Trump is about to embark on a trip that could end the trade battle with China — or send the US into an economic Cold War.
 
The future of the US-China trade war will be decided during a meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump.
 
President Donald Trump is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday and Saturday at the G20 summit in Argentina. At the top of their agenda: the US-China trade war.
 
The US and China have implemented tariffs on $360 billion worth of goods flowing between the two countries.
Prospects for meaningful progress are dim as the two sides remain far apart on major issues.
 
Trump's mood could also determine the outcome. The moment of truth for President Donald Trump's trade war with China is fast approaching.
 
Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Friday and Saturday.
 
The meeting with Xi could determine whether the US and China can ultimately resolve their differences and lower tariffs affecting more than half of all trade between the two countries. Or, the outcome could be that the two sides will remain locked in a still-burgeoning trade war with no end in sight.
 
And you may ask yourself, how did we get here? The trade fight between the US and China has been brewing for decades, as Beijing's economic and political ascendance has threatened the US' dominance on the world stage. Trump, a longtime proponent of tariffs, seized on China's growing strength during the 2016 campaign.
 
After a year of courting China as an ally in negotiations with North Korea, Trump turned on Beijing in March with the announcement of tariffs on Chinese goods. The administration argued that the tariffs were a necessary measure to punish China for alleged theft of US intellectual property and would force the ruling Communist Party to reform their economic policies.
 
After a few months of unsuccessful negotiating, Trump imposed the first round of tariffs against China in July. The resulting back-and-forth has led to the current state of affairs: US tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and Chinese tariffs on $110 billion worth of American goods.
 
Economists have warned that escalation of the trade war or allowing the tariffs to remain in place for an extended period of time would be seriously damaging for the US economy. US companies have warned that the tariffs are harming their businesses, and American farmers are getting whacked by China's retaliatory measures.
 
If Xi and Trump are unable to reach a deal, the two countries would enter what some experts have called an "economic Cold War."
 
The US would also likely move forward with tariffs on the remaining $255 billion worth of Chinese goods not subject to tariffs. That round of tariffs would squeeze many popular consumer products, and retailers like Walmart have warned the move would likely result in higher prices for customers.
 
A dim dealmaking outlook ...
While economic concerns and the summit have brought the two leaders together in Buenos Aires, most experts agree that the Trump-Xi meeting will produce little, if any, results.
 
Stewart Patrick, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the G20 meeting "offers the prospect of a Band-Aid fix at best."
 
"Given current mistrust, even a truce seems unlikely," Patrick added.
 
At most, experts say, the two sides could agree to delay the implementation of even more tariffs. Ed Mills, a policy analyst at Raymond James, said there could be some upside in the form of a rough outline of a deal.
 
"Officials on both sides have been rhetorically setting the stage over the past week without any indication that either side is willing to back down from the dispute," Mills said. "The two nations remain far apart on a negotiated solution, increasing the chances of deterioration and continuing tariff escalation in 2019."
 
But the sheer size of issues to discuss likely means that any agreement that could come out of the meeting will be preliminary and not take the larger threat — the so-called economic Cold War — off the table.
 
"We caution that fundamental issues relating to intellectual property and subsidization appear intractable at this stage, which suggests that the broader threat of Chinese trade tensions will persist," said Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at research and trade firm Compass Point.
 
Trump acknowledged in an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week that a deal to prevent the tariff rate from increasing in January is "highly unlikely." The president also appeared to express misgivings about a possible deal while talking to reporters on Thursday.
 
"I think we're very close to doing something with China, but I don't know that I want to do it, because what we have right now is billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of tariffs or taxes," Trump said.
 
Most of Trump's advisers also seem to be urging caution ahead of the meeting.
 
But the increasing pain from the tariffs could compel Trump to agree to some sort of preliminary deal, said Matthew Goodman, senior adviser for Asian economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
 
"My personal guess — and I'm sticking my neck out here — is that there will be some kind of ceasefire agreed to largely because I think President Trump and President Xi both have an incentive to put this dispute on hold," he said in a recent press call.
 
Goodman argued that the recent US-stock-market woes and China's slowing economy have put enough pressure on the two sides to make some progress.
 
