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TV in Seoul train station announcing historic meeting. Photo: Jung Yeoon-je / AFP / Getty Images

Beijing is pleased with the news that President Trump accepted an offer to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Huang called it “a step in the right direction,” Xinhua reports.

What I'm hearing: Chinese officials were not aware that Kim had suggested to the South Koreans he was willing to sit down with Trump, but they will be happy at the prospect that lowered tensions may be on the horizon.

The big question: Trump has softened his approach to China because he has wanted their assistance in the “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea. If a direct channel with Pyongyang is established, will Beijing still have all those cards to play against the U.S.?

Reality check: The location will matter. The Joint Security Area in the Korean Demilitarized Zone near Panmunjom seems like an obvious venue. Beijing may be happy to host, but Kim is unlikely to want to allow the Chinese to take any credit.

Trump may be tempted to go to Pyongyang, but that would be a huge propaganda win for North Korea. And, as North Korea and nuclear proliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis writes on Twitter:

"This is literally how the North Korean film 'The Country I Saw' ends. An American President visits Pyongyang, compelled by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs to treat a Kim as an equal."

Go deeper: Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass writes that this "calls for cautious diplomacy" in Axios' Expert Voices.

Editor's note: This was corrected to show Jeffrey Lewis is the expert, not James Lewis.

Go deeper

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.