最近几天,广东梅州因暴雨造成的死亡人数急剧上升。 Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

At least 47 people have died in southern China’s Guangdong Province after torrential rains set off flooding and landslides, according to the Chinese authorities.


The city of Meizhou, home to about 3.8 million people, began experiencing “once-in-a-century” rainfall last week, according to state media. On Monday, officials were still working to restore power and water to some residents, after they said on Sunday that around 9,000 households remained without electricity.


Initially, officials reported that nine people in Meizhou had died. But on Friday afternoon, the death toll leaped dramatically, as officials reported an additional 38 deaths in Pingyuan, a county under Meizhou’s jurisdiction. Two more people there were still missing, they said, though no more information has been released.


More than 100,000 people were evacuated, state media said.


Meizhou has been hit hard by extreme weather this year. In May, 48 people died after a nearly 60-foot segment of an expressway there collapsed, also after days of heavy rain.


Flooding-related deaths have also been reported in the nearby provinces of Fujian, Guangxi and Hunan this month. On Monday in Changsha, the capital city of Hunan, the police rescued people trapped in waist-deep water near a major train station, official media said.


The whole country is bracing for a summer of potential weather-related disasters. Even as, southern China has been battered on and off by severe rain for months, provinces in the north have warned of drought. The capital city of Beijing last week was under a heat warning. And around the world, this year is on track to be the hottest in recorded history.


The Chinese authorities have warned that abnormally high amounts of rain are likely to continue falling until the end of the month, concentrated in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.


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上周以色列南部加沙边境附近的以色列士兵。 Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Israel’s prime minister says the war in the Gaza Strip will soon enter a new phase.


“The intense stage of the war with Hamas is about to end,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a television interview on Sunday. “This does not mean that the war is about to end, but the war in its intense phase is about to end.”


But whatever relief those comments may bring after more than half a year of horrific bloodshed, Mr. Netanyahu quickly made two things clear: A cease-fire in Gaza is not at hand. And the next fight might be in Lebanon, with the forces of a Hamas ally, Hezbollah.


After drawing down troops in Gaza, he said, “We will be able to move part of our forces to the north.”


Mr. Netanyahu stopped well short of announcing an invasion of Lebanon, a move that would likely result in heavy Israeli and Lebanese losses, and instead left open the door for a diplomatic resolution with Hezbollah.


Any diplomatic resolution in Gaza remains uncertain, in part because Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition would likely collapse if Israel stopped fighting in Gaza without having removed Hamas from power.


Still, the prime minister appeared to be signaling that Israel, after finishing its current military operation in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, will not seek to mount major ground invasions of cities in central Gaza, the only area of the territory where the Israeli military has not carried out such attacks.


While Israeli leaders have said since January that they were transitioning to a lower-intensity war, the end of the Rafah operation might allow for the completion of that process.


The remarks from Mr. Netanyahu, and recent comments by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who was in Washington on Monday, indicated that the focus of Israel’s political discourse and strategic planning is shifting to its northern border with Lebanon.


In a statement on Monday, Mr. Gallant’s office said that he had discussed with American officials “the transition to ‘Phase C’ in Gaza and its impact on the region, including vis-à-vis Lebanon and other areas.”


Early in the war, Mr. Gallant outlined a three-phase battle plan that included intense airstrikes against Hamas targets and infrastructure; a period of ground operations aimed at “eliminating pockets of resistance”; and a third phase, or Phase C, that would create “a new security reality for the citizens of Israel.”


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Since October, Israel has been fighting a low-level conflict with Hezbollah that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians on both sides of the border. But the fighting has been overshadowed by the larger war in Gaza.


The shift in rhetoric over the weekend could be the harbinger of a major escalation between Hezbollah and Israel.


Israeli officials have been warning for months that they may invade Lebanon if Hezbollah, a powerful Iranian-backed militia that dominates southern Lebanon, does not withdraw its forces from near its border. Hezbollah has also threatened to invade Israel.


But a diminution in the fighting in Gaza could also end up creating space for a de-escalation of the hostilities at the Lebanese border. Hezbollah joined the fight in October in solidarity with Hamas, and its leadership has indicated that it could wind down its campaign if the war in Gaza ebbs.


Here are four ways the shift in Israel’s stance in Gaza may play out.


1. Raids in Gaza, but smaller ones

1. 袭击加沙,但规模较小

Once the Israeli campaign in Rafah ends in the coming weeks, the military is expected to focus on hostage-rescue operations across the Gaza Strip, like the one that rescued four Israelis in early June and killed scores of Palestinians.


Military officials also say they will continue to briefly raid neighborhoods they captured during earlier phases of the war, to prevent Hamas fighters from regaining too much strength in those areas


Templates for that kind of operation include Israel’s return to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City in March, four months after first raiding it, or its three-week operation in May in Jabaliya, which Israeli forces also first captured in November.


2. A Gaza power vacuum

2. 加沙权力真空

By withdrawing from much of Gaza without ceding power to an alternative Palestinian leadership, Israel might essentially allow Hamas’s leaders to retain their dominance over the ruined enclave, at least for now.


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It is possible that if it raided Gaza regularly, the Israeli military could prevent Hamas from returning to its former strength — but that would prolong a power vacuum in which large clans and gangs compete with Hamas for influence. That vacuum would make it even harder to rebuild Gaza, distribute aid and alleviate civilian suffering.


Israel is expected to retain control of Gaza’s border with Egypt, to deter arms smuggling there. It is also expected to continue to occupy a strip of land that separates northern and southern Gaza, preventing free movement between the two areas.


3. War with Hezbollah, or de-escalation

3. 与真主党开战,或者缓和局势

By moving more troops to its northern border, Israel’s military would be better placed to invade Lebanon so it can force Hezbollah’s fighters farther away from Israeli territory.


But a buildup of troops there could provoke more rocket strikes from Hezbollah, increasing the likelihood of a miscalculation that could spiral into all-out war. Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warned last week that the group could invade Israel, and the risk of escalation appears closer than it has in months.


At the same time, Israel’s declaration that it is moving into a new phase in Gaza could also provide a context for de-escalation. Less fighting in Gaza could give Hezbollah an off-ramp. In February, Mr. Nasrallah said that his group would stop firing “when the shooting stops in Gaza.”


A period of relative calm along the Lebanon border might also prompt displaced Israelis to return home. That in turn would ease pressure on the Israeli government to take firmer action against Hezbollah. One of the main reasons Israeli leaders considered invading Lebanon was to create conditions in which displaced Israelis could be convinced to return home.


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4. Continued tensions with the Biden administration

4. 与拜登政府关系持续紧张

By announcing a drawdown in Gaza, Mr. Netanyahu reduced one source of friction with President Biden, but maintained others.


Mr. Biden has criticized Israel’s conduct of the war, even as his administration continues to fund Israel and supply it with arms. A less destructive war in Gaza will offer less opportunity for arguments with Washington over Israeli military strategy.


But Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal to articulate a clear plan for postwar governance of Gaza, as well as the lingering possibility of an Israeli invasion of Lebanon, leaves ample opportunity for disagreement with Washington.


The Biden administration wants the fighting with Hezbollah to end, and it has pressed Mr. Netanyahu for months to empower an alternative Palestinian leadership in Gaza. But Mr. Netanyahu has kept Gaza’s future vague, amid pressure from his right-wing coalition partners to occupy and resettle the territory with Israelis.




权平注视着他去年抵达时的仁川滩涂。 Woohae Cho for The New York Times

The dissident’s lone regret after his 200-mile escape across the Yellow Sea was not taking night vision goggles.


Nearing the end of his jet ski journey out of China last summer, Kwon Pyong peered through the darkness off the South Korean coast. As he approached the shore, sea gulls appeared to bob as if floating. He steered forward, then ran aground: The birds were sitting on mud.


“I had everything — sunscreen, backup batteries, a knife to cut buoy lines,” he recalled in an interview. He was prepared to signal his location with a laser pen if he became stranded and to burn his notes with a lighter if he were captured. He also had a visa to enter South Korea, and had intended to arrive at a port of entry, he said, not strand himself on a mud flat.


It wasn’t enough.


Mr. Kwon, 36 and an ethnic Korean, had mocked China’s powerful leader and criticized how the ruling Communist Party was persecuting hundreds of pro-democracy activists at home and abroad. In response, he said, he faced an exit ban and years of detention, prison and surveillance.


But fleeing to South Korea did not offer the relief he expected. He was still hounded by the Chinese state, he said, and spent time in detention. Even after he was released, he was in legal limbo: neither wanted nor allowed to leave.


It would take 10 more months for Mr. Kwon to be permitted to leave South Korea. Days before he flew out on Sunday, he returned to the mud flat where he haplessly came ashore off Incheon last summer and recounted for the first time publicly the details of his meticulously planned journey.


Court documents from his criminal case in South Korea, past interviews with his friends and family and a statement from the Incheon Coast Guard last year corroborated many of the details in his account.


On a Yamaha WaveRunner purchased with the equivalent of $25,000 in cash, withdrawn from several banks to avoid tipping off the police, Mr. Kwon set off on the morning of Aug. 16 from the foggy coast of the Shandong Peninsula.


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He said he wore a black life jacket and motorcycle helmet for the journey, where he crashed into 10-foot waves and dodged floating rice wine bottles. As his skin burned from the summer sun, he fell into the sea twice, losing his sunglasses.


He refueled using the five barrels of gas that he had tied to the WaveRunner. For himself, he had five bottles of water and five ham and tuna sandwiches. He navigated using a marine compass and a smartphone he had acquired from someone else.


His first glimpse of land came as the setting sun gave the islands off South Korea a warm glow. What was supposed to take eight hours turned to 14. By the time Mr. Kwon arrived in Incheon, the pink sky he had stopped to admire had faded to black.


He did not see any boats or ships on guard, he said, even as he entered a heavily militarized area that the navy monitors for activity, including defectors from North Korea.


Mr. Kwon — who speaks Chinese, English and some Korean — called the local police for help. For an hour, he waited while trying to fend off mosquitoes by walking around his watercraft in beige Crocs.


That night, he said, the Incheon Coast Guard and the South Korean Marine Corps rescued him, detained him and began investigating him along with the South Korean National Intelligence Service.


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South Korea rarely accepts refugees, and the authorities served him a deportation order. But over the next months, he was also banned from leaving the country as he fought a criminal charge of unlawful entry, which can be punished with up to five years in prison.


He said that he wondered how things might have unfolded had his arrival gone as planned.


South Korean prosecutors did not lift the exit ban they imposed on Mr. Kwon until his criminal case was finished this month. He said he planned to apply for asylum in the United States or Canada. His flight on Sunday was bound for Newark.


“I want to live my own life,” he said. “I want to live in peace for a while.”


Mr. Kwon, whose Chinese name is Quan Ping, is from a city in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin, near the border with North Korea. He has visited South Korea, his grandfather’s birthplace, regularly since childhood. He spent his college years in the United States, where he went by Johnny, participated in Iowa State University’s Army R.O.T.C. program and took flying lessons, he said.


He studied aerospace engineering at the university for a few years and returned in 2012 to China, where he ran an online clothing brand and traded cryptocurrencies. He continued traveling widely, touring Lebanon and Syria as an aspiring photojournalist, he said.


He first drew the ire of the Chinese authorities when he began criticizing the Communist Party online. In 2016, he posted on social media about antigovernment protests he had attended in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory. He wore a T-shirt calling China’s leader, Xi Jinping, “Xitler.”


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Chinese authorities arrested Mr. Kwon that year and sentenced him in 2017 to 18 months in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” a charge frequently leveled against dissidents and human rights lawyers.


After his release in 2018, the police tapped his communications, tracked his movements and periodically interrogated him, he said. State agents, he added, were alarmed by his contact with the leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, including Wang Dan, once one of China’s most wanted men.


“I couldn’t live a normal life,” he said.


China’s Ministry of Public Security did not respond to a request for comment.


Mr. Kwon grew desperate to leave as the police investigated his family and friends. He said his plans to leave China by sea were inspired in part by the 1994 movie “The Shawshank Redemption” and by Lindsay Warner, an explorer who circumnavigated Australia on a Jet Ski. He decided South Korea was his only viable option.


He left behind his e-commerce and crypto operations, as well as his friends, family members and a girlfriend.


After the rescue from the mud flat, Mr. Kwon said, investigators seemed baffled by his story and interrogated him, threatened to torture him and denied his request for a lawyer. The Incheon Coast Guard, which led the investigation, said in a statement that “there were no human rights violations” during the investigation.


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In court, Mr. Kwon argued that he was a political refugee and had intended to arrive legally at the Incheon Port, less than a mile from the mud flat, with a tourist visa. A judge found him guilty of unlawful entry in November, handing down a suspended one-year prison sentence with a two-year probationary period.


The verdict released Mr. Kwon from custody but not from legal limbo. Immigration officials imposed an exit ban as prosecutors appealed the judge’s decision.


While living in his parents’ house in Ansan, south of Seoul, Mr. Kwon went to the gym, read books about crypto trading and volunteered at an English language school for adults. He said he also befriended a group of Nigerian refugees by joining their soccer club.


But he didn’t let his guard down. He stuck to the routines he had developed in China: constantly checking for security cameras, and using encrypted texting apps and signal-blocking Faraday bags.


Lee Dae-seon, a South Korean activist who has helped Mr. Kwon, said that he has warned Mr. Kwon of the dangers of China’s overseas police effort, known as Operation Fox Hunt, in which Chinese dissidents living abroad have been forcibly repatriated.


South Korea’s National Intelligence Service confirmed with Mr. Lee that he and Mr. Kwon were targets of the operation, Mr. Lee said. The N.I.S. did not respond to a request for comment.


“It is not safe for him to continue living in South Korea,” Mr. Lee said.


23xp dissident wkmf master1050权平在他抵达韩国的地点附近,展示他获得的韩国旅游签证。图片的右上角可以看到他原本计划前往的合法入境口岸。

In May, an appeals court dismissed prosecutors’ appeal, as well as Mr. Kwon’s lawyers’ efforts to have his sentence reduced. Mr. Kwon decided not to pursue the case further so that he could leave the country quickly, and prosecutors lifted the travel ban, said Sejin Kim, his lawyer.