… but Trump is a wild card.
But knowing exactly what will happen when the presidents are face-to-face is impossible because of Trump's infamous unpredictability.
 
For one thing, Trump's international trips — the G7 summit, the recent trip to Paris, and more — have been anything but predictable.
 
These trips were marred by fights with other world leaders, Twitter tirades, and refusals to sign on to ceremonial communiqués with other nations.
 
"This binary catalyst will be hugely influenced by Trump's mood after a long flight to a foreign country at a multilateral summit that will be filled with world leaders whose voters tend to have an extremely negative view of Trump," Chris Krueger, a strategist at Cowen Washington Research Group, said.
 
 
Source: Business Insider
President Donald Trump seemed ready to escalate the trade war with China in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
 
Trump said it was "highly unlikely" that a planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit would yield a deal to prevent an increase in tariffs.
 
Trump also said he was prepared to hit another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs — which would include duties on consumer goods like iPhones.
 
President Donald Trump seems ready to escalate the trade war with China even further as a crucial meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping nears.
 
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, the president said it was "highly unlikely" that the US and China would reach a deal to prevent the 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from increasing to 25% on January 1.
 
In addition, Trump told The Journal that if planned weekend talks with Xi at the G20 summit in Argentina did not go well, more tariffs could be on the way.
 
"If we don't make a deal, then I'm going to put the $267 billion additional on," Trump said.
 
Trump first announced tariffs on Chinese goods in March, ostensibly to punish the country for the theft of US intellectual property.
 
After failed negotiations on a trade deal with China, the first round of tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods went into effect in July.
 
A second round of tariffs on another $200 billion of goods went into effect in late September, and Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose a third round on the remaining imports not subject to tariffs.
 
While Trump said the third round would hit another $267 billion in goods, some reports peg the remaining amount at $257 billion.
 
After mostly avoiding consumer goods in the first two rounds of tariffs, Trump said he was also willing to place tariffs on items such as Apple's iPhone and laptops imported from China. The administration backed off plans to impose tariffs on some Apple products as part of the previous round after the tech giant lobbied the president.
 
Economists warn that tariffs on consumer goods would drive up prices for Americans, curtail consumer spending, and eventually hurt US economic growth. Trump disagreed with that assessment, instead suggesting that a low tariff rate on such goods would go unnoticed by consumers.
 
"I mean, I can make it 10%, and people could stand that very easily," he told The Journal.
 
In addition to the tariffs, the Trump administration is employing a suite of other measures to crack down on China's economic practices. For instance, the Department of Commerce is considering stricter rules on which types of technology can be exported to China, and the Justice Department has charged some Chinese companies and people with economic espionage.
 
While there were hopes a Trump-Xi meeting could deescalate the trade tensions, recent moves by the administration seem to point to a sustained trade war.
 
Perhaps most significant, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week released an update to the investigation into Chinese intellectual-property theft that kicked off the tariff battle. It found China had not changed any of the practices that precipitated Trump's tariff decision.
 
 
Source: Business Insider

President Donald Trump is succeeding in making China pay most of the cost of his trade war.

That’s the conclusion of a new paper from EconPol Europe, a network of researchers in the European Union. U.S. companies and consumers will only pay 4.5 percent more after the nation imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and the other 20.5 percent toll will fall on Chinese producers, according to authors Benedikt Zoller-Rydzek and Gabriel Felbermayr.

                                                                         

The trade dispute between the U.S. and China is showing slim hope of abating as the leaders of the two nations prepare to meet in Argentina this month. According to Zoller-Rydzek and Felbermayr, the tariffs will do what Trump has longed for: They will cut American imports of affected Chinese goods by more than a third, and lower the bilateral trade deficit by 17 percent.

The Trump administration selected products with the highest “price elasticity,” or high availability of substitutes, according to Zoller-Rydzek and Felbermayr. The Chinese products hit by Trump’s tariffs can mostly be replaced by other goods, forcing exporters to cut selling prices to keep buyers.

“Through its strategic choice of Chinese products, the U.S. government was not only able to minimize the negative effects on U.S. consumers and firms, but also to create substantial net welfare gains in the U.S.,” the researchers wrote.

