Feb 9, 2018

China happy to see U.S.-South Korea disagreement

Pence (front row in red, white and blue jacket) with other world leaders including Moon (front row in white jacket) on Feb. 9 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence, who's in South Korea for the Olympics, has promised a new round of tough sanctions on North Korea. But while the U.S. is downplaying the Olympics as a possible starting point for a new round of negotiations with North Korea, South Korea is openly stating its plan to use the Olympics to re-start talks, according to the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Beijing wants to put stress on the U.S.-South Korea alliance and restart talks with North Korea that will reduce the near-term risks of conflict on the peninsula.

What's happening: WashPost's Josh Rogin, traveling with Pence who's in South Korea as the senior U.S. representative at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, reports that the U.S. and South Korea now openly disagree on North Korea.

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he wants to use the meetings with North Korea officials during the Olympics as a starting point for negotiations, WashPost reports.

China wants that as well. Politburo Standing Committee member Han Zheng is attending the opening ceremony as the senior PRC representative, and Xinhua's report on Han's meeting with Moon notes that:

"On the Korean Peninsula issue, Han said the situation on the peninsula is undergoing positive changes recently as South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have taken the opportunity of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics to restart dialogue and commence cooperation, adding that the relationship between the two sides has been improved and seen progress."

Meanwhile, Moon told Han that South Korea:

"is willing to maintain communication and coordination with China to push forward the inter-Korean dialogue facilitated by the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, to settle the peninsula issue through peaceful means and to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity in the region," per Xinhua.

Back in D.C.: China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Thursday and said that "the international community should support the improvement in relations between North and South Korea," Reuters reports.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 6,804,044 — Total deaths: 362,678 — Total recoveries — 2,788,806Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 1,909,077 — Total deaths: 109,497 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Thousands of demonstrators are gathering in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Why the coronavirus pandemic is hitting minorities harder

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on black and Latino communities has become a defining part of the pandemic.

The big picture: That's a result of myriad longstanding inequities within the health care system and the American economy.