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Trump says he'll meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un

Trump says he'll meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un

Trump says he'll meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon
People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, left, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 9, 2018. Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim Jong Un by May, a top South Korean official said Thursday, in a remarkable turnaround in relations between two historic adversaries. The signs read: " Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim by May." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Trump says he'll meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un

After months of trading insults and threats of nuclear annihilation, President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by the end of May to negotiate an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, South Korean and U.S. officials said Thursday. No sitting American president has ever met with a North Korea leader.

The meeting would be unprecedented during seven decades of animosity between the U.S. and North Korea. The countries remain in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

"Great progress being made," Trump tweeted after the South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, announced the plans to reporters in a hastily called appearance on a White House driveway.

Trump added that sanctions will remain in place until there's a deal.

Trump took office vowing to stop North Korea from attaining a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the U.S. mainland, a goal that Pyongyang is on the cusp of reaching. He's oscillated between threats and insults directed at Kim that have fueled fears of war, and more conciliatory rhetoric.

The historic announcement comes during a period of unparalleled tumult in the West Wing, with the president's policy agenda stalled and morale sinking as staff departures proliferate and disrupt efforts to instill more discipline and order.

Trump clearly relished the news of the planned summit. He had made a surprise visit to the White House press briefing room on Thursday afternoon to alert reporters of a "major statement" on North Korea by South Korea. When asked by an ABC reporter if it was about talks with North Korea, he replied: "It's almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit."

Earlier Thursday, Chung had briefed Trump and other top U.S. officials about a rare meeting with Kim in the North Korean capital. During that meeting, the rival Koreas agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April, the first in a decade.

Kim "expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible," Chung told reporters. "President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."

The White House said Trump's meeting with Kim would take place "at a place and time to be determined."

"Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze," Trump said in a tweet. "Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time."

It marks a dramatic shift in Trump's stance toward North Korea. He has threatened the pariah nation with "fire and fury" if its threats against the U.S. and its allies continued. He has derided Kim by referring to him as "Little Rocket Man." Kim has pilloried Trump as "senile" and a "dotard."

After Kim repeated threats against the U.S. in a New Year's address and mentioned the "nuclear button" on his office desk, Trump responded by tweeting that he has a nuclear button, too, "but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

North Korea appeared to confirm the summit plans. A senior North Korean diplomat at the United Nations in New York, Pak Song Il, told The Washington Post in an e-mail that the invitation was the result of Kim's "broad minded and resolute decision" to contribute to the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula.

By the "great courageous decision of our Supreme Leader, we can take the new aspect to secure the peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the East Asia region," Pak wrote.

On Tuesday after leaving Pyongyang, Chung had publicized that North Korea was offering talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties. But the proposal for a summit still came as a surprise, and will raise questions about whether the two sides are ready for such a high-level meeting.

Just a few hours earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is traveling in Africa, had said the adversaries were still a long way from holding negotiations.

Chung, who credited Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign for the diplomatic opening on the nuclear issue, said Kim understands that routine U.S.-South Korea military drills "must continue."

The drills were suspended during the Winter Olympics recently hosted by South Korea, which provided impetus for the inter-Korea rapprochement. The drills are expected to resume next month and had widely been seen as an obstacle to talks. North Korea has long protested the military maneuvers south of the divided Korean Peninsula as a rehearsal for invading the North.

When the South Korean delegation briefed Trump in the Oval Office, he was joined by a number of top advisers, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, chief of staff John Kelly and the director of national intelligence, among others, according to a senior Trump administration official who briefed reporters after the announcement. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the sensitive diplomatic issue by name and spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was no letter from Kim to Trump, just an oral briefing from the South Korean officials.

The planned summit was welcomed by arms control advocates, but got varying responses from Republican lawmakers.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce said the invitation was a sign that sanction pressure was working but he was skeptical of North Korea's motives. Sen. Lindsey Graham warned Kim that "the worst possible thing you can do is meet with President Trump in person and try to play him. If you do that, it will be the end of you — and your regime."

Darryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said it was too much to expect a single Trump-Kim summit could immediately resolve the nuclear issue that has bedeviled U.S. administrations since the early 1990s, when the North first began producing fissile material for bombs.

"But if the U.S. works closely and intensively with our South Korean allies in its approach to North Korea, a summit offers the potential for starting a serious process that could move us decisively away from the current crisis," Kimball said.


Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller, Catherine Lucey, Ken Thomas, Darlene Superville and Matthew Lee contributed to this report.

