Top News

North Korea and China Project Unity in Face of Stalled Nuclear Talks With U.S.
Wall Street Journal

U.S.-North Korea Summit Looks Imminent, South Korean Leader Says
New York Times

Iran says will not halt aerospace program despite U.S. warning
Reuters

Report: Russia Developing 4,500 Kilometer Kalibr-M Range Land-Attack Cruise Missile
The Diplomat

 

East Asia

North Korea and China Project Unity in Face of Stalled Nuclear Talks With U.S.
Wall Street Journal1/10/19
The leaders of China and North Korea used a summit this week to project a show of unity in the face of stalled negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear program and to press the U.S. to compromise.
The meetings gave Beijing a platform to underline its clout in global affairs and its critical leverage in resolving one of Washington’s top security challenges. The U.S., embroiled in an increasingly bitter dispute with China over trade practices, needs the cooperation of President Xi Jinping to enforce sanctions on North Korea.

U.S.-North Korea Summit Looks Imminent, South Korean Leader Says
New York Times1/10/19
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea said Thursday that the visit to China this week by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, heralded an imminent second summit meeting between Mr. Kim and President Trump to negotiate the terms of denuclearizing the North. Mr. Moon held his New Year’s news conference in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, hours after Mr. Kim wrapped up a four-day trip to China, which included his fourth summit meeting with President Xi Jinping.

South Korea, China urge concessions on both sides to end U.S.-North Korea standoff
Reuters1/9/19
China and South Korea called for concessions from the United States as well as North Korea, ahead of a possible second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, suggesting a U.S. pressure campaign aimed at the North’s denuclearisation may be slipping. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that he would cooperate with the international community to at least partially ease sanctions to allow for some inter-Korean business and tourism ventures, while later noting that Pyongyang needed to take “bold steps” towards denuclearisation to win concessions from Washington.

Kim Jong Un’s China visit shows Trump he’s ‘not the only game in town’
NBC News
1/9/19
It can often feel like the future of North Korea and its nuclear arsenal revolves around President Donald Trump and his personal relationship with Kim Jong Un. But another player in this diplomatic puzzle is China, which is involved in more than 90 percent of North Korean trade and is considered Pyongyang’s only major ally.

Middle East

Iran says will not halt aerospace program despite U.S. warning
Reuters1/9/19
Iran will continue with its aerospace program despite U.S. warnings, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday, adding there was no international law prohibiting such a program. Zarif, who is in New Delhi on a bilateral visit, also told Reuters that leaving a 2015 nuclear deal agreed with world powers is an option available with Tehran but is not the only option on the table.

Iran’s supreme leader: US faces ‘unprecedented’ defeat
The Hill1/9/19
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Wednesday that the U.S. faces “unprecedented” defeat because of sanctions it has placed on Iran under President Trump. “The sanctions do put pressure on the country and the people,” Khamenei said during a speech in Tehran, according to Reuters.

Russia/FSU/Europe

Report: Russia Developing 4,500 Kilometer Kalibr-M Range Land-Attack Cruise Missile
The Diplomat1/10/19
On Tuesday, Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported that Moscow is undertaking the development of a new extended-range variant of its subsonic Kalibr (3M14) land-attack cruise missile. In terms of payload, the new Kalibr-M is likely to be both capable of nuclear and conventional payloads and may carry up to a 1 ton payload.

Opinion and Analysis

How reality-show diplomacy with North Korea could backfire
Washington PostVan Jackson
1/10/19
Although it is unlikely Kim would give up North Korea’s nuclear capability — it’s too important to his regime’s security — there are other ways diplomatic talks could be productive in limiting or stabilizing the U.S.-North Korea standoff. But if the reality show continues, that kind of progress will be elusive, and there are at least four ways it could lead to a situation worse than what Trump inherited.