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"It has been clear from the outset [of his presidency] that President Trump is willing to do what it takes to bring the North Koreans to the negotiating table," said Choo Mi-ae, a leader of South Korea's Democratic Party. (Associated Press/File)

South Korean party leader Choo sees promise in Trump’s hawkish stand on North Korea

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: President Trump has broken with his predecessors in making North Korea’s nuclear programs a priority from the first day of his administration, improving the prospects for a negotiated solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula despite the angry rhetoric and provocative moves from both Washington and Pyongyang, the head of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party said in an interview.

Kurdish leaders remain committed to a political settlement but say their famed peshmerga militia forces are ready to take up arms to defend their homeland. (Associated Press/File)

Kurds seek more help from Trump administration to keep peace with Iraq

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The Trump administration must do more to push a negotiated settlement between the Iraqi government and the country’s Kurdish minority over a blocked Kurdish push for independence, the Iraqi Kurds’ top representative in Washington said in an interview, warning that the current truce may not hold and the Kurds will fight back if pushed too far.

Hamdullah Mohib (left), Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, said the Trump administration's plan for a long-term occupation in his country is the right way to capitalize on gains made in the past 16 years of war. (Associated Press/File)

Afghanistan welcomes Trump plan for long-term U.S. partnership

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: A country that has long fiercely resisted foreign occupiers is ready to accept a long-term U.S. military presence to ensure stability and security, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Washington said in an interview, adding that Kabul is also ready to forge stronger ties with regional powers such as Iran and India to defeat terrorism and serve as a check to neighboring Pakistan.

Pakistani Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said his country will have plenty of economic opportunity in coming years that could be at risk from violence in neighboring Afghanistan. (Associated Press/File)

Afghanistan terror threatens to nip Pakistan’s budding economy; ambassador waits for Trump strategy

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: Pakistan’s military has swept terrorist groups from the nation’s once-lawless tribal areas, but the gains could be put at risk if the security situation across the border in Afghanistan is not brought under control, Islamabad’s diplomat in Washington said, stressing that his nation is waiting for the Trump administration to clarify its strategy for the Afghanistan conflict.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui (left) met with Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson on Monday and has meetings scheduled with other top officials this week. (Associated Press)

Tunisian diplomat seeks outreach with Trump administration

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: Tunisia’s top diplomat says the Trump administration should “reach out more” to the tiny North African nation for collaboration against the evolving threat posed by the Islamic State — and to bolster the fragile island of democracy Tunisians are struggling to uphold in the Arab world.

"Irrespective of who controls the House and Congress, we want to work very closely with the U.S. on every level of government and intend to do so with President Trump," said Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, who emphasizes the importance of NATO. (Associated Press)

Estonia sees crucial roles for U.S., NATO despite Trump doubts

Like much of Europe — like much of the world — many Estonians acknowledge being bemused and sometimes confused by President Trump’s first weeks in the White House. But the tiny Baltic country’s top diplomat knows that when you are a stone’s throw from Russia, you cannot afford to argue with the leader of the free world.

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Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliye after making statements before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Azerbaijan envoy defends country's rights record after presidential visit

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The Obama administration's decision to meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of last month's nuclear summit has sparked a debate over the country human rights record and the decision to welcome an authoritarian leader who has drawn heat from critics -- including the U.S. State Department -- for his record back home.

With a total annual budget of roughly $730 million for the government's international media operations, the U.S. is "spending a small fraction of what our adversaries are spending," said Jeff Shell, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. (Associated Press)

Russian, Chinese propaganda muffling U.S. government's message to world

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The U.S. government's international media operations grossly lack funding to counter effectively the rising global blitz of state-sponsored propaganda from Russia, China and other rivals, says the head of the federal board that oversees such Washington-financed outlets as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America.

Without clearer American leadership and backing, said Awan Riak, a top adviser to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the cycle of violence that has gripped the country since it achieved independence will only continue.

U.S. has obligation to support struggling South Sudan, top diplomat says

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The struggling government of South Sudan says the U.S. must do more to support the democracy it helped create in the nation four years ago, asserting that the Obama administration and the international community are unfairly blaming the leadership in Juba for dragging its feet on a peace deal with rebels in the country's civil war.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made clear that he plans to distinguish himself in a crowded field of 15 to 17 candidates by embracing conservative policy prescriptions, regardless of their perceived popularity in the media and polls. (Associated Press)

Scott Walker promises to turn back the clock on taxes to Reagan era

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: Jumping into a crowded 2016 presidential field, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker vowed Monday to return federal tax rates to their levels under Ronald Reagan, eliminate the sequester cuts restraining Pentagon spending and tackle federal budget deficits by reforming entitlement programs and returning money and power to the states.

President Obama waves in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

FOIA backlog soars despite Obama transparency pledge

Associated Press

Federal agencies are struggling to keep up with the growing number of requests for public information, raising questions in Congress about the Obama administration's dedication to transparency.

Pakistani Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani says his country's relationship with the U.S. is on a positive trajectory and is stronger than it has been than at any other point since the Osama bin Laden raid in May 2011. (Associated Press)

Pakistani diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani seeks increased U.S. pressure on India

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The top Pakistani diplomat in Washington says he is optimistic about prospects for peace in Afghanistan after the U.S. troop pullout, but asserts that the Obama administration could and should be doing more to foster peace in South Asia by pressuring India to embrace economic and counterterrorism overtures from Islamabad.

"My father's approach to the most brutal and unambiguous social injustices during the civil rights struggle was rooted in nonviolence as a morally and tactically correct response," Martin Luther King III said in an interview with The Washington Times. "In no way do I, nor would my father, condone any 'ends justify the means' behavior." (Associated Press)

Martin Luther King III sees Ferguson riots, violence against police as setbacks

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: On the holiday commemorating his father's epic civil rights legacy, Martin Luther King III says he is dismayed by recent violence against police, the destructive protests in Ferguson and the trashing of a U.Va. fraternity falsely accused of sexual assault because they don't reflect his father's own approach to advocate for change peacefully.

Breitling Energy CEO Chris Faulkner downplays the dangers of fracking brought forth by environmentalists. (Lloyd Villas/The Washington Times)

U.S. oil surplus eases prices in global crises

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: Increased U.S. production is helping to create an oil surplus on world markets, driving down prices despite a myriad of threats to oil supplies, and doing more to crush Russia's economy than the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union, said Chris Faulkner, chief executive of Breitling Energy.