Morning Brief: Trouble brewing in Korea?

Top Story Tensions are running high on the Korean peninsula as the United States and South Korea begin joint military exercises today. Military officials say the exercises are “not tied in any way to any political or real-world event,” but North Korea says it has moved to full military readiness and accuses the U.S. and ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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587981_090309_kji5.jpg

Top Story

Top Story

Tensions are running high on the Korean peninsula as the United States and South Korea begin joint military exercises today. Military officials say the exercises are “not tied in any way to any political or real-world event,” but North Korea says it has moved to full military readiness and accuses the U.S. and South Korea of planning an invasion.

North Korea is planning to launch a Taepodong-2 missile in what it calls a civilian communications satellite launch but is widely considered a military test. North Korea has threatened retaliation if its “satellite” is shot down, an action it would consider an act of war. The communist dictatorship has broken off all diplomatic communications with the south.

However, a lack of North Korean naval activity on the Korean sea border seems to indicate indicate the country has no plans to back up its threats. South Korean and U.S. officials dismissed the North’s saber-rattling as “political rhetoric” designed to rally the North Korean populace and extract concessions from the U.S.

In a shocking turn of events, Kim Jong-il was unanimously reelected to the North Korea’s parliament. 

Middle East

The U.S. plans to remove 12,000 troops from Iraq by September. On the same day the withdrawal was announced, a suicide bomber killed 28 Baghdad. 

Iran has test-fired a new air-to-surface missile.

Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav will be charged with rape.

Asia

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has agreed to delay his country’s election until this summer and welcomed Barack Obama’s suggestion that the U.S. may reach out to Taliban moderates.

China is stepping up security ahead of the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Japan has recorded a record-high current account deficit.

Europe

Republican splinter group, the Real IRA, killed two British soldiers in Northern Ireland. It is the worst attack the province has seen in over a decade.

EU finance ministers will back a doubling of funds for the IMF tomorrow.

Iceland’s last remaining independent bank was taken over by the government.

Africa

Zimbabwe’s prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, says there was no foul play involved in the car crash that injured him and killed his wife last week.

Without explanation, Sudan has freed an Islamist opposition leader.

A military mutiny has broken out in Madagascar.

Americas

The White House named three nominees for top jobs at the Treasury Department.

The mayor of Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez says troops could continue occupying the city for up to a month as the battle against drug violence continues.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez called Colombia’s defence minister a threat to the region.

KNS/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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