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South Korean President Moon Jae-in and President Trump in the Oval Office on May 22, 2018. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has been remarkably successful in using its negotiations to divide U.S. alliances in Northeast Asia, raising the stakes for South Korean President Moon Jae-in's White House visit today.

The backdrop: After a vibrant North-South summit at Panmunjom in April, Pyongyang has pivoted to shovel abuse onto its neighbor. The North canceled a promised meeting, assailed South Korea’s participation in military exercises, refused to invite South Korean reporters to the closure of its nuclear test site and demanded repatriation of North Koreans. Kim Jong-un is hoping Moon and Trump will blame each other for his bad behavior.

Seoul's reaction, and a year of poor management from Washington, have exposed widening fissures in the alliance. Canceling South Korea's participation in military exercises may be read as acquiescence to a threat.

Hopefully, today’s summit will see the White House take a decisive stand against the North’s bullying of a U.S. ally and insist on continued inter-Korean progress. President Moon's "peace regime" is essential to managing the risk of war on the peninsula and working toward a tolerable North Korea — both primary American interests. Moon is trying to contain a major threat to the safety of his people; he should not have to think of Trump as another.

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: axiom]

Adam Mount is a senior fellow and director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

Go deeper

Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

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European soccer is at war

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Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

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5 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

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