May 4, 2018

Trump says he is not considering troop drawdown in South Korea

Donald Trump. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Trump said he is not considering a U.S. troop reduction in South Korea Friday following the NYT report that he ordered the Pentagon to consider a drawdown. Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton denied it in a statement on Friday as well.

Why it matters: As Trump's planned talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un edges closer, concerns remain over what the U.S. will concede in negotiations to get North Korea to fully, verifiably, and permanently denuclearize. If troop reductions are on the table, U.S. relations with South Korea and Japan could strain, and the move could threaten their safety if North Korea isn’t truly on the path to peace and denuclearization.

  • To be sure: Last week Mattis suggested that U.S. troop presence is "part of the issues that we’ll be discussing in negotiations with our allies first, and of course with North Korea."
  • The backdrop: North Korea in the past has put up a drawdown of U.S. troops as a precondition for denuclearization.

Go deeper

Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election only reached 42.57%, according to Iran's interior ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

Go deeperArrow1 hour ago - World

Coronavirus threatens shortages of about 150 drugs

A medical worker in Beijing. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, according to two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Why it matters: China is a huge supplier of the ingredients used to make drugs that are sold in the U.S. If the virus decreases China's production capability, Americans who rely on the drugs made from these ingredients could be in trouble.