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Georgia Sports News

  • Anibal Sanchez allowed seven hits, three runs and one walk with four strikeouts in five innings of Friday’s 11-3 loss against the Tigers. It got worse after that. Braves pitcher Matt Wisler was rocked for six hits and seven runs without recording an out in the seventh inning. Never miss a minute of what’s happening with the Braves. Subscribe to myAJC.com
  • ATHENS – All indications are Nick Saban is going to stick around Alabama a while. Based on his contract, that looks to be at least until 2024 at Alabama. We can joke about other deals he may have made to age as well as he has. The fact is, the Crimson Tide’s coach looks great and says he feels great at 66. There is no evidence of him slowing down anytime soon. We know Georgia’s Kirby Smart is going to be around a good, long while, too. He’s 42 and expected to receive a raise and contract extension in the coming weeks and months. My point here – this could get really fun before it’s all over. It’s not like Georgia needs any new rivals. Lord knows the program probably sports more intense rivalries than any other single team in America. If you ever want to initiate a good debate around the water the cooler or at your local watering hole, ask a group of people whom they believe is the Bulldogs’ biggest rival. Chances are you’ll hear Florida or Georgia Tech out of most folks. But as was well-illustrated this past season, Georgia’s rivalry with Auburn is pretty intense as well. It is, after all, the oldest one in the Deep South. Only a pair of world wars have kept the schools from playing each other every year since 1892. And after the split in 2017 – with the Bulldogs winning the more important one in the SEC Championship Game – only two games separate them on that extensive ledger, with Georgia holding a 58-56-8 advantage. Georgia and Tennessee used to hardly ever play. But they’ve met every year since conference expansion in 1992. And that has been a wild one of unusual streaks on both sides. Most Volunteers fans probably would tell you Bama is their main rival, but I’m not sure that’s truly the case with the way that series has gone of late. The Crimson Tide have won “The Third Saturday in October” contest 11 times in a row and 12 of the last 13. Meanwhile, Jeremy Pruitt has been installed as Tennessee’s coach, and if you look at his coaching staff, it has a decidedly Georgia flavor to it. Thirty percent of his full-time assistants were with him when he was defensive coordinator at UGA: offensive line coach Will Friend, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer. Then I found out the other day that John Lilly – former tight ends coach at Georgia and, at different times, interim offensive coordinator, special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator with the Bulldogs – has joined Pruitt’s staff as an offensive analyst. Pruitt is definitely going to have some inside intel on UGA, and it would behoove him to change the direction of that series, which has seen the Bulldogs win six of the last eight. And while it likely never will be the case for Georgia, don’t underestimate what the annual series with South Carolina means to the Gamecocks. I have a ton of family members who live in South Carolina and are alums of that school. While Clemson always will carry the torch as their greatest rival, the Georgia game is huge to them every year, especially when it’s in that SEC opener slot, as it is this season. They’re under the direction of Will Muschamp, a UGA alum and one of Smart’s close friends. We all know how competitive close friends can be. Florida is Florida. Just ask DawgNation’s Brandon Adams – the consummate Georgia fan – where that rivalry ranks for him. That’s another rivalry that has swung wildly one way or another over the years. Smart is 1-1 in it, but the Gators just brought in Dan Mullen as coach. He knows the lay of the land down there and, contrary to the last few coaches in Gainesville, knows how to find a good quarterback and what to do with one once he gets there. And, as the old Georgia saying about Tech goes, if you don’t know how important that game is to the fan base, lose it and you’ll find out. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, that doesn’t happen as often as it once did. But if Georgia’s program continues to trend the way many believe it will, the Bulldogs could have a budding rivalry with Alabama in the works. We all know what happened in the National Championship Game in January, and they’re already prohibitive favorites to meet in the 2018 SEC Championship Game. Based on recent recruiting rankings, that’s a matchup that could up to be a regular one over the next several years. There is the potential for Georgia-Alabama to go the way Florida-Alabama did in the 1990s. Did you realize they met nine times during that decade? The Gators won six of them. Lane Kiffin, the former Alabama offensive coordinator and Tennessee head coach, talked about Georgia and Alabama in an interview with ESPN’s Off The Bench Thursday. He said he expects Saban to continue to coach Alabama for a long time, but he said Smart’s presence at Georgia could have an impact on the Crimson Tide being able to sustain the level of success it has had to date. “That’s hard to do when you’ve got someone who’s been with you for 10 years and knows every single thing you do and every single reason why you’re successful,” said Kiffin, who’s now coach at Florida International, in the interview. “I went to Alabama for three years and it