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Pyongyang Urges Washington to Turn Words into Action

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A North Korean envoy called on the United States to translate its promises into action ahead of upcoming working-level talks between the two countries to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Korea Herald reported.

“The U.S. should implement the North Korea-U.S. joint agreement with sincerity and bold decision after great deliberation,” Ri Ki-ho, a counselor at North Korea’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, said at the 2019 Global Peace Forum on Korea, held at Columbia University in New York on Saturday.

Speaking at the forum, held under the theme “Meaning of June 12 North Korea-U.S. joint agreement and prospect of North Korea-U.S. relations,” he said Pyongyang had shown through concrete action its willingness to keep the pledges its leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump signed after their first summit in Singapore last year.

Ri was referring to the suspension of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, the shutdown of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the return of the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War.

“On the other hand, the United States did not take any action to implement the joint statement, saying that it would improve relations only in words,” Ri said.

The North Korean diplomat said Washington’s statement that international sanctions against the regime would remain in place contradicted its claims of openness to dialogue and trust-building, Korea Herald writes.

“Denuclearization will become increasingly unavailable as long as the U.S. maintains its hostility towards us,” he said.

Since early September, in a series of statements published under the name of North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui and Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye-gwan, among others, Pyongyang has pressured Washington to take a new approach to produce a breakthrough in the stalled nuclear diplomacy process.

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Erdogan says he will not declare ceasefire in northern Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northern Syria and will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region.

Turkey forged ahead with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria on Tuesday despite U.S. sanctions and calls for it to stop, while Syria’s Russia-backed army moved on the key city of Manbij that was abandoned by U.S. forces.

The YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State, is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, Trump announced sanctions on Turkey to punish it for the offensive. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would threaten more sanctions to persuade Turkey to reach a ceasefire and halt its offensive.

However, speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its aims, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.

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Woman killed in Russian apartment building blast

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A woman died and other young woman sustained injuries when a five-story building partially collapsed following an explosion in Russian village of Novonezhino.

Around 17 apartments were damaged when the ceiling slab, wall and the stair case of the building collapsed, Emergency Department said.

“The people were evacuated, 17 apartments were damaged. Seven elders have been transferred to temporary accommodation center,” the authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for people who are believed to be trapped under the rubble. Rescuers were assisting the residents save their pets and belongings from the damaged apartments.

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Greek Church recognizes autonomy of Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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The leading figures of the Church of Greece decided at a meeting this weekend to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in line with a request by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios

The Orthodox Times says the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place October 19 in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, generally considered the spiritual headquarters for Orthodoxy, granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence in January in a move that was adamantly resisted by Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3 in a process that further established the new church body’s independence

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