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Daily Brief: North Korea Launches Another Missile Over Japan

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September 15, 2017

Daily News Brief

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TOP OF THE AGENDA

North Korea Launches Another Missile Over Japan

North Korea launched a ballistic missile (WaPo) over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Friday morning, the second such launch over the island nation in three weeks.

The move comes less than two weeks after Pyongyang detonated what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb, prompting new international sanctions. South Korea shot two ballistic missiles (Korea Times) toward simulated targets in the East China Sea six minutes after the North's launch. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the present circumstances have made dialogue with Pyongyang "impossible" (Korea Times). U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Russia and China (Guardian), two of North Korea's major oil suppliers, to take new measures against the country.

ANALYSIS

"The United States has far less incentive to intervene on behalf of South Korea or Japan if North Korea can respond with a nuclear strike against the U.S. homeland. This phenomenon, whereby a nuclear-armed adversary can separate a security guarantor from its ally, is known as 'decoupling,'" Mira Rapp-Hooper writes for War on the Rocks.

"Given Pyongyang's rollout of missile tests and nuclear devices, and Trump's 'America First' rhetoric and inconsistency on foreign policy, it is likely that South Koreans' support for nuclearization will grow," Katharine H.S. Moon writes for Foreign Affairs.

"Officials in Japan who may have considered intercepting the missile faced two immediate constraints—the country's missile defenses are limited, and the Constitution limits military action only to instances of self-defense," Motoko Rich writes for the New York Times.

PACIFIC RIM

Cambodia Calls for Removing Peace Corps Volunteers

Prime Minister Hun Sen called on Friday for the expulsion of U.S. peace corps volunteers (AP) in the country and suspended collaboration on a project to recover the remains of U.S. soldiers (AFP) killed during the Vietnam War. Hun Sen has accused the United States of backing an opposition figure's plot.

CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick discusses Hun Sen's crackdown on opposition.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Wife of Ousted Pakistani PM Runs for Parliament Seat

Kulsoom Sharif, wife of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is expected to win in a Sunday election (WSJ) the parliamentary seat her husband was forced to vacate. Pakistan's Supreme Court dismissed a petition by the former prime minister to reconsider its decision to disqualify him from office (Dawn) over graft charges.

KAZAKHSTAN: President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled Kazakhstan since 1989 (RFE/RL), signaled to journalists on Thursday that he has no plans to retire over health concerns.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Dozens Dead in Islamic State Attacks in Iraq

The self-proclaimed Islamic State said it was behind two attacks that killed at least sixty people in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on Thursday. The provincial governor said the majority of the dead appeared to be Iranian visitors (Al Jazeera).

SAUDI ARABIA: Sixteen people, including Islamic clerics, academics, and writers, believed to be critics (NYT) of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been detained over the last week.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

EU: Confusion, Not Manipulation in Kenyan Election

EU observers who conducted random spot checks of Kenyan polling center tallies reported there were technical issues but no indication of vote manipulation (Reuters) during elections last month. The observers still urged the electoral commission to reform its process (Star) for counting and transmitting vote tallies before a fresh presidential election to be held October 17.

CFR's John Campbell says the Kenyan election annulment is a victory for the rule of law.

SOUTH AFRICA: Lawyers for President Jacob Zuma abandoned their appeal on Thursday in a case to revive 783 counts of graft and fraud (FT) against him, leaving open the possibility for the court to reinstate the charges.

EUROPE

UK Says Metro Explosion Treated as Terrorist Attack

A top UK counterterrorism official said an explosion followed by a fire on a London train Friday is being treated as terrorism (WSJ). At least twenty-two people were injured.

TURKEY: Police used tear gas and batons against protesters on Thursday as the trial of two teachers who have carried out a hunger strike for months in prison (DW) began in Ankara. The government accuses the pair of having links to a Marxist revolutionary group.

AMERICAS

Netanyahu Wraps Up Latin America Tour in Mexico

Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to visit Mexico (Jerusalem Post) on Thursday, vowing to work with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on development projects in the region (Reuters). Pena Nieto said the two countries will also update their free trade agreement.

PERU: The opposition-controlled Congress ousted the cabinet of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (Reuters) in a no-confidence vote Friday; Kuczynski has seventy-two hours to swear in a new cabinet.

UNITED STATES

U.S. Extends Iran Sanctions Relief

The Trump administration has extended sanctions relief for Iran (AP) in line with its 2015 nuclear deal but announced new sanctions on eleven Iranian nationals and companies accused of involvement in cyberattacks and missile development (Al Jazeera).

Hamid Biglari looks at Washington's options for Iran in Foreign Affairs.

 
 
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