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North Korean FM explains exactly what is needed for Pyongyang to negotiate with US and others

North Korea has endorsed the Sino-Russian double-freeze peace plan in all but name. Because Washington refuses to entertain the double-freeze, the US remains the biggest stumbling bloc to negotiations.

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North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho, has spoken exclusively to TASS on the occasion of the 69th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Moscow.

Before taking questions, Ri Yong-ho, who recently delivered the DPRK’s speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations, addressed the current state of relations between his country and Russia:

“Tomorrow, October 12, will mark the 69th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the DPRK and Russia and in this connection I would like to express the hope that friendship and cooperation between our peoples will be growing stronger and that the strategic importance of interaction will grow with the passage of time.

My country today is attaining a victory and acting as a worthy counterbalance to the United States, which refers to itself as the “only superpower.” I believe that having such a strong neighbor by its side quite agrees with Russia’s interests.

Lately, Korean-Russian relations have been not at the desirable level due to internal and external factors and a number of difficulties and obstacles, but we are optimistic about their potential and their prospects, because there is a solid groundwork for the development of bilateral relations, resting upon a long history of friendship and cooperation.

The United States these days is conducting a policy of sanctions against both countries – the DPRK and Russia, trying at the same time to make Russia join the campaign of sanctions against the DPRK with the aim of breeding discord between our countries. I hope that TASS will make all Russians aware of how absurd this policy is and thereby promote stronger friendship between our peoples and peace and security in this region.

I am certain that the leadership and people of Russia will overcome all challenges and difficulties and that Russia will rise again and regain the strength of a great power.

By his belligerent and insane statement at the United Nations Trump, so to say, lighted the fuse of war against us.

Esteemed Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un earlier issued a stern warning: the United States must act sensibly and stop troubling us, if it does not want to be disgraced before the eyes of the world by exposing itself to our strike. He said that our strategic forces, possessing inexhaustible strength not yet known to anyone, will not let America, an aggressor state, go unpunished.

Now it is the United States’ turn to pay, and all of our military servicemen and our entire people insistently demand that final scores be settled with the Americans only with a hail of fire, and not with words.

We have nearly achieved the final point on the way to our ultimate goal, to achieving a real balance of force with the United States. Our nuclear weapons will never be a subject matter of negotiations as long as the United States’ policy of pressure on the DPRK has not been uprooted once and for all.

At the 2nd plenary meeting of the 7thcomposition of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea the Esteemed Supreme Leader said once again that our nuclear weapons are a result of sanguinary struggle for protecting the destiny and sovereignty of our Motherland from American nuclear threats, that it is a deterrent that guarantees peace and security in the region and the right of the Korean nation to existence and development, that it is a sacramental sword of justice, which allows for banishing the dark clouds of nuclear tyranny and ensuring an independent life of the whole of humanity under clear blue skies.

The main reason for the current escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula is found inside the United States itself, but at the same time a large share of responsibility is born by the countries that voted for the adoption of the “sanction resolution,” cooked by the United States.

The government of our republic has numerously stated that any attempts to squeeze our throat and stifle us, which are made under the pretext of fulfilling the so-called ‘sanctions resolution,’ are tantamount to an act of aggression and war and that in response we won’t give up the use of our last resorts.

President Putin also acknowledged that the Koreans will never give up nuclear weapons, even if they eat the grass, and stressed that the sanctions and the military hysteria won’t bring anything good.

Neighbouring countries mastered nuclear weapons in the last century at the cost of big losses and ordeals to counter US threats and pressure. And if they try today to stand in the forefront of the campaign of sanctions and pressure against us, then by this they will ruin themselves and get into trouble.

We are consistently implementing the policy towards the parallel development of the economy and nuclear forces, which was mapped out by the respected supreme leader, and we will successfully conclude the historic cause for improving the national nuclear forces.

Along with that, with reliance on the driving force of self-development and scientific and technical potentials, we will achieve a new upsurge in the construction of the socialist economic power, tearing to shreds the hostile policy of sanctions and stifling and turning misfortune into happiness.

We hope that TASS news agency will properly understand the sentiment of our people who has arisen for a fair last battle, will tell the world public the entire truth about our country and make a worthy contribution to ensuring regional peace and security and implementing international fairness”.

