May 25, 2018

Why China wants Trump and Kim to talk

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

President Trump's decision to cancel the North Korea summit is bad news for China — because it's in China's interest for Trump and Kim Jong-un to talk.

What's next: If the summit is truly off, the U.S. will likely double down on pushing for strict implementation of all UN sanctions and continue the "maximum pressure" campaign to squeeze North Korea into submission. China has only joined those efforts reluctantly, and has been hoping they would ease off with the Trump-Kim dialogue.

The intrigue: Trump said this week that he believes Kim's attitude towards the summit changed after Kim's meeting with Xi Jinping in early May.

The official Chinese coverage at the time made it clear that Kim was not planning on immediate, complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. As Xinhua noted in its May 8 report:

Kim expressed the hope that the DPRK and the United States would build mutual trust through dialogue and relevant sides would take phased and synchronous measures in a responsible manner so as to comprehensively advance the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue and eventually achieve denuclearization and lasting peace on the peninsula.

The big picture: If the talks really are off, and Trump believes Xi helped derail them, expect a further downward turn in U.S.-China relations. Trump has deferred tougher actions against China across a range of issues, including trade and the South China Sea, in the hopes of securing China's cooperation to solve the North Korea situation.

A tougher approach might include (but not be limited to):

  1. A scrapping of many of the concessions on tariffs.
  2. Renewed threats of U.S. sanctions against Chinese banks and state-owned oil companies if the "maximum pressure" campaign against North Korea is not maintained.
  3. More robust U.S. efforts in the South China Sea to push back on China's expansion there.
  4. A visit to Taiwan by National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Go deeper

Biden says he'll follow CDC mask guidance: "Listen to the Faucis of the world"

Joe Biden said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that he will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new recommendation that people wear face coverings when they leave home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: After the White House announced the guideline last week, President Trump said he will likely not wear a mask and emphasized that the guidance was "voluntary."

Louisiana governor says state will run out of ventilators on April 9

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that modeling projects his state will run out of ventilators for coronavirus patients on April 9 and hospital beds on April 11.

Why it matters: New York is the only state in the country with a worse per-capita death rate than Louisiana, where around 12,500 people have been infected and 409 have been killed.

Go deeperArrow46 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 1,216,422 — Total deaths: 65,711 — Total recoveries: 252,478Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 312,245 — Total deaths: 8,503 — Total recoveries: 15,021Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.