US, South Korea growing apart on how to denuclearize North Korea
As South Korea extends its engagement with North Korea, there appears to be a widening rift between Washington and Seoul over how to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization.
South Korea is pushing a series of economic undertakings with North Korea with the goal of improving inter-Korean relations, according to analysts, while Washington is stressing the need for continuing the maximum pressure campaign of international sanctions on Pyongyang.
In a lively televised speech anniversary of the Korean liberation from 35 years of Japanese occupation, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the nation’s attention to the government’s plans to improve relations with the North through reconciliation and economic projects.
Moon stressed that the revenue from inter-Korean economic cooperation is "estimated to reach 70 trillion won at a minimum over the next 30 years," citing research by a state-run organization. The amount is equivalent to approximately $62.4 billion.
However, the U.S. remains cautious, and in response to the upcoming summit, the State Department said the progress of inter-Korean developments should be tied to denuclearization.
Washington also stressed the need for maintaining the maximum pressure on North Korea through international sanctions.
Pence Reaffirms Vision for 'American Dominance in Space' but Offers No New Details
Vice President Mike Pence is in Houston, Texas, Thursday to reaffirm the Trump administration’s plans to establish an American Space Force by 2020, return Americans to the moon, and set its sight on Mars and beyond.
During a speech at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Pence said that recent Pentagon reports have shown that China is "aggressively weaponizing space" and that Russia is developing weapons to "counter America’s space capabilities."
Pence said the Department of Defense is moving forward to "strengthen American security in space" and that the administration will work with Congress to secure funding and authorization to establish Space Force as a new and separate branch of the armed forces.
Pence also highlighted efforts to move the Lunar Orbital Platform, formerly known as the Deep Space Gateway, from proposal phase to production.
NASA, the main U.S. agency for space exploration, and several of its partners, have been developing plans for this lunar-orbit space station that would be used as a staging point for lunar exploration and would have several gateway-to-space features, including a propulsion system, a habitat for the crew, and docking capability.
There is little new detail in Pence's speech other than reiterating the administration’s vision for "American dominance in space."
Space Force has been mentioned by Pence on several occasions, and a theme that President Donald Trump often returns to, including during his rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Tuesday.
Trump first announced the creation of Space Force at the White House in June. He pledged to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, framing it as a national security issue, and saying he does not want "China and Russia and other countries leading us."