Apr 27, 2018

How to read today's historic Korea news

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Now that the initial shock has worn off from today's Korean news, here's a brief survey of the reasons for skepticism and optimism about peace and denuclearization.

Why it matters: Today is only the beginning of a lengthy process, and we've been burned by early optimism in the past.

Skepticism:

  • "North and South Korean leaders have signed grand peace documents before, in 2000 and 2007, and neither lasted. In 2012, North Korea agreed not to test missiles and then weeks later fired one off but called it a 'satellite' launch." [NYT's Nicholas Kristof]
  • Kim Jong-un "may also be exhibiting a degree of confidence and security because of his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, which suggests he is unlikely to give them up." [Richard Haass]
  • The language released today "hews to a phrase preferred by Pyongyang that critics of the rapprochement say conditions any North Korean actions on the withdrawal of the U.S. military from South Korea." [WSJ]
  • China could demand U.S. troops leave South Korea in exchange for a permanent peace treaty. [NYT's Choe Sang-Hun]
  • "We put [the odds of denuclearizing during Trump's first term] at 5 percent." [Eurasia Group's Meredith Sumpter]

Optimism:

  • "[T]he new actors (Kim, Moon and Trump) and new setting (a de facto nuclear North Korea under different leadership) might lead to a different ending this time." [Gi-Wook Shin]
  • "New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he believed Mr. Kim was serious about reaching a deal." [WSJ]
  • "It’s hard to see the U.S. credibly threatening military pre-emption when peace is breaking out across the peninsula — which is precisely the point." [Ian Bremmer]
  • "South Korean officials do not believe that Mr. Kim will swiftly relinquish his nuclear weapons. But there is a growing belief in Seoul that he might ultimately bargain them away, if it helps him rebuild the economy." [NYT]

Go deeper

NYC races to build field hospitals as coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces at the USTA Bille Jean King tennis center that the venue will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans at a news briefing Tuesday to turn buildings and facilities into makeshift hospitals across the Big Apple — including U.S. open tennis courts.

The big picture: New York City now accounts for a quarter of all deaths from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday morning. De Blasio said the city had "about 20,000 working hospital beds in our major hospitals" before the outbreak. Officials need to triple that number in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 859,556 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 189,510 — Total deaths: 4,076 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. 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.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 4,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,000 deaths reported in New York City alone, per Johns Hopkins data. The number of deaths are still much lower than those reported in Italy, Spain and China.

Of note: Hours earlier, President Trump noted it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health