The Pyongyang regime “has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House in response to North Korea’s missile launch that flew over Japan yesterday, stating that “all options are on the table” to deal with the North Korea threat. Michael C. Bender reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Yesterday’s ballistic missile launch was a “meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” North Korea’s state media news agency K.C.N.A. quoted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as saying yesterday, reiterating Pyongyang’s threat against the U.S. territory of Guam. Soyoung Kim and Michelle Nichols report at Reuters.
Kim Jong-un urged “more ballistic rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future,” according to a report by K.C.N.A. state media, adding that yesterday’s missile launch was a “muscle-flexing” countermeasure to joint U.S.-South Korea annual military exercises currently taking place in South Korea. Foster Klug and Kim Tong-Hyung report at the AP.
“The Security Council stresses that these D.P.R.K. actions are not just a threat to the region, but to all U.N. Member States,” the U.N. Security Council said in a Presidential statement yesterday, using the abbreviation for the official title of North Korea, condemning the country for its “outrageous actions” and issuing the statement after the Security Council held urgent, closed-door consultations. The UN News Centre reports.
The U.N. gave no indication of taking tougher measures against Pyongyang, despite condemning North Korea’s “outrageous actions” for launching a missile over Japan yesterday, however the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said that the Security Council statement issued following the emergency discussions showed that “the world is united against North Korea.” Choe Sang-Hun reports at the New York Times.
“We’ll be talking about next steps starting now,” Japan’s ambassador to the U.N. Koro Bessho said after the emergency U.N. Security Council meeting yesterday, adding that the Security Council statement sends Pyongyang a strong message “that the international community will not accept its reckless behavior.” Jennifer Peltz reporting at the AP.
South Korea President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to raise pressure on North Korea “to the maximum,” in a phone call between the two leaders today, according to a statement by South Korea’s presidential Blue House. Reuters reports.
“We will be re-doubling our efforts with our international partners to put pressure on North Korea,” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said today during a visit to Japan, stating that the U.K. would exert pressure on China to rein in Pyongyang. The BBC reports.
China is working with U.N. Security Council members on the North Korea threat, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said today, Reuters reports.
North Korea’s missile launch has prompted South Korea and Japan to upgrade their missile defenses, a move that would potentially complicate relations with China and Russia and undermine diplomatic efforts, with Tokyo seeking funds for the introduction of the Aegis Ashore antimissile system and Seoul likely to further deploy the U.S. antimissile T.H.A.A.D. system. Jonathan Cheng and Alastair Gale report at the Wall Street Journal.
The recent missile launch has shone a spotlight on U.S. antimissile defense systems in the region: whether the U.S. missile defenses have the necessary capability to intercept a missile and if Washington would be prepared to intercept a missile flying over an ally’s territory. Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom report at Reuters.
“There’s many options in the more covert side of things,” former Deputy National Security Adviser Sebastian Gorka said in an interview with Fox News yesterday, appearing to publicly confirm the existence of a covert cyber program aimed at North Korea’s missile program. Katie Bo Williams and Joe Uchill report at the Hill.
Yesterday’s missile launch showed Pyongyang’s defiance in the face of Trump’s warning of “fire and fury” should North Korea continue threaten the U.S. and its allies, and a rejection of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent diplomatic overtures, indicating that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is unintimidated by the White House. Anne Gearan and Anna Fifield observe at the Washington Post.
Each missile launch is backed up by a strategy to “achieve maximum political, technical and training value” to ensure its survival. Eric Talmadge provides an analysis of Kim Jong-un’s deterrence strategy at the AP.
Can the world live with a nuclear-armed North Korea if the nuclear weapons programs cannot be stopped? Jonathan Marcus analyses possible ways to approach the North Korea threat at the BBC.
North Korea’s nuclear threat may encourage Japan to embrace nuclear weapons as a deterrence, however, this would increase tensions in the region, usher in a new area of nuclear proliferation, and destabilize the current world order. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.
Japan has seen a shift from pacifist values due to the threat from North Korea and growing tensions in the region, although there is still a strong current of public opinion opposed to expanding military capabilities, Motoko Rich reports at the New York Times.
What further measures can the international community take to deter North Korea? Patrick Wintour sets out some options that preclude military action at the Guardian.
Trump may be about to extend an open hand to Pyongyang, which would be his biggest mistake with North Korea as diplomacy with the Kim Jong-un is unrealistic. The author of “The Art of the Deal” Michael Auslin writes at POLITICO.
More than a dozen civilians were killed in airstrikes in western Afghanistan on Monday, according to residents and officials yesterday, a spokesperson for the U.S. military in Afghanistan stating that the airstrikes were carried out by Afghan forces, but an anonymous senior Afghan Air Force official denied that his forces were involved. Mujib Mashal and Fatima Faizi report at the New York Times.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the home of the deputy speaker of Afghanistan’s parliament Zahir Qadir today, killing two security guards and the two attackers. Reuters reports.
Afghanistan’s intelligence adviser talks to Taliban leaders nearly every day and the national security adviser has conversations with the Taliban every other month, according to officials and documents seen by the AP, the two sides discussing the future of Afghanistan and an Islamic system of governance. Kathy Gannon reports at the AP.
The Trump administration appears to be pushing ahead with plans to mine Afghanistan’s military deposits, despite the commercial risks associated with such projects. Elias Groll reveals at Foreign Policy.
Private military contractors may hold the key to victory in Afghanistan and it is not too late for Trump to include contractors in his strategy. Erik Prince, the former C.E.O. of private military company Blackwater, writes at the New York Times.