At the mud flat, Mr. Kwon said he was looking forward to leaving and starting a new business venture. He said some of his friends and relatives live in the United States and Canada. He is traveling to the United States on a visa for visitors.


“I want to start my second life,” he said.


An immigration law specialist said that while a case for seeking asylum in the United States appeared to be strong, a decision could take years. Mr. Kwon would also have to demonstrate a “well-founded fear” of additional persecution should he be deported to China, said the specialist, Yael Schacher, of Refugees International, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.


At Incheon Airport on Sunday, he said goodbye to his parents and friends in South Korea, where he would be barred from returning for five years because of his criminal record.


He disappeared into the security line, a ticket for seat 17A in hand, and with his Chinese passport and his South Korean deportation order in the black tactical backpack he had brought on his escape from China. He confirmed that he had boarded his plane by telephone.


“I’m happy, sad,” he said minutes before his flight was set to take off. “And angry,” he added, “that it took me so long to leave South Korea.”


At shortly before 10 p.m., the flight status display showed that his plane had departed.




韩国华城工厂发生的火灾是该国近年来最严重的火灾之一。 Newsis, via Associated Press

A fire at a lithium battery factory near Seoul​ on Monday killed 22 workers, most of them migrant laborers from China, in one of the deadliest blazes in South Korea in years, officials said.


Officials said that rescuers were still searching the building in Hwaseong, 28 miles south of Seoul, for one worker who had been reported missing. They said it was unclear whether the worker was in the building when the fire broke out.


​Two workers were hospitalized with serious injuries. Six others suffered minor injuries.


Kim Jin-young, an official with the Hwaseong Fire Department, said 102 people had been working in the factory, owned by the battery maker Aricell, when the fire broke out. The 22 victims included 18 migrants​ from China and one from Laos, as well as two South Koreans.


They were found dead on the 12,500-square foot second floor of the factory. The floor had two unlocked exit staircases leading outside, but the workers appeared to have been overcome by the flames and toxic smoke before reaching them, Mr. Kim said.


It took only 15 seconds for the floor to be filled with smoke and flames, said a senior fire official, Jo Seon-ho, during a news briefing Monday.


After trying in vain to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, he said, the workers rushed to an area of the floor where there was no exit.


The dead migrant workers were temporary hires who were likely unfamiliar with the structure of the building, he said. “The smoke was so toxic you could lose your consciousness after taking one or two breaths,” Mr. Jo said.


Chinese, including ethnic Koreans, are the biggest group of migrant workers in South Korea. Of 523,000 foreigners visiting South Korea on temporary work visas according to government data released late last year, more than 100,000 were from China.


Separately, hundreds of thousands of Korean Chinese are working in South Korea on special longer-term work visas that the country grants to ethnic Koreans living abroad.


After suffering low birthrates for decades, South Korea has become increasingly dependent on migrant workers to fill jobs shunned by locals. Many farms and small factories in industrial towns like Hwaseong could not operate without such migrant workers.


Workers who fled the fire said it started when a single battery cell caught fire, triggering a series of explosions among some of the 35,000 lithium battery cells stored on the factory’s second floor, according to Mr. Kim.


Fires can occur in lithium batteries when the inside layers are compressed, causing a short circuit. The layers can become compressed by a sudden impact, such as during a vehicle collision, or by gradual swelling of the batteries through regular use.


Lithium is a metal that can store large amounts of energy in a small space, which is why it is attractive as a battery material. But that also means there is much energy available to turn into heat and even flames in case of a short circuit. Lithium battery fires have been a growing problem in the United States and elsewhere, and fires are an industrywide concern for battery manufacturers.


Aricell, the Hwaseong plant’s owner, makes batteries that are often used to run electricity and other utilities networks.


Intense flames, toxic smoke and the risk of further explosions hampered firefighters’ efforts to search for the missing workers on Monday. Television footage from the fire showed large​ flames and thick clouds of smoke billowing from the factory. Footage taken after the fi​re had been extinguished showed the building scorched​, with its roof caved in.


More than 160 firefighters, along with 60 fire engines, rushed to contain the fire. President Yoon Suk Yeol called on his government to “mobilize all available human resources and equipment.”


The blaze was the deadliest in South Korea since a fire at a construction site southeast of Seoul killed 38 people in 2020.


Though South Korea is known for its cutting-edge technology and manufacturing, the country has ​long been plagued by man-made disasters, including fires.


In 2018, nearly 50 people, most of them elderly patients, died inhaling toxic smoke in a fire at a hospital that lacked sprinklers. In 2017, 29 people were killed in a fire at a gym and public bath complex. In 2008, 40 workers​, including migrant workers, died​ in a fire at a cold-storage warehouse under construction.




I didn’t have much time. I was in the remote town of Altay in China’s far northwest region of Xinjiang, on the mountainous border with Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, thousands of miles from my base in Beijing as a bureau chief for The New York Times.


In this case, my mission was personal: I was seeking records in Altay’s Civil Affairs Bureau on my father’s service in a Chinese army unit six decades earlier. I knew police officers would soon be trailing me, as they did whenever foreign journalists turned up in Xinjiang.


It was 2014. President Xi Jinping had begun enacting much harsher policies in the region, home to Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims. For centuries, control of the area, a vast land of people from myriad ethnic groups living among mountains, deserts and high steppe has been central to Chinese rulers’ conception of empire.


I knew that finding anything about my father, Yook Kearn Wong, was a long shot. But at the Civil Affairs Bureau, I struck up a conversation in a second-floor office with Wei Yangxuan, a young woman who happened to be an army veteran and helped organize activities for military retirees. I asked her if she knew anything about an old army base of mostly Kazakh cavalry soldiers, where my father and a few other ethnic Han soldiers had served in 1952.


She shook her head no.


I knew I probably wouldn’t return to Altay, and that I had only this one chance. Suddenly I realized it was just past 7 a.m. in suburban Virginia, where my parents had lived for decades. Maybe if I called from my cellphone, Dad could tell Ms. Wei about the Kazakh base.


He answered. I told him I was in Altay.


“You’re where?” he said. He sounded incredulous.



I asked him to describe the Kazakh base to Ms. Wei, then handed her the phone.


They talked for a few minutes. I looked out the window. On the plaza below, I saw two parked police trucks. Around each vehicle stood a few policemen in black uniforms and riot gear — helmets, batons, body armor. I thought I saw one of them look up at the window. I quickly backed away.


Ms. Wei handed the phone back to me.


Dad sounded confused, and a bit concerned. “I just told her about the Fifth Army’s base,” he told me, referring to the unit of Kazakh and Uyghur soldiers in which he had worked. “Now you tell me why you’re in Altay.”


The Uniform


My father rarely talked about China when I was growing up in Alexandria, Va. On nights he came home early, he didn’t sit on the edge of my bed regaling me with stories about his life. In that way, he was like many Asian immigrant fathers of his generation, those men who were intent on building something new for their families and focusing only on what was in front of them.


He had only Sundays off from his job at a Chinese restaurant, Sampan Cafe. On some of those days, we watched American football, and we looked at my math textbooks, algebra or geometry or calculus. He knew numbers. I would learn later that he had studied engineering after the army.


Sometimes I watched him put on a red blazer and black pants to go to work at the restaurant. For decades, this was the only uniform I associated with him.


But one day, while I was visiting from graduate school and starting to ask my parents about their upbringings in southern China, Dad showed me a photograph of himself from his days in the Communist army.


It had been taken in northwest China in 1953. My father’s eyes glimmered, and his skin had none of the lines of age. He wore a plain military uniform and a cap. I ran a finger over a darkened spot in the hat’s center. A shadow there. That was where the red star had been, he said. The symbol of the People’s Liberation Army of China. Dad had sent the photo to Hong Kong, where his parents were living at the time, and his father had rubbed out the star, fearful of what the British colonial authorities might do if they saw it.


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I learned more about my father’s past after 2008, the start of nearly nine years I spent as a Times correspondent in China. I traveled to Guangdong Province in the far south, where both my father and mother had grown up. That prompted deeper conversations with them and with my father’s older brother, Sam.


My father was born in Hong Kong in 1932 but was forced to move to his family’s home village in Taishan County in southern China after the Japanese army occupied the British colony in 1941. He graduated from high school in the spring of 1950, the first full year of Communist rule, then entered university in Beijing that fall. He had been intent on going to school in the ancient city that Mao Zedong had chosen as a capital because he embraced the Communist cause, believing the new leaders would rejuvenate China after the ruinous policies and corruption of the Nationalists.


There he marched with other university students in a parade in front of Mao in Tiananmen Square. China had entered the Korean War to fight the American military, and he soon dropped out of school to join the new air force. He was proud to do his part to defend the motherland against what party leaders said was an inevitable invasion of China by the American forces once they triumphed on the Korean Peninsula.


His plans were dashed, however, when Chinese officers abruptly ordered him to abandon his training in Manchuria and deploy with the army to the northwest, and ultimately to the frontier with Central Asia. Dad’s offense, he suspected, was that his father was a merchant and had returned to Hong Kong with his mother, while Sam was studying in the United States. Because of that, he was being sent into exile.


It was here that the details of my father’s story remained shrouded in mystery. On that trip to Altay in 2014, I hit a wall: The police officers had indeed found me and followed me until I drove out of town. There were limits to what more I could learn in China.


But when I moved to Washington in 2018 as a diplomatic correspondent for The Times and began working on a book about my family and the arc of modern China, I returned to the subject of Altay and Dad’s other work in Xinjiang. I spent dozens of hours interviewing him in my childhood home, and reading letters he had written to Sam after his military service.


I was fascinated by the details of his role in how Mao and Xi Zhongxun, the father of Mr. Xi, had established military control of the northwest, a crucial moment that few people alive today can speak about. It laid the groundwork for Communist rule over Xinjiang and the quashing of independence movements there, and it presaged more recent efforts by Beijing at repressing Uyghurs and Kazakhs through the internment camp system, forced labor and mass surveillance.


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Dad witnessed firsthand the early forms of control that have evolved into what we see today, and was a participant in it. The more I talked to him about his past, the more I realized the value in recording his memories, especially those of his time on the northwest frontier.


Mission to Altay


As my father told it, his trip from Manchuria to the far reaches of Xinjiang took half a year. He rode with other Han soldiers in the open back of army trucks that rumbled along the length of the Great Wall and beyond. He was filled with dread about what awaited him, but he was also struck by the beauty of a China he had never seen.


Heading west from Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, he remembered the persimmons, plump and smooth and the color of burned copper, hanging low from the trees in the autumn light. How sweet it would be to bite into one. Dust trailed the truck as it continued down the dirt road. He was heading into a vast and sere land, a place of ancient paths and towns, many now long gone. A frontier. The warriors who came before them, also gone.


By the time he reached a sensitive area north of the Tian Shan mountains, near the borders with the Soviet Union and Mongolia, snow covered the ground. In the town of Burqin, Kazakhs rode through the streets on horses. To my father and the other Han soldiers, it was a new world, wilder than any they had imagined existed in China.


He finally arrived at the base outside Altay on Jan. 27, 1952, the Lunar New Year, the start of the year of the Water Dragon. There were 1,000 Kazakh soldiers there. His mission, it turned out, was indoctrination.


Each morning, my father told me, Kazakh soldiers gathered in a hall. The Han Chinese political commissar, who was also the highest-ranking officer, sat at the head of the room, and the other Han soldiers sat near him. He did all the talking. With the help of an interpreter, he ran through the party’s lines of propaganda.


He talked about the Communist revolution and how it was ushering China into a new era. He talked about the end of the old feudal society and the elimination of classes. He talked about the leadership of Mao and the proletarian struggle and the need to resist imperialist powers, especially the United States.


Mao’s revolutionary vision was rooted in an uprising of peasants, like the Kazakh nomads here, and not just in the struggle of workers in cities, the officer said. Though the Han were the dominant ethnic group in the heartland, the officer said the native ethnic groups and the Han had equal stakes in the future of China, and the party respected the cultures, beliefs and autonomy of all the peoples.


The routine was the same every day. In the morning sessions, my father sat quietly and listened to the officer. He thought he couldn’t talk about the party yet with others, to teach its doctrines and its ideas. The party was a mysterious beast, something unknowable for now, and he understood it would take time to learn its ways.


In the afternoons, the visiting Han soldiers huddled in their room, putting their hands near the coal stove to stay warm. It was so cold that the hunks of beef and sheep and horse meat that the soldiers arranged in piles by the wall stayed frozen. Every now and then, outside of the formal sessions, Dad tried speaking with one of the Kazakh soldiers and soon began to learn a few words of their language.


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Tom Hutchins/VCG, via Getty Images
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Tom Hutchins/VCG, via Getty Images
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1955年和1956 年,与一些突厥语族人民一起生活,对汉族士兵来说一个新的现实。 Sovfoto/Universal Images Group, via Getty Images

My father told me that relations between the Han and people of other ethnicities in Xinjiang were calm, but I found a darker assessment in a letter he sent to Sam on May 12, 1963, years after he had left Xinjiang. He wrote that the 15 or so ethnic groups he observed had one thing in common, which was “a deep hatred of the Han people.”


Dad described how after 1946, when the Nationalist general Zhang Zhizhong became governor, “the Han were violent and aggressive, actively oppressing the various ethnic peoples, which led the three main regions of northern Xinjiang (north of the Tian Shan) to rise up in revolt.”


As my father began his postings in those volatile northern areas, he hoped the People’s Liberation Army would be able to win the trust of the local groups. Surely Communist governance would be different from the earlier conquests, he thought.


But there were episodes of bloodshed from the start of military rule. In early 1951, a year before my father arrived in Altay, Han soldiers captured a Kazakh insurgent leader, Osman Batur, who had fought for years for nomad autonomy. They executed him by hanging that April. Hundreds of his compatriots fled across the Himalayas into India and eventually ended up in Turkey. Osman became a symbol of Kazakh nationalism.


The Labyrinth


After Altay and a couple of postings in the fertile Ili Valley, my father was sent to the town of Wenquan, near Soviet Kazakhstan, to work on one of the first military farming garrisons set up to control Xinjiang. Senior army officers recommended him for party membership, which filled him with hope.


