US, India Hold Meeting With 2 Sticking Points
The United States and India will try to expand already close defense ties when senior leaders from both countries meet for their first “two plus two” dialogue Thursday in New Delhi.
The world’s two largest democracies, the United States and India, have a lot in common, including a desire to contain China. But the United States takes issue with India buying oil from Iran and its planned acquisition of a Russian missile defense system.
On his way to India, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis confirmed he will discuss the Russian missile defense system, but said shared values will allow the two countries to handle any “perturbations in stride, without alarm.”
“Freedom means that at times nations don’t agree with each other. That doesn’t mean we can’t be partners. That doesn’t mean we don’t respect the sovereignty of other nations,” Mattis said.
The talks will also include U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Most of India’s weapons are Russian-made, a legacy of India’s Cold War relationship with the Soviet Union.
While U.S. officials say they understand India’s need to keep defense ties with Russia in order to maintain those weapons, they aim to convince India to buy more U.S. weapons in the future.
U.S. officials are also signaling more flexibility on India’s purchase of Iranian crude oil.
Starting November 4, any country buying Iranian oil could face financial penalties under sanctions reinstated after the United States unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.
But a senior State Department official said sanctions would be imposed on a “case-by-case” basis.
The “two plus two” meeting had been planned for last April, but was postponed after the departure of former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It was delayed a second time after Pompeo left in June on a last-minute trip to North Korea.
South Korean Envoys delivers letter to North Korea's Kim Jong Un
South Korea's presidential office says a delegation personally met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Wednesday and delivered a letter addressed to him from President Moon Jae-in.
The delegation, led by Chung Eui-yong, President Moon's national security advisor, arrived in Pyongyang earlier in the day to finalize arrangements for a summit to be held in the North Korean capital later this month between Moon and Kim. The summit will be the third between Moon and Kim this year; the previous two were held in Panmunjon, the truce village in the border zone that separates the autocratic North from the democratic South.
The talks come amid a heated stalemate between the North and the United States over the pace of North Korea ending its nuclear and missile development programs, which the two sides agreed to during the historic meeting in April between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in Singapore.
The impasse led President Trump to cancel Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's trip to North Korea last month.