ew stage of preparation for the Games,” said Chen Jining, mayor of Beijin
g and executive president of the 2022 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee. “We will end
eavor to deliver a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
The 1,000-day countdown — launched near the iconic Bird’s Nest and the
Water Cube, both 2008 venues — underlined Beijing’s focus on sustainability in prepa
ring a second time for an Olympic extravaganza by reusing existing resources built for the Summer Games.
According to the 2022 Winter Olympics organizing committee, 11 of the 13 v
enues needed in Beijing’s downtown, where all ice sports will be staged, will use existing faciliti
es built for 2008. Repurposing projects, such as transforming the Water Cube (which hosted swimming in 2008) into a
curling arena by filling the pool with steel structures and making ice on the surface, are well underway.
using his powers to hire and fire cabinet members under Article 2 would have been seen as obstruction — a standard that he alleged was “only for Trump.”
”The Attorney General recuses himself, and I don’t fire him, no obstruction,” Trump said. “That’s the other thing — if y
ou use your rights, if you use your power, if you use Article 2, it’s called obstruction, but only for Trump, f
or nobody else. So the attorney general is weak and ineffective and he doesn’t do what he should have done.”
Trump fired Sessions in November following an increasingly str
ained relationship and months of personal attacks by the President.
He also recounted Comey’s firing as being due to the former FBI direc
tor being “a bad, bad guy,” saying that he had discussed it at the time with first lady Mela
nia Trump, and that he had anticipated bipartisan support after Democrats voiced criticism of Comey.
The second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong
-un in Hanoi on February 27 and 28 will trigger complicated changes in East Asia’s poli
tics. Though the effect on US-Japan relations will be limited, North Korea-Japan ties will move in a positive direction.
Currently, Pyongyang demands withdrawal of sanctions, signing a peace treaty, an end-of-war declaration, and a security guarantee f
or North Korea. Washington had asked Pyongyang to undertake complete, verifiable and irrev
ersible denuclearization, which might be now relaxed. The US may agree that North Korea fulfill it in stages. Befo
re any progress in denuclearization, the US will not ease sanctions substantially. Therefore, the Hanoi talks co
uld produce substantive results, much more significant than the Singapore summit.
However, it won’t shake the relationship between US and its East Asian al
lies. Even if the US and North Korea forge new relations, it would obviously not be a
s firm as the US-Japan alliance. Once the talks make headway, Washington may gradually lift the sanctions on Pyo
ngyang, helping get North Korea’s economy out of the doldrums. Other areas will be left as they are.
In this context, possible improvement in US-North Korea ties would not have noticeabl
e impact on US-Japan relations. However, it may make Tokyo and Pyongyang move closer.