Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin
Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, left, shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, ahead of the summit in Russia | Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
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‘Peace on Korean peninsula depends on US attitude’

At the end of the first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un accused United States President Donald Trump of acting in “bad faith” at the North Korea-US Hanoi summit in February, reported North Korea’s state media.

North Korean state media KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the situation in Korean peninsula “may return to its original state as the US took a unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-US summit talks.”

“Peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the US future attitude, and the DPRK will gird itself for every possible situation,” said Kim according to KCNA.

The Kim-Trump talks failed because North Korea was demanding a complete ease in economic sanctions, but the US was not sure what it would be willing to offer in return. At the heart of it, North Korea wants to continue to retain its nuclear powers and also have the sanctions eased out. As of yet, this position is unacceptable by the US.

Meanwhile, Kim and Putin had a warm meeting. Putin, who is known for making world leaders wait, was waiting for Kim to arrive in his limousine, reported KCNA.

Putin’s aim was to use the breakdown in the US-North Korea talks to inject Russia into the on-going negotiations. And his attempts succeeded, when Kim invited Putin to visit North Korea “at a convenient time” and Putin readily accepted the invitation.

The recent moves by Putin can be seen as a part of the broader Russian strategy aimed at undercutting the influence of America wherever the opportunity arises. So far, Putin has been able to use this strategy in Syria, Iran, and at other places.

Macron responds to Yellow Vest protesters

In what can be seen as a delayed response, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a few reforms addressing the Yellow Vest protestors.

Though Macron continued to argue that his reforms so far have been in the right direction, he acknowledged that some of the demands of the protesters were legitimate. He even said there has been a breakdown of trust between the citizens and the government.

Macron announced reduction in income tax, increase in pension, a more decentralized government, and abolishing the elite ENA University – which is seen as deeply pro-establishment.

In other news:

Cyclone Kenneth: Storm-battered Mozambique hit again, BBC

‘30 soccer pitches disappear in every minute of every day’: tropical forest the size of England was destroyed in 2018, South China Morning Post

Sri Lanka attacks: Death toll revised down by ‘about 100′, BBC

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