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Dalton Names New Head After Tumult of Pandemic and Politics – Bloomberg

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U.S., S.Korea to update war plans while urging diplomacy with N.Korea

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The military chiefs of the United States and South Korea said on Thursday they plan to update contingency war plans and review their combined military command while urging North Korea to return to diplomacy.

North Korea’s missile and weapons developments are increasingly destabilising for regional security, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said after talks with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Wook.

Austin and U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were in Seoul for the first such annual military talks with South Korean officials since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January, and the last before South Korean President Moon Jae-in leaves office in May.

North Korea has continued to rebuff U.S. entreaties for diplomacy since Biden took over from Donald Trump, who had three summits with leader Kim Jong Un.

The United States calls on the North to engage in dialogue, Austin told a news conference, saying diplomacy is the best approach to pursue with North Korea, backed up by a credible deterrent.

The changing security environment prompted the United States and South Korea to agree to update longstanding operational planning for a potential conflict with North Korea, as well as review their combined military command, Suh said.

The United States stations around 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in an armistice but not a peace treaty.

Currently, the United States would command those troops in the event of war, but South Korea has been seeking to gain “operational control” (OPCON).

Suh said the two sides made progress on meeting conditions for OPCON transfer to South Korea.

The United States has pledged to maintain the current level of U.S. troops in South Korea, he added.

This week the Pentagon released a global posture review that calls for additional cooperation with allies and partners to deter “potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea,” including a previously announced decision to permanently base an attack helicopter squadron and artillery division headquarters in South Korea.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Phil Stewart; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Stephen Coates)

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U.S. defense secretary eyes international response to Russia on Ukraine

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday suggested any U.S. response to Russia’s actions towards Ukraine would be carried out in conjunction with the international community, as he called on Moscow to be transparent about its military buildup.

Austin, during a visit to South Korea, also voiced hope that the United States and Russia could work to “resolve issues and concerns and lower the temperature in the region.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned Moscow to pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border, saying a Russian invasion would provoke sanctions that would hit Moscow harder than any imposed until now.

Asked whether fallout on Russia would be strictly economic, Austin declined to answer directly, saying only that the “best methods” would be used.

“Whatever we do will be done as a part of an international community. The best case though is that we won’t see an incursion by the Soviet Union into the Ukraine,” Austin said, accidentally calling Russia the former Soviet Union.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that aspires to join the European Union and NATO, has become the main flashpoint between Russia and the West as relations have soured to their worst level in the three decades since the Cold War ended.

Ukraine says Russia has deployed more than 90,000 troops near their long shared border.

Moscow accuses Kyiv of pursuing its own military build-up. It has dismissed as inflammatory suggestions it is preparing for an attack on Ukraine but has defended its right to deploy troops on its own territory as it sees fit.

 

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Annamie Paul feels her exit from politics was premature – iPolitics.ca

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In her first post-election sit down, former Green party leader Annamie Paul said it’s been painful to watch the 44th Parliament kick off, while feeling that she was prematurely kicked out of politics.

Paul was speaking with David Herle, co-host of the Curse of Politics, in a virtual event hosted by the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee on Tuesday evening.

“When you think of what might have been … it’s been hard for me,” she said.

Ahead of the televised federal leaders’ debates, Paul said she had no budget to prepare, and instead worked with a number of 23 year old volunteers, while her husband stood in as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and her son acted as Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.

Despite this, Paul was strongly praised for her performance in the debates, which she said did not make her nervous.

There were moments in politics when the good outweighed the bad, like when she had opportunities to push the conversation on the Uyghur genocide, she said.

Paul, the first Black person and first Jewish woman to be elected leader of one of Canada’s major federal parties, announced her intention to step down one week after the Sept. 20 federal election, calling her experience as Green leader “the worst period of my life.”

Asked whether her critics within the Greens were against policies of the Israel government, the state of Israel, or whether they were antisemitic, Paul said there were likely critics of all three natures.

Paul said she had little control over the party during the federal election campaign, in which the Greens won its lowest share of the popular vote since the 2000 election.

As Greens polled poorly throughout the election campaign, Paul said she saw the “writing on the wall” and knew she would be held responsible, even though she wasn’t the one making the decisions.

“You’re heading towards your own doom,” she recollected.

The “dispersed power structure” of the party leadership was spread between the executive director, the federal council and a number of volunteers, Paul said.

In contrast, Paul said Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who was elected party leader around the same time as Paul, could appoint political and communications directors as needed.

“I had none of those powers, whatsoever,” Paul said.

She could only appoint her chief of staff and those who worked in her office — “no one else.”

READ MORE: Annamie Paul stepping down as Green party leader

Paul placed fourth with nine per cent of the vote in her riding of Toronto Centre and her leadership was fraught with controversy.

During her tenure, then-rookie Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to the Liberals after being criticized on social media by one of Paul’s top staffers for comments the MP made about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In July, the executive council sought a non-confidence vote in Paul because she refused to condemn the staffer’s comments, it was cancelled later that month.

On Sept. 25, just a few days after the election, an announcement was sent to all Green members that a leadership review had been launched.

Asked about young people considering entering politics, Paul said, “you have to go into this with your eyes wide open, and you have to know that this is not for everyone.”

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