Feb 25, 2019

Trump's grand bargains

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The three words to watch at President Trump's pair of summits over the next month: verifiable, measurable and enforceable.

Driving the news: Trump is on his way to Vietnam, where he'll meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He'll then host Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago sometime in March. On Monday, he teased a "signing summit" with Xi, saying negotiators are "getting very, very close."

The big picture: It’s hard to find anyone in government who believes North Korea or China are willing to make the dramatic shifts Trump believes he can bring about — complete denuclearization for North Korea and immense structural changes for China.

China’s leaders are masters at playing the Americans. They’ve done so over multiple administrations — and they don’t even acknowledge that they steal U.S. intellectual property on a vast, state-sponsored scale.

  • Xi remains committed to his "Made in China 2025" advanced manufacturing strategy to give Chinese high-tech companies advantages over American ones and would, if successful, prevent Trump from achieving his trade goals.
  • A source close to the negotiations described the debate with the Chinese over the important "structural" issues as a "death march."

North Korea’s leaders are even craftier than the Chinese negotiators. "No one has played [a hand of] two 2s better than they have," said a former senior U.S. official with extensive experience negotiating with North Korea.

  • The Trump team hopes to get a roadmap to denuclearization from this week's Hanoi summit, but Kim doesn't appear to have even made the basic decision to denuclearize. 

The bottom line: Whatever wins Trump may tout in his post-summit rhetoric, check the fine print.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,513,358 — Total deaths: 88,415 — Total recoveries: 329,329Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 430,376 — Total deaths: 14,739 — Total recoveries: 23,707Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers 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: New York tops previous day's record death toll

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

New York's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in the state in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 50 mins ago - Health

The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health