North Korea on July 4 successfully tested what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a “maximum range of roughly 4,160 miles, or 6,700 kilometers,” the New York Times reports (paywall). Analysts do not believe that the Hermit Kingdom has yet mastered the technology to reliably equip such a missile with a nuclear warhead, but the range is sufficient to reach the U.S. state of Alaska. Here is what was reported next:
- The missile launch appears to have relied, in part, on the use of a converted Chinese timber truck that had been declared for civilian use, Reuters notes.
- Reuters reports that China and Russia have put forward a plan that “would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the United States and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale missile exercises, both moves aimed at paving the way for multilateral talks.”
- Russia and China called for the U.S. to cease deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. They made a similar statement a year ago, when deployment plans were still being made. The rollout of the system was suspended by the new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, last month after two of a planned six launchers were set up. Moon has called on the South Korean parliament to consider further action on THAAD before the system is potentially made operational.
- China chastised Donald Trump as a foreign ministry spokesman called for “relevant parties” to “stay calm and exercise restraint” in answer to a question specifically about Trump’s tweets urging China to “put a heavy move on North Korea.”
- Trump later tweeted, “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us — but we had to give it a try!”
For more on the strategic options for China, the U.S., and others in the Korean Peninsula, see these pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post:
- What can Trump do about North Korea? His options are few and risky / NYT (paywall)
- In North Korea, ‘surgical strike’ could spin into ‘worst kind of fighting’ / NYT (paywall)
- The Daily 202: Missile test underscores the failure of Trump’s naive approach to North Korea / Washington Post
Trump and trade war
Trump reins in tariff temptation / Axios
“President Trump, who has expressed enthusiasm behind closed doors for harsh trade tariffs aimed at China, is headed — for now — toward a more moderate course.” Axios reports that “economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin argued privately that tough tariffs were bad economics at a time when the market and job rates are strong.”
Opinion: Pakistan can’t afford China’s ‘friendship’ / Foreign Policy
C. Christine Fair, a scholar of Pakistan, notes that China has not always been an “all-weather friend” to the country, and argues that India’s suspicious take on Chinese involvement in Pakistan is looking increasingly credible.
China and Russia strike $11 billion funding deal / Financial Times (paywall)
The use of funds in Chinese currency allows Russia to circumvent Western sanctions.
China invites foreign doctors to treat Liu Xiaobo, the critically ill dissident / The Guardian
See also: China invites foreign cancer experts to treat Liu Xiaobo / AFP