Mar 9, 2018

China's view on possible Trump-Kim talks

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.

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy