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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: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530325

Reported Deaths: 10966
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763971520
Mobile40908804
Madison34717503
Tuscaloosa25730452
Montgomery24314588
Shelby23401249
Baldwin21107307
Lee15856171
Calhoun14488314
Morgan14282279
Etowah13819353
Marshall12210223
Houston10557280
Elmore10044205
Limestone9954150
Cullman9649193
St. Clair9644242
Lauderdale9419241
DeKalb8825185
Talladega8214175
Walker7223277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6804112
Blount6651137
Colbert6292134
Coffee5506119
Dale4828111
Russell440638
Chilton4279112
Franklin425582
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4019152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3547151
Clarke350861
Marion3113100
Pike310577
Lawrence299898
Winston274072
Bibb260464
Marengo249264
Geneva249077
Pickens234160
Barbour230757
Hale222677
Butler215969
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184445
Randolph179941
Monroe177340
Washington167039
Macon158750
Clay156156
Crenshaw152057
Cleburne148741
Lamar141934
Lowndes138653
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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