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Turkey may not kill the Kurdish fighters in northern Syria and a U.S. withdrawal from the country will not happen without a deal to protect them, White House national security advisor John Bolton told reporters on Sunday.

Bolton described this stipulation as President Donald Trump’s position, responding to numerous questions over Washington’s support for its Kurdish partners — its foremost local allies in the anti-Islamic State (IS) fight in Syria — in the wake of the president’s surprise announcement on December 19 to pull the roughly 2,000 deployed U.S. troops from the war-torn country.

Speaking during a visit to Israel intended in part to reassure allies amid criticism over the White House’s Syria decision, Bolton added that Trump “wants the ISIS caliphate destroyed.” Trump earlier touted complete victory over IS, the fight against whom was the primary reason for U.S. troop presence in Syria and its support for Kurdish militia fighters known as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

Scores of military officials, regional analysts and senior lawmakers, meanwhile, insist that IS still remains a capable force and could witness a resurgence if U.S. troops leave. They also warn against abandoning the Kurds, whose forces suffered thousands of casualties fighting at the behest of the U.S. Such was the opposition to Trump’s move that it prompted the resignation of former Defense Secretary James Mattis and the top U.S. envoy to the global anti-IS coalition Brett McGurk.

Credited as the most effective force in driving IS out of Syria, the group is seen by Turkey’s government as intimately tied to Kurdish insurgents who have long carried out acts of terrorism against the Turkish state, and Ankara has repeatedly threatened to attack them in northeastern Syria. Turkey has already launched previous offensives against Kurds, taking territory from them in Syria’s northwest. Representatives of the Kurdish forces have described the U.S. withdrawal announcement as a shock and a betrayal of trust.

Trump defended his decision on the conviction that other countries should take on the burden of fighting whatever remains of IS, and has made tentative agreements with Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan to essentially hand over the job to the Turks. Erdogan has promised that his forces, along with their own allied Syrian fighters, will take up the anti-IS fight — but it’s a promise that critics view as a cover for attacking the Kurdish YPG who control territory in Syria’s northeast.

Fear of a Turkish assault has prompted the Kurds to increase their engagement with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, who they see as potentially providing them protection from the Turks. Security experts also fear that a Turkish offensive would distract the Kurds from their continued pushback against IS resurgence.

The territory is highly strategic for all parties involved: bordered by Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and the Euphrates river to the west, it holds some of Syria’s richest oil and agricultural resources and has been a main revenue source for the Kurds. The Assad regime, which seeks to reassert its sovereignty over it, sees the land as vital to future reconstruction efforts.

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shares jump despite disappointing earnings

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Company Vice President Sean Kim said the memory demand slowdown would be bigger than expected into the first half of 2019 due to China’s economic slowdown and the U.S.-China “trade situation,” according to Reuters.

Kim’s comments came days after China announced that the country’s economic growth in 2018 was its slowest in nearly three decades. At the same time, Beijing and Washington are attempting to strike a deal amid an ongoing trade dispute which has seen the two largest economies in the world slap billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each other’s goods.

Some analysts were not surprised by the earnings report from SK Hynix.

“(The) results were as expected,” Daniel Yoo, head of global strategy at Kiwoom Securities, told CNBC in an email.

However, he warn that both SK Hynix and its rival Samsung were likely to see their operating profit for the first two quarters of 2019 coming in “less than half of last year’s record high(s).”

Yoo’s sentiments were echoed by Sanjeev Rana, a senior analyst at CLSA.

“I think we have a little bit more pain to go for the next two quarters,” Rana told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

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Huawei CFO extradition could be complicated: ex-US ambassador to China

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“Whenever a chief executive starts to voice his or her thoughts on the case, that’s a huge additional complication for the prosecution,” Baucus added. “In this case, it’s President Trump’s statement with respect to the Meng case … it makes it harder for the prosecution to get the extradition.”

Earlier this week, Canadian newspaper Global and Mail reported that the U.S. has told Canada it will formally request for Meng’s extradition — though no timeline was specified.

For its part, China has demanded the U.S. drop the extradition request. According to Canada, Beijing detained more than a dozen of its citizens after Meng’s arrest.

Baucus warned that if the U.S. extradition request is granted, it would have a major impact on the U.S.-China relationship.

The world’s two largest economies had been embroiled in a trade war in recent months, which roiled markets and sparked concerns over the health of the global economy. Late last year, Beijing and Washington agreed to a temporary pause on applying new tariffs in order to work out a mutually agreeable trade deal.

Huawei is one of China’s largest companies. The U.S. government has for years taken issue with the tech giant over its alleged espionage ties to the Chinese government and has accused the company of intellectual property theft.

— Reuters and CNBC’s Kate Fazzini contributed to this report.

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Bank of Korea keeps interest rates steady as economic risks rise

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South Korea’s central bank left benchmark interest rates steady on Thursday, reinforcing market bets that rates will remain at the current level for some time amid worsening trade conditions.

In a widely expected move, the Bank of Korea ended its first policy rate meeting of the year with the base rate unchanged at 1.75 percent.

A Reuters poll of 11 economists had expected the central bank to keep policy unchanged after it raised rates in November for the first time in a year.

Economists say a combination of falling exports, China’s slowdown and a weaker labour market pose downside risks to Asia’s fourth-largest economy, making it more than likely that rates will stay on hold this year especially as the pace of U.S. policy tightening slows.

South Korea is heavily leveraged to global trade so any deceleration in demand for its memory chips, petrochemical products and cars will likely be negative for its economy.

“There’s less optimism about growth ahead, while the Federal Reserve is pledging to be more patient with its interest rate hikes. These warrant the BOK to stay on hold this year,” Ha Keon-hyeong, a Seoul-based economist at Shinhan Securities, said before the rate decision was announced.

Seven out of the 11 economists surveyed in the poll said slowing inflation amid cooling global demand would allow the BOK to sit tight through the rest of this year.

The Korean won and shares barely reacted to the policy announcement.

Investors will focus on the central bank’s expected revisions to its growth forecasts later on Thursday, as well as Governor Lee Ju-yeol’s comments on the economy for clues on future policies.

“With the external environment (China, trade, technology) looking worse than it did back at the time of the November BOK meeting, there is a chance that they even nudge down their 2.7 percent 2019 GDP forecast by a tenth of a percent,” ING said in a report.

Economic growth in 2018 marked a six-year low of 2.7 percent as a slowdown in China and the Sino-U.S. trade war threatened to dent global growth and demand for South Korean exports.

South Korea’s December exports unexpectedly slipped as shipments to China declined 14 percent on-year, the fastest fall in more than two years. The jobs market is also at its weakest in years, with unemployment at a 17-year peak.

The Bank of Korea’s current projections are for the economy to grow 2.7 percent and inflation to reach 1.7 percent this year.

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