Travelling with James Mattis, Donald Trump's Pick for Secretary of Defense

The New Yorker

In September, 2011, I met General James Mattis, then in charge of U.S. Central Command, at its headquarters, in Tampa, Florida. Central Command directs American military forces in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The General's staff had agreed to allow me to travel with him on an extensive tour of "the sandbox," as American military officers sometimes call the region. The itinerary was the sort that a travel agent on hallucinogens might propose: Tampa-Amman-Cairo-Doha-Abu Dhabi-Islamabad-Kabul, plus a final stopover in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I would be the only reporter on his plane for eight days or so.

World leaders react to Trump victory with apprehension and applause

PBS NewsHour

The election was watched closely, both with anticipation and fear. And, as chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports, today, the rest of the world awoke to an America profoundly changed. MARGARET WARNER: The stunning news ricocheted around the world from Tehran to Tokyo, Istanbul to Berlin, met with apprehension by some and applause by others. In Moscow, the Russian Parliament erupted in cheers at the announcement, and President Vladimir Putin was among the first to congratulate Trump, who had lauded Putin as a strong leader. Nathan Hodge is a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Moscow.

Abe and Trump agree to close coordination on North Korea nuclear issue

The Japan Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday that he and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on the importance of close coordination over North Korean issues as Pyongyang continues to make advances in its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. During a 45-minute phone conversation following a two-day meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, Abe also told the U.S. leader that Tokyo is watching closely how Beijing responds to the issues, Abe told reporters. Abe said he and Trump also "frankly exchanged opinions" over the issue of Syria as well as North Korea, following Thursday's U.S. military strike on a Syrian military airfield from which a chemical attack was allegedly launched, killing dozens of civilians including children. Abe conveyed to Trump Japan's support for "the U.S. resolve to fulfill its responsibility to prevent the proliferation and use of chemical weapons," according to a Japanese official. Trump responded by saying that the missile attack was intended to ensure chemical weapons will never again be used following the casualties among Syrian civilians, the official said.

Japan, U.S., South Korea agree: no easing of North Korea sanctions without progress in nuke talks

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO – The top diplomats of Japan, the United States and South Korea on Tuesday urged North Korea to refrain from military provocation and continue denuclearization talks, but ruled out any easing of crushing economic sanctions without progress in the stalled negotiations. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi held discussions with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Kang Kyung-wha, in East Palo Alto, just outside San Francisco, two weeks after a deadline set by Pyongyang for progress by the end of 2019 passed. "We agreed on the importance of North Korea making positive efforts in talks with the United States rather than going through with provocative moves," Motegi told reporters. The statement appeared to contradict remarks in a New Year speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in a day earlier in Seoul, where he said that he could seek exemptions of U.N. sanctions to bring about improved inter-Korean relations that he believes would help restart the deadlocked nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. Moon has previously made similar comments, despite outside worries that any lifting of sanctions could undermine U.S.-led efforts to eliminate North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

Asian markets fall for 2nd day after oil decline

U.S. News

Asian stock markets fell for a second day Thursday after declines in prices of oil and other commodities pulled Wall Street lower. KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 percent to 2,994.93 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.2 Sydney's S&P ASX 200 fell 1.1 percent to 5,085.60 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.3 percent to 16,956.11. Seoul's Kospi shed 0.3 percent to 1,989.22 and benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and Jakarta also declined. Indian markets were closed for a holiday.