April 25, 2018

In address to Congress, Macron defends climate accords, Iran deal

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- French President Emmanuel Macron became the first foreign head of state of Donald Trump’s presidency to address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday -- a speech in which he defended climate accords and the Iran deal. His remarks capped off a highly successful three-day visit marked by unusual personal warmth between the two leaders. While his personal connection to Trump appears to be growing stronger, Macron also presented a strong repudiation of the ki..
April 25, 2018

Japan protests dessert to be served to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Korea Summit Pool/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japan has lodged a complaint over the dessert planned for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when he meets South Korea's president this week. After South Korea announced it would dish out a mango mousse cake decorated with a garnish showing the shape of a unified Korean peninsula, Japan objected to the map’s inclusion of disputed islands. Japan filed a protest on Tuesday with South Korea, a spokesperson for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Natsuko Sakata, told ABC News. The disputed island grouping is located in the sea between South Korea and Japan; they’re known in South Korea as Dokdo and in Japan as Takeshima. South Korea controls the islands, but Japan also claims them. North Korea has said it considers them Korean. A map of a unified Korea that features the disputed islands will also appear on chairs that will be used by Kim and South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in. "Nations have no other choice but to react this way because it is an ongoing territorial dispute," David Satterwhite, an expert on Korean politics at Temple University Japan, in Tokyo, told ABC News. "Japan has to say, 'Wait a minute, that’s Japanese territory.'" Earlier this year, South Korea dropped plans to show the islands on a flag the unified Korea team used at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after Tokyo complained, Agence France-Presse reported. The French news agency said a flag at a practice game had featured the islands. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
April 25, 2018

Isolated DMZ village spots a glimmer of hope in meeting of the Koreas

iStock/Thinkstock(PANMUNJOM, South Korea) -- Tucked in the middle of the Korean demilitarized zone, villagers in Taesung Freedom Village hold high hopes for Friday’s planned summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The village of 193 people, living in 47 households, has a strict limit on entering and exiting town. Under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Command in South Korea, even the residents are restricted from moving around freely during the night. The South Korean government provides villagers the right to cultivate land, which is located in the South Korean part of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). And to help compensate for such inconveniences, the village is exempt from military duties and national income tax. Only direct descendants of the original residents can live in the special village, also known as Tae Sung Dong, where everyone engages in rice farming because there are no commercial facilities. A majority of villagers have lived in the village for generations. The village dates back to July 1953, stemming from a ceasefire agreement between the two Koreas in which both sides kept a single village in the demilitarized zone. The village on North Korea’s side of the DMZ is called Kijong. Taesung Freedom Mayor Kim Dong Ku, elected in 2012, was born and raised in the border town. Kim, 50, has two children who attend the village’s only elementary school, where DMZ also stands for the “Dream Making Zone.” “I’m glad to see peaceful atmosphere building up,” Kim said. “I want the townspeople to live in a stable status, farming like they always have. The military broadcast towards North stopped since yesterday evening, and we appreciate this silence.” There were days when villagers felt anxious as military tensions rose between Pyongyang and Seoul. But since a recent mood of reconciliation, the village has also become more jubilant than before. The two leaders from the North and South are scheduled to meet Friday at the demilitarized zone's "Peace House" in Panmunjom, less than a mile from the Taesung Freedom Village. Mayor Kim is looking forward to the inter-Korean summit, he said, adding that the atmosphere has improved dramatically since the past two summits. “I have not experienced the Korean War firsthandedly,” he said. “But the ancestors who lived in this area even before the war said they used to take a walk to the Northern town across the borderline. If there is a chance in the future, I would do the same.” Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
April 25, 2018

Danish inventor found guilty of killing Swedish journalist

iStock/Thinkstock(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) -- Danish inventor Peter Madsen was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for killing and sexually abusing Swedish journalist Kim Wall. Wall, 30, had disappeared in mid-August 2017 after boarding Madsen's submarine while researching a story. Her remains were later found in plastic bags in the Bay of Koge, southwest of Copenhagen, but authorities have been unable to establish a specific cause of death. Madsen "brought a saw, knife, sharpened screwdrivers, straps, strips and pipes" aboard his submarine as part of a plan to kill Wall, the prosecutor has said. The charges against Madsen, 47, included murder, indecent handling of a corpse and "sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature." The prosecutor had asked for a life sentence for Madsen. Madsen was found guilty of all charges. People who receive a life sentence in Denmark spend 16 years in prison on average. A life sentence is the harshest penalty in Denmark and is normally reserved for people convicted of more than one murder. "In determining the punishment, the court emphasized that it was a cynical and planned sexual assault and killing of a very brutal character on a random woman who, in connection with her journalistic work, had accepted an offer of a trip in the defendant's submarine," the City Court of Copenhagen said in a statement in Danish released after the verdict. Madsen said he plans to appeal the verdict. Madsen, who has offered shifting explanations about what happened on the submarine, had denied abusing and killing Wall, but had pleaded guilty to the indecent handling of a corpse. His defense lawyer had said he should only be found guilty of indecent handling of a corpse, which carries a jail term of up to six months in Denmark. She said the prosecutor hasn't proved Madsen murdered Wall. Wall graduated with a bachelor's degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She then obtained a dual master's degree in journalism and international relations from Columbia University in New York City. She traversed the globe to cover stories about, as she described, the "undercurrents of rebellion." Before her death, she reported on identity, gender, pop-culture, social justice and foreign policy from China, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Haiti, North Korea, India, United States and the Marshall Islands. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.