Friday morning news: March 1, 2019

President Trump ends North Korea summit early » President Trump says he’s taking a slow and cautious approach to nuclear talks with North Korea. He says he remains on good terms with Kim Jong Un and talks will continue despite ending his two-day summit with Kim early on Thursday.

TRUMP: Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times. 

North Korea is disputing President Trump’s account of Kim’s demands.

The president said Kim wants the U.S. to lift all sanctions, while promising to close only some nuclear sites.

But North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-Ho, heard here through a translator, told reporters:

HO: What we proposed was not the removal of all sanctions, but their partial removal.

He said North Korea proposed the removal of five specific articles of UN sanctions.

Despite their disagreement, President Trump said no one stormed out of the room, and the parting was friendly.

The president also said Thursday that he believed Kim’s claim that he had nothing to do with the 2017 death of Otto Warmbier. The American college student died after apparent abuse in a North Korean prison. Trump said “I don’t believe that he would have allowed that to happen,” adding that Kim “felt badly about it.”

Cohen testifies again, Trump blasts timing of Wed hearing » Michael Cohen testified on Capitol Hill for a third straight day on Thursday. The president’s former personal attorney spoke private yesterday with members of the House Intelligence Committee.

His fiery public testimony one day earlier was loaded with accusations aimed at President Trump.

On Thursday, the president told reporters, the timing of Cohen’s public testimony was a political stunt by House Democrats.

TRUMP: I think having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this important summit is really a terrible thing. They could have made it two days later or next week. 

The president said Cohen served up lie after lie.

Top White House economic advisor: Historic trade deal with China could be close » Despite frustrating talks with North Korea, the Trump administration says trade talks with China have been very fruitful. President Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC…

KUDLOW: The progress has been terrific. We have to hear from the Chinese side. We have to hear from President Xi and his polit bureau of course, but I think we’re heading toward a remarkable, historic deal. 

Kudlow said trade talks with Chinese officials in Washington last week got off to a rocky start. But then, he said, progress picked up and they extended the talks into the weekend with what he called “line-by-line discussions.”

But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressed a much more guarded optimism in testimony on Wednesday. He told lawmakers much still needs to be done before an agreement can be reached.

He said, quote—“If we can complete this effort, and again I say if, and can reach a satisfactory solution to the issue of enforceability … we might have an agreement that turns the corner in our economic relationship with China.”

Israeli AG recommends indictmenting Netanyahu » Israel’s attorney general on Thursday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges. The recommendation is tied to accusations against Netanyahu in a series of corruption cases.

The prime minister addressed the people of Israel last night in Hebrew…

NETANYAHU: Already now, five out of the six cases are already destroyed, fallen apart. And I promise you the rest of the claim will evaporate into nothing. 

Netanyahu noted the timing of the news, just weeks before Israel holds elections on April 9th… And he said the attorney general’s announcement is driven purely by politics.

U.N. Security Council rejects U.S., Russian resolutions on Venezuela » The UN Security Council rejected rival resolutions on Venezuela by the United States and Russia on Thursday. Nine member nations supported a U.S. call for new elections in Venezuela. But Russia, China, and South Africa vetoed the measure.

The Russian draft gained very little traction. It would have, among things, reaffirmed the authority of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

British Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce told the Security Council…

PIERCE: The fact that the Russian resolution failed, whereas the American text was vetoed accurately pinpoints the unease that very many members of the United Nations feel about Venezuela. 

But her Venezuelan counterpart, Ambassador Samuel Moncada said it’s another attempt by the U.S. to bully Maduro out of power.

MONCADA:  They come with the threat of use of force. It is open and well known that President Trump has said that he has all options on the table, meaning the use of military force. 

U.S. special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said by voting against the U.S. resolution, a few member nations “continue to shield Maduro and his cronies and prolong the suffering of the Venezuelan people.”

Pakistan to return captured Indian pilot » Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he will return a captured Indian pilot as a “peace gesture” in an effort to tamp down tensions between the two countries. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has details.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: During a parliamentary address on Thursday, Khan said he will release the pilot today.

Pakistan closed its airspace to all commercial flights on Wednesday after shooting down two Indian jets. India also reported shooting down a Pakistani warplane after carrying out a pre-dawn airstrike on a terrorist training camp in Pakistani territory the day before.

India reported troops on both sides continued to trade fire along their shared border in Kashmir yesterday.

The recent unrest began two weeks ago, when a car bomb killed 40 Indian police officers in Kashmir. A Pakistan-based militant group claimed responsibility.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Michael Cohen, center, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, speaks as he departs after testifying before a closed door hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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