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South Korea newspapers welcome summit as ‘first step’ toward peace

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Most South Korean newspapers reacted with cautious optimism Wednesday to the historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore, although one conservative daily denounced the agreement it produced as “absurd”.

The centrist Hankook daily noted that the post-summit joint statement signed by the US president and North Korean leader on Tuesday had omitted Washington’s demand for a “complete, verifiable, irreversible” denuclearisation of the North and lacked a concrete timetable to achieve that goal.

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Instead the statement commits Pyongyang to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.

“In terms of the key issue… it may appear that the result failed to meet expectations,” Hankook said in an editorial.

But it added that the concrete steps of dismantling the North’s nuclear arsenal would be handled during follow-on negotiations, and that negotiations for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and permanent peace between Seoul and Pyongyang had “just begun”.

The pro-business Joongang daily was cautiously optimistic, even though the timetable for the dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons remained vague.

“We can’t dismiss the summit as a failure. It is already a historic event that the leaders of two foes have met. The first step to end decades of hostilities since the Korean War has been made”, Joongang said.

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However, the conservative Chosun daily lambasted the agreement signed by Trump and Kim.

“The June 12 agreement is so outrageous and absurd that we could hardly believe our eyes,” it said in an editorial.

The paper attacked Trump for promising to stop annual US-South Korea joint military drills before the North had started dismantling its nuclear arsenal.

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Its view was echoed by the conservative opposition Liberty Korea Party, whose leader Hong Joon-Pyo castigated the summit as a “great failure”.

But an editorial in the left-leaning Hankyoreh praised the summit as opening a new chapter for a “great change” in US-North Korea ties.

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The stoppage of the US-South Korea drills, which the North says are rehearsals for aggression against it, will serve as “a catalyst” in improving ties between the two Cold War foes and denuclearisation of the North, it said.


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WATCH: New Zealand prime minister unfazed as quake hits during an interview

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A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled New Zealand's North Island early Monday but failed to crack Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's trademark composure as she conducted a live television interview.

The quake struck just off the coast before 8:00 am local time (2000 Sunday GMT) at a depth of about 52 kilometres (32 miles) near Levin, about 90 kilometres north of Wellington, the US Geological Survey said.

St John Ambulance and New Zealand Police both said there were no initial reports of injuries or damage. There was no tsunami warning.

But there was sustained shaking in Wellington, where Ardern was being interviewed on breakfast television from parliament's Beehive building, which is designed to absorb seismic forces by swaying slightly on its foundations.

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US farmers are starting to worry as crop prices dip during COVID-19 crisis: ‘It’s kind of glum’

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Dave Burrier steered his tractor through a field, following a GPS map as he tried to plant as much corn as possible amid the yellow and green rye covering the ground.

Striving to get a massive yield out of his crops in rural Maryland is how Burrier hopes to make it through yet another uncertain year, beset by market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed trade tensions between the United States and China.

"We've had so much price erosion that we're basically at below the cost of production. We've got to figure out how to manage and turn a profit," Burrier told AFP.

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‘It’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months’: Trump makes excuses for golfing during coronavirus pandemic

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President Donald Trump was blasted on Sunday for playing golf during the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic economic recession and after proclaiming churches "essential."

Instead of joining his voters sitting in the pews, Trump went for the links, which drew criticisms for the hypocrisy.

"Sleepy Joe’s representatives have just put out an ad saying that I went to play golf (exercise) today. They think I should stay in the White House at all times. What they didn’t say is that it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months, that Biden was constantly vacationing, relaxing & making shady deals with other countries, & that Barack was always playing golf, doing much of his traveling in a fume spewing 747 to play golf in Hawaii - Once even teeing off immediately after announcing the gruesome death of a great young man by ISIS!" tweeted Trump.

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