was already rolling. Kirby was there from Day 1 to see how [Saban] built it. That’s hard. The guy’s been there 10 years and now he goes inside the conference and you’ve got to compete against him.” Of course, Smart’s just one of a number of former assistants to go against Saban. Pruitt and new Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher join a long list that includes Muschamp and Jim McElwain in the conference. The difference is Smart has been able to win more of the head-to-head recruiting battles. Georgia and Smart will have to keep that up to have any hope of actually turning Alabama into another rival. It’s anything but at the moment. After the Crimson Tide’s win in the championship game, they lead the series 39-25-4. Kiffin credited Saban’s skillful recruiting for Alabama’s success. “That’s the No. 1 reason he wins,” Kiffin said. “Every Saturday they play, they have better players than the other sideline, and it’s usually not even close. They had better players, by far, even in the national championship.” According to recruiting rankings, Georgia ended up with the better players this year at least. If Smart can make that a trend, the Bulldogs might have a nice, new rivalry in the making. The post Kirby Smart’s presence could make Georgia, Alabama rivals appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to the Question of the Day, where our writers answer (or try to answer) the best questions submitted by Georgia fans. If you’d like to submit a question, please e-mail us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. Or you can tweet us at here and here. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. How about an update on whether or not Tom Crean is going to retain Jonas Hayes?  I know that Kenny Johnson was Tom Crean’s ace recruiter who left Indiana to go be Rick Pitino’s top recruiter.  Unfortunately, Kenny Johnson was fired after getting caught up in Pitino’s problems. Just curious if Tom Crean has reached out to Kenny Johnson? The right hire is Jonas Hayes. That good news should have already been announced.  Thank you. — Henry Stone OK, so I should put you down in the category of wanting Jonas Hayes to be retained? Seems you feel that way but want to be sure. Nothing is official yet, but things certainly seem to be moving in the direction of Hayes remaining on staff. He has been recruiting alongside Crean this week, and Crean keeps having nice things to say about Hayes, such as this in an interview with AM 960 The Ref on Friday morning: “It’s actually been a little too busy to just sit down and lay everything out, but I’ll say this: I really, really like him. I know how important he is to Georgia and I know how important Georgia is to him. I see the way people respond to him, which is great.” One important point: Hayes is still under contract to UGA through this summer, as are all of Mark Fox’s assistants. So Hayes still working and recruiting doesn’t mean he’s been retained. Phillip Pearson and David Carter, the other two assistants, are also under contract and as far as I know also continue to work, even if it’s just administrative duties. That’s another reason Crean doesn’t need to rush to announce Hayes is being retained. This also allows him to get to know Hayes and make his own evaluation. Evidently he likes what he sees so far. I don’t know if retaining Hayes will be enough to get Ashton Hagans and Elias King, the two one-time 2019 commits, back in the fold, especially Hagans. When he de-committed last month amid the Mark Fox uncertainty, it opened the floodgates for interest from other programs. But Hayes’ prowess as a recruiter certainly would help down the line and would provide an instant bridge between Crean and the Georgia fan base. An underrated asset that Hayes brings to the table: The ability to restrain coaches from getting too heated during games. Hayes excelled at that the past couple of years. Here he is doing it with Mark Fox: (Curtis Compton/AJC) And here is Hayes restraining Kent Davison a couple of years ago: (DawgNation/file photo) As for Kenny Johnson joining Crean, I have trouble seeing that happening, given the uncertainty over the FBI scandal. Matt Bucklin, who has been on Georgia’s staff in an operations capacity the past few years, could be a candidate to stick around. Bucklin is the nephew of Tom Izzo, who is close with Crean. If Crean wants to reach back to his Marquette days and get someone who knows the SEC, he could talk to Darrin Horn, the former South Carolina head coach who has been an assistant for Shaka Smart at Texas the past two years. Horn was an assistant for Crean at Marquette. Another name: Bennie Seltzer was an assistant for Crean at both Marquette and Indiana, but was also born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., and and was the head coach at Samford from 2012-14. So he should know the southeast recruiting territory well. This isn’t football, where you get 10 assistant coaches, and now a bunch of quality-control spots. Those three full-time assistant positions are precious. If I had to guess now, I’d say that if Hayes is retained then the other two spots are likely to go to people closer to Crean’s orbit. Have a question for beat writers Chip Towers and Seth Emerson? E-mail us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com The post Will Jonas Hayes stay on staff with Tom Crean? