Dec 27, 2018

The year in North Korea with Trump and "Little Rocket Man"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their historic summit in Singapore this June, they signed a statement that they would "work toward a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The big picture: Negotiations have stalled. North Korea is not making a good faith effort to live up to its promises, and the regime has even drawn up its own preconditions for denuclearization that may prove impossible to meet.

Driving this year's news:

  • Tensions began easing in 2018 when North and South Korea entered the Olympics together. Soon after, Trump agreed to meet with Kim later in the year.
  • In the meantime, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo went to North Korea to negotiate. He eventually brought home 3 freed American prisoners.
  • Kim threatened to cancel the planned summit with Trump over U.S.-South Korean military drills in the region, but it was Trump who ended up canceling the meeting when Kim didn’t reveal summit planning details.
  • Kim and Trump ended up meeting in June after all, the first time sitting leaders of the two countries met.
  • They pledged they would work toward "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in a joint statement.
  • But North Korea has still refused to provide documentation of its nuclear weapons and production sites, and satellite imagery suggests they've ramped up work.

What's next: Pompeo said we "still are working through the execution of Chairman Kim's commitment to denuclearize" and added we are "undoubtedly…in a better place today" compared to a year ago.

  • Pompeo said he hopes Trump and Kim meet in early 2019 to negotiate.
  • North Korea has demanded the U.S. eliminate its own nuclear threats around the Korean peninsula before North Korea denuclearizes.

The bottom line: North Korea has approached denuclearization several times before, and negotiations have always faltered when North Korea sidesteps verification that it has, in fact, denuclearized. This time appears to be no different.

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Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Thursday that she agreed with former Defense Secretary James Mattis' criticism of President Trump, calling it "true and honest and necessary and overdue."

Why it matters: Murkowski, who has signaled her discomfort with the president in the past, also said that she's "struggling" with her support for him in November — a rare full-on rebuke of Trump from a Senate Republican.

Facebook to block ads from state-controlled media entities in the U.S.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Thursday it will begin blocking state-controlled media outlets from buying advertising in the U.S. this summer. It's also rolling out a new set of labels to provide users with transparency around ads and posts from state-controlled outlets. Outlets that feel wrongly labeled can appeal the process.

Why it matters: Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, says the company hasn't seen many examples yet of foreign governments using advertising to promote manipulative content to U.S. users, but that the platform is taking this action out of an abundance of caution ahead of the 2020 election.