Ri Yong-ho then answered a series of questions from a Tass journalist. As part of the question and answer session, Ri explained that the only thing holding Pyongyang back from engaging in dialogue with the US and from engaging in Russia’s tripartite economic proposals, is the fact that Pyongyang refuses to negotiate with any party until the US ceases its military threats against the DPRK.

Two Koreas–One Road: The future of cooperation between North Korea, South Korea and Russia

This helps clarify a position North Korea expressed during the Eastern Economic Forum where Pyongyang’s representatives at the Vladivostok forum stated that they are interested in Russia’s proposals to engage in cooperation with Seoul and Moscow, but only at a later date and under certain conditions. In the Tass interview, Ri explained that those conditions include the US ceasing to threaten his country, as well as South Korea detaching itself from those threats.

CONFIRMED: North Korea supports economic ties with Russia and South Korea, but not until a later date

In this sense, North Korea has all but formally endorsed the Sino-Russian double-freeze which calls for the US to cease its provocations towards Pyongyang, cease its deliveries of THAAD missiles to South Korea and cease its military drills in the region, all while calling for North Korea to do the same while both sides prepare for direct talks.

Ri also explained that unless the US de-militarises its forces in South Korea and ceases its threats to the DPRK, Pyongyang will work to achieve nuclear parity with the United States. This statement can be interpreted in several ways. While the statement’s literal meaning is that North Korea seeks to ostensibly maintain a nuclear force as large as that of the US, this is patently unrealistic. However, what is very realistic is that North Korea could develop nuclear weapons and the appropriate delivery systems to target the US mainland with a similar ease to that which the US could do in respect of delivering a nuclear weapon to the Korean peninsula. By some estimates, such a development is as close as a few months away or as long as over five years away.

The fact that no nation actually knows the DPRK’s time-frame, in this respect, is another reason that Russian President Vladimir Putin recently cited as a reason why there is no wisdom in the US or anyone else attacking North Korea. Putin also recently cited North Korea’s unwillingness to ever cave to threats from the US, irrespective of how much the US inflicts damage on North Korean society.

With this in mind, here are Ri Yong-ho’s answers in full:

Russia has developed a roadmap for settling problems of the Korean Peninsula. How realistic is the implementation of this proposal at the current stage, in your opinion?

We give due to the fact that today Russia, like in the previous years, pays much attention to the problems of the Korean Peninsula and is taking active efforts for their settlement.

And we show full understanding for the motives and the goal, under which Russia has developed the roadmap.

In our estimates, the current situation, when the USA resorts to the maximum pressure and sanctions and utmost military threats against the DPRK, is not the atmosphere, in which negotiations could be held.

In particular, our principled position is that we will never agree to any negotiations, at which our nuclear weapons will become the subject of talks.

Under which conditions do you consider it possible to start a dialogue between the DPRK and the USA?

As we have stated on numerous occasions, the USA should abandon its hostile policy and give up a nuclear threat against the DPRK with all their sources and roots.

What do you think about the policy of the new South Korean authorities towards the DPRK?

In his report to the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, respected supreme leader comrade Kim Jong-un clearly outlined the tasks for improving inter-Korean relations.

Lately, the South Korean authorities have been proposing to start negotiations between the militaries of the North and the South, organize meetings of divided families, provide humanitarian assistance, etc. However, the problem is that they contradict the principles that “the Korean nation should solve all the issues on its own” and that they blindly follow the US hostile policy towards the DPRK.

As long as they resort to sanctions and pressure against us, following the US line, we see no prospect for improving the inter-Korean relations.

And for this purpose, it is first of all necessary that the South Korean authorities should halt their humble submission to the USA in its hostile policy and the campaign of sanctions and pressure against the DPRK. It is important that they should change their policy in favour of the pan-national interaction and measures to cut short acts of aggression and interference from outside”.

These answers indicate that as Russia and China have suggested, the US remains the largest stumbling bloc to peace in respect of the Korean crisis. North Korea has set its preconditions for direct engagement with the US, South Korea and others. Contrary to what the western mainstream media says about Pyongyang, North Korea’s preconditions are not only reasonable, but are hardly different from those set out in the Sino-Russian double-freeze peace plan. By contrast, Donald Trump has publicly rebuked his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, for suggesting that it is wise to keep the door open to negotiations with Pyongyang.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Europe Has A New Problem: Macron’s “Populism” To Blow Out French Budget Deficit Far Beyond Italy’s

Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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