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U.S. and North Korea Set to Meet Again

Plus: Hong Kong imposes emergency laws, Ukraine’s unused Javelin missiles, and the other stories we’re following today.

By , a senior editor at Foreign Policy.
Members of the North Korean delegation arrive at the Arlanda airport north of Stockholm, Sweden, on Oct. 3.
Members of the North Korean delegation arrive at the Arlanda airport north of Stockholm, Sweden, on Oct. 3.
Members of the North Korean delegation arrive at the Arlanda airport north of Stockholm, Sweden, on Oct. 3. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: U.S.-North Korea talks set to resume after Pyongyang's latest missile launch, Hong Kong imposes colonial-era emergency laws, and what happens to the weapons at the center of the Ukraine scandal.

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: U.S.-North Korea talks set to resume after Pyongyang’s latest missile launch, Hong Kong imposes colonial-era emergency laws, and what happens to the weapons at the center of the Ukraine scandal.

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What to Expect from the U.S.-North Korea Talks

The United States and North Korea are expected to restart nuclear talks this weekend, with a North Korean delegation landing in Sweden on Thursday. The meetings will be the first significant dialogue since the February summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that did not end in an agreement.

In Hanoi, Trump refused Kim’s offer to close a nuclear site if the United States lifted sanctions. Vox has reported that on Saturday the United States plans to offer a risky proposal: that the United Nations would suspend sanctions on North Korea’s textile and coal exports for 36 months in exchange for verifiable measures to begin denuclearization.

Increased pressure. Hours after announcing that it would resume talks with the United States, North Korea launched a missile from a submarine into Japanese waters. The move was likely intended to increase pressure on the United States ahead of the talks. North Korean state media claims the test marks a “new phase” in its defense capabilities.

In the absence of a nuclear deal, North Korea has significantly improved its weapons technology—and the timing of the recent launch is embarrassing for Washington, FP’s Elias Groll reports.

A possible third summit. Recent lower level negotiations between the United States and North Korea have resulted in few breakthroughs, with the North Korean nuclear arsenal still expanding. A U.S. diplomat told the New York Times that the challenge would be to make sure the weekend talks lead to enough progress for Trump to arrange a third summit with Kim.


What We’re Following Today

Hong Kong to impose emergency laws. Today Hong Kong’s government plans to bypass the city’s legislature in order to implement colonial-era emergency laws that have not been used in 50 years, including a ban on face masks at the pro-democracy demonstrations that have gripped the city for almost four months. The law will go into effect at midnight local time and the penalty could be anywhere from a fine of approximately $3,200 to 10 years in prison—the punishment favored by pro-Beijing hardliners.

The authorities have already loosened restrictions on the use of force by police: Officers used live ammunition against an 18-year-old demonstrator on Tuesday. The emergency laws could go far beyond masks to include curfews or online censorship, Bloomberg reports. Ahead of the government’s meeting, riot police were already on the streets. Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has called on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign, warning that the standoff could end with a brutal repression resembling China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

[In Foreign Policy, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren argues that it’s time for the United States to stand up to China on Hong Kong.]

Weapons at the center of the Ukraine scandal go unused. The sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles mentioned in the July phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a powerful gesture of U.S. support. But there is evidence that the missiles haven’t really been used on the battlefield: The Trump administration’s conditions require that they remain stored in western Ukraine—far away from the front lines, Amy Mackinnon and Lara Seligman report.

Ecuador declares state of emergency. Facing protests against the decision to terminate decades-old fuel subsidies, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno declared a state of emergency on Thursday. Transport workers have blocked roads in Quito, the capital, and Guayaquil, calling the protest an “indefinite action” until the decision is overturned. The country’s economy minister has said that eliminating the subsidies could save the country $1.5 billion annually.

Another prominent U.K. Conservative resigns. Rory Stewart, a Tory member of Parliament who ran against Boris Johnson for the party leadership earlier this year—and who was then ousted from the party along with 20 other lawmakers after backing a law seeking to block a no-deal Brexit—has formally resigned and will not run in the next election.

He made the announcement on a stage flanked by actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Olivia Colman, and Jude Law while reading a 1982 letter sent from a schoolteacher to Johnson’s father, Stanley. “Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility,” the teacher wrote. “I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”


Keep an Eye On

Uganda’s red berets. Supporters of the musician-turned-politician Bobi Wine were arrested in Uganda on Thursday for wearing red berets—a symbol of his People Power movement. The government banned civilians from wearing red berets last month. Wine is running in the country’s 2021 presidential election, threatening to unseat long-time leader Yoweri Museveni.

Paris police attacked. A knife-wielding employee killed four people inside the Paris police headquarters on Thursday. Officers then shot and killed the assailant, a 45-year-old IT worker. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and President Emmanuel Macron visited the scene soon after the attack, which came a day after large police protests sparked by violence against officers, a mental health crisis leading to suicides, and poor working conditions. The motive is unclear but authorities have so far attributed it to professional and personal grievances rather than terrorism.

Violence in Indonesia. Indonesian authorities have evacuated more than 11,500 people from a town in the eastern province of Papua after violent unrest last month. Papua is grappling with a separatist insurgency, and the violence targeted those from elsewhere in Indonesia. President Joko Widodo, unlike his predecessors, has said that he is open to dialogue with the separatists.

Algeria’s protest movement. After nearly eight months of protest, Algeria’s rulers have pushed for new presidential elections, which they hope will quell the unrest. But since a date was set for the vote, the protests have continued: They have yet to ease the army’s control over the country’s politics, Francisco Serrano writes for FP.

The future of entertainment in China. In the lead-up to China’s National Day on Oct. 1, Beijing’s media regulator increasingly tightened television and film restrictions—recommending nationalist dramas. Some may be genuinely popular, but the patriotic fervor will likely set the tone for the next few years of entertainment, Lauren Teixeira writes for FP.

For more news and analysis on stories like this, subscribe to China Brief, delivered on Wednesdays.


Ballot Box

Kosovo holds a snap parliamentary election on Sunday, as the country grapples with corruption, high unemployment, and deteriorating relations with neighboring Serbia. The election was called after the prime minister’s resignation in July, and his coalition’s poor record has increased support for the opposition parties.

Portugal also chooses a new parliament on Sunday. A poll this week showed the ruling Socialist party in the lead, though it lacked enough support to win a majority. Analysts say that if he wins, Prime Minister António Costa may need to seek a new coalition partner, as his party’s relationship with the far left is weakening.


Odds and Ends

Devolved Parliament, an artwork by Banksy, sold at auction in London on Thursday for just under £10 million ($12.3 million)—far above the pre-auction estimate and significantly more than the artist’s record of £1.4 million pounds ($1.73 million). It depicts MPs in the British House of Commons as chimpanzees.


That’s it for today.

For more on these stories and many others, visit foreignpolicy.com, subscribe here, or sign up for our other newsletters. Send your tips, comments, questions, or corrections to morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com.

Audrey Wilson is a senior editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

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