The U.S. is due to raise duties on the largest $200 billion tranche of goods to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1. In retaliation, China has slapped tariffs on $110 billion in imports from the U.S. and effectively shut off its purchase of key American agricultural exports including soybeans.

With the economic costs shifted to China, the U.S. levies will lead to a $18.4 billion net gain for the American government, the researchers wrote.

“As the trade conflict escalates, however, the U.S. administration may not be able to restrict its selection to products with high import elasticities,” they wrote. “And U.S. welfare might decrease as more of the tariff incidence falls on U.S. consumers.”

 

- Bloomberg

The Hondurans who banded together last month to travel northward to the United States, fleeing gangs, corruption and poverty, were joined by other Central Americans hoping to find safety in numbers on this perilous journey.

But group travel couldn’t save everyone.

Earlier this month, two trucks from the caravan disappeared in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. One person who escaped told officials that about “65 children and seven women were sold” by the driver to a group of armed men.

Mexican authorities are searching for the migrants, but history shows that people missing for more than 24 hours are rarely found in Mexico – alive or at all.

Mexico’s ambiguous welcome

An average of 12 people disappear each day in Mexico. Most are victims of a raging three-way war among the Mexican armed forces, organized crime and drug cartels.

The military crackdown on criminal activity has actually escalated violence in Mexico since operations began in 2006, my research and other security studies show.

Nearly 22,000 people were murdered in Mexico in the first eight months of this year, a dismal record in one of the world’s deadliest places.

Central Americans fleeing similarly rampant violence back home confront those risks and others on their journey to the United States. Doctors Without Borders found that over two-thirds of migrants surveyed in Mexico in 2014 experienced violence en route. One-third of women had been sexually abused.

Mexico’s security crisis may explain why so few caravan members want to stay there.

In response to President Donald Trump’s demands that Mexico “stop this onslaught,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that migrants who applied for asylum at Mexico’s southern border would be given shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs.

About 1,700 of the estimated 5,000 caravan members took him up on the offer.

Meanwhile, everyday Mexicans are greeting the migrants as they pass through their towns, donating food, clothing, lodging and transport.

A recent poll shows that 51 percent of Mexicans support the caravan. Thirty-three percent of respondents, many of them affluent members of Mexico’s urban middle class, want the migrants to go back to Central America.

Two trucks carrying an estimated 80 migrants went missing in Mexico in early November. AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

Asylum overload

Mexican law, which allows eligible asylum seekers to both request and be granted asylum, exceeds international standards on the rights of migrants.

But reality in Mexico often falls short of the law.

The Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission is supposed to process asylum applications in 45 days. But its offices in Mexico City were damaged by last year’s earthquake, forcing the already overstretched and underfunded agency to suspend processing of open asylum claims for months.

Meanwhile, new applications for asylum in Mexico continued to pour in – a record 14,596 were filed last year. The processing backlog is now two years.

During that period of legal limbo, asylum seekers cannot work, attend school or fully access Mexico’s public health system. President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office on Dec. 1, says he will offer Central American migrants temporary working visas while their claims are processed.

Anti-caravan posts on social media accuse migrants of taking Mexican jobs and violating Mexico’s sovereignty, using nativist language similar to that seen in the United States.

Mexico City, which in 2017 declared itself to be a sanctuary city, nonetheless put thousands of caravan members up in a stadium staffed by medical teams and humanitarian groups.

Militarizing the US-Mexico border

The first Central Americans from the caravan are now arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, where they face a far less warm reception.

Calling the caravan an “invasion,” President Trump has ordered the deployment of over 5,000 troops to the border.

U.S. law prohibits the use of the armed forces to enforce domestic laws without specific congressional authorization. That means the troops can only support border agents in deterring migrants.

But Trump’s decision still has symbolic power. This is the first time in over a century that military troops have been summoned to defend the U.S.-Mexico border.

The last deployment occurred during the Mexican Revolution.

On March 9, 1916, a small band of revolutionaries led by Francisco “Pancho” Villa invaded Columbus, New Mexico.

After Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson sent troops to the border – and into Mexican territory. United States Air Force

Officially, the group assaulted the border city in retaliation for then-President Woodrow Wilson’s support of Venustiano Carranza, Villa’s political rival. Villa also had a personal vendetta against Sam Ravel, a local man who had swindled money from him.

