18 April 2019   Leave a comment

North Korea has requested that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should not be involved in future negotiations between the US and North Korea.
North Korean foreign ministry official Kwon Jong-gun referred to recent testimony by Pompeo who referred to North korean leader Kim as a tyrant. Kwon commented that Pompeo “spouted reckless remarks, hurting the dignity of our supreme leadership… to unveil his mean character”. According to the BBC:

“On Thursday, he [Kwon] said that if Mr Pompeo were to be involved in further talks, ‘the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled’.

“‘Even in the case of possible resumption of dialogue with the US, I wish our dialogue counterpart would not be Pompeo but… [another] person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us,’ Mr Kwon said, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“During discussions in Pyongyang in July, Mr Pompeo was condemned for his ‘gangster-like’ insistence that the country move towards denuclearisation.”

Pompeo has not been notably successful in his negotiations with North Korea so perhaps a change would be a good move. But we should wait to see if the Trump Administration wants to hold a 3rd summit with Kim. At this point, it appears as if Administration officials want to see more tangible steps before another summit is held.

Reporters without Borders is a non-governmental group that monitors press freedom in the world and it publishes a annual report entitled “World Press Freedom Index”. The 2019 report highlights a steady deterioration of protections for journalists and publishers. The report argues:

“The RSF Index, which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories every year, shows that an intense climate of fear has been triggered — one that is prejudicial to a safe reporting environment. The hostility towards journalists expressed by political leaders in many countries has incited increasingly serious and frequent acts of violence that have fuelled an unprecedented level of fear and danger for journalists.”

National Public Radio summarizes the sad state of affairs: “….only 24% of the 180 countries and territories in the assessment were classified as having a safe or satisfactory environment for the press.” The report has some harsh words for the US which dropped down to 48th place out of 180 countries.

“As a result of an increasingly hostile climate that goes beyond Donald Trump’s comments, the United States (48th) has fallen three places in this year’s Index and the media climate is now classified as “problematic” (orange). Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection. Hatred of the media is now such that a man walked into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, in June 2018 and opened fire, killing four journalists and one other member of the newspaper’s staff. The gunman had repeatedly expressed his hatred for the paper on social networks before ultimately acting on his words.”

“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” 
― Albert Camus

Posted April 18, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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