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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
April 10, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: South Korea Ups Warnings of Attack From North

South Korea's foreign minister Yun Byung-se confirmed Wednesday that North Korea had moved a mid-range ballistic missile to its east coast, and said that the possibility of a missile launch by Pyongyang was "very high" (Yonhap). South Korea has asked China and Russia to help restrain North Korea from making military provocations as tensions on the Korean Peninsula have drastically escalated since the UN Security Council slapped fresh sanctions on Pyongyang. North Korea observes several anniversaries this week (Reuters), including the first anniversary of Kim Jong-un's formal ascent to power.


"It seems that China's North Korea policy is actually a part of its United States policy, which means that as long as distrust of the United States haunts some of China's decision makers and their academic consultants, China won't do 'all it can' to rein in North Korea," writes Ouyang Bin for ChinaFile.

"[Today's] North Korea becomes the true hub of the multilateral relations that dominate all of Asia. This does not mean that China is keen on seeing the sudden and unpredictable collapse of North Korea, but Beijing [can] no longer afford to put all its foreign policy apples in Pyongyang's basket, and thus it needs now more than ever to bring North Korea under control," writes Francesco Sisci for Asia Times.

"Analysts who accept the rebalancing as based on sound geo-strategic principles nevertheless say Pentagon statements and force deployments should not be the most visible face of the Obama administration's core Asia policy," writes Paul Eckert for Reuters.



China Pledges More Aid to Cambodia

China committed another $548 million in aid to Cambodia for infrastructure and irrigation projects, a move that some critics say has bought Cambodia's diplomatic support (Reuters). Chinese investment in the country has totaled $9.1 billion since 1994.

This CFR Backgrounder explains ASEAN, and delves into China and Cambodia's roles in the organization.



One Killed in Bangladesh Strike

One person was killed at the start of a thirty-six-hour strike by an opposition alliance (al-Jazeera) in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. The alliance, comprising eighteen parties, was pressing for the release of more than 160 opposition politicians arrested in the last two weeks.

AFGHANISTAN: A group of British MPs said that an Afghan-led peace deal (BBC) with the Taliban is necessary to stop the country from sliding into civil war after British troops leave.



Turkey Delays Trip to Gaza

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has delayed his planned visit (Haaretz) to the Gaza Strip after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during a meeting in Istanbul, warned that the timing of the trip could harm efforts to normalize relations with Israel.

CFR's Charles Kupchan discusses a Turkish-Israeli opening in this op-ed.

SYRIA: Syrian opposition leaders will meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and G8 foreign ministers in London on Wednesday as Washington considers its plan of support (AP) for the rebels.

This CFR Backgrounder explains Syria's crisis and the global response



Indian UN Peacekeepers Killed in South Sudan

Five Indian UN peacekeepers were killed during an ambush (WaPo) on a supply convoy in Jonglei State in South Sudan on Tuesday. Seven civilians also died in the deadliest armed attack on UN forces since the region was engulfed in tribal violence between warring ethnic groups.

SOUTH AFRICA: The Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebel movement appealed to the South African government to cancel the deployment of troops (IOL) in the eastern DRC.



EU Seeks to Expand Power for Trade Probes

In a bid to strengthen the EU's leverage in trade disputes (FT) with China, Europe's trade commissioner is seeking new rules that would allow the launching of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations without a formal complaint from a company or industry.

SLOVENIA: Slovenia's prime minister denied that her country needed a bailout (Guardian) after a report warned that it faced the threat of a severe banking crisis.



Peru's Humala Makes First Trip to China

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala on Tuesday concluded his first official visit to China (LAHT), which has been Peru's largest trading partner since 2011. Humala will finish the rest of his Asia tour in South Korea and Japan.

UNITED STATES: The Senate is poised to vote Thursday on gun control (WaPo) in a boost for the Obama administration, which has lobbied hard for increased background checks.



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