Briefing Skipper: Afghanista, START, North Korea, Cairo, passports
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Thursday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley: President Obama convened his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan Thursday morning at the White House and Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg and Special Representative Richard ...
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Thursday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:
- President Obama convened his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan Thursday morning at the White House and Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke represented Foggy Bottom. Meanwhile, next door Vice President Joseph Biden was meeting with key GOP senators about the new START treaty, including Jon Kyl, R-AZ, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Joe Lieberman, I-CT, and Tom Udall, R-NM. Kyl is leading a delegation to Los Alamos and Sandia national nuclear laboratories Friday.
- Special Advisor Bob Einhorn is headed to South Korea and Japan to start work on those new North Korea financial sanctions that the State Department is being so mysterious about. He’ll also be discussing Iran sanctions and will be joined by Treasury deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes Daniel Glaser, on what will the first trip of several. "I don’t think he’ll make any announcements while he’s out there," said Crowley.
- The State Department is closely watching the Arab League meetings in Cairo as hoping they will push (or permit) the Palestinians to move to direct talks before the Israel (partial) settlement freeze expires in September. "We are encouraged by reports that Arab states meeting in Cairo agree on the need to resume direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to reach a final-status agreement," Crowley said.
- Crowley wasn’t aware of the new China-North Korea economic agreement, but he did say, "Clearly, China, as a neighbor of North Korea, has become an increasing factor in North Korea’s economy… China has responsibilities, you know, with respect to specific aspects of U.N. Security Council resolutions as they pertain to the areas of concern: our proliferation concern, our nuclear concerns in particular. So we would expect China to live up to its international obligations. But at the same time, we want to see China use its leverage with North Korea to encourage North Korea to move in a fundamentally different direction."
- Potential North Korea nuclear cooperation with Burma is also a concern of the administration, but they don’t know what’s the ground truth. "We don’t see the transparency in that relationship that we’d like to see. North Korea is a serial proliferator. North Korea is engaged in significant illicit activity. Burma, like other countries around the world, has obligations, and we expect Burma to live up to those obligations," Crowley said.
- State is defending itself in light of a new GAO report where GAO investigators were granted passports based on fake documents they created. Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin held a hearing on the issue Thursday. "And as we will outline in testimony before Senator Cardin’s committee today, we have improved our tools in recent years," Crowley said. "There’s more work that needs to be done."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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