≡ Govt Ditches Plan For New Military Command Amid Peace Efforts
The South Korean military has canceled a plan to establish a new strategic command tasked with countering North Korea's nuclear threats, amid current peace initiatives.
The Ministry of National Defense said today the government will instead install a new division within the Joint Chiefs of Staff to cope with threats from North Korea's nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
President Moon Jae-in initially pledged to launch the command during his election campaign, but the plan was reconsidered after it was found to overlap with the functions of other existing units.
Observers view the move as falling in line with Seoul's ongoing diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang aimed at creating lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.■
≡ Speaker Moon Reaffirms Denuclearization Commitment With Senior US Diplomat
National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang has met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in Washington and pledged to maintain close coordination to ensure the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.
The U.S. State Department said in a statement that during their meeting on Monday, the two reaffirmed the ironclad alliance between the U.S. and South Korea.
They also shared mutual commitment to strengthening trilateral cooperation with Japan and achieving their shared goals in the Indo-Pacific region.
Speaker Moon is currently leading a parliamentary delegation to the U.S. for diplomacy with American congressional leaders in the run-up to the second U.S.-North Korea summit.
The weeklong trip includes a Tuesday meeting with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.■[2019.02.12]
≡ Trump, Xi May Meet At Mar-A-Lago Resort To End Trade War: Axios
U.S. President Donald Trump may meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as early as mid-March in efforts to end their trade war.
American news and information site Axios cited two officials on Monday with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.
However, the sources stressed nothing has been set yet, while another official cautioned that the team has discussed other locations, including Beijing.
Trump reportedly wanted to meet with Xi before the U.S. tariff ceasefire with China ends on March 1st, but with his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, the events were thought to be too close together.
U.S. media have been wary about the progress in recent trade talks, with U.S. officials pushing for deeper structural reforms of China's trade arena, while Beijing has been reiterating its stance for Washington to open up.■
≡ Seoul City To Add More Security Guards At Special Education Schools
The Seoul Metropolitan Government says it will place security personnel at 13 national and public special education schools in the capital from this year.
This comes as an addition to city government's measures introduced in 2011 to deploy school security guards to protect the safety of students.
Under the measures, two guards are supposed to be placed at each school, but as the special schools already have a separate safety officer, the city will deploy one more guard for each of them.
As of December, more than a thousand personnel were working at 559 national and public elementary schools in Seoul.■[2019.02.12]
≡ 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]