Welcome to Axios World, where two evenings a week we break down what you need to know about the big stories from around the globe.
Kim watches a 2017 missile test. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images
North Korea continues to puncture President Trump's narrative that a landmark nuclear deal is on the horizon, most recently with Saturday's short-range missile test.
The big picture: Washington Post correspondent Anna Fifield explores the question of what exactly Kim does want in her forthcoming book, "The Great Successor." It's a vivid portrait of an ambitious, paranoid young dictator.
Kim lives a life of immense power and incredible luxury.
But North Korea is changing. The outside world is seeping into the country in the form of action films and South Korean soap operas. They're loaded onto USB drives, hidden in sacks of rice and sold at markets. Facades are collapsing. Expectations are rising.
Kim's primary focus upon taking office was security — dispatching with potential internal rivals and establishing North Korea as a bonafide nuclear power. Economic growth during Kim's first five years was mainly down to "benign neglect," Fifield writes.
Between the lines: Kim believes he needs "genuine economic development ... to have a shot at staying in power for years to come," Fifield argues. For that, he needs sanctions relief.
"The Great Successor" will be released on June 11.
Is this the Red line? A scene from the Pyongyang metro. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images
Some glimpses of life inside North Korea, from "The Great Successor."
Fifield describes a neighborhood watch system, led in each district by "an interfering middle-aged woman."
The bottom line: “North Koreans live in a system where every aspect of their lives is monitored, where every infraction is recorded, where the smallest deviation from the system will result in punishment. It is ubiquitous, and it keeps many people from even raising an eyebrow at the regime. ... There isn’t a single known dissenter in the entire country.”
1. Fifield describes a scene of drunken debauchery with Dennis Rodman that includes Kim attempting to perform a karaoke rendition of "Get on Up" by James Brown.
2. Before the Rodman meeting, Fifield reports, an economist invited to discuss North Korea with then-President Barack Obama suggested he enlist another former Chicago Bull: Steve Kerr, the current Golden State Warriors coach who "spent some of his childhood in the Middle East with his professor father, so had some experience in tricky parts of the world."
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer says he'll put out a Federal Register notice tomorrow saying that the Trump administration will raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% and that importers will begin paying the new tariffs "the first minute of Friday," Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.
Why it matters: The business community and markets had been cautiously hopeful that Trump's Sunday tweets were an empty threat to create leverage over China. That's still possible, of course, but Lighthizer made clear he didn't expect Trump to change course.
Driving the news: Lighthizer said he still expects the top Chinese negotiator, Liu He, to come to Washington Thursday, though he said he hadn't spoken to the vice premier since he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left Beijing last week.
Mnuchin and Lighthizer wouldn't go into specifics, but they both stressed that China's team wasn't squabbling over small stuff.
Go deeper: Read Swan's full piece
1. Israel passed information on an alleged Iranian plot to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf to the U.S. before national security adviser John Bolton threatened Iran with "unrelenting force" last night, senior Israeli officials tell Axios contributor Barak Ravid.
Bolton's unusual statement included news that the U.S. would move an aircraft carrier to the region.
2. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AKP suffered a narrow but bruising defeat five weeks ago in Istanbul's mayoral race. Today, electoral officials gave in to his demands for a re-run.
3. "The Israeli military lifted protective restrictions on residents in the south on Monday, while Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group reported a cease-fire deal had been reached to end the deadliest fighting between the two sides since a 2014 war," per AP.
Ramaphosa rallies supporters yesterday in Johannesburg. Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa goes to the polls on Wednesday in the first election since the legendarily corrupt Jacob Zuma was forced out of office in February 2018.
Why it matters: Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Zuma both as president and as leader of the African National Congress (ANC) party, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. His supporters say he needs a big mandate to make a break from the Zuma era.
One of the most polarizing issues Ramaphosa faces is land reform, which he has vowed to "accelerate."
Between the lines: Levy quotes someone who has discussed land reform with Ramaphosa:
“Cyril doesn’t believe in expropriation without compensation. He got stuck with it. For a state President coming into an ailing economy, taking over the reins from a dysfunctional kleptocrat, and then having to go on a world road show to convince investors to come into the country — while at the same time saying, ‘Expropriation without compensation’? It’s a nightmare!”
What's not to like? Besides the pollution, congestion and risk of being wiped out entirely by rising tides. Photo: Ardiles Rante/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Jakarta is overcrowded, polluted, and sinking faster than any other city on Earth. Still, it was shocking when President Joko Widodo announced that it will no longer be Indonesia’s capital.
The final destination is not clear, and the capital may never get there. The Economist breaks it down:
"No, no. Just one feather in the hat, nothing too ostentatious." The coronation procession yesterday for King Maha Vajiralongkor of Thailand. Photo: Linh Pham/Getty Images
"You know, this is one area actually where I do not fault Trump. I think the idea of sitting down with Kim Jong-un is the right thing to do."— Bernie Sanders to ABC's "This Week" on how he'd handle North Korea
Thanks for stopping by — see you Thursday.