In 1957, he got the chance to return to interior China and enroll in university in Xi’an to study aerospace engineering. But he soon discovered that he would likely never become a party member. Some officials still harbored suspicions of him because of his family background.


At the same time, Mao threw China into turmoil. During the famine that resulted from Mao’s failed economic policies of the Great Leap Forward, my father had barely enough food on campus to subsist and grew gaunt, with rib bones in sharp relief. His feet became swollen, and he could barely walk. He was one of the lucky ones: Historians later estimated that 30 to 40 million people perished in the famine between 1958 and 1962.


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Hsinhua News Agency/Associated Press
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1950年代末期,毛泽东让中国陷入动荡后,父亲在大饥荒时期患病。1962年,难民纷纷涌入香港。 Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As the famine ebbed, he realized he had to escape China. He managed to flee in 1962 to the Portuguese colony of Macau and then reunite with his parents in Hong Kong. He moved to the Washington area in 1967 with his grandmother to join Sam.


My father managed to avoid the violence of the Cultural Revolution, which Mao ignited in 1966. He told me he likely would have been persecuted by Red Guard zealots, given his family background, and might not have survived. Other family members were not so lucky: A younger cousin who had been a childhood playmate and who was working as a scientist in Shanghai was wrongly accused by Red Guards of being a C.I.A. agent. He killed himself in 1969, leaving behind a wife and two sons.


Decades later, another cousin of his who had grown up in very different circumstances, Gary Locke, would serve in Beijing as the U.S. ambassador to China while I was living and working there.


I marvel at the ways my family’s story has looped like a Möbius strip around multiple generations and around the history of China. Twice, I have stood in Tiananmen Square watching Mr. Xi wave to a military parade, just as my father looked for Mao atop the crimson imperial gate while marching there in 1950.


By moving to Beijing as a Times correspondent, I became a proxy for that immersion in the People’s Republic of China that my father ended in 1962. In a letter to his brother more than four months after returning to Hong Kong, he wrote, “When I think back on these dozen years, it is as if I have gained nothing — a thought that makes me quite melancholic. Normally when I speak to others about this journey, I hide the fact that I was in the army, or that I ever tried to join the party.”


My father turns 92 next month, and he looks back on his years in China now with clear eyes but without that earlier bitterness, having built a life over nearly six decades in America. He even talks about that period with some nostalgia, saying that at least he was part of something larger then, part of a moment when most citizens embraced a sense of national duty and collective purpose.


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One afternoon last year, when I was still writing my book, he told me that the Communists had been necessary for China, for reviving it after the war with Japan and the corrupt rule of the Nationalists.


But the party had fundamental flaws. While my father had done everything he could to demonstrate his loyalty, to show he wanted to work for the future of China under the new rulers, even going to the frontier for them, party officials would not bring him into their fold. Mired in their fears, in their ideas of power, in the labyrinth of their own making, they had no reserves of trust or faith or generosity.


Their leaders were no exception, he said.


Years ago, as we sat together in my childhood home after dinner, he told me he still remembered the words to “The East Is Red,” the anthem that most Chinese citizens learned by heart in the 1960s. He cleared his throat and sang the words in Mandarin with no hesitation, even though it had been decades since he had last done this.


The east is red, the sun is rising


From China comes Mao Zedong


He strives for the people’s happiness


Hurrah, he is the people’s great savior!


After he finished, he sat back on the couch and gave me a faint smile. At that moment, he was again the young man in a tan uniform with a red star on his cap riding a horse through the high valleys of the northwest, there at the edge of empire.




俄罗斯总统普京周四在越南河内。 Pool photo by Manan Vatsyayana

Four days in Asia. That’s all President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia needed to anger Washington, undermine Beijing and rattle a collection of Indo-Pacific nations already scrambling to cope with a jumbled world order.


After stops in Pyongyang and Hanoi this week that were draped in Communist red, Mr. Putin left behind a redrawn map of risk in Asia. North Korea sat at the center: a rogue nuclear state that regularly threatens its neighbors, suddenly empowered by Russian promises of sophisticated military aid and a mutual defense pact.


Mr. Putin also signed at least a dozen deals with Vietnam — a country of growing importance for both China and the United States as they vie for influence — where he insisted that “reliable security architecture” could not be built with “closed military-political blocs.”


The trip was both defiant and disruptive. It showed that the jockeying for power sometimes framed as a new Cold War between the United States and China is less binary than it might seem, and many countries in the region seemed to emerge from the week with a deeper sense of unease.


Mr. Putin’s presence and his threats, bold one minute, vague the next, have added even more complexity to their already difficult calculations around security and Great Power competition.


22asia russia assess 02 kqbj master1050朝鲜民众浏览有关普京到访的新闻,上周四摄于平壤。

Over the past few years, the Indo-Pacific has been knocked around by a geopolitical shoving match between the United States and China, primarily over China’s claims on Taiwan, and increasingly over heightened Chinese militarization in the South China Sea.


In May, China launched two days of intense navy and air force drills around Taiwan in what it called a form of “strong punishment.” The exercises came after Taiwan’s new president pledged to defend the sovereignty of the self-governing island that Beijing sees as lost territory.


Just this week, another flashpoint — the South China Sea — edged closer to conflict. After months of bitter standoffs in the middle of a turquoise choke point for global trade, a Philippine Navy sailor was injured Monday after ships from China and the Philippines collided near a disputed archipelago. Widening the potential ramifications, the Philippines is an ally the United States is treaty-bound to help in case of war.


22asia putin assess kfmz master1050菲律宾军方发布的一张照片,显示中国海警周一在南中国海与菲律宾海军船发生冲突。

Many countries in the region were already beefing up their militaries to deal with China’s pressure and the uncertainty over how far the rivalry between the United States and China might go.


Add to those concerns a wave of jitters in the region over the U.S. presidential election, not to mention a new report this month showing that China is in the midst of a “significant” expansion of its nuclear capabilities, and headaches have become common in the region’s foreign policy circles.


Now Mr. Putin has induced a few more. With his embrace of North Korea, including his open threat to better arm Kim Jong-un’s military, he has effectively added another potential crisis to Asia’s list of concerns, reigniting old hostilities on the Korean Peninsula.


Officials in South Korea and Japan — North Korea’s avowed enemies — were especially alarmed. Both countries had already been talking about toughening their defenses and growing closer to the United States and each other, particularly since Mr. Kim’s rhetoric has become markedly more hostile toward them in recent months.


Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, described Mr. Putin’s burst of activity in Asia as “your worst fears come true.”


“What Russia just did is they told us they are going to be the principal organizers of rogue states that develop nuclear weapons, violate nonproliferation treaties, and allow countries under U.N. sanctions to get outside those sanctions,” he said.


Peter Tesch, Australia’s ambassador in Moscow from 2016 to 2019, stressed that Mr. Putin favors keeping the world chaotic because he believes Russia benefits from keeping other countries off-kilter. Disinformation and partnerships with other provocateurs have become Putin doctrine.


“He’s quite happy for Russia to be the smelliest, farting uncle at the barbecue,” Mr. Tesch said. “The signal is, ‘Yes I am a disrupter. I can act in ways that increase the complexity of what you’re trying to manage.’”


22asia russia assess 03 kqbj master1050俄罗斯官方媒体发布的照片显示,普京和金正恩上周三在平壤一起乘坐豪华轿车。

China, North Korea’s largest trading partner and arguably its biggest influence, must also contend with the fallout. That could include pressure to clarify what its “no limits” friendship with Russia means for China’s stated goal of stability on the Korean Peninsula.


Some analysts suggest Mr. Putin had all of this in mind. He may have tightened the bond with Mr. Kim, who greeted him with hugs at the airport, to both scare the United States and signal frustration to China’s leader, Xi Jinping, for not doing more to help Russia win in Ukraine.


“If Putin cannot get everything he wants from Beijing, he will look to get it elsewhere, and there aren’t a lot of supermarkets that cover his wish list — arms, labor and a willingness to pick a fight with Washington,” said Samuel Greene, a professor of Russian politics at King’s College London. “Iran is one. North Korea is another.”


“The point is that, while Putin recognizes his dependency on China, he can’t afford to let Beijing dictate the course of the war effort — because as goes the war, so goes Putin.”


To some degree, Mr. Putin’s trip to Asia was also a potent reminder of Russia’s historic military ties: North Korea, India, and Vietnam are just a few of the countries that have been heavily dependent on Russian hardware for decades, creating links in training and maintenance that keep Moscow deeply embedded in the region.


But even before Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, those ties were fraying: Russia’s arms sales to Southeast Asia dropped to $89 million in 2021, down from $1.2 billion in 2014, according to independent studies. A clean break or even significant diversification is what Mr. Putin has sought to delay.


And if Mr. Putin’s gestures toward North Korea do end up fueling an arms race in Asia, Moscow also stands to gain: Weapons from Russia do not just intensify the risk of chaos when shared with a country like North Korea. They also bring in revenue, much needed for a Russian economy that has been squeezed by sanctions, war, inflation and 16 percent interest rates.


Mr. Putin’s visit to Hanoi focused on deals. The full scope of what was agreed is not clear, but analysts predicted that some would probably emerge later as defense-related, with financing devised to skirt international sanctions — possibly with payment in the form of oil and gas rights in the South China Sea.


22asia russia assess 04 kqbj master1050普京访问河内期间,记者上周四摄于胡志明陵外。

“Vietnam hasn’t made a major upgrade to its land forces in years, but supposedly that’s coming,” said Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at Rand. “You may see Vietnam purchase new Russian tanks.”


Nguyen The Phuong, who studies Vietnam’s military affairs at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said Vietnam also needs new fighter jets and bigger warships in line with what Beijing uses to mark territory that Hanoi also claims in the South China Sea.


He added that the high-stakes security dynamics in Asia have put countries like Vietnam in a bind. “Western weapons are expensive and politically sensitive,” he said.


But would Vietnam use new Russian vessels to stand up to China over oil deposits explored with Moscow’s help and claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi?


For many countries, the Putin tour has raised another round of such aggravating questions. Beijing has clearly sided with Moscow over the war in Ukraine. In May, Mr. Putin visited Beijing, and while his trip to North Korea may bother Mr. Xi, analysts do not expect a major rupture in the relationship.


Angering one leader may risk punishment from another, or both.


“I think there’s some concern about Russia-China ties strengthening,” Mr. Grossman said, “and the potential for both countries to gang up on the smaller and medium-sized ones.”


At a defense conference in Singapore this month, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said that was already happening. He accused China and Russia of colluding to undermine a peace summit in Switzerland led by Ukraine last week. Only a handful of Asian countries attended.




大众汽车和上汽集团在上海的合资企业生产电动汽车和汽油车。 Qilai Shen for The New York Times

With billions of dollars in trade at stake, China and the European Union have agreed to engage in talks to try to resolve an escalating dispute over tariffs.


China’s commerce minister, Wang Wentao, and Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Union trade commissioner, will hold discussions on the European Union’s plan for tariffs on electric cars from China, the Chinese commerce ministry said late Saturday.


Hours earlier, Robert Habeck, Germany’s vice chancellor and economic minister, said that the European Union was willing to hold consultations, and he expressed a hope that tariffs could be avoided.


This month, the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, proposed tariffs of up to 38 percent on electric cars from China, atop an existing 10 percent tariff on imported cars. The commission said it found that China’s electric car sector was heavily subsidized by the government and state-controlled banking system. China’s exports of electric vehicles pose a growing challenge to Europe’s automakers.


Mr. Habeck, speaking in Shanghai after meetings in Beijing, defended the tariffs. “These tariffs are not punitive,” he said, adding that the tariffs are intended to offset subsidies that violate World Trade Organization rules.


It is unclear what a possible trade deal might look like. Executives at Volkswagen and other European automakers have called for Chinese manufacturers to build cars in Europe with European workers earning European wages, instead of importing cars from China.


But Chinese automakers have already built dozens of electric car factories in China with what the European Union describes as extensive subsidies, and are still building more factories.


Before agreeing late Saturday to talks, Mr. Wang, China’s commerce minister, who had met with Mr. Habeck, accused the European Union of violating W.T.O. rules.


The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, said in a statement that “China will take all measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.” It added that the tariffs were inconsistent with international efforts to address climate change.


The tariffs would put Germany in a tricky position. German automakers have extensive operations in China and worry that they will be hurt by retaliatory trade actions by Beijing.


On Saturday in Beijing, Mr. Habeck visited several Chinese economic ministries but did not meet with Premier Li Qiang, China’s No. 2 official. Mr. Habeck then flew to Shanghai to hold a news conference and meet with German businesses leaders there. He declined to comment on why he had not met Mr. Li, who in some ways is his counterpart.


Mr. Habeck criticized China for supplying Russia with goods that have both civilian and military applications for its war on Ukraine. China’s trade with Russia increased more than 40 percent last year, and half of the increase was related to these dual-use goods, he said.


“These are technical goods that can be used on the battlefield, and this has to stop,” he said.


But the focus of Mr. Habeck’s trip was the trade dispute. He visited a BMW research center in Shanghai on Sunday before heading to nearby Hangzhou, a tech hub.


World Trade Organization rules allow tariffs intended to offset the effects of subsidies. For its part, China denies that it improperly subsidizes its electric vehicle companies and says that its leading role in the industry worldwide is a result of efficient manufacturing and innovation.


Anticipating the tariffs, China’s commerce ministry in January took the first steps toward imposing tariffs on imports of Cognac and other wine-based spirits, produced mainly by France, one of the countries that has led calls for tariffs on China’s electric cars. On Monday, China’s commerce ministry threatened to impose tariffs on pork imports from Europe.


And state-controlled media in China has reported in the past week that the Chinese auto industry is asking the commerce ministry to impose tariffs on imports of gasoline-powered cars from Europe, a move that would chiefly affect German automakers.


Mr. Wang, the commerce minister, called on Germany to help end the European Union’s tariffs. “It is hoped that Germany will play an active role in the E.U. and promote the E.U. and China to move toward each other,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.


