledge from an American official. The Post says the U.S. envoy who retrieved Warmbier signed the pledge on instructions from President Trump.
It is unclear whether the bill was ever paid. Warmbier was arrested while visiting North Korea and fell into a coma during his incarceration. The Ohio native died after being returned to the U.S.
(Pyongyang-AP) — North Korean state media says the country’s military has tested a new “tactical guided weapon.” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly supervised what he called an event of “very weighty significance.”
The country’s state media says the new weapon system will boost the defense capabilities of the North Korean military. There’s no word on the exact type of weapon that was tested.
(Washington, DC-AP) – Security experts say North Korea appears to be rebuilding a key long-range rocket site after last month’s failed summit. The Center for Strategic and International Studies says recent satellite imagery shows rapid progress at a test site that was shutdown last August.
The site on North Korea’s west coast has been used in the past for satellite launches which use ICBM technology. The center’s findings suggest North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may plan to demonstrate resolve after President Trump rejected demands to lift economic sanctions.
(Washington, DC) – North Korea may still be building new missiles that could carry nuclear warheads. The Washington Post reports that U.S. intelligence agencies have seen evidence that the North was recently working on one or two intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The construction is reportedly taking place at a factory where North Korea has previously made missiles that can reach the East Coast of the U.S. The U.S. and North Korea are currently working on plans for the possibility of North
(Cincinnati, OH) – A new report is raising questions about the death of an American college student just days after his release from North Korea. An article in GQ magazine says 22-year-old Otto Warmbier suffered fatal brain damage immediately after his trial on charges of stealing a poster from a North Korean hotel.
The story says medical experts think it’s unlikely Warmbier was tortured during his 15 months in captivity despite claims by the Trump administration and his own parents.
Instead, the GQ report suggests Warmbier may have injured himself, believing he would spend the next 15 years at hard labor in North Korea.
(Washington, DC) – U.S. intelligence officials reportedly have evidence that North Korea is looking for ways to conceal its nuclear weapons stockpile. “The Washington Post” reports that Pyongyang is preparing to deceive the U.S. about how many nukes it has while maintaining secret weapons production facilities.
The report says the new information was obtained following the historic June 12th Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In that meeting, Kim re-iterated earlier promises to work towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
(SL) – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says North Korea is not dismantling its nuclear weapons program.
The Pentagon chief told reporters yesterday he isn’t aware of any steps North Korea is taking to begin taking apart its nuclear weapons or missiles and he doesn’t expect it in the near future.
President Trump said, after his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week, that the isolated Stalinist state either had or would soon begin destroying a missile engine testing site. Mattis said yesterday that isn’t happening.
(SW) – Former NBA star and friend to Kim Jong Un will reportedly be in Singapore next week while President Trump holds a summit with the North Korean leader.
He’ll apparently arrive a day before the June 12th meeting but it’s not clear what he’s planning on doing. Rodman has visited the isolated North Korea five times over the years, on different occasions singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim and presenting a copy of Trump’s “Art of the Deal.”
Rodman told TMZ he doesn’t want to take the credit for the current move toward dialogue between the two countries.
(Pyongyang) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is planning a trip to Pyongyang to meet with North Korean lead Kim Jong Un. North Korean state media Sunday reported the planned meeting, which comes after Assad received the credentials of the North Korean ambassador to Syria.
The U.N. has accused North Korea of working with Syria on chemical weapons, something both nations deny. Depending on when the meeting takes place, it could be the first time Kim publicly meets with a foreign head of state in Pyongyang since taking power in 2011. A planned summit between Kim and President Trump is set for June 12th in Singapore.
In related news, the White House is in the early stages of organizing a summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The Wall Street Journal” reported that the effort aims at resolving differences about nuclear weapons, Syria and Ukraine.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has reportedly been working for months to make the meeting happen. The two leaders have met twice before during other international gatherings.