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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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