Top news: President Obama endorsed Tuesday South Korean President Park Geun-hye's strategy for resolving tensions on the Korean Peninsula after meeting with her at the White House. Still, some tensions remain between the United States and South Korea over the degree to which the South should engage the North and whether the South ought to expand its own nuclear program.
"If Pyongyang thought its recent threats would drive a wedge between
South Korea and the United States, or somehow garner the North
international respect, today is further evidence that North Korea has
failed again," Obama said. "President Park and South Koreans have
stood firm, with confidence and resolve."
But it remains unclear whether Park considers a commitment to denuclearization by the North a precondition to talks. Park, who took office earlier this year, campaigned on a platform of trustpolitik, and analysts question whether her willingness to entertain trust-building talks with the North is at odds with U.S. policy. In recent days, tensions on the Korean Peninsula appear to have significantly de-escalated, with the North removing several missiles from their launch platforms.
U.S. and South Korean officials are currently in the process of negotiating a new civilian nuclear deal, and prior to Park's visit, they agreed to renew the current deal for two years after they were unable to reach an agreement. The Obama administration is hesitant to allow the South to reprocess or enrich its nuclear fuel, a step that would allow the country to restart its long-dormant nuclear program.
Syria: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that they will convene within weeks a conference aimed at ending the Syrian civil war. Though short on details, the announcement is a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a conflict that has been marked at the international level by a total stalemate between the United States and Russia. The announcement also comes against the background of escalating violence on the ground in Syria, including recent raids by Israeli jets inside Syria, indications of chemical weapons use, and an escalating refugee crisis.
- Syrian troops pushed into the strategic town of Khirbet Ghazaleh south of Damascus.
- Israeli activist groups said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stopped approving new settlement activity in the West Bank.
- Under the terms of a ceasefire, Kurdish rebel fighters are leaving southeastern Turkey for safe havens in northern Iraq.
- Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricketeer turned politician, was seriously injured when he fell head frist from a mechanical lift.
- Chinese exports surged 14.7 percent in April, beating analysts expectations.
- The death toll in the collapse of a Bangladesh garment factory reached 761.
- Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, a longtime political adviser to Vladimir Putin, was forced to resign amidst a power struggle.
- Police arrested 31 people in connection with a massive diamond heist at the Brussels airport earlier this year.
- A cargo ship crashed into the control tower at the port in Genoa, killing four.
- A youth political activist will spend another week in jail after he allegedly called President Robert Mugabe a "limping donkey."
- A Pakistani U.N. peacekeeper was killed in an ambush in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- A raid by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria killed 55.
- The Argentine government announced a new tax amnesty scheme aimed at pulling undeclared cash into the banking system.
- A Chilean court sentenced two former navy officers to three years of house arrest in the Pinochet-era disappearance of a left-wing priest.
- The explosion of a natural gas tanker killed 22 people in a Mexico City suburb.