Donald Trump denies border wall changes

John Kelly told Fox News that President Trump’s views on the construction of the Mexico Border wall have changed from the original deal he had made. The statement he made was “Campaigning is very different from governing”. He was appointed by Trump in July as the chief of staff who these comments to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The Retired General, John Kelly told openly that the there were many more facts the President was yet to know.”He was not fully informed” Kelly says.  

 

It was minutes later that Donald Trump had tweeted denying the fact. He expressed his view informing that he may directly or indirectly pay for the border wall. Trump’s moves are supposedly going as per the plan is what was portrayed in his tweet. “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” informs Donald Trump.  

 

During the election campaign, Trump said he is expecting that Mexico would pay entirely for the border wall. The New York Times had published a piece which said that Mr Kelly appears to be saying he thinks “that it is his job to tutor a sometimes-ill-informed president who has never served in public office before”. 

 

Sources – BBC, The Telegraph  

US Untroubled by growing Pakistan and China relationships

The suspension of security aid to Pakistan by the US would push Islamabad closer to China. The US has appeared untroubled with the ties and insisted that the two relationships are different.The source quoted “ Pakistan do want to build strong relations with both countries. But what China provides won’t be the same thing as the US had provided so far.”

The US government official said the government doesn’t have the authority to direct state banks and companies to invest in Pakistan, at the same time, China does not have the capacity either to supply the highest quality military equipment in the world.

The official also added that America does not have any problem with growing relation of Pakistan and China. They believe, China has invested a significant amount and has plans to invest more. Pakistan at current situation needs economic development and economic growth. In so, China’s ability to invest will contribute to Pakistan’s economic well-being, security, and stability.

The official proclaimed that the relationships are not due to US-Pak ties, and it is due to fact that China and Pakistan have had an age-old and convincing relationship.

“I think Pakistan needs to understand our relationship and what we offer to the table internationally is different than China. And it’s not necessary to choose relationships between China and the United States and they do want to build strong relations with both countries,” the state department official said.

Sources – NDTV, NewsOlive

United States suspends its $ 1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan

The United States has suspended its security assistance of more than $1.15 billion to Pakistan for failing to take decisive action against the terror groups within its border on Thursday.

The decision of suspending security assistance comes days after the US President Donald Trump tweeted on New Year, accusing Pakistan of lying and deceiving the United States and harboring terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. He also threated to cut off all the military aid to Pakistan.

According to US officials, two main categories of aid, Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Coalition Support Funds (CSF) are affected by the suspension. FMS funds purchases of US military hardware, training and services and CSF reimburse Pakistan for counterterrorism operations. The officials also stated that the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and that the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups.

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told the reporters on Thursday that the national security assistance to Pakistan is suspended until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against the terrorist groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. “We consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting US personnel, “she said. “The US will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law,” she added.

 

Sources – TOI, CNN

US warns its citizens against non-essential travel to Pakistan

The United States on Saturday issued an advisory warning its citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan, stating that foreign and indigenous group continue to pose a threat to them in the country.
In the warning issued after a gap of seven months, the Department of State stated the significant attacks occurred in Pakistan since May 2017 and said that terrorist organizations in the country have attacked both the government officials and civilians. Kidnapping and Assassination attempts are common in the country, it said.
The Travel Warning said that terrorists groups have frequently targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past and continue to do so. The terrorists have often fell back on kidnapping for ransom.
The Department also stated that if the citizens decide to travel to Pakistan despite the travel warning, they should take measures to minimize trips to public areas, vary travel routes, increase security awareness and strengthen internal precautions.
The new Travel Warning replaces the warning issued on May 22, 2017.
The warning comes after the Chinese Embassy through its website on Friday warned its citizens in Pakistan to be on alert after receiving intelligence reports of possible attacks targeting Chinese.
Sources: NDTV, Scroll

US, Japan, South Korea start missile tracking exercises

The United States, Japan and South Korea have started joint missile tracking exercises as tensions with North Korea continue to increase over North Korea’s rapidly emerging weapons programs.

The two day drills kicked off on Monday and will conclude on December 12. It comes less than two weeks after North Korea launched its most advanced missile on 28th November.

According to Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s Defence Minister, the drills are being held in waters off the coast of Japan.

Japan’s Maritime self-Defence force said that this exercise is the sixth drill aimed in tracking and sharing information on ballistic missiles between the three nations. Two US ships along with each from two Asian countries are taking part in the drill. Both South Korea and Japan have security alliances with the United States.

The United States has frequently asked China and other countries to cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea as an international effort to squeeze Pyongyang’s illegal cash flows that could fund its weapons programs.

South Korea on Sunday said that it will impose a new unilateral sanctions on 20 institutions and a dozen individuals in North Korea that will prevent illegal funds flowing to North Korea.

Sources: The Hindu, The Japan Times 

Samsung acquires permit to test self-driving cars in CA

Four months after i-Phone maker and rival Apple Inc. secured permit to test self-driving cars, Samsung electronics joined the league in California on Thursday. The Samsung group sought permission from the South Korean authorities to test self-driving cars that have the company’s manufactured sensors and software systems.

The South Korean officials have confirmed that the car is being developed using a self-driving algorithm that enables it to safely drive in even adverse weather conditions. The website of California Department of Motor vehicle displayed Samsung’s name in the list along with a dozen other companies with similar permit.

The company which is mainly into manufacturing of electronic equipment such as Television, washing machines and cell-phones told Reuters that the procurement of the permit for this is to facilitate ‘smarter and safer’ transportation.

Samsung’s foray into the United States’ self-driving car market will be a huge step after the company’s  $8 billion purchase of car audio maker Harman International Industries. Other rivals in the market include Waymo, a division of Google parent Alphabet Inc besides Apple Inc.

In the early 1990s, Samsung had tried its hand in the automobile business but huge losses incurred due to Asian financial crisis forced the company to hand over its business to Renault.

SOURCES: REUTERS, LIVE MINT

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Clearing its intention, North Korea tests short-range missiles in Far East

Pyongyang set its intentions straight by launching several short-range missiles off its missile test site at Kittaeryong, on the east coast of North Korea into the sea. The U.S. military’s Pacific Command at Haiti reported within a span of 20 minutes, it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles. Although initially, the Pacific Command had said two of the missiles had failed in flight, it later revised its statement saying two missiles flew about 250 km in a north-easterly direction. According to the Washington Post, “We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment and we will provide a public update if warranted,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command.

This act is widely seen as North Korea’s protest at the annual joint military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States which the former considers as preparation of war. On July 28, North Korea had tested an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to fly 10,000 km targeting some parts of US. This led to rising tension and exchange of heated words as US President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of fire and fury if he threatened the United States.

Sources – Wasington Post, Reuters