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Mar 8, 2013

Analysis: Behind North Korea bluster, a record of troubling actions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea’s blood-curdling war threats are often dismissed as the kind of over-the-top rhetoric the world expects from the reclusive and eccentric leadership in Pyongyang, now in its third generation under Kim Jong-un.

But while the latest threat to launch a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” on the United States is believed by experts to be beyond North Korea’s technical capacities, and would be suicidal, history shows there can be bite behind Pyongyang’s bark.

Mar 5, 2013

Ex-officials urge renewed U.S. drive against North Korea crime income

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States should revive a crackdown on drug trafficking, counterfeiting and other illicit business by North Korea that was succeeding before it was dropped to facilitate a nuclear deal with Pyongyang, architects of that policy said on Tuesday.

A renewal of the 2001-2006 North Korea Illicit Activities Initiative would deprive Pyongyang of funds to advance its nuclear and missile programs and could force it to return to disarmament negotiations, two former George W. Bush administration officials told a House of Representatives panel.

Mar 4, 2013

Netanyahu: “Credible military threat” needed to stop Iran nuclear drive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that Iran was getting closer to being able to build a nuclear bomb despite sanctions and diplomacy and said a “clear and credible military threat” was needed to halt Tehran’s program.

Speaking via satellite link from Jerusalem, Netanyahu used an address to an influential U.S. pro-Israel lobbying group to underscore Israeli impatience with Washington’s strategy on Iran, a message that could foreshadow his talks with President Barack Obama on a Middle East visit later this month.

Mar 4, 2013

“Credible military threat” needed to stop Iran nuclear drive – Netanyahu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that Iran was getting closer to being able to build a nuclear bomb despite sanctions and diplomacy and said a “clear and credible military threat” was needed to halt Tehran’s program.

Speaking via satellite link from Jerusalem, Netanyahu used an address to an influential U.S. pro-Israel lobbying group to underscore Israeli impatience with Washington’s strategy on Iran, a message that could foreshadow his talks with President Barack Obama on a Middle East visit later this month.

Feb 28, 2013

Donors step up ties with Somalia; praise rebuilding efforts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Major Western donors have stepped up efforts in recent weeks to reengage with Somalia, opening the way for increased development assistance to a country trying to shake off years of conflict.

A senior British official said in Washington that London will host a conference with the new Somali government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on May 7. The meeting will focus on rebuilding the security forces, police, and justice system and discuss how to reengage with agencies like the World Bank.

Feb 23, 2013

On key U.S. visit, Abe vows to bring back a strong Japan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Americans on Friday “I am back and so is Japan” and vowed to get the world’s third biggest economy growing again and to do more to bolster security and the rule of law in an Asia roiled by territorial disputes.

Abe had firm words for China in a policy speech to a top Washington think-tank, but also tempered his remarks by saying he had no desire to escalate a row over islets in the East China Sea that Tokyo controls and Beijing claims.

Feb 23, 2013

Abe vows to revive Japanese economy, sees no escalation with China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Americans on Friday “I am back and so is Japan” and vowed to get the world’s third biggest economy growing again and to do more to bolster security and the rule of law in an Asia roiled by territorial disputes.

Abe had firm words for China in a policy speech to a top Washington think-tank, but also tempered his remarks by saying he had no desire to escalate a row over islets in the East China Sea that Tokyo controls and Beijing claims.

Feb 14, 2013

Secretary of State Kerry warns against deep budget cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Automatic government spending cuts set to take effect next month would undermine U.S. diplomacy and security policies at a time of turmoil across the Middle East and Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress on Thursday.

Across-the-board cuts, known as “sequestration,” set to begin on March 1, would take $2.6 billion out of the budget for the State Department and USAID, America’s development assistance agency, Kerry said.

Feb 14, 2013

Top U.S. diplomat Kerry warns against deep budget cuts

WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Automatic government spending
cuts set to take effect next month would undermine U.S.
diplomacy and security policies at a time of turmoil across the
Middle East and Africa, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told
Congress on Thursday.

Across-the-board cuts, known as “sequestration,” set to
begin on March 1, would take $2.6 billion out of the budget for
the State Department and USAID, America’s development assistance
agency, Kerry said.

Feb 13, 2013

North Korea nuclear-test drama rehashes old script

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – A North Korean nuclear test draws international condemnation, modest U.N. sanctions and expressions of hope in the United States that China will finally rein in its brazen ally.

Beijing chides North Korea, but nothing much happens.

The world has seen this movie before and it’s likely to witness another rerun after North Korea’s third nuclear test on Tuesday.