World News Brief, Friday August 16

Egypt declares state of emergency; China calls in Japanese ambassador; North and South Korea should hold reunions for families separated by war, says Park Geun-hye; UN heads to Syria; new Paraguayan president takes power; and more

Top of the Agenda: Egypt Declares State of Emergency as Death Toll Climbs

After a military crackdown on pro-Morsi supporters in Cairo, Egyptian authorities on Thursday raised the death toll to 525 (AP), marking Wednesday as the deadliest day since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak. The government declared a nationwide state of emergency as the Muslim Brotherhood announced plans (al-Jazeera) to march in the capital in protest. In reaction, the United States and other countries, including Turkey, strongly condemned the actions by the Egyptian security forces, while France and Germany (al-Arabiya) summoned Egyptian ambassadors over the violence. Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate and liberal voice, resigned in protest of the use of force.


"Although virtually all political actors have leveraged the language of political reform and espoused liberal ideas, they have nevertheless sought to wield power through exclusion. This has created an environment in which the losers do not process their grievances through elections, parliamentary debate, consensus-building, and compromise -- but through military intervention and street protests," writes CFR's Steven Cook for Foreign Policy.

"The military's crackdown will inevitably lead to more violence and instability, putting at risk broader U.S. strategic interests. The Obama administration must now make the long overdue move to suspend American assistance until Egypt's government demonstrates a return to a political process," writes CFR's Isobel Coleman for USA Today.

"When the Obama administration could not call the coup d'état by its name, we put on display our unwillingness to honor our own democratic creed. Egypt has long been in the American strategic orbit. When our secretary of state opined that the army was 'restoring democracy,' we gave away the moral and strategic incoherence of an administration that has long lost its way," writes Fouad Ajami for the Wall Street Journal.



China Calls in Japanese Ambassador

China summoned Japan's ambassador on Thursday to lodge a strong complaint (SCMP) after two Japanese cabinet ministers visited Yasukuni Shrine, a controversial shrine for Japan's war dead. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering, but refrained from visiting in person.

CFR's Sheila Smith talks about Abe's diplomatic agenda in this new blog post.

SOUTH KOREA: South Korean president Park Geun-hye said Thursday that South and North Korea should hold reunions (Yonhap) for families separated by the war and establish a peace park at the border.

Expert Marcus Noland discusses the North and South's renewed progress in this interview.


UN heads to Syria

New president takes power in Paraguay

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