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Trump remains optimistic on North Korea talks

Despite criticism that President Donald Trump may have oversold the success of his summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, the President says he believes negotiations with North Korea are going well, and that his relationship with Kim remains strong. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 1:58 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 2:12 PM

President Donald Trump issued a White House statement about North Korea on Wednesday evening via Twitter, casting blame on China for difficulties in the US-North Korea relationship and asserting there is "no reason at this time" to spend money on joint military exercises with South Korea.

"President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful!" he said in a series of tweets.

"Nonetheless, the President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games. Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before," Trump tweeted.

Trump sought to tie the impasse with North Korea with his trade tensions with China, although it is unclear how Beijing might be thwarting progress on the denuclearization front.

A spokesperson for the Beijing government said the US was "using this kind of logic to distort facts, and such logic is beyond comprehension."

"China has been reiterating its position on this issue," spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters during a press briefing at the Foreign Affairs ministry on Thursday. "We hope that the US would honor its pledges and commitments and play a positive and constructive role in settling this issue, just like we Chinese people do," she said. The US, she said, " should look at itself to find out what is wrong instead of shifting blame onto others."

The President has previously derided military exercises as a waste of money, telling reporters during a news conference following his June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he thought such exercises were "very provocative."

Defense Secretary James Mattis maintained earlier Wednesday that military exercises have been suspended but no decisions have been made on future exercises.

"The Department of Defense suspended three individual military exercises in order to provide space for our diplomats to negotiate the verifiable, irreversible and complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Our military posture has not changed since the conclusion of the Singapore summit and no decisions have been made about suspending any future exercises," Mattis said in a statement.

Trump also addressed his relationship with China's President Xi Jinping in his own statement.

"As for the U.S.--China trade disputes, and other differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China's great President Xi Jinping. Their relationship and bond remain very strong," the statement said.

The tweets come hours after Trump was noncommittal when asked by reporters about North Korea's denuclearization progress, again pivoting to blame China.

"I think we're doing well with North Korea. We'll have to see," he said in the Roosevelt Room, adding that "part of the North Korea problem is caused by our trade disputes with China."

Trump said he has a "great relationship" with China and Xi but that the country makes the US's relationship with North Korea "difficult."

"China is the route to North Korea. Ninety-three percent of the product and various things are going to North Korea go in through China, so I think that now that we are in somewhat -- I don't like to call it a trade war ... but China's having a very, very tough time. And I think that China makes it much more difficult in terms of our relationship with North Korea," Trump said.

Asked whether he thinks North Korea is holding up its end of the deal, Trump said: "We're going to have to see. But I think China probably has a great influence over North Korea. I have a fantastic relationship with Chairman Kim, as you probably know, and we're just going to have to see how it all ends up."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has had at least three meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump has suggested that Kim's reticence to accede to certain US demands in the past was influenced by his conversations with the Chinese leader.

While China and the US are at loggerheads over trade, they both share at least one goal regarding security in the region: a belligerent North Korea backing down on its nuclear ambitions. China is North Korea's biggest trade partner and is keen for sanctions to cede to resume trading with North Korea, and to prevent any disruption in its own security interests on the peninsula.

China's concerns over the political stability of the Kim regime include the fear that North Koreans, fleeing a regime collapse, could overwhelm the border they share with China. That, in turn, might also allow South Korean and US troops to move into North Korea, leaving China with US military right on its doorstep.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 338079

Reported Deaths: 7523
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23409440
DeSoto23069280
Harrison20064328
Rankin15119290
Jackson14743251
Madison10806227
Lee10568179
Jones8864169
Forrest8408159
Lauderdale7684243
Lowndes6917151
Lamar683789
Lafayette6502124
Washington5551139
Pearl River5060150
Bolivar4923134
Oktibbeha484798
Panola4739112
Warren4690127
Marshall4670106
Pontotoc442873
Monroe4293137
Union429179
Neshoba4232181
Hancock417788
Lincoln4148116
Pike3605113
Leflore3587125
Tate351488
Alcorn346474
Sunflower344994
Adams338488
Scott336676
Yazoo335673
Simpson319290
Copiah319068
Itawamba312480
Coahoma311585
Tippah300568
Prentiss295063
Covington287183
Marion281780
Leake281575
Wayne274643
Grenada267588
George266251
Newton258964
Tishomingo238070
Winston236284
Jasper227548
Attala223373
Stone219437
Chickasaw217560
Holmes197674
Clay194654
Clarke184480
Tallahatchie182742
Calhoun179432
Smith177535
Yalobusha170240
Walthall144448
Lawrence140026
Greene137634
Amite135643
Noxubee134235
Perry132438
Montgomery131544
Carroll125431
Webster119132
Jefferson Davis114234
Tunica113227
Benton105925
Claiborne104831
Kemper101429
Humphreys99833
Franklin86723
Quitman84319
Choctaw81819
Wilkinson76532
Jefferson70428
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 574737

Reported Deaths: 11492
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson839571589
Mobile46611857
Madison36938532
Tuscaloosa26841465
Shelby26769255
Montgomery25853624
Baldwin24213326
Lee16897181
Calhoun15210332
Morgan14990289
Etowah14721369
Marshall12855235
Houston11661292
Elmore10727217
St. Clair10587250
Limestone10535158
Cullman10323204
Lauderdale10044253
DeKalb9335191
Talladega8797187
Walker7659286
Autauga7456114
Jackson7295117
Blount7233139
Colbert6614142
Coffee6117131
Dale5393117
Russell467742
Chilton4666117
Covington4623125
Franklin447281
Tallapoosa4420157
Escambia425282
Chambers3880125
Dallas3707163
Clarke366462
Marion3413106
Pike326979
Lawrence3211101
Winston293972
Bibb282965
Geneva274283
Marengo259067
Barbour245161
Pickens239662
Butler237672
Hale232378
Fayette225064
Henry206645
Randolph196144
Monroe195041
Cherokee194548
Washington179339
Macon168352
Crenshaw165058
Clay163659
Cleburne159945
Lamar149738
Lowndes144854
Wilcox129831
Bullock126042
Conecuh119530
Coosa116729
Perry109928
Sumter108732
Greene98336
Choctaw63925
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Thursday will be another very hot and very humid day across Mississippi and Alabama. Many areas will be well above 100 degrees with the heat index, some even as high as 120 degrees in the Delta of Mississippi.
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