(CNN)US President Donald Trump will make back-to-back phone calls to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, the White House announced Saturday night.

Trump and Abe will speak at 8 p.m. ET. Trump’s call with Xi will come 45 minutes later, according to a White House statement.
No information was provided as to what subjects the calls would cover, but they come after an eventful week in East Asia politics.
    On Friday, Trump met in Washington with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and speaking alongside Moon at the White House declared that US patience with the North Korean regime “is over.”

      Trump warns North Korea: US patience is over

    The remarks were the latest sign that Trumpis growing increasingly frustratedwith the lack of progress in curbing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
    The programs are considered a grave threat to South Korea, Japan and the United States, which has thousands of troops stationed at bases in its two Asian allies. US officials are also worried that the US Pacific territory of Guam may also face a North Korean missile threat.
    Trump has been seeking more pressure from China to curb the threats from North Korea, which has its biggest trading relationship with Beijing.
    But the Trump administration last week sent signals that the US patience on Beijing’s efforts was shrinking.
    The Treasury Department onThursday imposed new sanctions on a Chinese bank and several Chinese nationalswhile theState Department approved a $1 billion arms deal with Taiwan. Both moves appeared aimed at unsettling China.
    The Taiwan arms sale, in particular, drew a strong response from Beijing.
    China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, furiously denounced the sale in Chinese state media People’s Daily, saying it violated the agreed upon “one China” policy.
    “China has made strong protests to the US and will reserve the right to take further measures,” state media quoted him as saying.
    The announcement of the Taiwan arms deal came while Xi was in Hong Kong commemorating the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinafrom the United Kingdom.

      China’s President issues ‘red line’ warning

    In a statement marking that anniversary, the US State Department issued a statement saying the US was “concerned about any infringements on civil liberties” in Hong Kong.
    In a speech in Hong Kong on Saturday, Xi warned against any challenges to Beijing’s authority in the territory, a special administrative region of China.
    “Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security … or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses a red line,” Xi said.
    On Sunday, in a move that could further strain US-China relations, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 miles of a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea in a “freedom of navigation” exercise, US defense officials said.
    It was the second such operation reported under the Trump administration. China strongly denounced a previous one in May, saying it boosted “regional militarization.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/02/politics/trump-abe-xi-phone-calls/index.html

    (CNN)The White House has instructed the State Department and the US mission to the United Nations to cut their budgets for UN programs nearly in half, including US peacekeeping and development assistance, two senior US officials told CNN on Monday.

    The dramatic cuts, which include a 37%, or $20 billion, slash in funding for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development, reflect a desire by the Trump administration to reduce US commitments to international organizations.
    Foreign Policy first reported the details of the White House’s proposal to dramatically reduce spending on foreign aid.
      US diplomats in New York had warned their UN counterparts about the likely “steep” cuts to US funding for the UN, one Western diplomat said, but not provided any details.
      The White House wants to cut the programs funded out of the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs by half, the US officials said. While the cuts would impact UN programs the most, the White House also wants to reduce US dues to other international organizations and ask other member states to pick up the slack.
      For example, the US pays 21% of the operating budget of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which promotes democracy and good governance, particularly in Europe. Japan pays the second-highest dues at about 12%. The White House wants to drop US dues to Japan’s level.
      “Everyone else is going to have to step up,” one senior official said.
      The White House also wants to reduce funding for voluntary assessments and programs for all international organizations. The United States funds certain programs or positions in organizations such as the UN, the Organization of American States and other international bodies beyond its regular dues as a member state. Officials said such expenditures would end under the new plan.
      It is unclear what the exact timeline is for the cuts, officials said. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has proposed making the reductions over three years, arguing that he needs more than one budget cycle.
      After “several tough exchanges” with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, one official said Tillerson has been granted some flexibility as to where the State Department budget cuts are directed.
      “He said, ‘You give me a number and I will make the cuts,’ ” one senior administration official said. “He doesn’t want to be told what to cut.”
      Trump and Mulvaney warned that deep cuts were coming to foreign aid programs last month while previewing the administration’s first budget proposal at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
      “The President said we’re going to spend less money overseas and spend more of it here,” Mulvaney noted while referencing the proposal last month. “That’s going to be reflected with the number we send to the State Department.”
      But Trump could face a fight when it comes to trimming the wings of state — possibly from within his own administration.
      Defense Secretary James Mattis, for instance, warned against cutting diplomatic resources during congressional testimony in 2013.
      And last month, several prominent generals like David Petraeus and admirals like James Stavridis, the former supreme commander of NATO, wasted little time in mobilizing to challenge his proposals.
      They joined a list of 121 military figures who warned that State Department diplomacy, aid and programs were vital to preventing conflict overseas and could mitigate the need for costly and bloody military deployments.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/13/politics/state-un-budget-cuts/index.html

      (CNN)CNN’s Fareed Zakaria had strong words on Sunday for President Donald Trump’s performance so far, imploring viewers to “not confuse motion with progress,” and arguing that Trump has “hardly done anything.”

      “The first few weeks of the Trump administration have been an illustration of that line from the writer Alfred Montalpert: “Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress,'” Zakaria said.
      “We are witnessing a rocking horse presidency,” he added.
        Though the host of CNN’s “GPS” acknowledged that since winning the election the President has “dominated the news,” he couldn’t, fathom what Trump had “actually done” over the past month.
        “This week, Trump said at a news conference, “There’s never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time,” Zakaria noted.
        But the reality of the Trump White House, he said, is that it “has not even begun serious discussions with Congress on major legislation.”
        Trump had issued a series of “executive orders with great fanfare,” Zakaria acknowledged.
        However, he argued, “they are mostly hot air, lofty proclamations that direct some agency to “review” a law, “report” back to him, “consider” some action or reaffirm some long-standing practice.”

        Not much happening on serious policy

        The one order that actually “did something,” the temporary travel ban, was unsuccessful, Zakaria said, and ” so poorly conceived and phrased that it got stuck in the court system and will have to be redone or abandoned.”
        As for many of Trump’s campaign promises, from the reindustrialization of the Midwest to reviving the coal and steel industries, to imposing term limits on all members of Congress?
        “All were promised, none has been done,” said Zakaria.
        There are “two aspects” to the Trump presidency, said the CNN host. The “freak show” and “the savvy businessman.”
        “For many people, the bargain of the Trump presidency was that they would put up with the freak show in order to get tax reform, infrastructure projects and deregulation,” he said.
        Though Zakaria acknowledged that Trump may still fulfill some of his campaign promises, for now, “not much is happening in the realm of serious policy.”
        “The Romans said the way to keep people happy was to give them “bread and circus” — sustenance and entertainment” said Zakaria.
        “So far all we have gotten is the circus.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/19/politics/fareed-zakaria-trump-take-cnntv/index.html