North Korea says it is able to immediately launch a nuclear attack

A piece in Korean media, Dong A Libo, reporting that North Korea had described plans to “put strategic armed forces on a high alert operation”

It means that North Korea is able to immediately launch a nuclear attack anywhere in Northeast Asia, stressing that it owns leadership for nuclear deterrent,” said Ryu Sung-yeob, a senior researcher at the Korea Research Institute for Military Affairs.
That does not sound too encouraging.
A piece in Korean media, Dong A Libo, reporting that North Korea had described plans to "put strategic armed forces on a high alert operation"

An Oil ICYMI – Russia, oil majors discuss extending the crude output cut further

Overnight oil news with a report that Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak met with domestic major oil companies on Tuesday

  • Discussions centred on implementing oil production curbs
  • possible extension of the current level of cuts beyond June
Reuters reported the info citing unnamed sources, said no final decision was reached.
Kommersant daily, citing three sources in oil industry, said Russia may keep the current level of cuts until September
I posted a couple of days ago on measures in Russia to try to ease the impact of cuts:
  • Russian President Putin has ordered bail out measures for Russia’s oil industry
Russian energy head honcho Novak:
 Russia Energy Minister Alexander Novak

China is to evacuate citizens from India – says in response to lockdown

Tensions are rising (further) on the India-China border, this posted earlier:

  • Indian media reports over 5,000 Chinese soldiers have intruded at five points into India
Now there are reports that China has said it will evacuate its citizens in India from next week. Reports are that China has arranged flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata starting June 2. The Chinese embassy on its website asked citizens wishing to return to book themselves on the flights.
China is couching the evacuation in terms that it is due to the lockdown in India, in case they are facing difficulties. But, with ties between the two countries under strain with stepped up confrontations in east Ladakh, alongside the Indian government raising scrutiny of Chinese investments, speculation is mounting there more to the evacuation.
Tensions are rising (further) on the India-China border, this posted earlier:

China says the US bill to delist Chinese companies is “directly targeting China”

Comments regarding the US’ Holding Foreign Companies Act from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) weekend statement

  • the US bill that aims to delist Chinese companies from the US stock exchange is “directly targeting China”
  • is grounded in political rather than professional motives
  • would force Chinese companies to adhere to US securities law and could potentially delist Chinese companies if passed, while some of its content explicitly targets China.
Another indication of rising US/China strains. As these increase they tend to be a negative input for financial market risk assets (and FX) and supportive of safe haven alternatives. Add it the growing list:
  • coronavirus origin and spread
  • trade
  • tension over new rules from Beijing to be imposed on Hong Kong
  • Taiwan

US administration is suspicious of China nuclear weapon tests – may do so too

A US media report that the Trump administration has discussed conducting a US nuclear test.

Citing a senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the deliberations for the info:
  • The matter came up at a meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies May 15, following accusations from administration officials that Russia and China are conducting low-yield nuclear tests – an assertion that has not been substantiated by publicly available evidence and that both countries have denied.
  • US has not decided to conduct a test, but a senior administration official said the proposal is “very much an ongoing conversation”
More at the link here.
Another hint to issues between the US and China. Add this to the list of trade tensions, HK tensions, coronavirus blame game.
A US media report that the Trump administration has discussed conducting a US nuclear test.

China’s Global Times editor calls on China to step up its nuclear warheads, deterrence

Says that the US is very powerful, & unfriendly to China and therefore calls on China to expand its number of nuclear warheads & enhance nuclear deterrence

A tweet from Hu Xijin, Editor-in-chief of Chinese and English editions of the Global Times
Says that the US is very powerful, & unfriendly to China and therefore calls on China to expand its number of nuclear warheads & enhance nuclear deterrence
The GT editor is often outspoken well beyond the bounds of everyday diplomatic language. Pretty strong stuff here from him over the weekend.

China’s parliament opens on May 21 (no balloons allowed)

Here’s a little snippet:

  • Beijing has banned the flying of all aerial vehicles and balloons for entertainment, advertisement or other purposes within its administrative area from May 20-28.
Due to the annual parliament set to open on May 21.
  • annual meeting of China’s top lawmakers and political advisers
  • nicknamed the “Two Sessions”
  • The Two Sessions include the plenary sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a body that advises the government on a range of issues.
china xi

US Sec State Pompeo says again China did not act fast enough over the coronavirus outbreak

Pompeo speaking on Fox, dialling back his rhetoric a little.

He had previously said the virus was a deliberate man-made virus, basing his comments on media reports.
Now falling back on the ‘could have moved quicker’ attack. He is on much safer ground with this given the experience the US administration has had with moving slowly on the COVID-19 outbreak.
ADDED — Uh-oh, here we go, Pompeo with more:
  • reiterates he has seen evidence the virus came for a lab in China
Pompeo speaking on Fox, dialling back his rhetoric a little.

Pres. Trump: China may or may not keep the trade deal

Will know over the next a few weeks

Pres. Trump is on the wires saying:
  • China may or may not keep the trade deal
  • He will be able to report on whether China is fulfilling its obligations under the phase 1 trade deal in about a week or 2
In other comments, Pres. Trump says:
  • Fauci and Birx will continue to hold same roles on coronavirus task force
  • fast food chain Wendy’s is going to be okay with regard to beef supply.
Earlier Pres. Trump said that public opinion is swing him to keep the coronavirus task force in place. That is something new.

South Korea spy agency says no signs that Kim Jong Un received heart surgery – report

Yonhap reports on the matter

At this point, it is pretty much believe what you will. Kim mysteriously disappeared for three weeks – with reports surfacing initially that he had a botched heart surgery – before reappearing on Saturday as local media released some images of him:

Kim
Perhaps he just had the case of COVID-19. Who knows really?