Monday Morning Briefing: North Korea upbeat on Trump-Kim surprise meeting as a chance to push nuclear talks


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed at their meeting to push forward dialogue for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, North Korean state media said. When nuclear talks resume after Sunday’s off-the-cuff meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un at the inter-Korean border, negotiators will be revisiting old disagreements that have scuttled previous talks. The brief weekend meeting broke a recent pattern of increasing threats and complaints from North Korea, and the two sides will enter the talks with renewed backing from their leaders. U.S. candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination criticized Trump’s latest overture to Kim Jong Un, saying the leaders’ meeting lacked substance and elevated a ruthless dictator.

Hong Kong protesters smashed windows of the Legislative Council on the anniversary of the city’s 1997 return to Chinese rule amid widespread anger over planned laws that would allow extraditions to China, plunging the city deeper into chaos. Thousands of demonstrators faced off with riot police as authorities braced for further protests amid widespread anger. China’s Foreign Ministry said Britain no longer has any responsibility for Hong Kong and needs to stop “gesticulating” about its former colony, after the UK government reiterated its commitment to the joint declaration with China on Hong Kong.

Japan resumes commercial whaling. Five small ships sailed out of harbor in Japan’s first commercial whale hunt in more than three decades. In a move that has aroused global condemnation and fears for the fate of whales. Japan has long said few whale species are endangered, and news in December that it was leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume hunting was the culmination of years of campaigns by industry supporters and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose constituency includes a city that has long whaled.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will spend four nights in the United States this month while visiting Caribbean diplomatic allies, her government said. In a move likely to anger China, which considers the island a renegade province. China says self-ruled Taiwan has no right to state-to-state relations, calling it the most sensitive and important issue in ties with the U.S., which has no formal ties with Taipei, but is its chief diplomatic backer and supplier of arms.


The United States and China agreed to restart trade talks after Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing. China agreed to make unspecified new purchases of U.S. farm products and return to the negotiating table, Trump said. No deadline was set for progress on a deal, and the world’s two largest economies remain at odds over significant parts of an agreement.
Google’s bet on balloons to deliver cell service soon faces a crucial test amid doubts about the viability of the technology by some potential customers. Loon says its balloons will reach Kenya in the coming weeks for its first commercial trial. The test with Telkom Kenya, the nation’s No. 3 carrier, will let mountain villagers buy 4G service at market-rate prices for an undefined period. Kenya’s aviation authority said its final approval would be signed this month. Here is a look inside Loon's internet balloon venture.
Oil prices were up as OPEC and its allies looked on track to extend supply cuts until at least the end of 2019 at their meeting in Vienna this week. U.S. crude futures for August climbed $1.67 to $60.14 a barrel, after earlier hitting their highest in over five weeks at $60.28. Iran - under U.S. sanctions alongside OPEC ally Venezuela - on Monday joined top producers Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia in supporting a policy aimed at propping up the price of crude amid a weakening global economy.
A now record-setting run of U.S. economic growth enters its 121st month, sustained by a decade of low interest rates and massive Federal Reserve intervention that helped put 22 million people back to work. But the real economic recovery may only be in its infancy, and, if recent history is any guide, it could be approaching a delicate moment.

United States

U.S. Navy SEAL's war crimes trial winds to close in San Diego

Closing arguments were due in San Diego in the war crimes trial of a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL platoon leader charged with murdering a helpless Iraqi captive in his custody and shooting unarmed civilians.
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Ten people killed when private plane crashes into Texas hangar

Ten people were killed on Sunday when their private turboprop airplane crashed into a hangar during takeoff and burst into flames at the municipal airport in Addison, Texas, outside Dallas, an airport official said.
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Alaska's heat wave fuels dangerous smoke, melts glaciers

Alaska’s heat wave is driving wildfires and melting glaciers, choking the state’s biggest cities with smoke and bloating rivers with meltwater. In Anchorage, home to about 40 percent of Alaskans, the National Weather Service issued a dense smoke advisory on Sunday warning against prolonged outdoor activity, along with advisories for the elderly and the sick to stay indoors.
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