China, the world’s largest car market, has nearly halved its imports of German cars in the past five years as its domestic automakers have become increasingly competitive. China’s car companies dominate the worldwide production of electric and plug-in hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, which now nearly match sales of gasoline-powered cars in China.


But many of China’s wealthiest customers still covet German brands. Mercedes sells more of its most luxurious cars, German-built Maybachs, in China than in the rest of the world combined.


German automakers also have joint ventures with Chinese companies to assemble cars in China. Volkswagen is making further large investments in manufacturing and engineering in China while beginning to cut staff in Germany.


22China Germany flgc master1050周六,德国副总理兼经济部部长罗伯特·哈贝克在北京与中国商务部部长王文涛、国家发展改革委主任郑栅洁举行了会晤。

Germany is crucial to China’s efforts to stop the new European tariffs from being finalized this fall. That was also the case the last time that China and Europe engaged in a major trade dispute.


In 2013, under pressure from China, Germany rallied European governments to overturn proposed European Commission tariffs on solar panels from China. Chinese solar panel manufacturers quickly swamped Europe, and the European industry collapsed.


Leaders in Europe pushing for tariffs on China’s electric vehicles argue that Europe’s car industry now faces a similarly dire threat.


To block the tariffs, Beijing would need to persuade a majority of European Union countries, representing at least 65 percent of the bloc’s population, to overrule the European Commission.


In its response to Europe’s tariffs, China is expected to target key countries, analysts said.


Possible tariffs on gasoline-powered cars would hit Germany, the bloc’s most populous country, with 19 percent of the union’s people. Italy is third in population and it, too, exports luxury gasoline-powered vehicles to China — Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars.


France is Europe’s second-most populous country, and China’s potential Cognac tariffs are aimed at one of its national symbols.


Spain, the fourth-most populous country in Europe, is the leading European exporter of pork to China, a product Beijing has also threatened to penalize.


Beijing allowed German automakers, led by Volkswagen, to open car factories with Chinese manufacturers in the 1980s, bypassing China’s 100 percent tariffs then on imported cars. China cut tariffs on imported cars to 25 percent in the years after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and in 2018 further reduced tariffs on most imported cars to 15 percent in a move to ease trade tensions with the United States during the Trump administration.


In addition to the 15 percent tariff, China also collects a 10 percent tax from buyers of gasoline-powered cars. Cars and sport utility vehicles with very large gasoline engines, which are mainly imported, pay an additional tax of 40 percent.




巴西亚马孙地区,马鲁博人的玛纳基阿维村里卫星接收天线。 Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

As the speeches dragged on, eyes drifted to screens. Teenagers scrolled Instagram. One man texted his girlfriend. And men crowded around a phone streaming a soccer match while the group’s first female leader spoke.


Just about anywhere, a scene like this would be mundane. But this was happening in a remote Indigenous village in one of the most isolated stretches of the planet.


The Marubo people have long lived in communal huts scattered hundreds of miles along the Ituí River deep in the Amazon rainforest. They speak their own language, take ayahuasca to connect with forest spirits and trap spider monkeys to make soup or keep as pets.


They have preserved this way of life for hundreds of years through isolation — some villages can take a week to reach. But since September, the Marubo have had high-speed internet thanks to Elon Musk.


The 2,000-member tribe is one of hundreds across Brazil that are suddenly logging on with Starlink, the satellite-internet service from Space X, Mr. Musk’s private space company. Since its entry into Brazil in 2022, Starlink has swept across the world’s largest rainforest, bringing the web to one of the last offline places on Earth.


The New York Times traveled deep into the Amazon to visit Marubo villages to understand what happens when a tiny, closed civilization suddenly opens to the world.


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“When it arrived, everyone was happy,” said Tsainama Marubo, 73, sitting on the dirt floor of her village’s maloca, a 50-foot-tall hut where the Marubo sleep, cook and eat together. The internet brought clear benefits, like video chats with faraway loved ones and calls for help in emergencies. “But now, things have gotten worse,” she said.


The Marubo are struggling with the internet’s fundamental dilemma: It has become essential — at a cost.


After only nine months with Starlink, the Marubo are already grappling with the same challenges that have racked American households for years: teenagers glued to phones; group chats full of gossip; addictive social networks; online strangers; violent video games; scams; misinformation; and minors watching pornography.


Modern society has dealt with these issues over decades as the internet continued its relentless march. The Marubo and other Indigenous tribes, who have resisted modernity for generations, are now confronting the internet’s potential and peril all at once, while debating what it will mean for their identity and culture.


That debate has arrived now because of Starlink, which has quickly dominated the satellite-internet market worldwide by providing service once unthinkable in such remote areas. SpaceX has done so by launching 6,000 low-orbiting Starlink satellites — roughly 60 percent of all active spacecraft — to deliver speeds faster than many home internet connections to just about anywhere on Earth, including the Sahara, the Mongolian grasslands and tiny Pacific islands.


But perhaps Starlink’s most transformative effect is in areas once largely out of the internet’s reach, like the Amazon. There are now 66,000 active contracts in the Brazilian Amazon, touching 93 percent of the region’s legal municipalities. That has opened new job and education opportunities for those who live in the forest. It has also given illegal loggers and miners in the Amazon a new tool to communicate and evade authorities.


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One Marubo leader, Enoque Marubo (all Marubo use the same surname), 40, said he immediately saw Starlink’s potential. After spending years outside the forest, he said he believed the internet could give his people new autonomy. With it, they could communicate better, inform themselves and tell their own stories.


Last year, he and a Brazilian activist recorded a 50-second video seeking help getting Starlink from potential benefactors. He wore his traditional Marubo headdress and sat in the maloca. A toddler wearing a necklace of animal teeth sat nearby.


They sent it off. Days later, they heard back from a woman in Oklahoma.


The Tribe


The Javari Valley Indigenous Territory is one of the most isolated places on Earth, a dense stretch of rainforest the size of Portugal with no roads and a maze of waterways. Nineteen of the 26 tribes in the Javari Valley live in full isolation, the highest concentration in the world.


02brazil starlink tribe master1050伊诺克·马鲁博正在村里安装星链卫星接收天线。00brazil starlink bjzk master1050伊诺克辗转于丛林和城市,曾经做过可口可乐的平面设计师。

The Marubo were once uncontacted, too, roaming the forest for hundreds of years, until rubber tappers arrived near the end of the 19th century. That led to decades of violence and disease — and the arrival of new customs and technology. The Marubo began wearing clothes. Some learned Portuguese. They swapped bows for firearms to hunt wild boar, and machetes for chain saws to clear plots for cassava.


One family in particular pushed this change. In the 1960s, Sebastião Marubo was one of the first Marubo to live outside the forest. When he returned, he brought another new technology: the boat motor. It cut trips from weeks to days.


His son Enoque emerged as a leader of the next generation, eager to pull his tribe into the future. Enoque has split his life between the forest and the city, working at one point as a graphic designer for Coca-Cola. So when Marubo leaders became interested in getting internet connections, they went to him to ask how.


Enoque got his answer when Mr. Musk came to Brazil. In 2022, the SpaceX owner and Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president at the time, announced Starlink’s arrival in front of a screen that said, “Connecting the Amazon.”


Enoque and Flora Dutra, a Brazilian activist who works with Indigenous tribes, sent letters to more than 100 members of Congress asking for Starlink. None responded.


Then early last year, Ms. Dutra saw an American woman speak at a space conference. Ms. Dutra checked the woman’s Facebook page and saw her posing outside SpaceX’s headquarters. “I knew she was the one,” she said.


The Benefactor


Allyson Reneau’s LinkedIn page describes her as a space consultant, keynote speaker, author, pilot, equestrian, humanitarian, chief executive, board director and mother of 11 biological children. In person, she says she makes most of her money coaching gymnastics and renting houses near Norman, Okla.


Ms. Reneau said she did not try to help people for fame. “Otherwise, I’d be telling you about all the projects I do all over the world,” she said in an interview. “It’s the look on the face, it’s the hope in the eyes. That’s the trophy.”


She said she had that perspective when she received a video from a stranger last year asking to help connect a remote Amazon tribe.


She had never been to Brazil but thought the return on investment was high. Enoque was asking for 20 Starlink antennas, which would cost roughly $15,000, to transform life for his tribe.


Ms. Reneau said she bought the antennas with her own money and donations from her children. Then she booked a flight to go help deliver them.


The Connection


The internet arrived on the backs of men. They trudged miles through the forest, barefoot or in flip-flops, carrying two antennas each.


Just behind were Enoque, Ms. Dutra, Ms. Reneau and a cameraman documenting her journey.


The internet was an immediate sensation. “It changed the routine so much that it was detrimental,” Enoque admitted. “In the village, if you don’t hunt, fish and plant, you don’t eat.”


00starlink master1050艾莉森·勒诺(右)已向马鲁博人捐赠了超过20个星链卫星接收天线。00brazil starlink fmgv master1050马鲁博人用好几趟船和数英里的徒步跋涉,将星链运到了村里。

Leaders realized they needed limits. The internet would be switched on for only two hours in the morning, five hours in the evening, and all day Sunday.


The Debate


Alfredo Marubo, leader of a Marubo association of villages, has emerged as the tribe’s most vocal critic of the internet. The Marubo pass down their history and culture orally, and he worries that knowledge will be lost. “Everyone is so connected that sometimes they don’t even talk to their own family,” he said.


He is most unsettled by the pornography. He said young men were sharing explicit videos in group chats, a stunning development for a culture that frowns on kissing in public.


The Future


In April, Ms. Reneau traveled back to the forest. At Enoque’s request, she bought four more antennas. Two were headed to the Korubo, a tribe of less than 150 people that was first contacted in 1996 and still has some members in full isolation.


Sitting on a log, eating dried beef and boiled cassava served on the maloca’s dirt floor, Ms. Reneau said she recognized the internet was “a double-edged sword.” So when she posts on Facebook about bringing the Marubo internet, she said, she always stresses that a leader requested it.


“I don’t want people to think I’m bringing this in to force it on them,” she said. She added that she hoped they could “preserve the purity of this incredible culture because once it’s gone, it’s gone.”


Later at that same meal, Enoque’s father, Sebastião, said the tribe’s journey with the internet had been foretold.


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Decades ago, the most respected Marubo shaman had visions of a hand-held device that could connect with the entire world. “It would be for the good of the people,” he said. “But in the end, it wouldn’t be.”


Regardless, he added, going back was no longer an option.


“The leaders have been clear,” he said. “We can’t live without the internet.”




朝鲜官方发布的照片​​显示,朝鲜领导人金正恩(右)和俄罗斯总统弗拉基米尔·普京(左)于朝鲜平壤。本周普京对朝鲜进行了访问。 The Korean Central News Agency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

With ballistic missiles regularly flying nearby, Japan and South Korea need little reminder of the threat that North Korea and its nuclear arsenal pose to its neighbors. But the stunning revival of a Cold War-era mutual defense agreement during a visit this week by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to Pyongyang, the North’s capital, amped up the pressure on some of the hermit kingdom’s closest neighbors.


Mr. Putin and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, agreed that if one country found itself in a state of war, then the other would provide “military and other assistance with all means in its possession without delay,” according to the text of the agreement released Thursday by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.


Analysts were still sorting through the text of the agreement to understand how far it would extend, either in terms of Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine or any future conflict on the Korean Peninsula. But the pledge, along with indications that Russia could help bolster North Korea’s continuing quest to build its nuclear capabilities, rattled officials in Tokyo and Seoul.


Mr. Kim has grown increasingly hostile toward South Korea and this year abandoned a longtime goal of reunifying with the South, however unlikely that might have been. Now he describes the South solely as an enemy that must be subjugated, if necessary, through a nuclear war. And he has often tested his ballistic missiles by flying them toward Japan, demonstrating North Korea’s provocative stance toward its former colonizer.


Mr. Kim’s alliance with Mr. Putin, analysts said, would escalate tensions in northeast Asia by sharpening a divide between the democratic partnership among the United States, South Korea and Japan on the one side, and the autocratic camp of Russia, North Korea and China on the other.


“It is bad news for international efforts to prevent North Korea from advancing its nuclear and missile technologies,” said Koh Yu-hwan, former head of the Seoul-based Korea Institute for Unification Studies.


20skorea japan tbvg master1050朝鲜官方媒体发布的一张照片,显示上个月在朝鲜一处未公开的地点进行了战术弹道导弹试射。

Mr. Putin’s protracted war in Ukraine has led him to deepen relations with Mr. Kim. U.S. and South Korean officials say he has sought and received Soviet-grade ammunitions from Pyongyang — accusations that both Moscow and Pyongyang deny.


The war in Ukraine has loomed large in the region. “The Ukraine of today may be the East Asia of tomorrow,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan has often said.


“We are seriously concerned about the fact that President Putin did not rule out military-technical cooperation with North Korea,” Yoshimasa Hayashi, Mr. Kishida’s chief cabinet secretary, said at a news briefing in Tokyo.


South Korea sharply criticized the agreement, saying it was “sophistic and absurd” for North Korea and Russia — which have a history of starting war in the Korean Peninsula and in Ukraine, respectively — to pledge military cooperation under the assumption of coming under attack first.


“We emphasize that any cooperation that directly or indirectly helps North Korea strengthen its military power violates U.N. Security Council resolutions and should be subject to international monitoring and sanctions,” the South Korean government said in a statement. It also vowed to strengthen defense cooperation with the United States and Japan to counter the nuclear and missile threat from North Korea.


In addition, South Korea planned to “review” its policy of not providing Ukraine with lethal weapons for use in the war with Russia, said Chang Ho-jin, the national security adviser for President Yoon Suk Yeol.


In some respects, the meeting between the two authoritarian leaders, both desperate for outside support, provided a bit of an I-told-you-so moment for the United States and its Asian allies, who have been preparing in recent years for growing security challenges from North Korea as well as China, and sometimes have faced domestic political headwinds for doing so.


Japan has vowed to increase its defense budget and pushed limits on what it could do under its pacifist Constitution, including purchasing more fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles. After years of frosty relations, Mr. Kishida and Mr. Yoon of South Korea agreed to strengthen bilateral ties between their two countries and have drawn closer in a three-way partnership with the U.S. to forge mutual security arrangements. Over the last year, the three countries have participated in more than 60 trilateral diplomatic meetings, military exercises and intelligence sharing, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.


