Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FP morning brief 5/25

Little progress in Beijing as tensions rise on Korean Peninsula

Top story: The United States and China wrapped up two days of meetings in Beijing with some small agreements on economic and environmental issues, but no substantive agreement on a way forward for dealing with North Korea. “We expect to be working together with China in responding to North Korea’s provocative action and promoting stability in the region,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, giving no indication that a U.N. Security Council Resolution condemning North Korea's alleged sinking of a South Korean navy ship would be forthcoming.

South Korea, meanwhile, continued to escalate its rhetoric, relisting North Korea as its "principal enemy" on Tuesday -- a designation dropped after a thaw in relations in 2004 -- and resuming propaganda broadcasts across the border. North Korea has reportedly ordered its 1.2 million troop military to prepare for combat.

In the first U.S. military response to North Korea's latest provocation, the Pentagon announced that the U.S. Navy will hold joint anti-submarine exercises with South Korean forces in the near future.

Milestone: For the first time since 2003, more U.S. troops are serving in Afghanistan than Iraq.

Oil spill: BP's next attempt to plug the Gulf oil spill will involve a "top kill," the injection of drilling mud into the leaking well.

  • Queen Elizabeth II opens parliament today as Britain's new coalition government lays out its legislative agenda.
  • European stock markets fell heavily Tuesday on fears over the Eurozone's continuing debt problems.
  • Five Somali men are going on trial for piracy in a Dutch court today.
Middle East
  • The New York Times reports that Centcom Commander Gen. David Petraeus has ordered a broad expansion of covert activity in the Middle East.
  • Australia has expelled an Israeli diplomat after accusing the Israeli government of falsifying an Israeli passport for use in the assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai in January.
  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will be questioned by police as part of a corruption investigation today.
  • More than 1,000 police assaulted a public housing complex in Kingston, Jamaica to arrest drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke.
  • El Salvador's president will host a meeting of Central American leaders in July aimed a reintegrating Honduras.
  • A former police major accused Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's younger brother of running a right-wing death squad during the 1990s.
  • Opposition leaders and international observers denounced Ethiopia's elections as unfair.
  • An Indian U.N. peacekeeper and two Congolese nationals were killed in an ambush in Congo's North Kivu region.
  • Two members of a gay rights group in Zimbabwe were arrested on charges of pornography and insulting President Robert Mugabe.
-By Joshua Keating


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