7 November 2018   Leave a comment

The scheduled meeting between US Secretary of State Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart has been postponed, with no explanation given for the decision.  The postponement follows the North Korean declaration that it would resume nuclear testing if the US did not lift the sanctions against it.  Robert Carlin, in 38North, quotes Kwon Jong Gun, director of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry’s Institute for American Studies (IFAS), to interpret the recent situation:

“In the commentary, Kwon put forth what may actually be a high-level perception in Pyongyang—that the US did not get serious about talks until the North demonstrated in 2017 that it could strike the US mainland with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and made clear that the DPRK nuclear threat to the US mainland was ‘only a matter of time.’  A worst-case interpretation of that position, unstated by Kwon, is that the North might at some point in the future decide the only way to get the US into productive talks would be to demonstrate even more starkly its ICBM capability.”

Clearly, the negotiations are not bringing North Korea and the US closer together.  It is difficult to predict the US reaction if North Korea resumes nuclear testing.

 

The Saudi Arabian-led coalition has stepped up its attacks on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, despite US and British calls for a cease-fire.  Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Houthi rebels, vowed that he will never surrender even though the rebels had lost ground.  Al Jazeera puts the conflict in context:

“The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthis, who toppled the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“The coalition forces – which include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and are backed by the United States – intervened in 2015 to reinstall Hadi’s government.

Even as the conflict goes on, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has deepened to the point where the regional director for UNICEF said that Yemen is a “living hell”.  According to NBC News: “UNICEF’s operation in Yemen estimates there are 1.8 million children currently facing malnutrition, including 400,000 who are severely malnourished and at risk of death if not urgently treated. More than 8 million children are cut off from regular access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services.”

Posted November 7, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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