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“I think it shows how prescient President Biden, President Kishida and President Yoon were to spend political capital,” Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, said in an interview. “It was prescient not just from a political standpoint, but from a strategic standpoint because now Russia and North Korea” may be developing weapons together.


The revival of a Cold War-era mutual defense pledge between North Korea and Russia in this fraught global moment spooked other countries in the region.


“What I think is more dangerous is that it shows that the relationship will be more long term than perhaps we initially thought and that it may be more strategic than transactional,” said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow in Asian studies at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “We don’t know the parameters of how far each country will go in support of each other.”


At the very least, it shows that Russia is willing to flagrantly dismiss U.N. sanctions.


“It was not that long ago that Russia was backing U.N. sanctions on North Korea,” said James D.J. Brown, a professor of political science at the Tokyo campus of Temple University who specializes in relations between Russia and East Asia. “So it confirms that Russia is not only not implementing sanctions themselves but actively undermining them and will help North Korea to evade sanctions.”


20skorea japan jpcg master1050周三,首尔火车站的电视屏幕上播放普京和金正恩握手的画面。

In Seoul, the meeting between Mr. Putin and Mr. Kim was likely to revive discussion of whether South Korea should consider arming itself with nuclear weapons as well as start anticipating what might happen if Donald Trump is re-elected president of the United States.


“It is time for South Korea to have a fundamental review of its current security policy, which depends almost totally on the U.S. nuclear umbrella to counter the North Korean nuclear threat,” said Cheong Seong-chang, the director of the Center for Korean Peninsula Strategy at the Sejong Institute.


In one respect, the growing bond between Russia and North Korea could help cement the recently revived ties between Tokyo and Seoul as well as their three-way cooperation with the United States. Many analysts have worried that a change of administration in either the United States or South Korea could endanger these relationships. (Japan is considered relatively stable.)


“In some ways it sets up the justification to continue trilateralism after potentially a Trump administration comes in or if progressives come in Korea,” said Jeffrey Hornung, a senior political analyst who specializes in Japan at the RAND Corporation in Washington. “Even though it doesn’t change what Seoul or Tokyo should be doing, it definitely adds a new factor of what they have to consider.”


But an editorial in Hankyoreh, a left-leaning daily newspaper in Seoul, questioned the wisdom of close cooperation among the United States, Japan and South Korea, saying it had put South Korea “consistently in conflict with China and Russia, two countries with a huge influence on the Korean Peninsula’s political situation. It’s time to reflect on whether this skewed approach to diplomacy hasn’t had the effect of contributing to the development of relations between North Korea and Russia.”


Despite the drama in Pyongyang this week, some analysts said that the biggest worry for the region remains the rising military ambitions of China.


“The maritime buildup in the East China Sea or South China Sea or in space and cyber and a multi-domain war capability — they all justify our new policy,” said Kunihiko Miyake, a former Japanese diplomat and a special adviser at the Canon Institute for Global Studies in Tokyo. Mr. Putin’s visit to North Korea, he said, “is just another example, and not the biggest example” of threats in Asia.




A nuclear weapon doesn’t need to be used in war to have lasting impact. More than 2,000 such weapons were tested during the 20th century, leaving behind generational fallout that affects human beings, public health and the environment. The American government has not finished cleaning up the consequences of testing that ended decades ago, and the possibility of restarting today is real.


As W.J. Hennigan details in his latest for Times Opinion’s “At the Brink” series, the United States, Russia and China are all modernizing their testing facilities. None of the nations have conducted an underground nuclear test since they all signed the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. But the United States and China never ratified the document into force, and Russia rescinded its ratification in November, a step backward for international arms control.


Now, commercial satellite imagery provided by Planet Labs PBC shows that all three pre-eminent nuclear powers are modernizing and expanding their testing infrastructure, adding new buildings, cutting new roads and boring new tunnels in recent years. The photos, analyzed by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, are not proof a test is imminent, but they do indicate preparations are being made if political leaders ever decide to give the go-ahead.


20OPN newsletter master1050 Planet Labs PBC

The United States says it’s being transparent about its expansion in Nevada, where it previously conducted 928 nuclear tests. It’s building a state-of-the-art underground lab that conducts subcritical tests, or experiments that use explosives on components of a weapon but fall short of triggering a nuclear chain reaction. The surrounding support facilities, the National Nuclear Security Administration says, are for “security, food, housing, and administrative needs” for on-site personnel.


20OPN newsletter 03 master1050

Planet Labs PBC

The sprawling Lop Nur site in northwest China has perhaps undergone the most sweeping changes. The New York Times published an investigation in December detailing what experts have learned. More than 30 buildings have been added or renovated at the main support base alone, since 2017. The Chinese have also drilled new vertical shafts capable of hosting larger nuclear tests than the older horizontal tunnel network.


Before the world goes down this path again, it is vital to see and understand how testing continues to affect the planet and its peoples today. To facilitate that, Hennigan takes us through the history of testing.


While the majority of tests were undertaken at the far reaches of civilization, their legacy is lasting. It’s evident in the chronic illnesses and cancers that are pervasive in the surrounding populations, and perhaps can now best be seen in rural Arkansas. Immigrants from the Marshall Islands who settled in the area, as well as their descendants, are estimated to represent about 2 percent of the population; those residents account for 38 percent of the deaths there during the coronavirus pandemic’s first four months. Hennigan traveled there to tell their story.


The United States has yet to issue a formal apology for the widespread contamination that has shaped the lives of all Marshallese, and instead paid out a “full and final” settlement years before the true costs were known. The Marshallese, like the Americans sickened by the effects of aboveground tests in New Mexico and Nevada that took place between 1945 and 1962, deserve justice.


Instead, Congress allowed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to expire earlier this month, leaving thousands of uranium miners, atomic veterans and test victims without federal support. It marked the first time in 34 years that the government turned its back on Americans sickened because of their exposure to radiation during U.S. nuclear weapons mining and testing during the Cold War.


More politicians should back the bill cosponsored by Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Ben Ray Lujan (D-New Mexico) and others to expand and extend this lifesaving aid. Claiming ignorance isn't an option.


Beyond testing, history tells us that having even a single nuclear weapon on earth risks accidents and miscommunications that could mean Armageddon. Throughout the Cold War, human beings have, by luck, stepped in to prevent such catastrophe. We know the consequences of testing, however, and those mistakes should never be repeated.




朝鲜官方媒体提供的一张照片显示,朝鲜领导人金正恩和俄罗斯总统普京周三在平壤签署了一项条约。 Korean Central News Agency, via Associated Press

In the contest of global narratives, China has sought to cast itself as a peaceful nation opposed to dividing the world into rival camps. In contrast, it has accused the United States of building alliances that will drive the world toward a new Cold War.


Yet Russia and North Korea’s mutual defense treaty, which calls for the two countries to provide immediate military assistance to each other in the event of war, is exactly the kind of bloc-building that China has charged the United States with. China’s closest strategic partner and its only treaty ally — Russia and North Korea — are now the ones heightening the risk of Cold War-style confrontation in northeast Asia.


The pact also creates more headaches for Beijing by appearing to deepen the semblance of a trilateral axis between China, Russia and North Korea, which China has sought to avoid. “Beijing has very carefully stayed away from the optics of a China-Russia-North Korea axis,” said Yun Sun, the director of the China program at the Stimson Center in Washington. “It wants to keep its options open.”


Japan, South Korea and the United States could now decide that the threat posed by a Russian and North Korean defense treaty requires them to enhance their own security arrangement, announced last year at Camp David, by increasing troop levels or strengthening defenses along China’s periphery.


20china nkorea 02 qmwj master1050韩国总统尹锡悦、美国总统拜登和日本首相岸田文雄去年在戴维营会晤后的合影。

For those reasons, China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, might not welcome the budding bromance between President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. Meeting in Pyongyang on Wednesday, Mr. Putin and Mr. Kim heralded the defense agreement as the beginning of a new era in their relations.


The pact also exposed the limitations of China’s partnerships with both countries, analysts said.


Mr. Xi has declared a “no limits” relationship with Mr. Putin and pledged “unswerving” support for North Korea — linking arms with two like-minded authoritarian countries to push back against what they regard as American bullying around the world.


But by aligning with two pariah states, Mr. Xi is also at risk of facing fallout from the actions of their unpredictable leaders. Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has severely damaged China’s relationship with the West, which has accused Beijing of not doing enough to rein in Russia. And Mr. Kim’s nuclear saber rattling has helped bring two tense neighbors — Japan and South Korea — together in a trilateral defense partnership with the United States.


Fears already abound that Russia may provide North Korea with technology to bolster Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for munitions for use in Ukraine.


Mr. Xi can ill afford more surprises at a time when he needs to turn around China’s struggling economy. Despite his increasingly adversarial tone toward the West, Mr. Xi remains invested in maintaining China’s position in the current economic global order.


“The new pact between Putin and Kim is not good news for Beijing,” said John Delury, a professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in Seoul. “Xi Jinping has never had an easy relationship with the headstrong Korean dynast and now has increasing reason to worry about Putin encouraging Kim’s aggressive tendencies.”

“普京和金正恩之间的新协议对北京来说不是好消息,”首尔延世大学研究中国问题的教授鲁乐汉(John Delury)说。“习近平和这个任性的朝鲜王朝关系一直不好,现在越来越有理由担心普京会鼓励金正恩的好斗倾向。”

20china nkorea 04 qmwj master1050今年5月,普京访华期间与习近平在北京会面。

Between the war in Ukraine and the risk of conflict on the Korean Peninsula, Mr. Delury said, “Putin and Kim are forces of instability at a time when China benefits from an orderly environment.”


China has sought to distance itself from the new pact, with a spokesman at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday declining to comment, saying it was a Russian and North Korean issue.


In reality, the Russia-North Korea treaty, coupled with the alliance between the United States, Japan and South Korea, has “significantly exacerbated” the risk of “confrontation, rivalry or conflict” in the region, in China’s view, said Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing.


Mr. Shi said peace on the Korean Peninsula was a top priority for China, and the increasing militarization of the region put one of “China’s vital interests at stake.”


China still holds considerable sway over Russia and North Korea. The United States contends the Kremlin would not be able to sustain its war in Ukraine if China did not buy massive quantities of Russian oil or supply Russia with consumer goods and dual-use technologies, like chips and machine tools, to fuel its war machine. At the same time, North Korea relies on China for virtually all its trade, including food and energy.


That sway over Moscow and Pyongyang has bolstered Beijing’s importance at times when other countries have called on China to use its influence — unsuccessfully — to rein in North Korea’s nuclear buildup or Russia’s war in Ukraine.


But Mr. Putin’s wooing of Mr. Kim creates a new competitor for Beijing for influence over North Korea, creating “a windfall for Kim and a headache for Xi Jinping,” said Danny Russel, a diplomacy and security analyst at the Asia Society Policy Institute.


20china nkorea 05 qmwj master1050周三,普京和金正恩在平壤金日成广场举行的仪式上,照片由朝鲜官方媒体提供。

“Importantly for Pyongyang, the partnership with Putin — while not without limits — generates valuable leverage against Beijing,” Mr. Russel said. “Playing major powers off against each other is a classic play in Korean history, and North Korea’s massive dependence on China in recent decades has been a liability that Kim Jong-un is eager to reduce.”


“The scorecard shows North Korea gaining the most by far, with China potentially the biggest loser,” he added.


Keeping the Kim regime in power is a priority for Beijing to preserve a buffer between the Chinese border and U.S.-led forces stationed in South Korea.


China and North Korea officially say they are as close as “lips and teeth,” but relations between the two neighbors have long been fraught, with a mix of mutual mistrust and common interests.


20china nkorea 06 qmwj master10502019年,习近平和金正恩在平壤国宾馆。

Since taking power in 2011, Mr. Kim has made China uncomfortable by rapidly increasing the number of missile tests and expanding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Mr. Xi initially refused to meet with Mr. Kim. It was only when President Trump announced plans to meet with the North Korean dictator that Mr. Xi changed course, eventually holding talks with Mr. Kim in 2018, before and after the summit with Mr. Trump.


Mr. Xi could now feel compelled again to meet with Mr. Kim, said Victor D. Cha, a professor of government and international affairs at Georgetown University and the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, because “Xi cannot afford to let Putin flaunt all of this influence over his neighbor.”


The growing closeness of Russia and North Korea could give China more of an incentive to try to repair and stabilize ties with South Korea.


On the same day Mr. Putin and Mr. Kim met in Pyongyang, Chinese diplomats and military officials met with their South Korean counterparts in Seoul. China wants to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul in hopes of weakening South Korea’s military alignment with the United States.


At the meeting, according to Chinese state media on Wednesday, Beijing said that the Korean Peninsula’s priority should be to cool tensions and avoid moves that would intensify confrontation — language that is vague enough that it could be read as a critique of either the United States or the Russia-North Korea pact. Despite its alliance with the North, Beijing sought to depict itself as a neutral player in the dispute, saying that it has always “determined its position based on the right and wrong of the matter itself.”


20china nkorea 07 qmwj master1050周三,普京离开平壤之前与金正恩话别,照片由俄罗斯官方媒体提供。



中国内地知名连锁餐厅回家湘在香港开业,试图在竞争激烈的香港餐饮业占据一席之地。 Anthony Kwan for The New York Times

The ravenous came for a taste of home in a dish of spicy fried beef or steamed fish head. Waiters, speaking in Mandarin, delivered plates heated with green and red chiles.


It was opening night in Hong Kong at Return Home Hunan, a well-known chain from mainland China trying to wedge into the city’s competitive food scene. Huang Haiying, the restaurant’s founder, greeted customers in a bright red suit while waiters handed out red envelopes stuffed with coupons.


Hong Kong is a difficult place to open a restaurant these days. Fewer people are dining out, and more restaurants have closed than opened this year. But restaurant owners from mainland China, facing their own challenges at home, see an opening.


“Everyone has their own way of surviving, and now it’s about surviving on the margins,” Ms. Huang said. “We’ll see who has more grit and succeeds.”


