Council on Foreign Relations: Daily news brief, Nov. 2, 2022

November 2, 2022
Top of the Agenda

Seoul Fires Back After Barrage of North Korean Missile Tests

North Korea fired a missile that crossed the Northern Limit Line, a maritime border with South Korea that Pyongyang does not recognize (CNN), for the first time since the 1950–53 Korean War. South Korea’s military called the launch “rare and intolerable” and responded by firing three missiles (Yonhap) into waters north of the line. North Korea’s missile was one of as many as twenty-three it test-fired into the seas off of South Korea’s east and west coasts today. The missile deployment was North Korea’s largest in a single day. The launches came after U.S.-South Korea military drills began on Monday. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to meet with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon tomorrow.  

“Both sides [are] trying to signal they won’t be intimidated by the other by upping the ante. We’re seeing what ‘power for power’ looks like. But are egos too high now to take steps to deescalate? Do we need some mediation?” the Stimson Center’s Jenny Town tweets. “This North Korean buildup is occurring in an international climate that is favorable for North Korea. Washington’s mounting animosity with both China and Russia means that those countries are less likely than ever to cooperate with the United States and its allies in strengthening sanctions on North Korea,” the Wilson Center’s Sue Mi Terry writes for Foreign Affairs. This Backgrounder looks at North Korea’s military capabilities.
Pacific Rim

Chinese Factories Hit by COVID-19 Lockdowns

Rising COVID-19 cases triggered a lockdown (Nikkei) in an industrial zone in the central city of Zhengzhou that houses the massive factory campus of iPhone supplier Foxconn and forced electric vehicle maker NIO to pause production at two plants in the city of Hefei. For Foreign Affairs, CFR’s Yanzhong Huang discusses how China can reopen without a crisis.
South and Central Asia

U.S. Watchdog for Afghanistan Spending Says Washington Shunned Queries

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko said the Joe Biden administration would not provide details (Bloomberg) about how it has spent $1.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghans since the Taliban’s takeover. Two federal agencies said the funding is outside Sopko’s purview. CFR’s Max Boot writes that the United States holds limited influence in the Taliban’s Afghanistan. 

Pakistan: Some eight million people need essential health assistance (UN News) in the aftermath of this summer’s nationwide flooding, the World Health Organization said. 
Middle East and North Africa

Partial Israeli Election Results Suggest Strong Showing for Netanyahu

With 85 percent of votes counted, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netan
yahu’s bloc of right-wing parties were projected to win a comfortable majority (Times of Israel) in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. The far-right Otzma Yehudit party led by Itamar Ben Gvir, formerly a fringe political figure, is set to represent some 10 percent of the electorate. 

Iran: Security forces have used school report cards, attendance lists, and security cameras to surveil young anti-government protesters, the Washington Post reported.
Sub-Saharan Africa

UN Troops Retreat From DRC Base 

UN peacekeepers that had been supporting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in combating the March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group said they made a “strategic and tactical” retreat (Reuters) from the military base of Rumangabo. 

Somalia: For the first time, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions (CNN) on entities it said are linked to the self-declared Islamic State in Somalia. Some also have ties to al-Shabaab, which claimed an attack that killed one hundred people in the capital, Mogadishu, over the weekend.

Russia Returns to Ukraine Grain Deal Days After Pulling Out

Moscow resumed participation (Reuters) in a deal allowing grain shipments to leave Ukrainian ports after it received guarantees that Kyiv would not use the grain corridor for military operations against Russia. It had left the deal on Saturday, citing an alleged attack on its Black Sea fleet. 

Denmark: The ruling Social Democratic Party won a slim majority (The Guardian) in parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is expected to include right-wing politicians in her government after campaigning on a pledge to build a left-right coalition.

Bolsonaro Government Agrees to Transition After Election Loss

In his first public statement since losing Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, President Jair Bolsonaro praised demonstrators protesting his loss but did not himself contest the results (NYT). Separately, he authorized his chief of staff to begin the presidential transition process.  

Canada: The government announced plans (NYT) to attract 1.45 million immigrants by 2025, with a preference toward skilled workers in sectors experiencing labor shortages. This Backgrounder unpacks Canada’s immigration policy.
United States

Federal Judge Orders Group Away From Arizona Ballot Boxes

The temporary restraining order came after complaints that armed members of Clean Elections USA were intimidating voters (AP) in Arizona’s Maricopa County.
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