World News Brief, Wednesday July 8

Russia and US to dismantle hundreds of nuclear warheads; more Chinese protests defy lockdown (+backgrounders); Italy struggles to prepare for G8; Mousavi vows to fight on; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama’s speech in Russia

In a speech at the National Economic School in Moscow Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States and Russia are not "destined to be antagonists" (WSJ). He emphasized the U.S. commitment to nuclear nonproliferation (NYT), citing a new treaty he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed Monday requiring both parties to cut their strategic nuclear arsenals by at least a quarter.

Obama said the two countries should be united in their work to prevent North Korea and Iran from becoming nuclear powers. He also acknowledged Russia's opposition to the U.S. missile defense program in Europe, but emphasized that the plans to configure that program have "nothing to do" with Russia. "[I]f the threat from Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs is eliminated, the driving force for missile defense in Europe will be eliminated. That is in our mutual interest," he said.

-Full text of Obama's speech is available here.

The U.S.-Russia nuclear agreement, which came after a day of negotiation between the two leaders in Moscow, will reduce the number (Moscow Times) of nuclear warheads and missiles to the lowest level since the Cold War. Obama and Medvedev agreed to reduce their respective countries' nuclear arsenals from 2,200 to between 1,500 and 1,675 warheads, and from 1,600 to between 500 and 1,100 delivery vehicles.

In the talks with Medvedev, Obama also urged Russia (Ria Novosti) to respect Georgia's "sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The transcript of the joint press conference with Medvedev and Obama is available here.

-CFR experts Charles D. Ferguson and Stephen Sestanovich discuss the Obama-Medvedev summit in a recent media conference call.

-Reuters has reaction to Obama's speech from Russia market watchers.

- The Obama administration has billed the summit as a chance for the two countries to reset their relationship, but Russia expert Clifford Gaddy tells Spiegel that Russia has "never warmed to the reset idea," and is more interested in boosting its own image as a global power.

- In a new interview, CFR arms control expert Charles Ferguson says "nothing revolutionary" was agreed to on arms control issues in the U.S.-Russia summit.


PACIFIC RIM: China Protests Continue

Following Sunday's rioting by ethnic Muslim Uighurs in Urumqi, the capital of western China's Xinjiang province in which 156 died, thousands of Han Chinese protesters took to the streets (NYT) Tuesday. Police fired tear gas at the protesters who reportedly carried clubs, pipes, and shovels and called for revenge. The protests defy a government lockdown (Xinhua), including an imposed curfew in Urumqi. Internet services were also cut off. BBC reports earlier on Tuesday Uighur women had rallied against the arrest of more than 1,400 people over the clashes on Sunday.


A CFR Backgrounder looks at the Uighur population in Xinjiang.

Xinhua has a backgrounder on the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.


-The Wall Street Journal's China Journal blog looks at the role of the media and the Internet in China's handling of the crisis in Urumqi.

The Christian Science Monitor notes the difficulty of finding Uighur sources for news stories. "For a week last year I tried to gauge ordinary people's feelings there about the authorities. Not one person I spoke to would give his real name, and most whom I approached wanted nothing to do with me," writes staff writer Peter Ford.

In Foreign Policy, Centre for Independent Studies policy fellow John Lee says China feels it must respond harshly to the ethnic protests to maintain state stability.

North Korea: The United Nations Security Council on Monday condemned (Reuters) North Korea's missile launches last week, charging the country with violating several Security Council resolutions. A Security Council resolution passed in June following Pyongyang's second nuclear test had imposed tougher sanctions on the country.

A CFR Backgrounder looks at the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear program.



Italy preps for G8 summit.

Mousavi pledges to continue campaign.

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on