WNPR

Asia

After a harshly worded New Year's Day tweet by President Trump accusing Pakistan of "deceit" and of harboring terrorists, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert confirmed Thursday that the U.S. will suspend most security assistance to Islamabad.

The cutoff is not permanent, Nauert said, and only affects military assistance. Civilian assistance is not affected.

Updated at 1:55 a.m. ET

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are once again publicly comparing the size of their respective nuclear arsenals, with the president tweeting that the U.S. "nuclear button" is "much bigger & more powerful" than the one controlled by Pyongyang.

South Korea has seized a Hong Kong-flagged vessel under suspicions that it illegally transferred oil to North Korea, in violation of U.N. sanctions. The vessel, the Lighthouse Winmore, was seized one month after it allegedly ferried oil, South Korean media report.

Such ship-to-ship transfers are prohibited by a U.N. Security Council Resolution that was adopted in September, part of a suite of sanctions that target North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced new sanctions on two individuals within the North Korean government, both of whom are reportedly prominent figures within Kim Jong Un's ballistic weapons development program.

Ri Pyong Chol and Kim Jong Sik are now both blacklisted — which means any assets they have in the U.S. will be frozen, although as NPR's David Welna notes, "It's not clear whether either of them, in fact, has any U.S. assets." Additionally, Americans will generally be prohibited from doing business with them.

North Korea on Sunday called the latest U.N. sanctions against the country "an act of war" that violates its sovereignty.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously decided to adopt a resolution tightening sanctions — further cutting oil supplies and cracking down on what the U.S. sees as a North Korean slave labor market. The resolution issued last week was a rebuke to North Korea that prompted Pyongyang to declare that it would further upgrade its nuclear force.

In 1965, Charles Jenkins, a young U.S. Army sergeant stationed at the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea, made what he described decades later as the biggest mistake of his life: He got drunk, deserted his post and crossed over to North Korea.

Jenkins spent the next four decades as a Cold War trophy of Pyongyang and the last years of his life — after being freed in 2004 — on a small, isolated island in Japan with his wife, Hitomi Soga, a Japanese citizen who had also been freed after being abducted by North Korean spies in 1978.

The United States and South Korea launched a massive joint military air exercise on Monday amid increased tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program and recent ballistic missile tests.

The five-day Vigilant Ace exercise includes some 12,000 military personnel and 230 aircraft – including six F-22 and 18 F-35s, both with stealth capabilities. South Korean media said B-1 bombers would also participate in the exercise, but the Air Force declined to confirm that.

North Korea says a new intercontinental ballistic missile tested on Wednesday proves it has a nuclear deterrent that can reach any target in the United States.

According to a statement from the Korean Central News Agency, the ICBM is capable of carrying a "super-large heavy warhead, which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S."

Updated at 3 a.m. ET on Wednesday

North Korean state media say the country has launched a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile called the Hwasong-15. The statement says the missile is North Korea's most powerful ever and can reach all of the United States.

Earlier the Pentagon's initial assessment said the missile was an ICBM, the third tested by North Korea.

Enrique Dans / Creative Commons

The prospect of nuclear war. How serious is it?

This hour, Australian anti-nuclear activist and writer Dr. Helen Caldicott shares her answer to that question.

We also check in with experts from the Cato Institute and UConn. And we want to hear from you. 

Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET

President Trump said goodbye to Asia on Tuesday after visiting five countries, attending three international summits and meeting with more than half-a-dozen foreign leaders.

"I think we made a lot of progress just in terms of relationship," Trump told reporters as Air Force One left Manila. "We actually sold $300 billion worth of equipment and other things and I think that number is going to be quadrupled very quickly."

President Trump, in Manila on the last leg of his tour of five Asian nations, only briefly touched on the question of human rights with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a deadly extra-judicial war on drugs that has left thousands dead.

President Trump — in the harshest language on trade so far on his five-nation tour of Asia — told a regional summit in Vietnam that his administration "will not tolerate" continued trade abuses and that countries must "follow the rules" if they want to do business with the U.S.

President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping say they have agreed to work together on the denuclearization of North Korea and closer cooperation on trade.

In a joint statement delivered at Beijing's Great Hall of the People with Xi, Trump praised the Chinese president as "a very special man," and earlier, he said the two enjoyed "great chemistry." The Chinese leader emphasized that while the two economic and military giants would occasionally have differences, there were opportunities to be "mutually reinforcing."

President Trump delivered a warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not to underestimate U.S. resolve in the face of Pyongyang's nuclear threats. Trump also challenged other nations — especially China — not to stand idly by while Kim pursues his aggressive nuclear program.

Pages