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Sep 5, 2013

Specter of North Korea lurks in U.S. debate on Syria’s chemical weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Obama administration officials making the case for a U.S. military response to Syria’s alleged gassing of its citizens are invoking another American foe long suspected of stockpiling chemical weapons: North Korea.

The specter of North Korea hovered over U.S. congressional debate this week as President Barack Obama’s top security aides sought authorization for what they said would be the limited use of force in Syria, arguing that failure to act would embolden Pyongyang and others.

Aug 30, 2013

U.S. says North Korea calls off trip aimed at securing American’s release

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea withdrew its invitation to a U.S. envoy who was headed to Pyongyang to request the release of imprisoned, ailing American missionary Kenneth Bae, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

North Korea canceled talks with Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, who was expected to visit Pyongyang on Friday and Saturday.

Aug 28, 2013

U.S. rejects link between North Korea nuclear diplomacy, jailed American

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The case of a U.S. citizen jailed in North Korea is a human rights issue that has no connection to long-stalled talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, is slated to travel to Pyongyang on Friday. The State Department on Tuesday described his trip as a “humanitarian mission” aimed at winning the release of ailing Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary and tour operator.

Aug 28, 2013

U.S. envoy to visit North Korea over jailed American

WASHINGTON/SEATTLE (Reuters) – The United States will send its North Korean human rights envoy to Pyongyang this week to seek the release of an imprisoned U.S. Christian missionary, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday at the invitation of the government on a “humanitarian mission focused on securing the release of U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae,” the department said in a statement.

Aug 26, 2013

Use of chemical weapon in Syria ‘undeniable’ – John Kerry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that the evidence of a massive deadly chemical attack last week was “undeniable” and accused the Syrian government of trying to cover it up, signaling the United States was edging closer to a possible military response.

In the most forceful U.S. reaction yet after Wednesday’s suspected gas attack outside Damascus, Kerry said President Barack Obama “believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Aug 26, 2013

Kerry: use of chemical weapon in Syria ‘undeniable’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that the evidence of a massive deadly chemical attack last week was “undeniable” and accused the Syrian government of trying to cover it up, signaling the United States was edging closer to a possible military response.

In the most forceful U.S. reaction yet after Wednesday’s suspected gas attack outside Damascus, Kerry said President Barack Obama “believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Aug 19, 2013

U.S., China to expand military exchanges amid rows over cyber security, territory

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and China agreed on Monday to expand military exchanges and exercises as part of efforts to build more stable ties, despite tensions over cyber security and East Asian territorial disputes.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan spelled out plans this year for senior American officers to visit China, counter-piracy drills in waters near Somalia and a humanitarian rescue exercise near Hawaii.

Aug 15, 2013

U.S. and Iraq to boost cooperation on spillover from Syria

WASHINGTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) – The United States and Iraq
agreed on Thursday to boost cooperation to keep Iran from flying
weapons over Iraq to Syria, and to curb the radicalization of
young Iraqis and other spillover effects from the Syrian
conflict.

U.S. help for Iraq will include intelligence- and
information-sharing in the short term, followed by a planned
sale of a $2.6 billion integrated air defense system and F-16
fighter jets, a senior U.S. official said.

Aug 11, 2013

Snowden’s father gets visa, to leave for Russia ‘soon’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The father of Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor, has received a Russian visa and will travel there shortly to see his son, he and his lawyer said on Sunday.

Attorney Bruce Fein said in a television appearance that he and Lon Snowden were skeptical about President Barack Obama’s pledge to limit government surveillance programs, and they remain doubtful that young Snowden can receive a fair trial in the United States.

Aug 10, 2013

U.S., Russia agree to prepare for Syria peace talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Russian officials agreed on Friday on the need to convene a long-delayed Syrian peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible, but they offered no concrete plan to bring the warring government and rebels to the table.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after five hours of political and security meetings in Washington that officials from the two countries will meet again by the end of the month to prepare for the Syria talks.