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Precious memories linger and flood our soul — even before that final hour comes. Some of the most uplifting and gratifying moments on this complex earth come when we remember the time and place where good things happened and memories were collected generously. Those memories that elevate spirits when we look back. Those are the moments of signature professional accomplishment, the birth of children and grandchildren, a trip that exposes one to the ancient world, a concert showcasing a virtuoso performer, the World Series, the Masters or a Super Bowl. Jesup’s John Donaldson would have enjoyed all that, but he could not get enough of what was at his fingertips: fishing the Altamaha (“Altamahaul” to the locals in Wayne County), Blackbeard Island on the Georgia coast and Christmas Creek at St. Simons. He was a versatile fisherman. I called him Mark Trail. On my wildlife showcase wall are some fish and winged mounts, which I passionately cherish. Each represents a memory that exhilarates and raises my spirits when I recall fishing and hunting with John, the consummate outdoorsman. What I have on display would pale when compared to the ultimate fishermen and hunters, but they are, nonetheless, emotionally fulfilling. I like to recall standing in mountain streams, my ears sensitive to the water’s movement, my eyes connecting with nature’s most splendorous views. I like the loneliness of a duck blind that suddenly becomes an explosion of fury and consternation when a flock of mallards descend within range of my shotgun. I like it when wood ducks require that your aim must penetrate the right opening in the woods for success. My friend John — the former Georgia halfback, coach of Jesup and later Wayne County high schools, assistant coach at Florida and UGA — passed away Tuesday at age 92 in his hometown of Jesup. Even in recent years when John’s health began to fail, I would walk by a marsh hen mount or look up from my computer at a spottail bass that once was a 35-pound collector of smaller fish and thought of him. I remember our football conversations. John played the game well; he succeeded Charley Trippi in the backfield at Georgia and later coached several of his teams to championships. He loved the running game. He could design a quick-hitting play that, accompanied with crisp blocking, would allow for a patented first down or a touchdown. He was a hit the hole with alacrity and verve, a knockout-punch kind of guy. Even with his predilection for the running game — his love for running the football and fishing for a 5-pound pass endeared him to his one-time boss, Vince Dooley — he had affection for the passing game. John taught passing principles to Steve Spurrier when he coached Spurrier as a freshman at Florida. John was not above matching the chicanery of fellow coaches, such as Wright Bazemore of Valdosta High School. While he espoused lasting respect to Bazemore, he took great pride in beating Bazemore at his own game. Before the center-keep was outlawed, Bazemore used it to perfection to win big games. The center snaps the ball, but the quarterback does not take the snap but instead goes through a series of fakes as if he is handing the ball off. After a couple of seconds as the defense is moving past the line of scrimmage, the center, usually a big man with superior speed for a lineman, sprints downfield through an unaware defense that is caught totally off guard, with the play often resulting in a touchdown.  What made the play work more often than not was propitious play calling. John found the sideline chess matches thrilling. For years, I heard John  recount how that play worked to defeat Valdosta a couple of times, recalling every detail as it unfolded in his memory banks — still savoring the moment after several decades had elapsed. After the game, he signaled for the band to parade around the field, blaring out victoriously in song “The Old Gray Mare.” Jesup was awash in celebratory retribution for any past failures to the Wildcats. I gloried in every fishing outing with John, especially at Shellman Bluff, motoring past the ballast that the celebrated pirate, Blackbeard, had dumped. The contrast was real: Blackbeard a dishonorable man with nothing in common with my principled friend. I can see John, a right-hander, casting with his left hand after making himself ambidextrous for more casting efficiency. John was good man who lived a good life. Neither alcohol nor tobacco touched his lips in his 92 years on earth. He owed his longevity, in part, to medical science — open heart surgery twice with pig valve replacements. He was about fair play and tending to your own knitting. He loved to breathe the salt air and commune with nature. After one prosperous outing near Sapelo Island, he enjoyed a serendipitous experience that I stewarded into print — my epitaph for my treasured outdoor friend. “Let’s cast a couple of times along the beach here,” John said as we were heading home. “Water’s clearing up, you never know.” As soon as he eagerly watched his line spin off his reel, he hooked something too big and strong for his lightweight equipment. A 25-pound spot tail bass had taken his bait. Only finesse would bring the quarry home. Only skill would succeed in boating such a fish. Power and force would lose this battle. Tiring out his prey, with the velvet touch, gained him the catch of the year. Today, my heart is heavy, but the sadness is ameliorated by an appreciation for John’s sportsmanship and masterly skills. Fishing with John Donaldson was like watching Monet paint. The post Remembering former Georgia player, coach ‘Jesup’ John Donaldson appeared first on DawgNation.
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