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A North Korean military parade in 2017. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Fresh off the news of a rumored Kim Jong-un visit to Beijing, there is renewed concern about a new North Korean nuclear reactor, the N.Y. Times reports.

Why it matters: "The new reactor could be a central issue in the Trump-Kim talks, if the goal, as the United States insists, is complete denuclearization. Even if Mr. Kim agrees to a freeze on nuclear and missile testing, he would still be able to accumulate more bomb fuel for a larger arsenal as long as the negotiations dragged on."

Details:

  • "[A] satellite image... shows a new North Korean reactor that appears to be coming online now, after years of construction, according to analysts." The image also "suggests that preliminary testing may have begun at the new reactor."
  • North Korea says it's intended to produce electricity, but it could also produce "about 20 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium each year," more than four times what the country's other large reactor makes, per the Times.

Flashback: "This was a critical issue in the Iran negotiations, where President Barack Obama negotiated a freeze on new production of significant quantities of new nuclear fuel, though it expires in 13 years. It is unclear whether Mr. Trump could extract a similar halt in production from North Korea."

Go deeper: Satellite photos and analysis by the NYT's K.K. Rebecca Lai, William Broad and David Sanger

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

48 mins ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.