VOA NEWS

June 3, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Steve Miller reporting.



The European Union and China have recommitted to the 2015 Paris climate deal, one day after the United States announced it would withdraw from it.

A joint statement between the EU and China even said that climate change and clean energy "will become a main pillar" of their bilateral relationship.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was in Brussels for an EU-China business summit, where European Council President Donald Tusk said the fight against climate change will continue, with or without the United States.

"Today, we are stepping up our cooperation on climate change with China. Which means that today, China and Europe have demonstrated solidarity with future generations and responsibility for the whole planet. We are convinced that yesterday's decision by the United States to leave the Paris Agreement is a big mistake, bigger than not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol."

Chinese Premier Li said it was important for China and the EU relationships to become more stable.



U.S. President Donald Trump has asked the country's Highest Court to revive his restriction on travelers from six Muslim majority countries.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the president feels his order is within his executive powers.

"Last night, we asked the Supreme Court to hear this important case and are confident that the president's executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe and protect our communities from terrorism."

The latest ruling against Trump's travel policy came from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, in May. The 205-page ruling said the policy was naked invidious discrimination against Muslims.



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Russian President Vladimir Putin urged U.S. business executives on Friday to help improve U.S.-Russia relations that have reached "their lowest point since the Cold War", nearly 50-year period of East-West geopolitical tension that ended in 1991.

Putin said he would continue to communicate with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying good relations are in the interests of both countries.

"I'm convinced that the normalization of bilateral relations meets the interests of both countries and we will continue relevant dialogue with the new president of the United States of America, Mr. Trump, and the new administration. But in order to success, serious efforts are needed on both sides. Of course, political will and readiness to resolve issues of mutual practical interests will be necessary."

Ties between the two countries have been strained by Russia's apparent interference in last year's U.S. presidential election as well as conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia remain in effect because of its involvement in the Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea.



U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis heads to Singapore to deliver a keynote address at the annual Shangri-La annual defense conference.

While North Korea is expected to be one topic to be discussed, VOA's Bill Ide previews what else may be on the agenda.

Defense Secretary James Mattis leads a robust U.S. delegation to Asia's top defense conference in Singapore.

Representing the Trump administration, delegates are looking to Mattis for clarity and assurance about the new president's commitment to the region.

Given Trump's follow-through Thursday to pull out of the Paris climate change accord, concerns about economic policy direction are spilling over into the realm of security.

"Many ministers are looking for clarity from Washington in terms of how is Washington going to manage the South China Sea issue."

China's recent construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea is also drawing attention whether Beijing likes it or not.

"Clearly, it's lower profile now but it doesn't mean that the South China Sea is quiet."

Bill Ide, VOA news, Singapore.



Iran has kept advances in its nuclear program within the parameters set under the 2015 accord it signed with world powers.

A new International Atomic Energy Agency report says Iran has greatly reduced its nuclear activities and kept its stock of enriched uranium below the agreed upon limit.

The assessment says Iran has not enriched uranium above the levels required to make a weapon and "has not pursued the construction of the Arak reactor," which could be used to create weapons-grade plutonium.

Iran agreed to the nuclear deal with a number of Western nations in 2015 after years of simmering tensions surrounding the country's nuclear aspirations.



I'm Steve Miller in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.