Updated Mar 6, 2018

Glimmers of hope in Korea

Kim Jong-un with South Korean chief delegator Chung Eui-yong. Photo: STR / AFP via Getty Images

Following discussions between South Korean and North Korean officials in Pyongyang, North Korea has expressed a willingness to discuss denuclearization with the U.S. if the safety of its regime is guaranteed, according to Bloomberg News. This is the first time since 2003 that the regime has floated denuclearization.

Other breakthroughs, per the AP: The Koreas have agreed to meet at a summit again in April and will establish a telephone hotline between their military leaders to avoid escalation. North Korea also agreed to a moratorium on its nuclear and missile tests if the U.S. comes to the table for direct talks, though President Trump has said negotiation will happen only after denuclearization.

"The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the United States on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations with the United States. It made it clear that while dialogue is continuing, it will not attempt any strategic provocations, such as nuclear and ballistic missile tests."
— Statement from Seoul, via NYT

The big picture: Direct talks involving the U.S. would be a significant step forward, as recent discussions have just been with South Korea. Any viable solution would likely involve buy-in from other key players, including China and Japan.

How we got here...

  • North Korea knew it had to come to the negotiating table. This comes just after the U.S. slapped the biggest-ever sanctions package on the regime in addition to crippling rounds of international sanctions.
  • The two Koreas showed unity at the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea and opened a dialogue, but the North Koreans scheduled and then cancelled a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence.
  • South Korean negotiators spent Monday and Tuesday in Pyongyang engaged in talks with Kim Jong-un.
  • President Trump has greeted the news with cautious optimism on Twitter. But Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told lawmakers, "I'm quite skeptical about all of this."

Go deeper: How North Korean diplomacy has failed in the past

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 766,336 — Total deaths: 36,873 — Total recoveries: 160,001.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 153,246 — Total deaths: 2,828 — Total recoveries: 5,545.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Rep. Nydia Velázquez diagnosed with "presumed" coronavirus infection.
  4. State updates: Virginia and Maryland issued stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states — Florida megachurch pastor arrested for refusing to call off mass services.
  5. World updates: Italy reports 1,590 recoveries from the virus, its highest ever.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan
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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

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