Return Home Hunan is one of more than a dozen famous Chinese eateries that have opened in Hong Kong in recent months. The owners have been encouraged by a steady flow of new customers from Hong Kong, who have been traveling to Shenzhen, the mainland city next door, in search of more choices.


But the arrival of these restaurants in Hong Kong has been met with some hesitation. A Chinese territory that long operated with a high degree of autonomy, Hong Kong has increasingly come under the tighter grip of Beijing. To some people in the city, the migration of these restaurants is an illustration of how Hong Kong’s culture is slowly being taken over by the rest of China.


Not far from Return Home Hunan, new restaurants offer food from three southern Chinese provinces: There’s the Guizhou rice noodles place, the Guangxi river snail noodles shop and stinky tofu from the province of Hunan.


These establishments cater to locals and a growing community of mainland Chinese, some of whom have made the city their home in the past decade.


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“When I first came to Hong Kong, finding authentic restaurants with mainland cuisine was difficult,” said Karen Lin, a banker and part-time business school student at the University of Hong Kong, who was eating spicy fried beef at Return Home Hunan on a recent evening.


“The Chinese restaurants here were all based on Hong Kong ‘local tastes,’” said Ms. Lin, who has lived in the city for six years.


The gripe among mainland transplants that Hong Kong food is bland has more of a sting for locals these days as they grapple with the city’s changing identity.


In 2019, Beijing enforced a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong after citywide democracy protests. Many expatriates and local Hong Kongers left the city. The exodus was intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic and the city’s public health measures — among the strictest in the world.


Now, as Hong Kong is pulled closer into China’s orbit, an economic slowdown and real estate crisis on the mainland is weighing on its long-awaited recovery.


The fastest-growing group of migrants to Hong Kong is people from mainland China looking for better jobs, obtaining special visas that the government started offering. They have found a city that is more welcoming than it was before the pandemic, when mainlanders were often greeted with hostility from Hong Kong residents.


“Hong Kong has become much more inclusive for mainlanders,” said Zheng Huiwen, the manager at one of the Hong Kong branches of Tai Er Pickled Fish, a Sichuan fish restaurant from mainland China. At the restaurant, waiters announce the arrival of a dish in the inflected style of traditional Peking Opera, declaring, “Delicious fish is coming!”


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Mr. Zheng, who moved to Hong Kong as a teenager from neighboring Guangdong Province and spent his summers waiting tables, recalled how Hong Kong diners would treat him more rudely once they heard his mainland accent.


The tone is changing as Hong Kong residents spend more time on the other side of the border, eating and shopping.


Tai Er Pickled Fish became so popular among Hong Kong tourists in Shenzhen that, in December, it opened four locations in Hong Kong.

在前往深圳的香港游客中, 太二酸菜鱼非常受欢迎,以至于去年12月,它在香港开了四家分店。

Among the newly built apartments next to the location where Mr. Zheng is manager, in a mall where the city’s old Kai Tak airport once stood, more than half the apartments for sale in March were snapped up by mainland Chinese buyers, local news media reported.


At Xita Grandma BBQ, a new restaurant from China, Cambridge Zhang, the franchise owner, complained that mainland diners were interested mostly in trendy restaurants. Mr. Zhang wanted to find different customers in a new market.


He soon discovered that many others had the same idea.


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“I came here and found, ‘Hey, here is this mainland restaurant, and there is another mainland restaurant,’” Mr. Zhang said animatedly.


To some local restaurants that are barely holding on, the flurry of openings is baffling. In April, nearly twice as many restaurants folded as opened, according to OpenRice, an online restaurant and market insight platform.


In the Shek Tong Tsui area, where Return Home Hunan opened in May, many of the brightly colored restaurants — once neighborhood mainstays — had recently closed down. A diner that served cheap noodles and milk tea was gone, as was an eatery where retirees gathered to eat dim sum and catch up on the day’s news.


“The restaurant business is hard work,” said Roy Tse, a local restaurant owner who sold lunch rice dishes once popular with office workers in the Taikoo Shing business district of Hong Kong. There are fewer lunchtime visitors these days. Those who still come order the basics.


Yeung Hei, the manager of Fu Ging Aromatic Noodles, a longtime local Hong Kong restaurant where a chef stews beef brisket in the front window, said he used to have customers who came in every day.


“But then, one day, they just disappeared and never came back,” he said.


These days, restaurants that offer inexpensive dishes tend to do better. Many of the mainland newcomers attract diners with deep discounts, coupons and fan club specials.


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On a recent Thursday afternoon, Chester Kwong and Sonja Cheng were hunched over big bowls at Meet Noodles, a fast-food chain famous for its spicy-and-sour noodles made with potato flour from the southern Chinese city of Chongqing.


“This is dirt cheap,” Mr. Kwong said. He was referring to a hot-and-sour noodle set that Ms. Cheng had ordered for 36 Hong Kong dollars, or $4.61. It included a bowl of hot-and-sour noodle soup and a side of fried chicken.


Both Ms. Cheng and Mr. Kwong, recent college graduates, expressed concern that the Chinese eateries would replace their favorite local spots. “It’s good to have these places and options for Chinese food, but it’s a little scary to think that one day they might overtake what we had in Hong Kong,” Mr. Kwong said.


There are others who feel similarly and choose not to patronize mainland restaurants.


“I use every opportunity to help local restaurants,” said Audrey Chan, who grew up in mainland China but moved to Hong Kong as a student six years ago and identified as a Hong Konger.


Fu Ging Aromatic Noodles once counted nearby residents in the middle-class neighborhood of Chai Wan as its main source of income. But so many people have moved away — many of them out of Hong Kong — that it has been left searching for new customers.


Ms. Huang of Return Home Hunan said she knew it would be tough.


But, she added, “no matter how bad the economy is, people always have to eat.”


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ONE WEEK TO CHANGE THE WORLD: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests, by DW Gibson

《改变世界的一周:1999年反WTO抗议口述史》,D·W· 吉布森 著(ONE WEEK TO CHANGE THE WORLD: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests, by DW Gibson)

HOW THE WORLD RAN OUT OF EVERYTHING: Inside the Global Supply Chain, by Peter S. Goodman

《世界是如何耗尽一切的:全球供应链幕后》,彼得·S·古德曼 著(HOW THE WORLD RAN OUT OF EVERYTHING: Inside the Global Supply Chain, by Peter S. Goodman)

On a cold November morning in 1999, Harold Linde, a member of the Rainforest Action Network, was trying to hang an enormous sign from a construction crane hundreds of feet in the air over downtown Seattle. Loosely attached to a rope, he rappelled off the crane, lost control and began to plummet.


Linde might have died, but thanks to the Ruckus Society, a nonprofit that trains activist groups, he knew to rip off his frictionless fleece gloves, grab onto the rope with his bare hands and wait for his colleagues to help him back up. After some spiritual assistance from “a circle of pagan witches on the ground” who were “sending prayers up,” Linde and his friends succeeded in unfurling a 100-pound banner. It showed two arrows pointing in opposite directions, one labeled “DEMOCRACY” and the other “W.T.O.”

林德本来可能会丧命,但多亏了捣乱协会(Ruckus Society)的训练——这是一个培训行动团体的非营利组织,他知道要脱下无阻力的刷毛手套,徒手抓住绳子,然后等待同事们把他拉回去。在“地面上一群异教巫师”的“祈祷”帮助下,林德和他的朋友们成功展开了一面重达100磅的旗帜。旗帜上有两个指向相反方向的箭头,一个标着“民主”,另一个标着“WTO”。

This stunt, which kicked off the Battle of Seattle, a protest of the third ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization, captures the combination of high idealism, drama, detailed organization, radicalism and public relations savvy that defined a movement against the rising tide of globalization in the decades after the Cold War.


DW Gibson’s comprehensive oral history “One Week to Change the World” gives a panoramic view of the multiday festival of dissent, from its authorized marches and semi-legal “direct actions” to its extremely illegal vandalism. There was even a concert.


The protests attracted the attention of progressive elected officials like Sherrod Brown and Dennis Kucinich, grunge scene stalwarts like Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, the presidential candidate Ralph Nader, the linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky and the British actress Julie Christie. “Wow — we’re really going to give them an experience,” Nader recalls thinking. The experience ended with mass arrests, broken windows and tear-gassed protesters.


The W.T.O.’s ministerial meetings were meant to advance the project of knitting together the newly liberalized world with a “harmonization” of common rules — internationally agreed upon food safety standards, for instance — to lower trade barriers. Ambassadors and NGO officials from around the world had assembled in a city that was fast becoming associated with a new digital economy that promised to accelerate globalization. The city would also soon become home to one of the first major protests partially organized online


As Gibson outlines, the W.T.O. protests in Seattle became a natural meeting point for a wide range of leftist groups who felt abandoned by the neoliberal turn cemented by the Democratic president in the White House. American union leaders worried that cheap overseas labor would put downward pressure on blue-collar wages and many green activists were concerned that trade liberalization would be used as a battering ram against domestic environmental protections.


While the protests themselves were global front-page news, Gibson and his interviewees devote substantial time to the months of lead-up and preparation for the rally as well as the uneasy alliance between strait-laced progressive political leaders and more antic provocateurs who climbed trees to keep them from being felled. “We are here, we’re nonviolent, but we are dedicated to shutting down the W.T.O.,” one activist remembers saying at a pre-protest news conference.


Gibson also gives due space to the political and law enforcement officials who ultimately failed to quell the demonstrations. In quote after quote, blame largely falls on the Seattle mayor Paul Schell, who died in 2014, and his police chief, Norman Stamper: They didn’t allow enough intelligence gathering before the protests; they didn’t ask for the National Guard soon enough.


After Seattle, despite further meetings (with much more thought-out security) the W.T.O. was not able to reach another major global trade agreement — and has not to this day. Still, it did provide a framework with its existing rules, and trade liberalization advanced in the years that followed, thanks to China’s incorporation into the global economic system. The country joined the W.T.O. in 2001 and quickly became the workshop of the world. China’s growing importance within the global economy also set the stage for the great blow to global trade that would arrive two decades later thanks to coronavirus pandemic.


Peter S. Goodman’s “How the World Ran Out of Everything” is an impassioned account of globalization’s rise and stall. Goodman, a longtime economics correspondent for The New York Times and The Washington Post, offers an expansive view of the modern supply chain, from the Port of Long Beach and long-haul truck routes across the middle of the country to cattle ranchers in Montana and the travails of a Mississippi-based toy company trying to get a shipment from China in time for the holiday season.


At every point in the chain during the pandemic, workers faced deteriorating conditions and financial instability. Toilet paper, meat and other consumer goods shot up in price and declined in availability as container ships idled in ports.


Goodman argues that the crisis exposed the brittleness of a system that relied, for years, on “just in time” manufacturing, which shrank inventories. Big retailers like Amazon and Walmart and food processors like Tyson and J.B.S. also squeezed suppliers and labor. This system “worked” in terms of lower prices for consumers and higher — Goodman argues, monopoly-size — market share for these giants. When the pandemic struck, manufacturers with low inventory couldn’t deal with the combination of increased demand and fewer workers, while some middlemen, like the global shippers and meatpackers, were able to profit.


Manufacturers also strained under the odd strength of the Covid-era economy. Americans unable to spend on restaurants and trips took to Amazon and began to vacuum up more stuff made cheap by international trade — televisions, basketball hoops, pastry blenders. “The result of this surge was chaos,” Goodman writes. Lights flickered from power outages “as Chinese plants deployed every available production line.”


11peter s goodman cover master1050

Goodman is not naïve enough to think that globalization can or should be reversed, or that companies seeing political or business risk in China means a renaissance of American manufacturing (the last portion of the book is devoted to the manufacturers finding their way from China not quite back to America, but to Southeast Asia and Mexico).


While the global supply chain is unlikely to be dismantled, the ideology of globalization is under attack practically and politically. “The U.S. is moving towards a kind of nationalistic mercantilism,” Chomsky tells Gibson. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are at odds on many issues, but they’re more similar to each other on trade policy than they are to predecessors in their own parties. Both presidents have shown more interest in using tariffs than in working out trade disputes through the W.T.O.


Seeds of this turn against business-friendly globalism were planted in 1999. Even if no one in the Biden administration is climbing up construction cranes to announce their policy proposals, Democratic lawmakers today have taken up many of the demonstrators’ concerns — environmentalism, labor power, skepticism of global trade arrangements — and knitted them into a policy synthesis that rejects the bipartisan consensus the Seattle protesters sought to overthrow.


The late-20th-century project of integrating China into the global economy, in the hope that economic development would come hand in hand with political liberalism, feels at best misguided. Offshoring resulted in a predictable loss of U.S. jobs, Goodman writes, and programs designed to help Americans negatively affected by global trade were left underfunded.


What remains to be seen is whether the new policy responses can win over not just American activists and intellectuals, but also American consumers who tend to prefer lower costs over all else and who far outnumber any particular group of truckers, cattle ranchers or union workers squeezed by the economic pressures of a long, lean supply chain. The W.T.O. may have lost, but democracy will also have its say.


ONE WEEK TO CHANGE THE WORLD: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests | By DW Gibson | Simon & Schuster | 354 pp. | Paperback, $19.99

《改变世界的一周:1999年反WTO抗议口述史》| D·W· 吉布森著 | Simon & Schuster出版| 354页 | Paperback, 售价19.99美元

HOW THE WORLD RAN OUT OF EVERYTHING: Inside the Global Supply Chain | By Peter S. Goodman | Mariner | 406 pp. | $30

《世界是如何耗尽一切的:全球供应链幕后》| 彼得·S·古德曼著 | Mariner出版 | 406页 | 售价30美元



在航班起飞前,可能会出现各种各样的机械故障或保养问题。 Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

Smoke in the cabin. A tire blowout. A cracked windshield. No shortage of problems can affect a flight, fueling traveler anxiety and contributing to thousands of daily delays and cancellations around the world.


But for all of the frustration and alarm such events cause, it can be difficult to interpret and understand their severity. Here’s how aviation safety experts say travelers should think about disruptions when they occur.


Problems happen.


