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  • iStock/Thinkstock(DANANG, Vietnam) -- President Donald Trump marked Veterans Day by spending time with seven American veterans of the Vietnam War, whom he called "great, great warriors" and a "national treasure.""You are the heroes who fulfill your duty to our nation. And each of you, under the most difficult conditions, did what you had to do, and you did it well," Trump said in an event held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC)."They are definitely tough, smart cookies. We like them," Trump said of the group. "I think they like me too. I'm not sure, but I think they do."Trump, who is making his first visit to Vietnam as president, said the U.S. would not rest until all 1,253 veterans still missing in action from the conflict are recovered and returned home. More than 58,000 Americans lost their lives in the war.The president signed a proclamation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, part of a 13-year-long celebration honoring troops that began May 28, 2012, and runs through Nov. 11, 2025."We just want to thank you and all of the thousands and thousands and all of the people that served with you and in all of the other wars," Trump said.Vietnam is the fourth stop on a five-country tour through Asia that is the longest of an American president in the last quarter-century."I assume that by now you’re pretty exhausted," Trump said, motioning to reporters. "The media must be absolutely exhausted, looking to home. But we have had a tremendous time."Veterans Day is Nov. 11, the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Steffen Kugler/BPA/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The much-discussed formal meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Vietnam will not happen after all, according to the White House.While trade was at the top of the agenda for Trump's appearance at the summit, the possible sit-down was expected to generate significant buzz."Regarding a Putin meeting, there was never a meeting confirmed, and there will not be one that takes place due to scheduling conflicts on both sides," press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday, shortly after the president landed in Vietnam. "There is no formal meeting or anything scheduled for them. Now, they’re going to be in the same place. Are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely. But in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there’s not one on the calendar and we don’t anticipate that there will be one."Sanders added there is still a chance that Putin and Trump would interact on the sidelines in an informal manner, but that they "don't anticipate" any formal meeting between the two leaders.The meeting was never on the president’s public schedule, but a Kremlin spokesman had said Thursday that the meeting was likely to take place on Friday, even as the format and timing were still being worked out. The Kremlin has previously said that the “likelihood is great” for a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders and that the matter has been in the works for weeks.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday stopped short of confirming that the meeting was set for Friday, telling reporters that it’s “still under consideration.” But Trump went further in telling reporters last week as he first set out on his Asia trip that he did expect to sit down with Putin."I think it's expected we'll meet with Putin, yeah," Trump told reporters on Air Force One, as he kicked off his tour of Asia.The meeting would have been closely watched with heightened tensions between the two countries on a range of issues, including the ongoing conflict in Syria, the nuclear standoff with North Korea, fresh U.S. sanctions against Russia, and the ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and questions of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.The president had indicated that North Korea would be at the top of the docket for the potential meeting, telling reporters "we want Putin's help on North Korea.”Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that while there’s "no coordinated agenda" for the meeting, "it is obvious that it will be a good opportunity to exchange opinions on the most vital issues, both international and bilateral."The two leaders previously encountered each other at the G20 Summit in Germany last July, where they had two meetings.The first official meeting between the leaders stretched on for over two hours, with Tillerson later telling reporters that “neither one of them wanted to stop.”Tillerson went on to say that the U.S. delegation at one point even sent first lady Melania Trump into the meeting in an attempt to get the leaders to wrap up the bilateral talks. "That didn’t work either," he said.It was during that first meeting that Trump directly confronted Putin over the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election. But when Putin denied the charge in the meeting, Tillerson said the president didn’t dwell on the “intractable disagreement.”“The presidents rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point,” Tillerson said.A Putin spokesman described that first meeting as a "win-win situation" for both leaders.Trump and Putin had a second conversation during that same summit, interacting during a dinner that included the world leaders at the summit