Afghanistan is better described as “an armed policing operation” rather than a war, which explains why the U.S. cannot achieve a decisive victory. Emile Simpson explains the unique character of the conflict at Foreign Policy.
Iraqi forces face tough resistance from Islamic State militants in the fight to recapture the town of al-‘Ayadiya on the outskirts of the city of Tal Afar, Col. Kareem al-Lami describing the battle as like opening “the gates of hell” yesterday. Ahmed Rasheed reports at Reuters.
Iraq’s Kirkuk province voted yesterday to take part in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Sept. 25 independence referendum, causing consternation among those who oppose the referendum, including Turkey who branded the Kirkuk vote as “another link in a chain of mistakes,” and the vote was boycotted by ethnic Turkmen and Arab council members, Al Jazeera reports.
The main border crossing between Iraq and Jordan is due to reopen today, according to a statement from both governments, Reuters reporting.
Terrorists should be “killed on the battlefield, not bused across #Syria to the Iraqi border without #Iraq’s consent,” the top U.S. envoy for the international coalition against the Islamic State Brett McGurk tweeted today, condemning a deal that allowed Islamic State fighters and their families to be transported from the Lebanon-Syria border to eastern Syria, the AP reports.
“All the lands are now Lebanese and secure,” Lebanese Army Brig. Gen. Fadi Daoud said yesterday, Lebanese forces recapturing the territory on the Lebanon-Syria border from Islamic State militants during an offensive launched this month, corresponding with an operation launched by the Syrian army and Lebanese Shi’ite’ Hezbollah militia group from the Syrian side of the border. Margherita Stancati reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Iran looks set to be the big winner from the Syrian conflict and the U.S. has not considered how to counter its power, Iran having extended its influence over Syria by building up its relationship with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and expanded its military presence through proxies. David W. Lesch writes at the New York Times.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 14 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on August 28. Separately, partner forces conducted five strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
Iran “is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles” in Syria and Lebanon to further its “declared goal to eradicate Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference with U.N. Secretary General António Guterres yesterday, also calling on the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon (U.N.F.I.L.) to fulfil its mandate to prevent the Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah militia group from building up its weapons capability. Isabel Kershner reports at the New York Times.
Iran rejected the U.S. demands to inspect Iranian military sites by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) yesterday, calling the request “a dream,” Parisa Hafezi reporting at Reuters.
The “main hurdles” to improved ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia is “Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen and their support of terrorists in Yemen and Syria,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told state T.V. yesterday, also pushing back against Trump for his comments threatening to walk away from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Al Jazeera reports.
“There is no plan B to the two-state solution,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said yesterday after meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, also stating that “settlement activity is illegal in the international law” in response to comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that Israeli settlements in the West Bank would not be “uprooted,” Al Jazeera reports.
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip demanded that Guterres work to lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the strip, that he approve relief and development programs and pressure Israel over the detention of Palestinians in a statement issued on Guterres’ arrival in Gaza today. The AP reports.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Paul Manafort’s spokesperson Jason Maloni Monday night, demanding records related to his work for the former Trump campaign chairman, serving the subpoena about a month after federal agents raided one of Manafort’s residences, though it is unclear how the latest subpoena is tied to Mueller’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election. Del Quentin Wilber reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to a private interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee confirmed yesterday, the spokesperson declining to reveal the precise date of the interview. Manu Raju, Tom LoBiano and Pamela Brown report at CNN.
Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh may have been placed under house arrest by Houthi rebels, officials said yesterday, signaling a further escalation in tensions in the fragile alliance between the Iranian-backed Houthis and supporters of Saleh, Ahmed Al-Haj reports at the AP.
At least five civilians and two armed personnel were killed in an airstrike on a Houthi checkpoint outside the Yemeni capital of Sanaa today, according to witnesses. Al Jazeera reports.
The “blockading countries” have yet to “respond to a single request,” the Qatari Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Al Thani said today at a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Doha, expressing frustration at Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt for prolonging the Gulf crisis. Al Jazeera reports in rolling coverage.
The diplomatic isolation of Qatar has put pressure on East African countries who rely on the Gulf Arab nations for military support and foreign aid, the AP reports.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY
Trump must take a more sophisticated approach to sanctions, the U.S. must understand its role and levy sanctions with caution rather than threatening adversaries with little regard to efficacy and commercial interests. Jarrett Blanc writes at the Wall Street Journal.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should be lauded for his efforts to reorganize the State Department, undertaking a necessary job to streamline the dysfunctional department to further U.S. interests. James Jay Carafano and Mike Gonzalez write at the Hill.
Planned Russian and Belarussian joint military “Zapad” exercises are of a “purely defensive nature,” Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Alexander Fomin said yesterday, accusing N.A.T.O. and Western countries of “spreading myths about the so-called Russian threat” ahead of the exercises scheduled for September. Nathan Hodge reports at the Wall Street Journal.
A grand jury in Washington D.C. issued indictments for 19 Turkish security officials yesterday, charging them for attacking protesters during Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the U.S. in May, the AP reports.
“What’s important is that we put these problems in the appropriate place,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a news briefing today, attempting to improve relations with India following the resolution of the China-India border standoff, which ended this week. Michael Martina and Sanjeev Miglani report at Reuters.
The Philippine army is planning an operation to fully retake the city of Marawi from Islamic State-linked militants, months after the militants took over the city, Jake Maxwell Watts reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Myanmar security forces reiterated claims that Muslim militants are trying to establish an Islamic state in the country, making the allegation amid violence and airstrikes by the government directed towards the ethnic Rohingya minority in the northern Rakhine State, Myo Myo and James Hookway report at the Wall Street Journal.