Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday morning.
Yesterday the Japanese government detected a ballistic missile launch from North Korea, and warned its citizens to prepare for a possible attack as the missile flew over northern Japan and landed in the Pacific. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff warned of retaliation against additional provocations. And less than two weeks after the South Korean president predicted that there would be no war on the Korean Peninsula, he urged his military leaders to “meet the requirements of modern warfare so that [the military] can quickly switch to an offensive posture in case North Korea stages a provocation.” The U.S. military detected three missile launches; one of which exploded early in the launch phase. The Chinese government described Monday’s missile tests as a “tipping point” for the region. This is the most serious provocation yet and the fact that the South Korean president has changed his tune regarding war on the Peninsula is significant. [source]
The Trump administration introduced additional sanctions against the Venezuelan government in a bid to punish the Maduro regime. Immediately, the Russian government accused the US of setting the stage for military intervention, which is not an unfounded accusation: just two weeks ago a spokesman for the Pentagon claimed that the U.S. military has “a range of options” for Venezuela should the Trump administration decide to act. That was just after President Trump said he would not rule out military options for the country. A Russian statement condemned the U.S. over the additional sanctions, saying: “[T]he administration is exploring options for further tightening its policy, including the potential use of force against Venezuela only ‘in case of deterioration of the situation’… [W]hat are the current US sanctions designed to achieve? … Clearly, the very logic of sanctions implies further increasing tensions.” [source]