China Convicts US Businesswoman of Spying
Chun Han Wong and Charles Hutzler, WALL STREET JOURNAL
A Chinese court convicted a long-detained American businesswoman of espionage and ordered her imprisoned and deported in a case seen as a barometer of US-China relations. After a half-day trial Tuesday, the court ordered Phan Phan-Gillis imprisoned for three and a half years and deported for espionage. The judge didn’t say if Ms. Phan-Gillis, a 57-year-old business consultant from Houston who has already been detained for two years, would be deported before serving the remainder of her term. How her punishment is carried out will likely determine whether Ms. Phan-Gillis’s case remains an issue in US-China relations.
China is Selling Flights to North Korea Again
Jethro Mullen, CNN MONEY
Air China is offering flights between Beijing and North Korea again after a brief halt. The state-owned carrier said April 14 that it was suspending flights to North Korea’s capital Pyongyang because of poor sales. Less than two weeks later, Air China’s website is offering flight bookings again from May 5. The announcement of the temporary suspension drew attention during a period of heightened tensions between the US and North Korea. President Trump has been urging China to do more to pressure Kim Jong-un’s regime over its nuclear weapons program. But there was no official indication Air China’s move had anything to do with political calculations in Beijing.
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Reiterates the Island’s Desire for Dialogue with the US
Nora Gámez Torres, MIAMI HERALD
In another apparent attempt to get a high-profile message to Washington, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs during a swing through Europe repeated the island’s desire to maintain the level of dialogue and cooperation that started under former President Barack Obama. “The current government of the United States has said it is reviewing its policy towards Cuba. We reiterate our readiness for dialogue and cooperation on the basis of the absolute respect for our sovereignty,” Bruno Rodríguez told Spain’s RTVE in an interview. Cuban ruler Raúl Castro made a similar offer of dialogue just a few days following Trump’s inauguration in January.
Imprisoned in North Korea: The Cases of Three Americans
Russell Goldman, THE NEW YORK TIMES
When Americans are detained in North Korea, they can expect harsh conditions, with tiny prison cells, little food or water and even less daylight. And their story line is preordained: A forced confession, a show trial, a sentence to years of hard labor with little chance of appeal. The arrest on Saturday of Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-duk, brings to three the number of American citizens currently being held in North Korea. But the experiences of other Americans who have been detained and eventually released by North Korea, often with the help of prominent American politicians, crack open the door on the secretive regime’s network of prison camps and the deprivation found there.
North Koreans Celebrate “Army Day” as US Submarine Lurks in the South
Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Juliet Perry, CNN
North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary of the founding of its army Tuesday, a significant date in the country’s calendar. The day is marked with a public holiday, and despite the USS Michigan, one of America’s most powerful submarines, arriving in South Korea Tuesday in an apparent show of force, there was no sign of tension in Pyongyang as North Koreans took to the streets to celebrate.
Putin’s Friend Emerges From Shadows in Ukraine
Neil Buckley and Roman Olearchyk, FINANCIAL TIMES
Viktor Medvedchuk has an unusually powerful godfather to his daughter: Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian is also under US sanctions for “threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity” of his country. So why is Mr. Medvedchuk involved in negotiations over the future of separatist-held east Ukraine—on Kiev’s side? Mr. Medvedchuk, 62, has long been one of Ukraine’s most divisive and enigmatic political figures. Chief of staff to Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma in the 2000s, Mr. Medvedchuk is close enough to Mr. Putin to raise deep animosity among many in Kiev.
Russian Bombers Near Alaska Likely Linked to New Flight Tests
Ellen Mitchell, THE HILL
The Pentagon suspects the recent intercepts of Russian aircraft near Alaska are related to new testing on long-grounded Soviet bombers. “This was the first time in about two and a half years we have seen Russia conduct long-range bomber missions like this in and around Alaska,” Defense Department spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters. “I can’t divine their intent; it’s certainly well known that they had some maintenance problems with this particular type of bomber and grounded them for some period of time,” he added. All flights were intercepted by US jets and escorted out of the ADIZ. The flights mark the first time since 2015 that Russian planes have approached the US mainland.
Haley: Another Missile Test by North Korea Could Prompt US Military Action
Louis Nelson, POLITICO
Another ballistic missile test from North Korea could prompt a military reaction from the United States, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Monday morning. Speaking from Washington, where she and other members of the UN Security Council later met with President Donald Trump, Haley told NBC that “we are not going to do anything unless he gives us reason to do something.” But should North Korea continue its recent pattern of saber-rattling, Haley said the US is prepared to respond with military force.
Venezuela Investigates Shooting of Caracas Police Chief, Death Toll at 26
The Venezuelan Attorney General’s Office is investigating an incident during which the Caracas chief of police suffered a gunshot wound in the leg. Before daybreak Tuesday, Police Chief Robinson Antonio Navarro Acosta was shot while patrolling near the Guarataro neighborhood, where security forces had been dispersing a demonstration. With near-daily demonstrations by both opponents and supporters of Maduro, there have been fatalities on both sides, as well as one National Guard sergeant killed during a protest. Nearly 1,500 people have been arrested, with 801 still detained as of Tuesday, rights group Penal Forum said.