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Kim Jong-un is planning to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin
MOSCOW (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will travel to Russia this month for talks with President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Thursday, announcing the first Russia-North Korea summit since Kim came to power in 2011.
The announcement coincided with a moment of discord in efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to reach a deal with Kim to end nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea said on Thursday it no longer wanted to deal with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and called for him to be replaced in talks by somebody more mature. That demand came hours after Pyongyang announced its first weapons test since a summit in Vietnam between Trump and Kim broke down in February with no agreement.
The pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper cited a diplomatic source on Wednesday as saying the Putin-Kim meeting would likely take place next week in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok before Putin flies on to an April 26-27 summit in China.
It added however that a sudden change of plan by the leader of the secretive North Korean state could not be ruled out.
The Kremlin gave no further details in a statement on its website, but Moscow has been saying for months that it was working on such a meeting.
Kim came to power in 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, who had visited Russia for a summit with then President Dmitry Medvedev earlier that year.
It was not clear how Kim might travel to Russia, which shares a border with North Korea.
A North Korean official, Kim Chang Son, traveled to Vladivostok this week and was seen on Wednesday inspecting the Pacific port city's train station and making security checks, Russia's RIA news agency reported on Thursday.
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov in Moscow on Thursday and discussed ways to advance a "final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea", the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said on Thursday.
The embassy said in a statement that the talks had been "constructive".
The Trump-Kim meeting in Vietnam, the second summit between the two leaders, broke down over conflicting demands by North Korea for sanctions relief and by the United States for North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. The following month Washington imposed a new round of sanctions on Pyongyang.
Trump administration officials have floated the possibility of a third summit.
(Reporting by Tom Balmforth; Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Christian Lowe and Frances Kerry)
Former Marine Commandant tells Trump that pardoning troops accused of war crimes 'relinquishes the moral high ground'
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Associated Materials. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Associated Materials Incorporated is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Associated Materials, a residential and commercial siding and window manufacturer based in Ohio, employs people from a variety of backgrounds. The company gives them an opportunity to work hard and grow within the organization. For Tim Betsinger, Elizabeth Dennis, and Tanika Carroll, all military veterans with wide-ranging experience, Associated Materials has provided a work environment similar to the military and a company culture that feels more like family than work.
President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."