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ON THIS DAY

ON THIS DAY

03 December 1989: Malta summit ends Cold War. The leaders of the two world superpowers, the USA and the USSR, have declared an end to the Cold War after two days of storm-lashed talks at the Malta summit. At a joint news conference held on board the Soviet cruise ship, Maxim Gorky, the two men announced they had set the stage for big reductions in troops and weapons in Europe. The Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, also said: “I assured the President of the United States that I will never start a hot war against the USA.” For his part, US President George Bush said: “We can realise a lasting peace and transform the East-West relationship to one of enduring co-operation. That is the future that Chairman Gorbachev and I began right here in Malta.” The Malta summit is being hailed as the most important since 1945 when Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt agreed a post-war plan for Europe at Yalta. The two men have met face-to-face for the first time against a backdrop of fast-moving change in Eastern Europe. In the past few weeks Hungary has opened its borders with the West, the Berlin Wall has fallen, followed by the government of Czechoslovakia. Only yesterday the fledgling East German government of only seven weeks was also forced to resign. Both leaders spoke hopefully of the changes sweeping Eastern Europe – but they also spoke of the need for caution, particularly with regard to the future of Germany and the prospect of reunification. Mr Bush said: “It is not for the United States to dictate the pace of change in Germany or anywhere else.” Mr Gorbachev said: “The world is leaving one epoch and entering another. We are at the beginning of a long road to a lasting, peaceful era. “The threat of force, mistrust, psychological and ideological struggle should all be things of the past.” The summit was not all plain sailing. High winds and heavy seas yesterday left the American president stranded aboard his cruiser in Marsaxlokk Bay. An afternoon session of talks had to be abandoned while the Russians waited in vain for Mr Bush to arrive on their ship, the Maxim Gorky, which was moored in a calmer position. A joint dinner was also cancelled as the president remained marooned. A final eight-hour round of talks was held today aboard the Maxim Gorky, during which differences emerged over policy on Central America and cuts in naval forces. Mr Bush is due to brief NATO leaders in Brussels, where he will fly tonight. Mr Gorbachev will address members of the Warsaw Pact tomorrow. The two men have agreed to hold another summit in June next year. (Source: BBC)

05 December 1950: Pyongyang taken as UN retreats. Chinese troops have entered the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, as United Nations forces are pushed steadily back towards South Korea. The North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) invaded the south in June this year. Forces from the UN and Republic of Korea led a counter-offensive on 15 September. North Korean forces quickly retreated back over the 38th parallel and General Douglas MacArthur ordered troops to pursue them into North Korea. On 19 October Pyongyang was captured and by 24 November, North Korean forces were driven back almost to the Yalu River which marks the border of China. But two days later, as General MacArthur prepared for a final offensive Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) joined the NKPA to launch this latest counterattack. Today in Pyongyang, the CCF had to wade across the Taedong River because American engineers had destroyed bridges to the deserted city and burned all supplies and equipment that might help enemy forces. Thousands of refugees are waiting to be taken from the north to the south bank by small boats. Meanwhile in the north-east of the country, up to 20,000 US Marines and
7th Division infantrymen are totally surrounded by Communist Korean and Chinese forces south of the Chosin reservoir. Reports from the headquarters of X Corp say marines and soldiers are now under fire from six Chinese division

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