President Wilson responded by summoning General John J. Pershing, who assembled a force of 6,000 U.S. troops to chase Villa deep inside Mexico’s northern territory. Pershing’s “punitive expedition” returned in early 1917 after failing to capture the revolutionary leader.

No relief at the border

Central Americans who reach the militarized United States border can still apply for asylum there, despite President Trump’s recent executive order limiting where they may do so. But they face stiff odds.

The Central American caravan includes many women asylum seekers hoping to give their children a safer life in the United States. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

After an evaluation process that can take months or years, the majority of Central American asylum claims filed in the United States – 75 percent – are denied. Caravan members rejected will be sent back to the same perilous place they fled last month.

With 60 percent of its population living in poverty, Honduras is the poorest country in Latin America. It also has the world’s second-highest homicide rate – 43.6 murders per 100,000 people – trailing only El Salvador.

The U.S. contributed to the instability that created these hardships.

Honduras has been in turmoil since 2009, when the military overthrew leftist President Manuel Zelaya. Rather than join the United Nations and European Union in demanding Zelaya’s reinstatement, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for new elections, effectively endorsing a coup.

The country entered a prolonged political crisis. Honduras’s November 2017 presidential election was contested, with the U.S.-backed President Juan Orlando Hernández accused of rigging the vote. Seventeen opposition protesters were killed in the unrest that followed.

The Central American caravan that started in Honduras seeks in the U.S. a life free of such violence. Its steady progress toward the border shows that even kidnappings, Trump’s threats and soldiers cannot deter them.The Conversation

 

Luis Gómez Romero, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights, Constitutional Law and Legal Theory, University of Wollongong

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

President Donald Trump heralded new sanctions the US plans to impose on Iran with a knock-off image referencing HBO's "Game of Thrones."
 
The White House is planning to reimpose all the US sanctions on Iran that had been removed under the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015.
 
The sanctions, scheduled to take effect Monday, a date previously announced by the Treasury Department, will cover Iran's shipping, financial, and energy sectors.
 
Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehension Plan of Action, in May, calling it "defective at its core." The deal was narrowly designed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon for at least 10 years, and while Iran has widely been viewed to be in compliance, the Trump administration has other grievances the deal did not address.
 
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined 12 demands that Iran must meet to avoid the sanctions. They include ending military engagement in Syria and halting all nuclear and ballistic-missile development.
 
 
Source: Business Insider
US President Donald Trump and his children are accused of "deliberately" scamming Americans by encouraging them to invest in a multilevel marketing company, according to a complaint filed in US federal court on Monday.
 
The complaint accuses Trump and his children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, of luring vulnerable investors to buy into three businesses with "a pattern of racketeering activity," according to The New York Times, which first reported on the lawsuit.
 
Trump was reportedly paid millions of dollars in exchange for promoting ACN, a telecommunications marketing company; Trump Network, another multilevel marketing company which sold vitamins and health promoting products; and Trump Institute, which allegedly gave "extravagantly priced multiday training seminars."
 
Some of the payments were made in secret, according to the lawsuit, which also alleges the Trumps "were aware that the vast majority of consumers would lose whatever money they invested."
 
Trump, who allegedly promoted ACN to investors without disclosing he was being paid, was heard in at least one ACN marketing video describing the company as being on the "cusp of technological advancements that will change the way we communicate."
 
"I'm here to tell you about a company that provides ... essential components for success," Trump said in the video.
 
"That's probably even better than real estate, I like real estate," Trump continued. "But I think this is probably better. It's certainly more advanced."
 
"You have a great opportunity before you with ACN. Without any of the risks most entrepreneurs have to take," Trump added. "Believe me. It's ultimately a dream come true."
 
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four anonymous plaintiffs, who withheld their identities due to "serious and legitimate security concerns given the heated political environment," according to their attorneys.
 
The plaintiffs reportedly became investors in ACN after watching Trump's promotional videos, and were charged a $499 registration fee to sell products like videophones, The Times and CNBC reported on Monday.
 
