≡ Vietnam's Foreign Minister To Visit N. Korea Ahead Of 2nd Trump-Kim Summit
Vietnamese foreign minister Pham Binh Minh is heading to North Korea today ahead of a second planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesperson tweeted on Monday the minister will be visiting Pyongyang at the invitation of the North between February 12th and 14th.
While his agenda is unknown, it is widely believed to be in preparation for the upcoming summit to be held in Hanoi on February 27th and 28th.
Yonhap News reported on the possibility Kim could also make a state visit to Vietnam, before or after his meeting with President Trump.
If realized, it would be the first by a North Korean leader in 54 years.
Vietnam has been viewed as an instructive model for the North as a former U.S. adversary-turned-major partner.■
≡ US Envoy For N. Korea Meets With Russian Counterparts
U.S. Special Representative for North Korean Policy, Mark Lambert, has discussed the issue of North Korea's denuclearization with his Russian counterparts, ahead of a second Trump-Kim summit.
According to Voice of America on Monday, a State Department official confirmed Lambert's two-day visit to Moscow.
Earlier, Russian state media reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov met with Lambert and was briefed on U.S. polices on the Korean Peninsula.
Lambert's trip hints at Moscow's willingness to take on a bigger role in the issue.■
≡ Top US Commanders For S. Korea To Brief Congress
Top American military commanders are set to brief Congress ahead of a second U.S.-North Korea summit to be held later this month.
According to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and General Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, will testify before the committee Tuesday.
It said they will provide testimony "in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2020 and the Future Years Defense Program," referring to the Pentagon's spending projections for the next fiscal year.
The hearing comes days after Seoul and Washington signed a preliminary agreement renewing their cost-sharing deal for stationing 28,500 American troops in South Korea.
The allies settled for a 8.2 percent increase in Seoul's contribution to some 1.04 trillion won over a one-year period, up from 960 billion won last year.■[2019.02.12]
≡ World Bank Nominee Vows To Cooperate With S. Korea In Developing N. Korea
U.S. President Donald Trump's pick to lead the World Bank has vowed to cooperate with South Korea on developing North Korea and other various sectors.
David Malpass, under secretary of the U.S. Treasury for international affairs, made the pledge in response to South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki's request to the bank to play a leading role in developing Pyongyang in case there is meaningful progress on denuclearization.
Malpass also appealed for Seoul to back his nomination to which Minister Hong confirmed his support.
The undersecretary reportedly requested to meet with the minister in Seoul yesterday, on his way to Beijing to attend high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China.
South Korea is the 15th largest shareholder of the World Bank, with 1.65 percent as of 2018.■
≡ Weather Update 900
Taking a look at the weather, conditions are chilly on this Tuesday morning, with temperatures a few degrees below seasonal norms.
Most regions are getting sun but more clouds are expected to roll in later this afternoon.
Be aware, high levels of fine dust are expected to affect air quality in the capital region, Gangwon, the Chungcheong provinces and in North Jeolla.
Take necessary precautions when outdoors.
The local mercury will peak at around 4 degrees.
As for the current temperature in central Seoul, it is _____ degrees Celsius or _____ degrees Fahrenheit.■[2019.02.12]