South Korea’s senior nuclear negotiator is set to travel to China in the coming days for talks on the long-running standstill over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday.
The forthcoming trip by Cho Tae-yong comes on the heels of his visit to the United States last week, where he discussed coordinating positions on Pyongyang with counterparts from the U.S. and Japanese governments.
An anonymous diplomatic insider said Cho likely will be updated by senior Chinese nuclear diplomat Wu Dawei on his visit to North Korea last week. There have been rumors Wu used his trip to tell North Korea that it needs to alter its position on its nuclear program if it wishes the moribund multinational aid-for-denuclearization process to be resumed.
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo argue Pyongyang has not gone far enough in demonstrating its commitment to permanent nuclear disarmament. The North reportedly has offered to implement a moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches if the six-nation negotiations are resumed. The talks involve China, Japan, both Koreas, Russia and the United States and were last held nearly five years ago.
No real progress has been seen toward restarting the talks, despite last week’s flurry of diplomatic meetings on the matter, according to a high-ranking source in South Korea.
“Headway may be made in slow stages instead of one big leap,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the South Korean government on Monday opened an international defense conference that was expected to include a focus on cyber security and threats emanating from North Korea, Yonhap separately reported. The second annual Seoul Defense Dialogue will include participation from senior military officials, vice defense ministers and security advisers from 23 countries, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."