Dec 8, 2019

Trump suggests North Korea collapsing nuclear talks is election interference

Photo: Dong-A Ilbo via Getty Images/Getty Images

In a Sunday tweet, President Trump doubled down on an argument that North Korea should not take denuclearization talks off the table — as the country stated it would on Saturday — because it could be seen as interfering in the upcoming presidential election.

What he's saying: "Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way," Trump tweeted. "He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore. He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November."

  • Trump said Saturday: "I'd be surprised if North Korea acted hostilely. I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. I think we both want to keep it that way. He knows I have an election coming up. I don't think he wants to interfere with that."

Context: UN envoy for North Korea Kim Song said Saturday that denuclearization is no longer an option with the U.S. The two countries signed an agreement last year with vague stipulations on denuclearization, but North Korea has said for weeks that negotiating with the U.S. has become impossible due to "hostile" policies.

Between the lines: Trump's insinuation that the breakdown in nuclear talks somehow amounts to election interference underscores the degree to which he often views foreign policy through a personal or political lens.

Go deeper: South Korea says U.S. is "very actively" coaxing North Korea to return to nuclear talks

Go deeper

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.

Judge rules all three defendants in shooting of Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A judge ruled on Thursday that all three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed in February Glynn County, Georgia, will stand trial, AP reports.

Why it matters: The video of Arbery's death was among several catalysts in the mass protests against racial injustice that have unfurled across the country and world over the past week and a half.

Remembering George Floyd

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

With politicians, clergy and law enforcement in attendance on Thursday in Minneapolis, the family of George Floyd demanded recognition for his life well lived.

Why it matters: Floyd has become the latest symbol of police brutality after he was killed last week when a police officer held a knee to his neck.