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The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 17 June 2020

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FILE PHOTO - A North Korean soldier looks toward the south as a South Korean soldier stands guard in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, South Korea, August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Pool

North Korea Escalates Tensions With South Korea.

North Korea has destroyed a joint liaison office with South Korea, near the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

It follows North Korean military threats of action at the border area, after accusing South Korea of disseminating leaflets in the North.

With North Korea also rejecting South Korea's offer to send special envoys, what will it take to deescalate the situation?

(See Point 6 Below)

The Daily Quick-Look for 17 June 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours and why they matter. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

*BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

1. UNITED STATES - Political: Harvard professor pleads not guilty in U.S. to lying about China ties

BLUF: A Harvard University professor pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he lied to U.S. authorities about his ties to a China-run recruitment program and funding he received from the Chinese government for research. Charles Lieber, the former chair of Harvard’s chemistry and chemical biology department, pleaded not guilty to making false statements during a videoconference held before a federal magistrate judge in Boston. Lieber’s case is one of the highest-profile to emerge from a U.S. Justice Department crackdown on Chinese influence within universities amid concerns about spying and intellectual property theft by the Chinese government. (Reuters. See link in heading) Why It Matters: Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence within universities has been widely discussed this year, particularly in Sweden, where Confucius Institutes have been closed, and in Australia, particularly at the University of Queensland, where a student had faced removal for criticizing Beijing's actions in Hong Kong.

2. VENEZUELA - Political: Venezuela top court ousts leaders of opposition parties in run-up to congress vote

BLUF: Venezuela’s pro-government supreme court has ousted the leaders of two key opposition parties and put them in the hands of politicians widely accused of being shadow allies of the ruling Socialist Party, months ahead of legislative elections. The move is certain to fuel criticism that Maduro is tampering with elections to prevent voters from punishing the Socialist Party for a crushing economic collapse that has forced some 5 million people to emigrate. And it threatens to leave opposition candidates with no party platform in the parliamentary vote, which is expected to take place this year but has not been formally scheduled. (Reuters. See link in heading) Why It Matters: President Maduro has tightened his grip on Venezuela, controlling the supreme court and making it near-impossible to have his power challenged by the opposition, with Juan Guaido being recongnised by certain countries as the leader of the country; with little effect to Maduro himself.

3. BRAZIL - Security (Health): Brazil Posts Record Daily Virus Cases as Disease Spreads Inland

BLUF: Brazil reported a record number of daily cases from coronavirus as the pandemic continues to rage across Latin America’s largest nation. The country, which trails only the U.S. in cases and deaths, reported 34,918 new cases, bringing the number of infections to 923,189. The data compiled by Brazilian states also showed 1,282 new fatalities, pushing the total toll to 45,241. (Bloomberg. See link in heading). Why It Matters: President Jair Bolsonaro has struggled with his own government regarding the global pandemic, that has seen Brazil continue to surge through its first wave outbreak, as other countries, such as New Zealand, risk entering a second wave.

4. DENMARK - Security (Health)/Politics: Black Lives Matter protester in Denmark was infected with coronavirus, health minister says

BLUF: Denmark’s health minister on Tuesday urged people who took part in a large Black Lives Matter demonstration in Copenhagen to get tested for COVID-19 after one protester tested positive. Around 15,000 people took to the streets in Copenhagen on June 7 to protest against racism and police brutality, spurred by the killing of black U.S. citizen George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer. (Reuters. See link in heading) Why It Matters: The global protests, where governments have seemingly ignored their own risk mitigation advice for coronavirus, will likely bring a second wave outbreak to those countries participating, such as Australia; who has recorded new confirmed cases directly from BLM protests in Melbourne.

5. INDIA/CHINA - Security/Political: Indian Army says 20 soldiers killed in clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan area

BLUF: Twenty Indian personnel, including a Colonel, were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops on Monday along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, in what is possibly the worst incident between the two countries in decades. The clashes came amidst a “de-escalation” process in the Galwan area that was started last week, after a month long standoff between troops at several points along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim. (The Hindu. See link in heading) Why It Matters: This situation has been escalating for the last month, with other 'skirmishes' recently occurring. During the global pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China has moved relentlessly to expand and consolidate power in contested or controversial areas such as the South China Seas, Hong Kong; along with threats toward Taiwan.

6. NORTH/SOUTH KOREA - Security/Political: North Korea blows up joint liaison office with South in Kaesong , North Korea rejects South's offer of envoys, vows to send back troops to border

BLUF: North Korea has blown up a joint liaison office with the South near the North's border town of Kaesong. The move comes just hours after the North renewed threats of military action at the Korean border. The site was opened in 2018 to help the Koreas - officially in a state of war - to communicate. It had been empty since January due to Covid-19 restrictions. (BBC. See link in heading)

North Korea said on Wednesday it has rejected South Korea’s offer to send special envoys, and vowed to send back troops to demilitarised border units in the latest step towards nullifying inter-Korean peace accords. The warning was made by state media KCNA one day after North Korea blew up a joint liaison office set up in a border town as part of a 2018 agreement by the two countries’ leaders, amid flaring tension over propaganda leaflets sent by defectors into the reclusive state. (Reuters. See link in heading)

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The reporting period for this Daily Quick-Look is the previous 24 hours (unless stated otherwise). This Daily Quick-Look is comprised of reports from agencies around the world, and are referenced where possible. Deciport LLC is in no way associated with any agency listed. This Daily Quick-Look is for information purposes only. This Daily Quick-Look is not intended for planning purposes. The comments that comprise the 'Why It Matters' do not represent the opinions, viewpoints or assessment of the agency from which the linked source report originated, and is intended to add context for the reader as part of a summary.

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