Nov 21, 2019

Debate night: Harris says "Trump got punked" on North Korea

Sen. Kamala Harris said at the 5th Democratic debate Wednesday that "[President] Trump got punked" into holding summits with Kim Jong Un and cozying up to North Korea's leader.

HARRIS: "With all due deference to the fact this is a presidential debate, Donald Trump got punked. He was -— he has conducted foreign policy since Day One born out of a very fragile ego. That fails to understand that one of the most important responsibilities of the commander in chief is to concern herself with the security of our nation and homeland. And to do it in a way that understands that part of the strength of who we are as a nation, and therefore an extension of our ability to be secure is not only that we have a vibrant military, but that when we walk in any room around the globe, we are respected. Because we keep to our word, we are consistent, we speak truth, and we are loyal."

Context: Trump has repeatedly met with Kim to try and negotiate nuclear policy agreements. North Korea is now threatening to cancel future summits if Trump does not agree to concessions on nuclear weapons.

  • Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled since a February meeting between Trump and Kim in Hanoi left both leaders empty-handed.
  • Since the breakdown of negotations, North Korea has carried out multiple rounds of missile tests.

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Trump views summits as chance to "brag," North Korea says

Trump and Kim at the DMZ in June. Photo: Handout/Dong-A Ilbo via Getty Images

North Korean state media accused President Trump of using meetings with Kim Jong-un as something to "brag about," and said Pyongyang isn't interested in further summits unless it gets concrete results, per the Washington Post.

Context: Referring to Kim as "Mr. Chairman," Trump tweeted yesterday that North Korea's characterization of Joe Biden as a "rabid dog" was "somewhat" off the mark, but added that he's the man with whom to strike a deal. While Trump signed off with "see you soon," North Korea insists the U.S. is using nuclear talks to stall for time and has issued an end-of-year deadline to keep them alive.

Go deeper: U.S., South Korea cancel joint military exercise condemned by North Korea

Keep ReadingArrowNov 18, 2019

U.S., South Korea cancel joint military exercise condemned by North Korea

Mark Esper. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday that the U.S. and South Korea have canceled an annual joint military exercise as an "act of goodwill" in order to “keep the door open” for talks to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons, according to the Associated Press.

The big picture: The U.S. and its regional allies have been trying to coax North Korea back to negotiations to eliminate its nuclear weapons and missiles since talks stalled earlier this year.

Go deeperArrowNov 17, 2019

North Korea conducts satellite test for second time in less than a week

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un supervised the test firing of a new multiple rocket launcher on July 31. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea said on Saturday that it carried out another satellite launch test near the Chinese border, and that the unspecified test "would help bolster the country's nuclear deterrent," the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The reported test was conducted Friday evening — making it the second North Korean satellite launch in less than a week, state news agency KCNA said, per Reuters

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019