Top News Trump cancels Pompeo’s trip to North Korea over stalled nuclear diplomacy Reuters U.S. Warns Russia It Will Hit Assad If He Uses Chemical Arms, Sources Say Bloomberg FEMA updates US nuclear disaster plans The Hill East Asia North Korea Accuses the U.S. of ‘Hatching a Criminal Plot’ Against Pyongyang Time8/27/2018 North Korea’s state-controlled newspaper accused the U.S. of “double-dealing” on Sunday after Washington canceled a planned visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as negotiations over the pariah state’s nuclear arsenal continue to stall. Trump cancels Pompeo’s trip to North Korea over stalled nuclear diplomacy Reuters8/24/2018 U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly canceled his top diplomat’s planned trip to North Korea on Friday, publicly acknowledging for the first time that his effort to get Pyongyang to denuclearize had stalled since his summit with the North’s leader. South Korea says Pompeo’s canceled visit impacts North Korea liaison office plans Reuters8/26/2018 South Korea said on Monday the abrupt cancellation of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to North Korea is having an “effect” on a controversial inter-Korean liaison office it planned to open by this month. Is China Undermining Efforts to Disarm North Korea? Not Yet, Analysts Say New York Times8/25/2018 When President Trump said on Friday that there had not been “sufficient progress” toward ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons, he made it clear that he thought China was partly to blame. China rejects U.S. assertion it is holding up North Korea progress Reuters8/25/2018 China’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday expressed “serious concern” about U.S. comments on North Korea, after President Donald Trump canceled his top diplomat’s trip to Pyongyang and partly blamed China for a lack of progress in denuclearization talks. Middle East Iran urges UN court to halt US reimposed nuclear sanctions BBC8/27/2018 Iran has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to lift the sanctions imposed by the US after it abandoned the deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme. Iran resumes talks with Russia to build new nuclear power plant Reuters8/25/2018 Iran has resumed talks with Russia to build a new nuclear power plant capable of generating up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity, energy minister Reza Ardakanian said Saturday, according to the Tasnim news agency. Russia/FSU/Europe U.S. Warns Russia It Will Hit Assad If He Uses Chemical Arms, Sources Say Bloomberg8/24/2018 The U.S. and Russia exchanged warnings about a possible chemical attack in Syria and a Western military intervention in response, on the eve of what may be one of the most decisive campaigns in the Middle Eastern country’s civil war. U.S. Nuclear Policy FEMA updates US nuclear disaster plans The Hill8/24/2018 The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is updating emergency management plans to include plans for potential nuclear detonations in 60 U.S. cities. Opinion and Analysis Pompeo no-go: Too early to pull the plug with North Korea The HillTerence Roehrig 8/26/2018 On Friday, President Trump threw out another surprise via Twitter with the sudden cancelation of a trip to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The president’s three-part tweet cited the lack of “sufficient progress” concerning North Korea’s denuclearization, pointed the finger at China for North Korean intransigence because of the U.S.-China trade war, and sent his “warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim.” What to make of this latest round of policy by tweets? It has been no surprise that denuclearizing North Korea is a slow process, if it is even possible at all. While I remain highly skeptical that North Korea ultimately will be willing to give up its nuclear weapons, it is worth the effort to try and it is too soon to break off talks. Perhaps this is a negotiating ploy designed to pressure North Korea and China, but it is not all clear that this is the case or that it will be successful.