US President Donald J. Trump’s administration must use the opportunity presented by the president’s decision to scrap his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to think through its strategy on North Korea, according to the Atlantic Council’s Robert A. Manning.

“There are technical issues that we ought to explore so we know what we’re talking about when we say we want the North Koreans to take steps quickly to show that they are serious about dismantling their WMD. And if they do that, we should be prepared to do X, Y, Z,” said Manning.

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US President Donald J. Trump on May 24 abruptly called off a June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The highly anticipated summit—one frequently touted by Trump himself—was to be held in Singapore.

“I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote to Kim. “Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”

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Two prominent Congolese presidential hopefuls, speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington on May 23, announced that they were joining forces against the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s longtime president Joseph Kabila.

Moïse Katumbi, who is tipped to win the election—if one is held and if he is allowed to participate—and Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, the DRC’s oldest and largest opposition party, said opposition parties are discussing the possibility of fielding a single unity candidate in elections scheduled for December 23.

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Russia’s reported use of a chemical weapon against a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom in March caused an international uproar that echoes to the present day. The incident raised questions regarding the Kremlin’s ongoing use of chemical weapons. While more than forty years have passed since Moscow signed the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1972 and pledged to discontinue its biological weapons program, it remains unclear if Russia has fully honored its commitments.

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The death of at least sixty Palestinians during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Gaza border on May 14 was just the latest reminder of a crisis that has gradually worsened in the absence of diplomacy and progress toward improved political and economic conditions in the Palestinian territories. A US-led initiative is needed to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.

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Several years ago, Henry Kissinger famously stated that Iran must decide if it wants to be a country or a cause. On May 21, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo re-articulated this question, offering Iran a sharp choice: to be welcomed back into the community of nations if it abandons its destabilizing security policies or be subjected to an unrelenting US-led pressure campaign if not.

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US President Donald J. Trump must use his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to ensure that the United States and South Korea are completely aligned, with no differences that could be exploited by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in his upcoming summit with Trump.

In this way, Trump’s May 22 meeting with Moon will serve as an important prelude to the US-North Korea summit, scheduled for June 12.

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Why I’ve grown more optimistic that we have the chance to repair history’s bloodiest remaining divide.

Jet lag can play tricks on the mind.

Lying wide awake at just past three in the morning, some thirteen hours ahead of DC time in South Korea, I grow convinced we are within reach of the chance of the century to repair history’s bloodiest remaining divide. At the end of a week’s fact-gathering in Seoul, it’s hard to know whether this is rational thinking or nocturnal delusion.
 
Whichever it turns out to be, a Hollywood script writer could not have framed the plot nor provided its protagonists more inventively.

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I am sorry to see the letter from a group that opposes a private dinner that we are holding with Peter Aven and Mikhail Fridman of Alfa Group.

I have the greatest of respect for this distinguished group of people, and we have more often been on the same side when it comes to campaigning on Russia, its aggressive foreign policy, abuse of human rights, and corruption.  Still, I am a bit bemused by the views they express in this statement.

They are clearly critics of Fridman and Aven and they provide the reasons for their criticism. We are happy to provide them with the means to express their views.

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Last week we—Russian and US experts and activists—learned that an off-the-record roundtable dinner with Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, principals of the Alfa Group, will be held on May 21 at the Atlantic Council. These Kremlin regime insiders are both listed on the January update of the US government list “Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) but are nevertheless invited to discuss “the outlook for the Russian economy in an era of escalating sanctions” in Washington DC.

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