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North Korea Launches Three Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

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  • North Korea Launches Three Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles on Saturday morning, a move that came after Kim Jong Un’s regime strongly criticized U.S.-South Korea joint military drills.

U.S. Pacific Command said Saturday afternoon that two of the missiles flew 250 kilometers (155 miles), clarifying an earlier statement that an initial assessment had indicated they failed in flight. The other appeared to have blown up immediately.

The launches occurred near Kittaeryong in eastern North Korea, with the first fired at 6:49 a.m. local time. Military authorities said they didn’t pose a threat to North America or Guam.

The missile tests come shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised North Korea for showing some restraint and suggested that dialogue could take place soon. While the launch violates United Nations resolutions, short-range rockets are generally seen as less provocative than tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could deliver a nuclear device to the continental U.S.

“The North felt compelled to do something after Tillerson’s statement about them showing restraint,” Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu, said by email. “They certainly don’t want to give the impression they are backing down in the face of U.S. threats (even if they ultimately do so).”

Guam Warning

The U.S. and its allies had also warned Kim against following through with a threat to launch missiles toward Guam, home to key American military bases in the Pacific. Japan earlier this month deployed four Patriot missile interceptors into the western part of the country, which would be under the flight path toward the U.S. territory.

North Korea has conducted more than a dozen missile tests this year, including two ICBMS, leading to a war of words earlier this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim’s regime that rattled global markets. Tensions cooled in recent weeks, with Trump saying Tuesday that Kim was beginning to respect the U.S.

Trump had been informed of the latest tests and “we are monitoring the situation,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Korea Tensions

South Korea planned to hold a national security council meeting on Saturday morning. South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said that the projectiles shot on Saturday flew in a northeasterly direction.

Kim’s provocations are a headache for South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in, who won office in May pledging to engage with the regime to help bring peace to the peninsula. Moon said in a Berlin speech last month that he was willing, under the right circumstances, to meet Kim “anytime, anywhere.”

North Korea has yet to respond to an offer by Moon to seek a deal by 2020 to bring about the “complete denuclearization” of the isolated nation in return for a peace treaty that would guarantee the survival of Kim’s regime. It has strongly criticized military exercises led by the U.S. and South Korea that run through the end of the month.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to tighten sanctions on North Korea, targeting about a third of the nation’s roughly $3 billion in exports. Kim’s regime has said it won’t give up its nuclear weapons and missile program until the U.S. drops its “hostile” policies.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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