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Aborted romance? North Korea accuses US of ‘gangster-like mindset’

North Korea slammed what it called the United States’ “gangster-like mindset” in denuclearization talks just hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the high-level negotiations as “productive” and insisted progress was made

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North Korea slammed what it called the United States’ “gangster-like mindset” in denuclearization talks just hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the high-level negotiations as “productive” and insisted progress was made.

“We had many hours of productive conversations,” Pompeo told reporters Saturday in Pyongyang before boarding a flight to Tokyo. “These are complicated issues, but we’ve made progress on almost all the central issues. Some places, a great deal of progress. Other places, there’s still more work to be done.”

North Korea, however, poured cold water on the talks, saying the “attitude” of the US was “regrettable” and not in the spirit of the June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“We expected the US to bring constructive measures to build confidence in accordance with the spirit of the US-NK Summit,” the statement carried by state-run news agency KCNA said, according to a CNN translation of the Korean version of the statement. “However, the attitude of the US in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable.”

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The statement added, according to an English-language version of the statement released by KCNA: “The US is fatally mistaken if it went to the extent of regarding that the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) would be compelled to accept, out of its patience, the demands reflecting its gangster-like mindset.”

The country called the outcome of the discussion “worrisome” and argued that the “cancerous issues” the US delegation raised were the same ones that had “amplified” distrust and the risk of war with past administrations, resulting in previous talks ending in failure.

He added, “No one walked away from that, they’re still equally committed, Chairman Kim is still committed.”

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Musings From Abroad

China’s Hailiang, Shinzoom to establish vehicle battery installations in Morocco

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Hailiang and Shinzoom, Chinese car battery makers, will establish two separate operations in Morocco as the country strives to adapt its burgeoning automotive sector to rising demand for electric vehicles, Moroccan officials announced on Tuesday.

Tanger Tech, the Moroccan northern industrial zone’s development authority, said Hailiang intends to establish a $450 million copper facility on a 30-hectare plot of land. Shinzoom, a subsidiary of Hunan Zhongke, plans to invest $460 million in an anode plant spanning 20 hectares, according to a statement.

In April, the Moroccan government approved Chinese electric battery company BTR New Material Group (835185.BJE)’s plans to build a factory in Tangier to manufacture crucial component cathodes.

Another Chinese firm, CNGR Advanced Material (300919.SZ), plans to develop a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, 100 miles south of Casablanca, where the government has set aside 283 hectares for electric battery sectors.

Last year, the Moroccan government and China’s Gotion agreed to examine establishing an electric vehicle battery plant in the country, with a potential investment of up to $6.3 billion. Last month, Industry Minister Ryad Mezzour told Reuters that the Gotion project was moving forward, with conversations over its footprint and location.

Morocco’s strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar, free trade agreements with important EU and US markets, and existing automotive sector cluster all attract Chinese enterprises.

In 2023, the automotive sector topped Morocco’s industrial exports with $14 billion, a 27% increase. Morocco is home to Stellantis (STLAM.MI) and Renault (RENA.PA) production factories with an annual combined capacity of 700,000 automobiles, as well as a network of local suppliers.

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Musings From Abroad

Prince Harry, Meghan treated to street-style dances in Nigeria as their trip winds down

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On Sunday, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were treated to street-style dances in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, where they announced a partnership between their Archewell Foundation and the non-profit Giants of Africa, which utilizes sports to empower young people.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are making their first visit to Nigeria, where they were welcomed by the country’s chief of defence staff. The couple watched basketball practice at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on Lagos Mainland, where Harry participated in ball-bouncing drills and shot a hoop.

“What you guys are doing here at Giants of Africa is truly amazing,” he said. “The power of sport can change lives. It brings people together and creates community and there are no barriers, which is the most important thing.”

The couple watched basketball practice at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on Lagos Mainland, and Harry stepped on the court for some ball-bouncing drills and to shoot a hoop.

Former Toronto Raptors star Masai Ujiri, president of Giants of Africa, wished Meghan a happy Mother’s Day and said his organization was uniting communities and uplifting young people through sport, especially. Archewell Foundation and Giants of Africa will construct a basketball court in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

“Talk about full circle again – never did I think we would be able to be here all those years later supporting the expansion of this incredible organization,” she said.
Harry and Meghan were set to round off their Lagos trip by attending a reception for a local charity. The couple live in the United States with their two children after Harry gave up working as a member of the royal family in 2020.

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