AFP news reported on July 22 that a spokesman for the North Korean delegation at the ASEAN security talks in Hanoi has condemned the U.S.-South Korea naval exercises planned for July 25 as a threat to global peace. The USS George Washington aircraft carrier arrived in the South Korean port of Busan on July 21 to take part in the exercises. 

Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass has penned a cover story for Newsweek magazine calling for a smaller U.S. presence in Afghanistan, but not complete withdrawal.

Speaking at a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on July 21 that the United States will impose new sanctions on North Korea. The impetus for the sanctions against the communist nation was strengthened by the North’s suspected torpedo attack that sank South Korea’s ROKS Cheonan on March 26, as well as by the Pyongyang regime’s failure to accede to international demands to reveal the details of its nuclear program.

International leaders meeting at a conference held at the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 20 renewed their commitment to turn over responsibility for the nation’s security to the Afghan government by 2014.

AmiriThe return of Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri to Iran from CIA custody has news agencies wondering whether he defected or was kidnapped by the CIA during a June 2009 hajj (Islamic religious pilgrimage) to Mecca. “Americans wanted me to say that I defected to America of my own will, to use me for revealing some false information about Iran's nuclear work," Amiri said from Tehran airport last week, claiming, "I was under intensive psychological pressure by [the] CIA.... The main aim of this abduction was to stage a new political and psychological game against Iran.”

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