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Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea -US official

Washington, March 21 (Reuters) The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat, a senior US official said.
The sanctions would be part of a multi-pronged approach of increased economic and diplomatic pressure – especially on Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with North Korea – plus beefed-up defenses by the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies, according to the administration official familiar with the deliberations.
While the long-standing option of pre-emptive military strikes against North Korea is not off the table – as reflected by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's warning to Pyongyang during his Asia tour last week - the new administration is giving priority for now to less-risky options.
The policy recommendations being assembled by President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, are expected to reach the president's desk within weeks, possibly before a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in early April, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. North Korea is expected to top the agenda at that meeting.
It is not clear how quickly Trump will decide on a course of action, which could be delayed by the slow pace at which the administration is filling key national security jobs.
The White House declined comment.
Trump met McMaster on Saturday to discuss North Korea and said afterward that the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, was "acting very, very badly."
The president spoke hours after North Korea boasted of a successful rocket-engine test, which officials and experts think is part of a program aimed at building an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.
The administration source said US officials, including Tillerson, had privately warned China about broader "secondary sanctions" that would target banks and other companies that do business with North Korea, most of which are Chinese.
The move under consideration would mark an escalation of Trump's pressure on China to do more to contain North Korea. It was not clear how Chinese officials responded to those warnings but Beijing has made clear its strong opposition to such moves.
The objective would be to tighten the screws in the same way that the widening of sanctions - to encompass foreign firms dealing with Iran - was used to pressure Tehran to open negotiations with the West on its suspected nuclear weapons program. That effort ultimately led to a 2015 deal to restrict Iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
For such measures to have any chance to influence the behavior of North Korea, which is already under heavy sanctions, Washington must secure full international cooperation - especially from China, which has shown little appetite for putting such a squeeze on its neighbor.
Analysts also have questioned whether such sanctions would be as effective on North Korea as they were on a major oil producer such as Iran, given the isolated nation's limited links to the world financial system.
North Korea has relied heavily on illicit trade done via small Chinese banks. So, to be applied successfully, the new measures would have to threaten to bar those banks from the international financial system.
Also under consideration are expanded efforts to seize assets of Kim and his family outside North Korea, the official said.
The military dimension of the review includes a strengthened US presence in the region and deployment of advanced missile defenses, initially in South Korea and possibly in Japan. The US military has begun to install a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system in South Korea, despite Chinese opposition.
Washington is increasingly concerned, however, that the winner of South Korea's May 9 presidential election might backtrack on the deployment and be less supportive of tougher sanctions.
Tillerson warned on Friday that Washington had not ruled out military action if the threat from North Korea becomes unacceptable.
For now, US officials consider pre-emptive strikes too risky, given the danger of igniting a regional war and causing massive casualties in Japan and South Korea and among tens of thousands of US troops based in both allied countries.
Another US government source said Trump could also opt to escalate cyber attacks and other covert action aimed at undermining North Korea's leadership.
"These options are not done as stand-alones," the first US official said. "It's going to be some form of 'all of the above,' probably excluding military action."
Trump is known to have little patience for foreign policy details, but officials say he seems to have heeded a warning from his predecessor, Barack Obama, that North Korea would be the most urgent international issue he would face.
In his North Korea briefings, Trump has asked repeatedly how many nuclear warheads and missiles Pyongyang has, at the same time as demanding to know how much South Korea and Japan are paying for their own defense, one US official said.
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Prez Trump "gladly accepts" Modi's invite for India visit

Washington, Jun 27 (UNI) The US President Donald Trump would be visiting India soon as Mr Trump today gladly accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to visit India.

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27 Jun 2017 | 8:35 AM
US endorses India on Pak's proxy war, Trump insists on 'rapid' actions on Korea

US endorses India on Pak's proxy war, Trump insists on 'rapid' actions on Korea

Washington, Jun 27 (UNI) In a major diplomatic development, the United States today in a clear manner vindicated India's well known stand vis-a-vis proxy war by Pakistan and in a strong message urged Islamabad to "expeditiously" bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.