ACN, like other multilevel marketing companies, allegedly advertised incentives for recruiting other investors or sales staff to join its programme.
 
One plaintiff claimed to have joined ACN in 2014 after attending a recruitment meeting that included a video of Trump's endorsement. After spending thousands of dollars attending other meetings, she only earned $38 from the company, according to the lawsuit.
 
Trump Organisation officials questioned the timing of the lawsuit, which comes days before the November 6 midterm election: "This is clearly just another effort by opponents of the President to use the court system to advance a political agenda," attorney Alan Garten said to The Times.
 
"Their motivations are as plain as day," Garten added.
 
A spokesperson for the plaintiff's attorneys denied the allegation and said the lawsuit was filed "because it is ready now," according to CNBC.
 
"No matter when this was filed, the Trump Org would say it was politically motivated," the spokesperson said.
 
 
Source: New York Times
China's government has hit back at the Trump administration, accusing the US president of "bullying" over his aggressive tactics in the escalating trade conflict between the two nations, saying it will "rise up" should a full-scale trade war break out.
"China doesn't want a trade war, but would rise up to it should it break out," Zhong Shan, China's minister for commerce said in a statement.
 
So far, the Trump administration has placed tariffs on $250 billion (R3.7 trillion) worth of Chinese goods, affecting more than 5,000 products. The president, however, has said he is willing to "go to 500"- a colloquial term for placing tariffs on all US imports from China.
 
What was initially seen as an empty threat is now viewed by many observers as a genuine possibility after the latest round of tariffs were announced in late September, after which Trump doubled down on his threats to tax all Chinese imports. Such threats, Zhong said, will not lead China to back down and offer the US concessions.
 
"There is a view in the US that so long as the US keeps increasing tariffs, China will back down. They don't know the history and culture of China," he said.
 
"This unyielding nation suffered foreign bullying for many times in history, but never succumbed to it even in the most difficult conditions," he continued.
 
"The US should not underestimate China's resolve and will."
 
Zhong's comments came just a few hours after President Trump once again accused China of taking advantage of the US over trade.
 
"We can't have a one-way street," Trump said during a press conference to discuss the resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday afternoon.
 
"It's got to be a two-way street. It's been a one-way street for 25 years. We've got to make it a two-way street. We've got to benefit also," he told reporters.
 
Alongside increasing tariffs, communications between the two sides have become more and more strained in recent weeks. China in September called off planned talks between mid-level officials, and this week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exchanged displeased words with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during a trip to Beijing.
 
"Recently, as the US side has been constantly escalating trade friction toward China, it has also adopted a series of actions on the Taiwan issue that harm China's rights and interests, and has made groundless criticism of China's domestic and foreign policies," Wang said at a press conference.
 
"We demand that the US side stop this kind of mistaken action."
 
Pompeo hit back, saying the US has "great concerns about the actions that China has taken."
 
A currency war brewing?
Away from the escalating tensions over trade, the US Treasury has shown new concern about China's devaluation of the renminbi, an action it believes Beijing is using to strengthen its hand with regard to trade by making Chinese goods cheaper.
 
"As we look at trade issues there is no question that we want to make sure China is not doing competitive devaluations," Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.
 
"We are going to absolutely want to make sure that as part of any trade understanding we come to that currency has to be part of that."
 
Trump has frequently criticised China for his belief that Beijing is artificially weakening its currency to make Chinese exports more competitive, something he believes Beijing is doing to hurt the US economy.
 
In August, he claimed that Beijing is a "currency manipulator."
 
 
Source: Business Insider
The New York Times on Tuesday released an extensive investigation focused on President Donald Trump's fortune.
The Times reported that the president and his family engaged in "instances of outright fraud" to enhance their wealth.
 
The story also runs counter to Trump's narrative that he is a self-made billionaire.
The New York Times reported in an extensive investigation published Tuesday that President Donald Trump engaged in what it described as "dubious tax schemes" in the 1990s that even included "instances of outright fraud" that enhanced the fortune that his parents - mainly his father - passed on to him.
 
What The Times reported runs counter to Trump's oft-repeated narrative: that he is a self-made billionaire who built his own empire.
 
