World News in Brief: December 17

Tuesday, 2019-12-17 15:08:16
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Senior officials from Japan and RoK on Monday (December 16) held talks on a bilateral trade dispute, with the director general-level dialogue coming ahead of a planned meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Republic of Korea (RoK) President Moon Jae-in next week.

* Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin agreed in Madrid on Monday to advance bilateral cooperation in oil and gas exploitation. Their meeting took place on the sidelines of the 14th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Madrid.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson started to re-assemble his front bench team Monday night as deadline of Brexit is approaching.

* Russia has exported weapons and military equipment worth US$13 billion this year, over US$2 billion more than in the same period last year, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.

* RoK President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday named Chung Sye-kyun, former National Assembly speaker, as new prime minister for the latter half of his single five-year presidency.

* Some 30 American academics are working with their Cuban counterparts to improve bilateral ties, a veteran US civil rights activist said in Havana on Monday.

* US President Donald Trump said Monday he would be disappointed if something is "in the works" in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Trump's remarks came days after Pyongyang carried out two "important tests" at its Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on December 7 and 13.

* A Chinese envoy on Monday asked the international community to continue to support Afghanistan.

* Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Monday dismissed the possibility of stepping down despite low approval ratings following nearly two months of anti-government protests.

* The Iranian foreign ministry's spokesman confirmed on Monday that Russia has halted cooperation at Iran's Fordow nuclear complex after a technical problem.

* The NATO secretary general said on Monday that NATO seeks to increase cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence on Monday in strengthening mutually beneficial relations with Kazakhstan to enhance stability and security in Eurasia.

* Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that his country has been arranging a meeting that brings together South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to discuss forming a government of forces affiliated with both sides.

* The Iraqi President Barham Salih on Monday received a list of candidates to choose one of them as prime minister-designate to form a new government that would replace the caretaker government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, an official news agency reported.

* Jordan and Germany on Monday signed four agreements worth EUR137.5 million to support Jordan.

* Israel will sell natural gas to Egypt, thereby exporting energy for the first time, the Israeli Ministry of Energy reported Monday.

* Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that the government headquarters will be relocated to the New Administrative Capital in 2020 and the government will use modern systems to reduce human error.

* Ten civilians, including three children, were killed in a landmine explosion in Afghanistan's eastern Khost province on December 17, a provincial police spokesman confirmed.