June 12, 2018
US move in exchange for North Korean denuclearisation pledge takes Seoul by surprise

The US has agreed to suspend military exercises with South Korea in return for a commitment to denuclearisation from North Korea, Donald Trump has announced, after a meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
Trump said the war games were expensive and “very provocative”. Stopping them is a major concession, something the US has previously rejected as non-negotiable on the grounds that the exercises are a key element of its military alliance with Seoul, and maintaining a deterrent against North Korea.
In return, the US president said Kim had agreed in a joint statement to reassert “his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.
However, that commitment was vaguely worded. A later paragraph in the statement signed by both leaders said only that North Korea “commits to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, without defining what that meant.
Denuclearisation is the longstanding policy of the Pyongyang regime, but the regime interprets this as being an open-ended, gradual process in which other nuclear powers will also disarm.
Both the South Korean government and US forces in the region appear to have been taken by surprise by Trump’s declared suspension of joint military exercises.
US forces in Korea said they had not received updated guidance on military exercises. “In coordination with our ROK [Republic of Korea] partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance,” a spokesperson told Reuters.
US to suspend military exercises with South Korea, Trump says
The South Korean presidency issued a statement saying: “At this moment, the meaning and intention of President Trump’s remarks requires more clear understanding.”
The South Korean military appeared similarly taken aback. NBC News quoted a statement as saying: “Regarding President Trump’s comment regarding ending of the combined military drills … we need to find out the exact meaning or intention behind his comments at this point.”
Military officials from both countries, including the US defence secretary, James Mattis, had vigorously opposed curtailing joint military exercises, on the grounds that doing so would undermine the alliance and its deterrent against North Korea.
Kelly Magsamen, a senior Pentagon official dealing with Asian and Pacific security in the Obama administration, said the surprise suspension of military exercises and their disparagement as expensive and provocative “continues Trump’s disturbing pattern of undermining our democratic alliances while praising our adversaries”.

Missing from the joint statement was the definition, promoted up until now by the Trump administration, of complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID).
Asked at a press conference why those terms were not included, Trump replied: “Because there’s no time. I’m here one day. It wasn’t a big point today because really this … has been taken care of before we got here.”
Trump insisted he believed Kim was determined to disarm, adding that at the end of the summit, the North Korean leader had offered to destroy an engine-testing site that is part of the country’s missile programme.
“He’s de-nuking,” Trump told ABC News. “I mean, he’s de-nuking the whole place. It’s going to start very quickly. I think he’s going to start now.”
Trump said he accepted that dismantling North Korea’s nuclear arsenal would take a long time, but it would be carried out “as fast as it can be done scientifically, as fast it can it be done mechanically”.
The language on disarmament in the statement was similar to that of previous agreements, in 1994 and 2005, which ultimately collapsed amid differences over interpretation and arguments about verification.
Asked how he could ensure Kim’s undertakings would be any more solid, the president replied: “Can you ensure anything? You can’t ensure anything.”
But he added: “All I can say is they want to make a deal. That’s what I do. My whole life has been deals. I have done great at it … I know when somebody wants to deal and I know when somebody doesn’t.”
Trump said the summit on Tuesday would be followed next week by more negotiations between US and North Korean officials to work out the details of the agreement.

Before his press conference, reporters were shown a video that Trump said he had played to Kim and his aides towards the end of their talks. It was credited to Destiny Productions and was presented in Korean and English in the style of an action movie trailer.
It sought to illustrate alternative futures for North Korea: one a bright, colourful world of scientific progress and happiness, the other a monochrome world full of weaponry accompanied by ominous music. Only one person could choose between these two destinies, the film’s narrator said.
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The joint statement, signed after five hours of talks, laid out a basic bargain. “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” it read.
US to suspend military exercises with South Korea, Trump says
However, while Washington is pushing for complete disarmament as quickly as possible, Pyongyang wants an open-ended process of negotiation in which it is treated as an equal.
Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), tweeted: “We support diplomacy and peaceful solutions. But there is no agreement on nuclear disarmament and this all looked more like a big welcome party to the nuclear-armed club.”
Kim also undertook to cooperate with the US in the recovery of the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean war – a longstanding US request that has so far produced only limited assistance.
Trump was repeatedly asked after the summit about North Korea’s appalling human rights record. He said he had raised the issue with Kim, but defended the North Korean leader.

“Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough,” the president said. “I believe it is a rough situation over there. We will be doing something on it. It’s rough. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way.”
During the leaders’ public exchanges, a few months after the pair had swapped insults and threatened imminent war, they went out of their way to be gracious. Trump even declared it an “honour” to be sitting next to Kim.
At the start of the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, the pair walked towards each other and shook hands, then turned unsmiling towards the cameras. Trump appeared to be speaking to Kim throughout the 12 seconds of their handshake. Kim could be heard replying in English, “I’m very happy to meet you in Singapore”, as the US president patted his arm.
For both men, the high-stakes encounter was their most consequential meeting, addressing the future of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and a peace agreement to end the precarious and tense 65-year limbo that has endured since the Korean war ended with an armistice.
Even before they had left their separate hotels and driven to the summit venue, Trump used Twitter to claim victory and hit back at his critics.
Pyongyang is believed to have at least two dozen warheads, including a thermonuclear bomb, and is close to building an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a warhead to the US mainland.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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