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- First lady Melania Trump stayed behind in Beijing on Friday, paying a visit to the Beijing Zoo, while her husband continued on to Vietnam to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.Mrs. Trump visited a panda exhibit at the zoo, where she was serenaded in English and Chinese by a group of about 20 elementary school children. Waving American and Chinese flags, the youngsters sang in front of the panda exhibit, home to one of the attraction's most notable residents -- Gu Gu, a male panda.The first lady smiled, and Gu Gu chowed down on bamboo shoots and leaves as the children sang.Mrs. Trump then presented her young admirers with plush bald eagle toys. In exchange, the first lady was gifted with a plush panda toy at the zoo gift shop, where she met the zoo director and wrote on a sign, "Thank you to the Beijing Zoo! Wonderful to meet Gu Gu."The first lady is slated to visit the Great Wall later Friday before departing for Alaska, where she will do an event with U.S. troops, before returning to Washington.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Thierry Monasse/Corbis/Getty Images(BARCELONA, Spain) -- The ousted leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and four of his former government ministers have turned themselves in to Belgian police, according to Belgium's state broadcaster.Puigdemont and his associates were wanted on European arrest warrants. They had fled north to Brussels following Spain's removal of Catalonia's top representatives from office, part of Madrid's crackdown in response to the region's declaration of independence. A spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office said the five former Catalan officials presented themselves to Belgian federal police and have been in custody since 9 a.m. local time. He said they have not been arrested and that Puigdemont and the four ex-ministers will be heard by an investigative judge Sunday afternoon.The judge will have to decide the next steps, which could range from arrest and imprisonment to conditional release.Puigdemont wrote on his Twitter account Saturday that he would "cooperate" with Belgian authorities, although his lawyer has said the pro-independence politician would fight a forced return to Spain."We are prepared to fully cooperate with Belgian justice following the European arrest warrant issued by Spain," Puigdemont wrote in Dutch on Twitter on Saturday.Besides the Dutch tweet he posted on Saturday, Puigdemont also sent a Twitter message written in Catalan to political followers in northeastern Spain. He weighed in on a debate among secessionists in Catalonia regarding strategy for the December snap election that Spain's government has called as part of its temporary takeover of the restive region."It's the moment for all democrats to unite -- for Catalonia, for the freedom of political prisoners and the republic," Puigdemont wrote, endorsing calls for pro-secession political parties to unite in a coalition for the upcoming election.Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said Friday that politicians, even those who are jailed on suspicion of a crime, can run in the upcoming election unless they are convicted before it takes place. Puigdemont has left the door open to running. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Drew Angerer/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Sporting a bomber jacket as he addressed U.S. troops at Yokota Air Base just after landing in Japan, President Donald Trump touted the might of the U.S. military as he began his tour of Asia at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea.“We dominate the sky. We dominate the sea. We dominate the land and space,” the president said. “Not merely because we have the best equipment -- which we do, and by the way, a lot of it's coming in. You saw that budget. That's a lot different than in the past. A lot of beautiful, brand-new equipment is coming in. And nobody makes it like they make it in the United States. Nobody.”While the president did not directly address North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, the president's choice to address troops in his very first action in the region set the tone of his trip as he seeks to send a clear message to the North Korean regime to back down from its nuclear ambitions.“No one -- no dictator, no regime and no nation -- should underestimate ever American resolve,” the president said, standing on a stage in an airplane hangar on the base. “Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it? It was not pleasant. We will never yield, never waiver and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom and our great American flag.”The setting for the speech at Yokota Air Base, which has served as a center of coordination for the U.S. and Japanese militaries for decades, also amplified the president's message as he made clear that the U.S. stands in lockstep with Japan in the region."Today this base serves as a critical center for coordination, for American and Japanese commanders to plan their missions," the president said. "For almost 60 years, the military alliance -- we see on this base -- has endured a cornerstone of sovereignty, security and prosperity for our nations. This region -- and, indeed, the entire world. Today we pay tribute to that legacy."The president reiterated his unwavering commitment to fully equipping the military to carry out its mission.“As long as I am president, the servicemen and women who defend our nation will have the equipment, the resources and the funding they need to secure our homeland; to respond to our enemies quickly and decisively; and, when necessary, to fight, to overpower and to always, always, always win,” he went on to say.Upon taking the stage in an airplane hangar, the president was presented with a bomber jacket, which he then put on in place of his suit jacket as he offered his direct thanks to the U.S. and Japanese service members in the region.“There is no single place I'd rather begin my trip than right here with all of you, the incredible men and women of the United States military and your amazing partners, the Japanese self-defense forces,” Trump said. “To everyone here today who serves your country in uniform, thank you, thank you, thank you. We salute you.”“Each of you embodies the warrior creed. Your devotion, prowess and expertise make you the most fierce and fighting force in the history of our world,” the president told the troops.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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