Several alarming air travel incidents have made headlines in recent weeks — a sharp plunge toward an ocean, an unnerving wobble that damaged the tail of a plane and an aborted departure after an apparent engine fire.


But the most common mishaps and malfunctions, even if hair-raising, are not typically severe, experts said.


A hydraulic leak, for example, is a familiar occurrence that pilots take seriously, but it is not as disruptive as it may sound. That’s because planes have backup hydraulic systems, which are used to power equipment like the landing gear, brakes, wing flaps and flight controls, allowing planes to take off, fly and land. A plane veering off a runway, in what is known as a runway excursion, makes for captivating video and a possibly terrifying experience for those on board. But it doesn’t necessarily cause significant damage to an airplane or threaten the safety of those on board.


The same is true of the wide range of mechanical or maintenance issues that can come up before takeoff, which might force a pilot to hold a plane at its gate or return to the gate from taxiing. Those incidents are important to understand and address, but they are often minor, experts said.


“The pilots are saying, ‘I’ve been highly trained, I’m highly educated in this airplane, and we have to return to the gate and get the experts involved out of an abundance of caution,’” said Shawn Pruchnicki, a former airline pilot and an assistant professor at the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University. “That is the system working perfectly. That’s a good thing.”


Sometimes, such problems can derail a flight or take an airplane out of commission. But in other cases, they can be fixed quickly. And because airplanes are packed with fail-safes, there are times when a flight with a malfunctioning system can safely proceed simply by relying on one or more backups instead.


Flying is a complex, gravity-defying feat that’s repeated thousands of times each day in a wide range of conditions. So travelers should not be surprised when things go wrong, said Amy Pritchett, a pilot and professor of aerospace engineering at Pennsylvania State University.


“Little small components will always start to burn out or break,” she said. “There will always be potholes in the pavement in the taxiway that jostles something. There’s always questions of whether the weather is good enough to fly, whether you might hit turbulence or not. All these things are sources of variability that need to be actively managed.”


Flying is safe.


Another thing for travelers to keep in mind is that serious flight problems are extremely rare, experts said.


Flying is safer than driving or traveling by train in part because safety is built into the design of everything from air traffic control to the airplane itself. Important systems and procedures have backups, there are rarely single points of failure, pilots receive intensive and repeated training, and airlines prepare for a wide range of possible outcomes.


“It’s the safest form of transportation ever designed by humankind,” said John Cox, a former airline pilot who runs a safety consulting firm. “Be careful driving to the airport.”


Over the past several decades, commercial aviation safety in the United States has improved more than fortyfold, according to a 2022 analysis of commercial aviation safety conducted by the National Academies.


According to the National Transportation Safety Board, typical causes of accidents include turbulence, hard landings, collisions on the ground with other planes or vehicles, and component failures, such as a malfunctioning wing flap or engine.


Flying is so safe in part because the industry generally responds to every problem, even those that pose little threat. In the United States, airlines, manufacturers and agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration and the N.T.S.B. are constantly monitoring and reviewing risks and hazards in air travel.


“The level of systems that are in place monitoring current-day commercial air transport are profound,” Ms. Pritchett said. But this doesn’t mean that anyone involved can lose vigilance in assessing the possibility of danger, she added.


And while trips are occasionally cut short, experts said, diverting a flight from its destination generally reflects due caution by pilots, airlines and air traffic controllers, not a life-threatening emergency. “Could we continue to our destination?” said Kenneth Byrnes, a pilot and an associate professor who leads the flight training department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “Yes, but is it the safest thing to do?”


00plane trouble 02 ctmg master1050飞行是一项复杂的、挑战重力的壮举,每天都要在各种条件下重复无数次。

Placing blame is complicated.


Because aviation is complex and defined by redundancy, problems rarely have a singular cause. Instead, most serious problems — even catastrophic ones — are a result of multiple factors.


“There’s never a smoking gun, so to speak,” Mr. Pruchnicki said. “There’s never this ‘aha’ moment, when we’re going through wreckage or we’re going through records and we say, ‘Ah, I found the single reason this plane crashed.’”


Take the episode early last year in which two planes nearly hit each other on a runway at Kennedy International Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board found that several factors had contributed to what could have otherwise been a disaster.


The pilots of one plane were distracted as they proceeded down the wrong taxiway, the agency found. At the same time, the air traffic controller who gave them instructions didn’t notice because his focus was elsewhere. And a runway status light activated too late to warn the pilots of the mistake, the agency concluded.


In investigating such incidents, placing blame is not only difficult, but also generally discouraged, experts said. Kyra Dempsey, who writes about aviation accidents in a blog, Admiral Cloudberg, said that “the blameless post-mortem is a cornerstone of modern aviation safety,” facilitating an open safety culture in which people are willing to report concerns.

专家表示,在调查此类事件时,追究责任不仅困难,而且总体而言不鼓励那么做。在博客Admiral Cloudberg上撰写有关航空事故文章的凯拉·登普西说:“不做出指责的事后调查是现代航空安全的基石,”它有助于形成一种开放的安全文化,让人们愿意报告自己的担忧

Mr. Cox, the pilot turned consultant, said that “aviation accident investigators are really more interested in understanding cause than assigning blame because our job is to see that it doesn’t happen again.” Instead, “the lawyers get into blame,” he said.


Perspective is important.


When a mishap occurs, it’s important to keep some context in mind, experts said.


A casual observer might notice, for example, that many problems seem to affect two types of planes: Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. But those plane families make up more than half of the commercial jets in service, so they are naturally reflected most in news coverage.


Experts also warned against confirmation bias. When an airline or a manufacturer figures in a headline-generating episode, the media and the public tend to be on alert for other problems involving the company, even those that have little to do with the company or that might not even be significant enough to attract much attention from safety agencies.


“When something happens, you need time to discover and learn about exactly what happened, and why did it happen,” said Jeff Guzzetti, a former accident investigator for the F.A.A. and the N.T.S.B. “That’s something that you can’t do in a news cycle or even two news cycles.”


It can take the N.T.S.B. months, and sometimes more than a year, to conduct investigations, which culminate with safety recommendations to prevent future accidents.


After a fuselage panel blew off a 737 Max during a flight in January, Boeing was intensely scrutinized, and rightly so, experts said. But several also said they received many calls from reporters in the months afterward seeking comment on problems involving Boeing planes in cases that had little to do with the company.

专家表示,今年1月,一架737 Max飞机在飞行过程中机身面板脱落,随后波音受到了严格审查,这是理所当然的。但也有几位专家表示,在那之后的几个月里,他们接到了很多记者的电话,要求就涉及波音飞机的问题发表评论,而那些问题与波音公司关系不大。

“Just because it’s a Boeing airplane that has a mechanical problem doesn’t necessarily mean that has anything to do with Boeing,” Mr. Pruchnicki said.


In the episode involving the fuselage panel, the plane was virtually new, focusing attention on the manufacturer. But a manufacturer is probably not at fault when a problem occurs with a plane that was delivered years earlier and has been flying safely since, experts said.




俄罗斯总统普京在访问东南亚国家越南期间,希望巩固俄罗斯与越南的关系。 Pool photo by Natalia Kolesnikova

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia wrapped up a state visit to one ally, North Korea, and moved on to another, Vietnam, arriving early Thursday local time hoping to shore up crucial partnerships in the region as he wages a protracted war in Ukraine.


Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine has left him isolated from the West, and his need for munitions to fight that war has pushed him closer to North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un. The two leaders have bonded over their common historical opponent, the United States, and on Wednesday revived a Cold War-era mutual defense pledge between their nations.


In Vietnam, by contrast, Mr. Putin — who landed in Hanoi, according to Russian state media — will meet with officials who have recently forged deeper bonds with Washington. But Moscow has long been Hanoi’s main source of weapons, and Mr. Putin is keen to hold on to that position.


It is Mr. Putin’s fifth visit to Vietnam and follows trips last year by President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China, two leaders who sought assurances from Hanoi that it was not taking the other’s side.


For Vietnam, Mr. Putin’s trip will be an opportunity to solidify ties with Russia, its most important defense partner. Even though it has upgraded relations with the United States, Vietnam was still looking for secret ways last year to purchase Russian military equipment in contravention of American sanctions.


Washington has rebuked Hanoi for inviting the Russian leader, saying, “No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities.”


This week, Vietnam’s newly installed president, To Lam, told the local Russian envoy that Hanoi “always considers Russia one of the top priority partners in its foreign policy.”


19putin vietnam explainer 06 hpvw master1050周二,工人在河内的列宁塑像前布置花盆。

Here’s what to know about relations between Moscow and Hanoi.


Russia and Vietnam have deep military ties.


In 1950, the Soviet Union was among the first countries to give diplomatic recognition to what was then the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, or North Vietnam. Over decades, Moscow became Vietnam’s biggest donor, providing military aid when Hanoi was fighting its wars against France and the United States.


The defense relationship has underpinned many ties between the two countries, which over the years also shared communist ideology. Mr. Putin arrived in Vietnam with his new defense minister, Andrei R. Belousov, underscoring how security matters are central to the visit.


Russian equipment represents about 60 percent to 70 percent of Vietnam’s defense arsenal, according to Nguyen The Phuong, who studies Vietnam’s military affairs at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Russia has supplied Vietnam with coastal defense missile systems, six Kilo-class submarines, fighter jets and many more lethal weapons.


19putin vietnam explainer 03 hpvw master10502020 年,在俄罗斯阿拉比诺举行的峰会上,越南军事领导人参观俄罗斯T-90MS坦克。

Nearly all of Vietnam’s naval vessels come from Russia, according to Mr. Phuong. Russia’s T-90 tanks, which were the last-known major purchase of Russian arms by Vietnam in 2016, form the backbone of Vietnam’s armored forces, he added. This means that Vietnam is still going to be reliant on Russia in the years to come.


Vietnam has looked beyond Russia for weapons.


But the imposition of Western sanctions on Moscow has increased concerns in Hanoi about Russia’s reliability as a supplier, and made it increasingly awkward for Vietnam to continue dealing with Russia as it engages with the West.


Many of Vietnam’s leaders are also aware of the Russian military’s struggles against Ukraine — footage has shown the T-90 tanks being blown apart by drones used by Ukraine. They are also cognizant of Russia’s deepening relationship with China, which they regard as a threat because of a longstanding territorial dispute in the South China Sea.


In recent months, it has turned to countries like South Korea, Japan and the Czech Republic as alternative sources of weapons. It has also tried to build up its own defense industry. It has looked to India, another former Soviet ally, to retrofit some of its weapons.


The United States has been actively offering more weapons to Vietnam, with senior officials traveling to the country in recent months. But analysts say the top echelons of Vietnam’s defense leadership remain suspicious of Washington. They are reluctant to tie their fate to a country where arms sales have to be passed through a Congress that could make the deal contingent on human rights.


The two nations have joint ventures in the oil business.


Russia has a significant stake in Vietnam’s lucrative oil and gas sector. Vietsovpetro, a joint venture run by Russia’s Zarubezhneft and Vietnam’s state-owned PetroVietnam, operates Vietnam’s largest oil field, Bach Ho.


The profits from Vietsovpetro have generated millions of dollars for both Russia and Vietnam. Zarubezhneft and Gazprom, another Russian state-owned energy firm, are also involved in oil exploration projects in Vietnam.


19putin vietnam explainer 04 hpvw master1050越南国家油气集团位于越南头顿的油罐。越南国家油气集团与俄罗斯一家国有能源公司的合资企业为两国各自带来了数以百万计美元的收益。

For Moscow, these projects come at a time when Russian oil and gas exports to Europe have plummeted following the imposition of sanctions from the European Union. But they have irked Beijing because they are in waters that it contends are part of its territory.


Before the coronavirus pandemic, Vietnam was also a particularly attractive destination for Russian tourists. In 2019, Russia sent the sixth-highest number of tourists of any nation to Vietnam, just after the United States. But the numbers dropped during the pandemic and fell further after Vietnam stopped direct flights in 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Direct flights resumed this year.


Mr. Putin is seen as popular with the Vietnamese brass.


Beginning in the 1950s, thousands of Vietnamese Communist Party officials, top business officials, doctors, teachers and soldiers were trained in the Soviet Union and Russia. That list includes the current party chief, Nguyen Phu Trong.


19putin vietnam explainer 05 hpvw master1050越南河内一家出售俄罗斯纪念品的商店里摆放着越南共产党领导人阮富仲与普京握手的照片。

But some felt those deep ties were ignored by the last Soviet leader, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, and Russia’s first president, Boris N. Yeltsin.t


“The Vietnamese feel that Gorbachev in the 1980s abandoned Vietnam in an effort to improve relations with China; Yeltsin, all through the 90s, barely paid any attention to Vietnam,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. “Once Putin was in power in 2000, he gave a lot of face to it. So the Vietnamese are grateful for that.”


He added that the Vietnamese leadership liked Mr. Putin because “he put Vietnam-Russia relations back on track.”




左起黛安娜·邦、罗根和弗兰科在《采访》中,由罗根和埃文·戈德堡导演。 Ed Araquel/Columbia Pictures

In a previous film, Seth Rogen and James Franco experienced a comic vision of the end of the world, but their new movie, “The Interview,” has had serious fallout, including a devastating corporate hack and threats against theaters showing the film.

塞斯·罗根(Seth Rogen)和詹姆斯·弗兰科(James Franco,也译作付兰兰)在他们的上一部影片里体验了一回喜剧版的世界末日,但他俩的新片《采访》(The Interview,也译作《刺杀金正恩》)带来了严重后果,包括公司遭到灾难性的黑客入侵,放映该片的影院也受到威胁。

Directed by Mr. Rogen and his creative partner, Evan Goldberg, “The Interview” casts Mr. Franco as Dave Skylark, a fatuous celebrity TV journalist who is granted an interview with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. Their impending on-air sit-down strains Skylark’s bond with his loyal producer (Mr. Rogen) and attracts the attention of the C.I.A., which wants him to assassinate Mr. Kim (played by Randall Park).

