Top News China, S. Korea should bolster communication over N. Korea developments Yonhap News Agency Russia ‘test-fires hypersonic Kinzhal missile’ BBC Mattis, Pompeo dismiss Putin’s touting of Russian nuclear weapons The Washington Post How Trump’s Disdain for the Iran Deal Makes a North Korea Pact Even Harder The New York Times David Sanger EAST ASIA China, S. Korea should bolster communication over N. Korea developments Yonhap News Agency 3/12/18 Chinese President Xi Jinping told a visiting South Korean delegation on Monday that the two nations should bolster their communication and properly resolve sensitive issues amid a planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Korean President Moon says “fate of Korean Peninsula hangs on next two months” while Moon’s envoys focus on getting powers on board Arirang 3/12/18 With the two Koreas’ decision to hold a historic summit in late April and the U.S. President Donald Trump’s stunning decision to accept a face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un all set to happen in the next two months South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Blue House remains extra cautious in taking the process forward so as to not blow off a hard won chance. ‘No response’ yet from North Korea on talks with the US BBC 3/12/18 “We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-US summit,” a spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of Unification said on Monday. “I feel they’re approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organise their stance.” Japan, South Korea agree to maintain ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea: minister Reuters 3/12/18 Japan and South Korea agreed on Monday that maximum pressure must be maintained on North Korea until it takes concrete action toward addressing concerns about its nuclear weapon and missile programs, Japan’s foreign minister said. Japan shocked to be left out in cold by Trump on North Korea The Asahi Shumbun 3/12/18 The U.S. leader’s announcement of a planned historic summit meeting by the end of May with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un caught Japan off-guard and dismayed as Tokyo had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Washington on maintaining maximum pressure on Pyongyang to rein in its military provocations. RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE Russia ‘test-fires hypersonic Kinzhal missile’ BBC 3/11/18 Russia says it has successfully test-launched a hypersonic missile, one of a range of nuclear-capable weapons announced by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month. Russia Is Capable of Repelling U.S. Attack, Duma Deputy Says The Moscow Times 3/9/18 A State Duma deputy has said that Russia is capable of repelling a U.S. attack, hours after the Pentagon said it could annihilate Russia with the help of submarines. U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY Mattis, Pompeo dismiss Putin’s touting of Russian nuclear weapons The Washington Post 3/12/18 Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent speech highlighting nuclear weapons that he claimed could be used to attack the United States was “disappointing but unsurprising” and does not alter the Pentagon’s strategic plan to counter Moscow, according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Summit Plan Too Easy on North Korea? US Rejects Criticism AP News 3/10/18 White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said North Korea has made promises to denuclearize, stop its nuclear and missile testing and allow joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. But questions remained over exactly what North Korea means by “denuclearize” and what the U.S. might be risking with a highly publicized summit that will build up Kim’s stature among world leaders. OPINION AND ANALYSIS How Trump’s Disdain for the Iran Deal Makes a North Korea Pact Even Harder The New York TimesDavid Sanger 3/10/18 The Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, drastically different but often spoken of in the same breath, are now being thrust together, as President Trump’s determination to kill the landmark 2015 accord limiting Tehran’s capabilities is colliding with his scramble to reach a far more complex deal with Pyongyang. Trump Is the Peacemaker Korea Has Always Needed Foreign PolicyPatrick M. Cronin 3/9/18 Stop talking about the president’s temperament, and start judging him by his results. The Trump-Kim Summit Won’t End Well Foreign PolicyJeffrey Lewis 3/9/18 By now, you’ve heard that Donald Trump is meeting with Kim Jong Un by May. You’ve probably also seen the White House walking it back. And then, anonymously, walking it forward again. Things are crazy. Let’s try to sort through it all. Should We Believe North Korea Is Willing to Denuclearize? The DiplomatEdward Howell 3/7/18 Is this what we have all been waiting for? North Korea actually saying it may contemplate abandoning its nuclear weapons? Russia Releases Footage of New ‘Kinzhal’ Nuclear-Capable Air-Launched Missile The DiplomatAnkit Panda 3/12/18 According to the video, the Kinzhal appears to be a solid-fuel, air-launched ballistic missile, with visual similarity to Russia’s Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile, which is known for its precision and maneuverability.