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Daily Brief: U.S., South Korea Begin Air Drills Amid Regional Tensions


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. December 4, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA U.S., South Korea Begin Air Drills Amid Regional Tensions U.S. and South Korean aircraft have begun five days of drills practicing strikes on North Korean facilities (Korea Times), including nuclear and missile test sites, amid heightened tensions with the North. The annual exercises started Monday following a test by North Korea of its most advanced ballistic missile to date, which the country claims is capable of striking the U.S. mainland. Some twelve thousand U.S. personnel and 230 aircraft are taking part in the simulations (WSJ) over South Korean airspace. Pyongyang said such exercises by Washington and Seoul, which it considers a provocation (NYT), would push the peninsula "to the brink of nuclear war." ANALYSIS "Adding stealth and bomber aircraft makes the drill appear less like a defensive exercise and more like a rehearsal for attack," Adam Mount said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "Although he needs more time in order to be able to credibly threaten the entire continental United States, the fact that Kim [Jong-un] can already inflict enormous damage on American allies and bases in Asia may give him sufficient assurance to start a dialogue," Siegfried S. Hecker writes for Foreign Affairs. "Most observers believe that Kim Jong-un has sought nuclear weapons to deter the United States from toppling his regime. His regime would therefore continue to develop both programs until they were sophisticated enough to threaten the United States—not because it intended to start a nuclear war, but because it wanted to deter the United States," Mira Rapp-Hooper writes for the Atlantic.  PACIFIC RIM Flight Crew Says It Saw North Korean Missile Test A Cathay Pacific airline crew flying from Hong Kong to Anchorage last week saw the ballistic missile launched by North Korea as it reentered the atmosphere (SCMP), according to a company spokeswoman. She said the company does not plan to change any flight patterns but would remain alert. This CFR Backgrounder looks at North Korea's military capabilities.  SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Ghani Apologizes for Remark on Headscarves Afghan President Ashraf Ghani apologized for commenting that anyone who accuses Afghan government officials (BBC) of having links to the self-proclaimed Islamic State should provide evidence of such connections or wear a headscarf, a remark that critics said suggested he views the form of women's clothing as a marker of inferiority. INDIA: A test match between cricket teams from India and Sri Lanka was stopped several times on Sunday as players complained of breathing difficulties due to high levels of smog (Guardian) in the capital New Delhi. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Jordan Warns U.S. Against Tel Aviv Embassy Move Jordan's foreign minister said he has warned the United States that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by moving the U.S. embassy there would "fuel tension" and jeopardize peace efforts in the region (Guardian). Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said such a move would be "unacceptable." SYRIA: The People's Protection Units, a Syrian Kurdish force, has recaptured territory in Deir ez-Zor (DW) from the Islamic State with air support from the U.S.-led coalition and from Russia. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Zimbabwe's President Shuffles Cabinet Amid Outcry President Emmerson Mnangagwa has replaced his education and labor ministers (BBC) days after appointing them, ostensibly to comply with a constitutional provision. Military officials remain in cabinet positions for foreign affairs and agriculture. The appointments provoked public outcry following a military coup last month. CFR's John Campbell writes that deposed President Robert Mugabe is both an icon and kleptocrat. DRC: President Joseph Kabila's government recruited fighters from a rebel group (Bloomberg) it defeated in 2013 in Rwanda and Uganda, where the combatants were then based, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. They were then integrated into the state's security forces.   EUROPE Britain's May to Offer Final Concessions to EU UK Prime Minister Theresa May will meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday to present a final proposal for handling several contentious issues, including the status of EU citizens and a so-called divorce bill, as part of negotiations for the country's exit from the bloc (BBC). GERMANY: Germany is offering an additional $3,570 to asylum seekers who forgo their right (AP) to wait out the results of their requests and return to their home countries. AMERICAS Venezuela Political Talks End Without Deal The Venezuelan government and representatives from an opposition coalition failed to reach a political agreement (Reuters) in the latest round of talks in the Dominican Republic on Saturday. The parties are expected to meet again in two weeks. HONDURAS: The Honduran electoral tribunal has ordered a recount (DW) of nearly 6 percent of votes cast in last week's presidential election. UNITED STATES U.S. Exits International Migration Talks The United States has quit participation in UN talks to draft an international compact on migration (NYT). U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said such an agreement could "undermine the sovereign right" of the country to enforce its immigration laws. This CFR Backgrounder discusses how the U.S. refugee system works. The U.S. Army has issued more than five hundred misconduct waivers (AP) this year for enlistees who previously used marijuana, more than double the number in 2016, as it seeks to increase its troop numbers.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: December 04, 2017 at 11:04PM