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27 Jun 2017 | 8:35 AM
India, US in joint statement ask Pakistan to act against terror perpetrators

India, US in joint statement ask Pakistan to act against terror perpetrators

Washington, Jun 27 (UNI) In a clear message and in quite a diplomatic setback to Islamabad, India and the United States today vowed to strike at the Islamic terrorism and the "safe heavens" and also urged Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice perpetrators of terror attacks like 26/11 and Pathankot.

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27 Jun 2017 | 8:34 AM
Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri dist

Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri dist

Jammu, Jun 26 (UNI) Pakistani Army today again violated ceasefire agreement by firing unprovoked on the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.

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26 Jun 2017 | 11:56 PM
Burn victims overwhelm Pakistani hospitals after tanker fire kills 146

Burn victims overwhelm Pakistani hospitals after tanker fire kills 146

By Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, Pakistan, Jun 26 (Reuters) Pakistani hospitals today struggled to treat scores of severely burned victims of a fuel tanker explosion that killed at least 146 people, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew back from an overseas trip to visit the injured.

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26 Jun 2017 | 10:39 PM
All eyes on PM Modi & US President Trump meeting, delegation level talks

All eyes on PM Modi & US President Trump meeting, delegation level talks

Washington, Jun 26 (UNI) All eyes will be on maiden meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump as both the leaders are expected to take major issues like regional security, counter terrorism and defence partnership for talks here late tonight.

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26 Jun 2017 | 7:35 PM
GST, 'Transformed India' to help US businesses, says Modi

GST, 'Transformed India' to help US businesses, says Modi

Washington, Jun 26 (UNI) Hours before his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said a "transformed" India presents abundant opportunities for the American businesses.

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26 Jun 2017 | 3:01 PM


26 Jun 2017 | 8:05 PM

New Delhi :Jaitley urges Mufti to introduce GST from July 1 (DI 12) Washington :GST, 'Transformed India' to help US businesses, says Modi (DF 1) :All eyes on PM Modi & US President Trump meeting, delegation level talks (DF 2) Patna :Fireworks at its full blaze between JD(U)-RJD over Prez polls (CA 29) New Delhi :Scientist Kasturirangan to head Panel on National Education Policy (DI 11) :Markets closed today on account of Eid-uk-Fitr (DC 1) Chandugarh:Haryana CM says police arrested one accused involved in Junaid killing case (DR 22) Guwahati :Ambubachi Mela ends, CM, others pay obeisance (CA 20) Chennai :Frequent abduction of fishermen show Lanka's intolerant attitude, EPS writes to PM again (MS 13) Vijayawada :Mercury poured on Sabarimala temple mast with devotion: MLA (MS 27) Begaluru :BJP on strong footing to return to power in Karnataka: Yeddyurappa (MS 18) Panaji :2 women booked for hurling abuses at Goa Health Minister, insulting tri-colour (BY 12) Mumbai :55 college students rescued in Raigad (BY 8) Guatape :Search continues for missing after Colombia tourist boat accident (FN 75) New Delhi :Kohli second most followed Indian on Facebook after PM Modi (SPD 11) UNI AKC SHK 2005.

Unemployment looms for Australia's cricketers - union

27 Jun 2017 | 8:14 AM

MELBOURNE, Jun 27 (REUTERS) More than 200 of Australia's top cricketers face unemployment within days, with a bitter pay dispute "extremely" unlikely to be resolved by a deadline on Friday, players' union boss Greg Dyer has said.


26 Jun 2017 | 7:36 PM

Ahmedabad, Jun 26 (UNI) The Ahmedabad Sugar market showed an easy trend here today.

JPCC celebrates 26th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

21 May 2017 | 6:22 PM

Ranchi, May 21 (UNI) The Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee today paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna late Rajiv Gandhi on his 26th death anniversary which was celebrated by the party as ‘Shahdat Diwas’.