While The Times was not able to review Trump's personal tax returns - which he has refused to release, breaking with decades of precedent for presidential nominees - it said it examined a "trove of confidential tax returns and financial records" showing that Trump received at least $413 million (R6.2 billion) in today's dollars from when he was a child through the present day.
 
The Times reported that this money was passed on to Trump because he assisted his parents in dodging taxes, setting up a sham corporation and helping his father take millions in improper tax deductions.
 
The IRS apparently did not offer much "resistance" to the schemes, The Times said.
 
The Times reported that Trump's parents transferred in total more than $1 billion in wealth to their kids, an amount that could've produced as much as $550 million in tax revenue. Instead, the newspaper said, the Trumps paid just north of $50 million in taxes.
 
Charles Harder, an attorney for the president, told The Times in a statement that the report was "100% false and highly defamatory."
 
Robert Trump, the president's brother, also issued a statement to The Times, saying that "all appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid" following their parents' deaths.
 
"Our father's estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother's estate was closed in 2004," he continued.
 
Harder, the White House, and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
US President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that oil prices were too high, and he called for the OPEC cartel of oil producers to "get prices down!"
Trump seemed to threaten the withdrawal of US military resources from the Middle East if OPEC members in the region didn't work to lower prices.
 
He has consistently complained that oil prices are too high.
The oil price dropped after the tweet.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday once again tweeted his belief that major oil producers in the Middle East were conspiring to keep oil prices high, and he seemed to threaten the withdrawal of military resources from the region if the OPEC cartel did not help to lower prices.
 
"We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!" he said in an early-morning tweet. "We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!"
 
Oil prices have increased from about $50 a barrel last September to more than $70 a barrel today, with a rebalancing of supply and demand in the market as well as major weather and geopolitical events playing a part.
 
Trump has consistently complained that oil prices are too high, following a significant uptick in prices that has been passed on at the pump to US drivers.
 
High petrol prices can be an issue for voters, and Trump's attacks come just a couple of months ahead of the US midterms, where analysts say rising prices could hurt Republicans. Prices at the pump hit four-year highs back in July.
 
For this year's April-to-September driving season, the Energy Information Administration expects US petrol prices to be up 19% from a year ago, mostly because of expectations for higher crude-oil prices.
 
Bruce Whitfield: Here’s why there is no escaping high petrol prices – and what government can do to make it better
Trump sent a similar tweet in July, in which he also called the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries a monopoly and tacitly threatened to withdraw US support.
 
"The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help," he tweeted on July 5. "If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s. This must be a two way street.
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA

US President Donald Trump said he and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have fallen “in love” –- their bromance fuelled by “beautiful letters” he received from the leader of the nuclear-armed state.

Trump on Saturday elevated his recent praise of Kim to new heights, at a West Virginia rally in support of local candidates for his Republican Party.

“And then we fell in love — OK? No really. He wrote me beautiful letters and they’re great letters. We fell in love,” Trump told the crowd.

On Monday at the United Nations General Assembly Trump lauded the North Korean strongman — who is accused by the UN and others of widespread human rights abuses — as “terrific”, one year after Trump eviscerated Kim from the same platform.

Trump followed those comments by saying Wednesday he had received an “extraordinary letter” from Kim, and sounded optimistic about prospects for a second summit between the two leaders “fairly quickly.”

Trump used his debut address at the UN General Assembly 12 months ago to threaten to “totally destroy” North Korea and belittle its leader as “rocket man,” prompting Kim to respond by calling the president a “mentally deranged US dotard.”

Those were among a series of playground-type slurs the leaders of the two nuclear-armed states hurled at each other, setting the world on edge.

Last August, after US media reported Pyongyang had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit into a missile, Trump warned Pyongyang not to threaten the United States or it would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Kim had earlier compared comments by Trump to the bark of a “rabid dog,” and Trump derided Kim as a “sick puppy” — before the apparent outbreak of puppy love.

Trump met Kim in Singapore in June for the first-ever summit between the two countries that have never signed a peace treaty.

The summit led to a warming of ties and a halt in Pyongyang’s missile launches, but there has been little concrete progress since.

North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho on Saturday told the UN there was “no way” that his country would disarm first as long as the US continued to push for tough enforcement of sanctions against Pyongyang.

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