US President Joe Biden will warn Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting on Monday that North Korea’s continued pursuit of weapons development will lead to an enhanced US military presence in the region, the White House said.
The United States is concerned that North Korea plans to resume nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017 and believes China and Russia have the leverage to persuade it not to do so, Reuters reported.
Biden and Xi are set to hold their first face-to-face meeting as national leaders on the sidelines of a summit of the G20 grouping of countries in the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden would tell Xi that North Korea represented a threat, not just to the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan, but to peace and stability across the entire region.
“If North Korea keeps going down this road, it will simply mean further enhanced American military and security presence in the region,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday, as Biden flew to Cambodia for regional meetings at the weekend.
“And so the People’s Republic of China has an interest in playing a constructive role in restraining North Korea’s worst tendencies,” Sullivan added, using the country’s official name.
“Whether they choose to do so or not, is, of course, up to them.”
US-led international sanctions have failed to halt North Korea’s growing weapons programs. Its record-breaking regime of weapons tests this year have included intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to reach the US mainland, Reuters reported.
While China and Russia backed toughened United Nations sanctions after North Korea’s last nuclear test in 2017, in May they vetoed a US-led push for more UN penalties over its renewed ballistic missile launches.
US officials have accused both countries of enabling Pyongyang’s missile and bomb programs by failing to properly enforce UN Security Council sanctions.
Mexican church roof collapses during Sunday mass killing 9, about 30 others missing
A church roof collapsed during Sunday mass in a northern Mexican city killing at least nine people and injuring 40, authorities said, as rescuers worked into the night, desperately looking for another 30 people believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Working under floodlights, military personnel supported emergency services using rescue dogs and earth moving equipment to identify and dig out survivors from the ruins of the church in Ciudad Madero, a city on the Gulf coast near the port of Tampico, Reuters reported.
Footage on social media showed the moment the church roof caved in, puffs of gray smoke billowing into the air, followed by the toppling of yellow brick outer walls.
Nine people died and another 40 were taken to nearby hospitals, while 30 other worshippers remained unaccounted for, Jorge Cuéllar, spokesman for the Security Ministry of Tamaulipas state, which borders Texas.
Speaking on Foro TV news channel, Cuéllar thanked local businessmen for bringing equipment to help remove rubble and aid rescue efforts.
Bishop Jose Armando Alvarez from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tampico said the church roof crumbled as worshippers were receiving communion and asked others to pray for the survivors.
“In this moment the necessary work is being carried out to pull out the people who are still under the rumble,” Bishop Armando said in a recorded message shared on social media.
Turkey says terrorists set off bomb at Ankara government building
Turkey’s government said on Sunday two terrorists carried out a bomb attack in front of the Interior Ministry buildings in Ankara, adding one of them died in the explosion and the other was “neutralised” by authorities there.
An explosion was heard near the parliament and ministerial buildings, Turkish media had earlier reported, and broadcasters showed footage of debris scattered on a street nearby, Reuters reported.
The blast was the first in Ankara since 2016, and comes on the day that parliament was set to open a new session.
Reuters footage showed soldiers, ambulances, fire trucks and armoured vehicles gathered at the ministry near the centre of Turkey’s capital.
Ali Yerlikaya, the interior minister, said on social media platform X that two police officers were slightly injured in the incident at 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT).
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“Two terrorists came with a light commercial vehicle in front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of our Ministry of Internal Affairs and carried out a bomb attack,” he said.
He added that one blew himself up and the other was “neutralised”, which usually means was killed. “Our struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralised,” Yerlikaya wrote.
Police also announced they would carry out controlled explosions for “suspicious package incidents” in other parts of Ankara.
Authorities did not identify any specific militant group.
The blast comes almost a year after six people were killed and 81 wounded in an explosion in a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul. Turkey blamed Kurdish militants for that.
During a spate of violence in 2015 and 2016, Kurdish militants, Islamic State and other groups either claimed or were blamed for several attacks in major Turkish cities. In March 2016, 37 people were killed in Ankara when a bomb-laden car exploded at a crowded central transport hub.
Ankara’s chief prosecutor launched an investigation on Sunday into what it also called a terrorist attack.
President Tayyip Erdogan was set at 7:30 p.m. to attend the opening of parliament, which in the coming weeks is expected to consider ratifying Sweden’s bid to join NATO after Turkey had raised initial objections.
Turkish media reported that authorities were carrying out checks of the parliament after the blast at the ministry. A source told Reuters that the entrance was open but no cars were allowed through as part of the precautions.
US Congress averts government shutdown, passing stopgap bill
The U.S. Congress passed a stopgap funding bill late on Saturday with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by his party’s hardliners for a partisan bill.
The Democratic-majority Senate voted 88-9 to pass the measure to avoid the federal government’s fourth partial shutdown in a decade, sending the bill to President Joe Biden, who signed it into law before the 12:01 a.m. deadline.
McCarthy abandoned party hardliners’ insistence that any bill pass the House with only Republican votes, a change that could cause one of his far-right members to try to oust him from his leadership role.
The House voted 335-91 to fund the government through Nov. 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it.
That move marked a profound shift from earlier in the week, when a shutdown looked all but inevitable. A shutdown would mean that most of the government’s 4 million employees would not get paid – whether they were working or not – and also would shutter a range of federal services, from National Parks to financial regulators.
Federal agencies had already drawn up detailed plans that spell out what services would continue, such as airport screening and border patrols, and what must shut down, including scientific research and nutrition aid to 7 million poor mothers.
“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no government shutdown tonight,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “Democrats have said from the start that the only solution for avoiding a shutdown is bipartisanship, and we are glad Speaker McCarthy has finally heeded our message.”
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