Chinese president Xi Jinping has arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday morning for a two-day visit in a move aimed at boosting ties between the two communist countries. The visit may also help push forward stalled nuclear negotiations with the United States.
Xi is being accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, Foreign Minister Yang Wi and several communist party officials.
The visit to North Korea is the first by a Chinese head of state in 14 years and comes as the two countries celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.
Negotiations between the United States and North Korea have stalled since the February summit in Vietnam between president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. That meeting ended abruptly without an agreement.
Xi’s visit is a show of support for the North Korean regime, which has seen its economy faltering under American-led international sanctions. China will also try to seize this chance to assert its influence as a regional power.
Canada Says Black Boxes From Iran Crash Should Be Sent To France
Canada has on Friday said the first remains of plane crash victims should soon arrive back in the country and also urged Iran to send the flight and cockpit data recorders from the crashed Ukrainian airliner to France for analysis.
Last week, Iran admitted to have accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner in which a total of 176 persons, including 57 Canadian died.
In a news conference in Ottawa, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said France was one of the few countries with the ability to read the plane’s so-called black boxes, which he said were badly damaged.
Trudeau said, “Iran does not have the level of technical expertise and mostly the equipment necessary to be able to analyze these damaged black boxes quickly.”
The prime minister added that about 20 families of Canadian victims had requested the return of the bodies and told reporters without giving further details that he expected the first remains to be repatriated “in the coming days.”
Iranian Missile Attack On Iraq Bases Injured 11 US Troops
The US military has on Thursday acknowledged that 11 soldiers were wounded in an Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi base where U.S. forces were stationed, after initially saying no service members were hurt.
Following the killing of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani on January 3 by the United States on the order of president Donald Trump, a retaliatory missile attack was carried out by Iran on U.S. forces in Iraq on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq and a facility in its northern Kurdish region, in which Trump and the U.S. military had said there were no casualties after the strike.
US Central Command spokesman, Captain Bill Urban in a statement said “while no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed.”
Urban added that, some service members were taken to U.S. facilities in Germany or Kuwait for “follow-on screening” as a measure of caution, he added that when the service members have fully recovered they “are expected to return to Iraq.”
At the time of the attack, most of the 1,500 US soldiers at the base had been tucked away in bunkers, after advance warning from superiors.
Don’t Turn Plane Crash Into Political Issue: Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Iranian Foreign Ministry has on Friday said all countries involved in the Ukrainian airliner crash in Iran should avoid turning it into a political issue
Spokesman for the ministry, Abbas Mousavi was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying “we request all sides not to make human issues, particularly this tragic accident, into an excuse for political gestures.”
The country’s elite Revolutionary Guards admitted accidentally shooting down the Ukrainian airliner with a missile, killing all 176 aboard.
According to ISNA, Mousavi said Iran had cooperated “beyond expectations” with countries whose citizens were killed in the crash. He said it was “strange” that Canada’s foreign ministry had asked for consular access related to the crash, noting that almost all of the victims of the crash have been identified.
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