Vox

    • Trump finally announces his pick for ambassador to South Korea — right in the nick of time
      He’s the top military official in the Pacific — and a big China hawk. Seventeen months into his presidency, Donald Trump has finally announced his intention to nominate a US ambassador to South Korea. With just under a month before a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, it’s about time. Late Friday afternoon, the White House issued a statement naming Adm. Harry Harris as Trump’s pick to be the ambassador to South Korea. Harris, a Naval officer, is currently the commander of US Pacific Command and had already planned to retire from the military this month. ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-18By Alex Ward
    • North Korea is already getting concessions ahead of Trump-Kim talks
      South Korea wanted out of a joint military exercise that could anger Kim Jong Un. The US accepted. The United States agreed to downsize a military exercise with South Korea over concerns about how North Korea would react — in an effort not to anger Pyongyang just weeks before the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Citing unnamed US officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Seoul was worried Pyongyang might bristle at a joint US-South Korea-Japan air exercise, especially because the US planned to fly B-52 planes. Those planes ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-18By Alex Ward
    • Why North Korea is threatening to cancel the US summit
      One part John Bolton, another part a more fundamental US-North Korea dispute. A week ago, President Trump and Kim Jong Un said they’d meet in Singapore on June 12 for a historic summit on North Korea’s nuclear program. On Tuesday night, North Korea threatened to call the whole thing off. The statement from North Korean Vice Minister Kim Kye Gwan blasted the Trump administration in over-the-top terms (“ridiculous comedy”) and suggested the North might “no longer be no longer be interested in ... dialogue” with the US. The obvious question: Why is North Korea, which had been all sweetness and ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-17By Zack Beauchamp
    • North Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit, reminds world it really loves its nukes
      Oh, and it insulted John Bolton. North Korea may have undone months of diplomacy in only a few hours. In a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday night, a top Pyongyang official criticized America’s insistence that North Korea completely dismantle its nuclear program and even warned that the regime might scuttle the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-16By Alex Ward
    • America, explained by a North Korean propaganda book 
      I fake-interviewed a real North Korea propaganda book. Here’s what it told me. Americans have preconceptions of what North Korea is like — militant, reclusive, and oppressive. But we don’t really understand what North Korea’s vision of America is. How do they view our government, our policies, and our history? One way to answer this lies in the propaganda that shapes public opinion in North Korea. In the closed, authoritarian society, the regime is the only consistent source of information for the public. As it happens, I acquired a very real North Korea propaganda book, authored by three state-sanctioned ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-16By Sean Illing
    • North Korea just threatened to cancel the Trump-Kim meeting. Experts say it’s likely a bluff.
      “It’s unlikely they kill the summit, but clearly something is going on.” North Korea is playing hardball. After the US and South Korea started joint military drills last week, North Korea canceled a planned meeting with South Korean officials on Tuesday and even threatened to back out of the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. Experts believe it could be a bluff, and that the North probably won’t scuttle the coming meeting — but that’s not 100 percent clear, either. Pyongyang is upset about a ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-15By Alex Ward
    • I’m an American Jew who abhors Israel’s violence. I still can’t boycott Israel.
      Gaza, Eurovision, and the American Jewish dilemma. J. Levine Books is a small, family-owned Judaica store in Manhattan that’s been in business since 1890. When I stopped in on Sunday, doing some last minute Mother’s Day shopping, I struck up a conversation with Danny, the owner. We talked about my work, the declining number of Jewish stores in Manhattan, the LGBTQ-friendly synagogue down the block until we finally got to the big Jewish news of the day. “Did you hear that Israel won the Eurovision competition?” he said, excitedly. I had. In fact, I had been discussing Netta Barzilai’s victory ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-15By Zack Beauchamp
    • Trump vows to help China save Chinese jobs. Really.
