Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on October 7, 2018. Photo: Kim Hong-Ji/AFP via Getty Images

In the past week, North Korea made two moves that undermined nuclear negotiations with the United States. On Friday, the regime vowed it could resume “building up nuclear forces.” And this week, Korean negotiators reportedly didn’t get on their plane to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York, furthering a trend of ignoring U.S. diplomats just under the president.

Why it matters: If talks fail now, Pyongyang will have weathered some economic pressure, but also enjoyed a year of producing missiles and nuclear warheads, collecting praise from the U.S. president, and building new diplomatic ties with Moscow and Beijing. Missiles that have been flown only once would likely be tested fully, while South Korea’s successful arms-control process would stagger on without an allied partner.

A shift in tactics is needed to prevent collapse and break the impasse. Negotiating limits on the North Korean arsenal may not lead directly to complete disarmament, but it could reduce the threat to U.S. and allied territory:

  • Codifying the nuclear and missile test freeze as well as disabling or dismantling the large new reactor at Yongbyon could together limit the regime’s ability to design, produce and support more threatening weapons.
  • Limiting conventional arms on the peninsula could reduce the risk of war and build momentum toward deeper agreements, as Seoul’s efforts have proven.
  • Negotiators must present a plan for phased sanctions relief and other incentives. Insisting that real incentives wait until after complete disarmament is effectively standing in the way of a whole range of advantageous agreements.

To accomplish these goals and prevent future snubs, the president would have to start credibly delegating authority to his diplomats, which he has never fully done.

The bottom line: Seeking achievable limits in exchange for real incentives is the last chance to limit North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Now, it’s also the only chance to keep the talks from complete collapse.

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

Go deeper

48 mins ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

The week markets went wild

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio

The markets just closed out a manic week.

Why it matters: Outsized — and in some cases historic — moves were evident across the board.