The United States will “do what it can do” to help defuse a worsening political and economic dispute between South Korea and Japan, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday, as South Korea warned that the row would have global repercussions. The United States has been hesitant to publicly wade into the feud between its allies, but the dispute, which threatens global supplies of memory chips and smartphones, has overshadowed the visit by David Stilwell, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia policy. Stilwell told reporters in the South Korean capital, Seoul, that he took the situation seriously but did not elaborate on what steps Washington might take and said fundamentally it was up to South Korea and Japan to resolve their differences. “We hope that resolution will happen soon,” he said. “The United States, as a close friend and ally to both, will do what it can do to support their efforts to resolve it.” Last week, Stilwell had told Japan’s NHK broadcaster the United States would not intervene in the dispute, and instead encouraged dialogue between Washington’s two biggest allies in Asia to settle it. Simmering tension, particularly over the issue of compensation for South Koreans forced to work for Japanese occupiers during World War Two, took a sharp turn for the worse this month, when Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to South Korea. Japan has denied that the dispute over compensation is behind the export curbs, even though one of its ministers cited broken trust with
The United States is “in many ways” already at war with Iran through its acts of economic terror targeting the country, says an American author and political analyst. Daniel Kovalik, also a human rights expert and a peace activist, who was speaking to Press TV last Sunday, said the US’s war on Iran was “just in a different form” than actual military action. “The US is imposing draconian sanctions on Iran…is really engaged in economic terrorism by trying to prevent Iran from selling any of its oil, which is really the lifeblood of the Iranian economy,” he added. The US began significantly escalating tensions with Iran last year by leaving a multilateral nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic and other countries and returning the sanctions that had been lifted by the deal. The sanctions, include an intended zero-tolerance ban targeting Iran’s oil exports. In broaching “economic terrorism,” Kovalik was repeating a term used by Iranian authorities, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who have underlined that the sanctions are not the US’s alternative for war, but amount to actual warfare themselves. Washington has also engaged in alarming military buildup in the region. It has, however, occasionally distanced itself from an intention to attack the Islamic Republic, and claimed it would talk to the country without any preconditions. Kovalik, however, said, “It’s clear that the US doesn’t really want negotiation with Iran. What it more wants to do is bullying Iran and weaken Iran. It would want regime change ideally.” Iranian
The U.S. said Thursday that it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate international sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action that comes amid a tense moment in relations between the two countries.
The "Wise Honest," North Korea's second largest cargo ship, was detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia. It's now in the process of being moved to American Samoa, Justice Department officials said.
Officials made the announcement hours after North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea, the second weapons launch in five days and a possible signal that stalled talks over its nuclear weapons program are in trouble. The public disclosure that the vessel is now in U.S. custody may further inflame tensions, though U.S. officials said the timing of their complaint was not a response to the missile launch.
The United States and European Union have expressed deep concern over Turkey’s plans for offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by Cyprus as its exclusive economic zone, adding to tensions between Ankara and its Western allies.
The statements at the weekend came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “we are starting drilling” in the region.
Turkey and the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
“The United States is deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as its Exclusive Economic Zone,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Sunday.
Iran said on Sunday it could quit a treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons after the United States tightens sanctions, while an Iranian general said the U.S. Navy was interacting as before with an elite military unit blacklisted by Washington. Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since the Trump administration withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions.
Earlier this month, the United States blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and demanded buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May or face sanctions.
“The Islamic Republic’s choices are numerous, and the country’s authorities are considering them ... and leaving NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) is one of them,” state broadcaster IRIB’s website quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying.
“Americans should be aware that foreign actors –- and Russia in particular -– continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord,” said a joint statement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Canada, Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman said there were good reasons for accelerating the processing and deportation of people who crossed the border: it deters people with weak claims from making refugee claims in the hopes of living in Canada for years while their case wends through the system.
The former commander of the US Army in Europe has issued a sobering assessment of the deteriorating state of US-Chinese relations, predicting that it’s very likely the two nations will be at war in fifteen years. “The United States needs a very strong European pillar. I think in 15 years — it’s not inevitable — but it is a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China,” Hodges warned.