Nov 28, 2017

Diplomacy is best response to North Korean missile launches

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

North Korea's first ballistic missile test in more than two months is the latest sign that pressure to halt its development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles is not working. The test follows a visit to Pyongyang by a high-level Chinese envoy, the U.S. government's re-designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, and the deployment of three American carrier task forces to the region.

U.S. options — a military attack or a mix of deterrence and defense — have not changed or improved. What's needed is a serious diplomatic effort to freeze weapons testing. This would not solve the problem, as North Korea already has dozens of warheads and missiles, but it would at least limit the strategic threat to the United States.

At this stage, calling on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and missiles no longer counts as serious diplomacy. The Trump administration should make clear what it is willing to offer in exchange for such a freeze, whether sanctions relief, a formal end to the state of war or an adjustment to U.S.–South Korean military exercises.

What's next: There is no certainty North Korea would accept such an offer, but it might. And if not, having tried would make it less difficult to rally international support for further pressure on the regime — or, ultimately, to make an unattractive choice between attacking North Korea or resigning ourselves to its long-term U.S. security risks.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 1,187,798 — Total deaths: 64,084 — Total recoveries: 245,949Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 301,902 — Total deaths: 8,175 — Total recoveries: 14,505Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus. America's small business bailout off to bad start.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,000

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

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,000 in the U.S. on Saturday afternoon, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday. The global death toll has surpassed 62,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health