      Trump’s bid to protect the Chinese cellphone maker ZTE is a head-spinning policy reversal. President Trump is on the brink of a costly trade war with China in large part because he says China has stolen American jobs by cheating on trade rules. But on Sunday, Trump announced his newest trade initiative: saving Chinese jobs. “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. His tweet wasn’t just a case of strange optics for ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-14By Zeeshan Aleem
    • The past 72 hours in surprising North Korea news, explained
      A possible nuclear agreement, a potential historic concession, and perhaps a change in America’s stance toward North Korea. A possible US-North Korea agreement on nuclear weapons. A historic demolition in North Korea. And a top US official possibly signaling a change in Washington’s stance toward Pyongyang. Yup, it was that kind of weekend in North Korea news. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington and Pyongyang are in “complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are” for the June 12 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in Singapore. If true, that would ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-14By Alex Ward
    • Why are we taking Donald Trump’s Korea diplomacy seriously?
      All he does is lie and break promises. This will be no different. Donald Trump is a liar. More than that, he’s a fraud. Not just a person who makes factual misstatements but a person who has gotten ahead in life through extensive use of bullshit, leaving in his wake a trail of broken promises. From his unpaid bills to contractors to his scam university to his brief period ripping off the shareholders of his eponymous company, this is what Trump does — he exploits normal human nature to sucker people into trusting him, and then he exploits his own ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-14By Matthew Yglesias
    • North Korea says it’s going to blow up its nuclear test site ahead of the Trump-Kim summit
      North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to dismantle the country’s nuclear testing site in a ceremony between May 23 and 25. North Korea says it’s hosting a nuclear dismantling party this month. On Saturday, state media reported that North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to dismantle the country’s nuclear testing site in a ceremony between May 23 and 25. The event will take place days before President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12 for the pair’s much-hyped summit, where they will discuss a potential deal and items such as sanctions ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-12By Emily Stewart
    • Pompeo: US and North Korea “in complete agreement” on goals of Trump-Kim summit
      A US-North Korea nuclear deal might be coming together. North Korea and the United States may have come to an understanding over what to do about Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons. If so, it would be a dramatic development in the ongoing negotiations over the country’s nuclear program. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that his recent talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week were “warm” and “substantive” and that they are in “complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are” for the upcoming summit between Kim and President Trump in Singapore on June 12. “We ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-11By Alex Ward
    • The week’s 4 biggest political stories, explained
      In and out of nuclear deals and new dimensions to Michael Cohen’s scandals. In a very dramatic week of diplomacy, the Trump administration canceled one nuclear arms control agreement, deciding, instead, that sanctioning a rogue state is a superior approach. It also touted a diplomatic breakthrough with another rogue state, which it hopes will lead to a nuclear arms control agreement that drops sanctions. Meanwhile, back at home, the clouds of scandal around Trump fixer Michael Cohen grew more intense while the last vestiges of Trump’s breaks with conservative orthodoxy on economic policy went around. Here’s what you ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-11By Matthew Yglesias
    • Trump just thanked Kim Jong Un for being “excellent” to US captives
      But one of the captives reported that he had to do a lot of labor while imprisoned. Last summer, 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier returned to the US after being held captive in North Korea for 17 months — and a few days later, he died, due to health complications. At the time, President Donald Trump swiftly condemned North Korea for failing to “respect the rule of law or basic human decency” and slammed the “brutality” of its regime. But at a welcoming ceremony for three American captives just released from North Korea early Thursday morning, Trump struck a ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-10By Zeeshan Aleem
    • It’s official: Trump is meeting Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12
      Trump and Kim Jong Un have picked a venue and set a date. President Donald Trump just announced the location and date of his upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un: They will be meeting in Singapore on June 12. “We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”, the president wrote on Twitter. Singapore, a wealthy authoritarian city-state in Southeast Asia, makes a lot of sense as a location for the historic summit. Unlike South Korea or China, Singapore doesn’t have a vested stake in the Korean Peninsula conflict. Though Singapore suspended trade relations ... read more
      Source: VoxPublished on 2018-05-10By Zack Beauchamp