《采访》由罗根和他的创作搭档埃文·戈德堡(Evan Goldberg)导演,由弗兰科饰演主角戴夫·斯凯拉克(Dave Skylark)——一个糊涂的著名电视记者,得到机会采访北朝鲜领导人金正恩。这场即将到来的现场采访令斯凯拉克与他忠诚的制作人(罗根饰)之间关系变得紧张,还招来了中央情报局的关注,中情局想让他去暗杀金正恩(由兰多尔·朴[Randall Park]饰演)。

In addition to mocking news-gathering and geopolitics, the movie pokes fun at the 15-year friendship of Mr. Rogen and Mr. Franco, which began on the cult NBC series “Freaks and Geeks” and has continued in hit films like “This Is the End.”

除了嘲讽如今的新闻采集和地缘政治,这部电影还拿罗根与弗兰克15年的好基友关系寻开心,两人的友情始于NBC的小众电视剧《怪胎与书呆》(Freaks and Geeks),一直延续到《世界末日》(This Is the End)等热门电影。

The real-life government of North Korea did not appreciate the sentiment of “The Interview,” denouncing it as a “most blatant act of terrorism and war” and threatening to undertake “a merciless countermeasure.” There is suspicion that the movie is a catalyst for the hacking of computers at Sony, an act that North Korea has hailed as “a righteous deed” while denying responsibility.


The hack itself has resulted in the release of sensitive studio information, including the film’s $44 million budget and other, more embarrassing details, a ripple effect that has astounded the film’s creators. “It is very surreal,” Mr. Rogen said in an interview on Monday amid rapidly changing circumstances that have led them to cancel several media appearances. “It’s not something that we expected at all.”


Mr. Rogen and Mr. Franco first sat down with The Times to talk about the movie before the effects of the hacking were fully known, and they were more blithely amused by their handiwork. Here are edited excerpts from that discussion and a follow-up conversation with Mr. Rogen.


“The Interview” was intended as a fun, goofball comedy. How do you feel about the global consequences it’s had?


SETH ROGEN No one has officially told me our movie, 100 percent, has proven to be the cause of any of this stuff. We’re not the first people to shed light on how crazy North Korea is, the myths that exist there and the oddities of the regime. “The Daily Show,” on a nightly basis, makes jokes about real-life events. “South Park” does it on a weekly basis.

塞斯·罗根:没有人正式通知我说,完全是我们的电影引发了这些后果。在我们之前早有人拍摄过北朝鲜有多么疯狂,那里有着什么样的神话,以及那个政权的奇人怪事。《每日秀》(The Daily Show)每天都在拿现实生活中的事开玩笑,《南方公园》(South Park)也是每星期都这么干。

21INTERVIEW master1050
詹姆斯·弗兰科与塞斯·罗根。 Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Do you think a film about an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un and a hack on the studio releasing it could be unrelated?


ROGEN I have no idea. It could be some hacker that knew the situation with the movie and was using this as an opportunity to mess with a giant corporation. Clearly, whoever did it has knowledge of the movie’s existence. But by the time it happened, millions and millions of people who could have many different motives had knowledge of the movie’s existence.


Even before “The Interview” was denounced by North Korea, was it controversial that you made Kim Jong-un its villain?


ROGEN There was a lot of discussion. But it’s not an edgy position to take. It’s not like, “Well, politically, you’ve got to look at both sides.” He is bad. It’s controversial to him. But to everyone else, it’s fine. To their credit, [Sony] let us do it.


Was there anything the studio wouldn’t allow?


ROGEN They made us digitally change some photos and images, because it was decided they weren’t [legally] cleared. We couldn’t source the photographer in North Korea who took the photograph of Kim Il-sung [Kim Jong-un’s grandfather] 65 years ago. He could sue us. There was a moment where they were like: “They’ve threatened war over the movie. You kill him [Kim Jong-un]. Would you consider not killing him?” And we were like, “Nope.”


Were you frightened by the initial ambiguous threats that North Korea made?


JAMES FRANCO They went after Obama as much as us. Because [they think] Obama actually produced the movie.


ROGEN They don’t have freedom of speech there, so they don’t get that people make stuff.


There was a period during September and October when Kim Jong-un wasn’t seen in public. Were you concerned this could affect the movie?


21JPINTERVIEW3 master1050北朝鲜领导人金正恩,摄于本月初。

ROGEN It was a weird position to be in, where you were concerned for Kim Jong-un’s safety, for your own financial well-being. [Laughter] Throughout this process, we made relationships with certain people who work in the government as consultants, who I’m convinced are in the C.I.A. After he had been gone for like a week, I emailed a guy, and was like, “What’s the deal?” The response I got was: “He’s having ankle surgery. He’ll be back in a couple weeks.” And then two weeks later, it’s like: He had ankle surgery; he was back.


FRANCO Seth knew before The New York Times!


It’s like when the Rock knew, before everyone else, that Osama bin Laden had been killed.

这有点像“巨石”(the Rock,影星Dwayne Johnson的绰号——译注)比其他人都提前知道奥萨马·本·拉登(Osama bin Laden)的死讯。

FRANCO He was there.


ROGEN He’s the secret shooter. That would be the best cross-promotional campaign of all time. “Go see my new movie: I killed Osama bin Laden.” I’d see every “Fast and Furious” movie for the rest of my life.

罗根:他是秘密射击手,这可是史上最好的交叉宣传了。“去看我的新片吧,我杀了奥萨马·本·拉登。”这下我肯定会看《速度与激情》(Fast and Furious)的所有续集了。

Was “The Interview” created specifically as a vehicle for the two of you?


ROGEN The idea was around for a long time. The first script was about Kim Jong-il [Mr. Kim’s father]. In my head, the Dave Skylark character was much more normal and grounded — more like Ryan Seacrest. We thought maybe it would be a more serious role, and the producer would be the funny one. Wouldn’t it be funny to pair me with a more serious actor, like Matt Damon? And then Dan Sterling wrote a draft of the script, and the character was just way more crazy than we thought. And that’s when we started to think Franco could do it.

罗根:我们思考这个创意已经有一段时间了。最初的剧本是关于金正日的(金正恩的父亲)。在我头脑里,戴夫·斯凯拉克这个角色应该更普通、更实际一点——更像瑞安·西克莱斯特(Ryan Seacrest)。我们觉得他应该是个更严肃的角色,制作人那个角色应该更有趣一点。给我配一个马特·达蒙(Matt Damon)之类的严肃演员不是很好玩吗?后来丹·斯特林(Dan Sterling)写了剧本草稿,主持人这个角色比我们想象的要疯狂得多。然后我们就开始考虑让弗兰科来演这个角色。

FRANCO Crazier, but also more grounded. With these movies, the secret ingredient is the friendship. Even on “This Is the End,” my character was shallow, he cared about his house and his clothes more than his friends. Then you just make him care about this [Rogen] character. Then it becomes a love triangle with Kim Jong-un.


21JPINTERVIEW4 master1050弗兰科、罗根和杰·巴鲁切尔在《世界末日》中。

ROGEN Then his whole motivation to do the mission is just to make me happy, essentially — just to placate me enough that I won’t leave him.


Did you know you’d be friends right away when you met on “Freaks and Geeks”?


FRANCO I was just writing some poems about it. It sounds silly, but I think they’re actually pretty good. There was a period where Seth, Jason [Segel] and I all went to Jason’s house, and they would sit at one end of the room and smoke weed.

弗兰科:我为这个写过诗。听上去很傻,但我觉得它们还不错。有段时间,塞斯、杰森·席格尔(Jason Segel)和我到杰森家里去,他们坐在屋子一头抽大麻。

ROGEN He literally would sit in the corner. 


FRANCO We’d read the scripts a few times, and then there wasn’t that much to read. So we’d just watch Kubrick movies. Seth was writing stuff that we all talked about doing. Today, we would have shot it on our iPhones, at least. But we didn’t have the technology or the wherewithal to get a camera and do our little things.


Did that camaraderie continue after the show?


FRANCO There was a point where most people on the show didn’t like me, because I took myself too seriously. I thought I was Marlon Brando or something. Then I pushed Busy [Philipps, a co-star] over, by accident. So everybody didn’t like me, I think, except for Seth.

弗兰科:有那么一段时间,片子里的人都不喜欢我,因为我把自己太当回事了。我觉得自己是马龙·白兰度(Marlon Brando),后来我意外推倒了贝茜·菲利普斯(Busy Philipps,片中的另一位演员)。所以我觉得大家都不喜欢我,除了塞斯。

ROGEN When the show ended, I didn’t talk to you for years. We kind of went our separate ways, for a long time.


FRANCO I ran into Judd [Apatow] at this film festival in Austin. He’s like, “Why don’t you come back to the comedy world?” And I was like, “Yes. I need to change something, because I’m miserable.” I was not happy as an actor, and I went and did “Pineapple Express,” and it was like, Oh, it’s Seth, and I know Seth. I could take huge swings. That made all the difference.

弗兰科:这届奥斯汀电影节上,我遇到了贾德·阿帕图(Judd Apatow)。他说:“你为什么不回到喜剧世界呢?”我说:“对,我需要改变,因为我太悲惨了。”作为演员,我并不开心,然后我就拍了《菠萝快车》(Pineapple Express),感觉就是,啊,这不是塞斯吗,我认识塞斯。我可以做出巨大的改变。这部片子让一切都不一样了。

21JPINTERVIEW5 master1050罗恩和弗兰科在《菠萝快车》中。

Is it helpful to have, in James, an actor who’s also a director in his own right?


ROGEN He gets that we need different stuff. We’ve got to go too far and not far enough. And he’s as much a part of steering that ship as he is an engine. It’s hard for me to focus on everything at once sometimes. And I smoke weed, so that doesn’t help. [Laughter.] Franco remembers better than anyone.


FRANCO Because I don’t want to lose good jokes!


ROGEN Me and Evan, we’re slightly more willing to be, like, “O.K., we got it.” He’s like, “No! You don’t got it! We didn’t do this angle.” It’s constant.


FRANCO I know that they pick the best stuff. But I still have this feeling, like, I just want everything to be used. I got the dailies of “Pineapple Express” from David Gordon Green and put a cut together with all the unused jokes.

弗兰科:我知道他们选择了最好的。但我还是有这种感觉:要把一切东西都用上。我从大卫·戈登·格林(David Gordon Green)那里拿来了《菠萝快车》的每日样片,把所有没用上的笑话做了一个剪辑。

In the course of promoting this movie, you’ve parodied Kanye West’s “Bound 2” video, you’ve appeared together on “Naked and Afraid.” Could you do these things if you were just professional acquaintances?

在宣传这部电影的时候,你们戏仿了肯耶·韦斯特的音乐录像《第二轮》,你们还曾经一起在《赤裸与恐惧》(Naked and Afraid)里出现。如果你们只是工作上有关系,还会做这些事情吗?

ROGEN The fact that you’re friends with someone is the most important when you’re promoting a movie. I’ve worked with people I hated, and it’s fine when you’re making a movie. You can go back to your trailer. But when you’re promoting a movie, it’s totally different. You’re seeing them much more in their day-to-day, how-they-actually-are lives.


FRANCO It’s an adventure.


ROGEN When we did Jimmy Fallon, we were hiding in a cake for 15 minutes.

罗根:我们上吉米·法伦(Jimmy Fallon)的节目时,一起在一个蛋糕里躲了15分钟。

弗兰科和罗根在电视剧《怪胎与书呆》中。 Chris Haston/NBC

FRANCO It looked like a big cake. It’s not that big inside.


ROGEN We were in the cake so long, we stopped talking about the fact that we were hiding inside a cake. “What are you doing tomorrow?” “Oh, really, what time’s your flight?” Meanwhile, we’re half-naked inside a cake on the stage of “The Tonight Show.”


Are there lessons you’ve learned from each other?


FRANCO What I want to learn from Seth is, how do you do the movies that you want to do? Seth’s going to produce this movie I’m going to direct about the making of [the Tommy Wiseau cult movie] “The Room,” and I put myself in his hands. I’m happy to do that. It’s a project where I don’t have to fight every step of the way.

弗兰科:我希望能从塞斯身上学到的是:你是怎么拍出你想拍的电影的?下一部电影,塞斯要当制作人,我来做导演,是关于托米·韦素(Tommy Wiseau)的小众电影《房间》(The Room)的制作过程。我把自己交到他手里了。我很高兴这样做。在这部片子里,我用不着全程每一步都自己奋斗了。

ROGEN We were making “Pineapple Express,” filming the scene where I buy the weed from him, and while we’re sitting around, off camera, I was like, “You know what would be funny is if I said it smells ‘like God’s vagina.’ ” But I was like, “That’s too crazy a joke.” The next take, Franco says it and it destroys.


FRANCO It’s probably on like a million stoners’ T-shirts.


ROGEN It was my instinct not to say it, for the exact reason that he did say it. It was really an educational moment. If you’re afraid of something, then you should probably do that thing. We’ve made entire movies based on that philosophy.


Would you have done anything differently in “The Interview” if you knew what would happen before its release?


ROGEN That’s a tough question. I was thinking about that, and I honestly have no idea.


Are you reading the hacked material?


ROGEN I’m trying not to. Ethically, I have problems with reading people’s stolen emails.


Those emails include an assessment by a Sony executive who criticized “The Interview” as “desperately unfunny.” Does that bother you?


ROGEN I don’t know who’s presumably said what. There’s some people that I would find it very bothersome from. There’s others that I would not care at all what they thought of it. [Laughs.]


Are you more careful with your email now?


ROGEN [Laughs.] A little bit. I think everyone is. Aren’t you?





周三,俄罗斯总统普京和朝鲜领导人金正恩在平壤。 Kristina Kormilitsyna/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China deepened their confrontation with the West over the past decade, they were always united with the United States on at least one geopolitical project: dismantling or at least containing North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.


That is, until the war in Ukraine broke out two years ago.


In one of the starkest back-to-the-Cold War moments yet, Mr. Putin’s visit Wednesday to Pyongyang — and the announcement of a pact to provide “mutual assistance in the event of aggression” — underscored that efforts by the world’s three biggest nuclear powers to halt nuclear proliferation by North Korea had been dying for some time. Mr. Putin and Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, just presided over the memorial service.


Mr. Putin did far more than drop any semblance of a desire to ensure nuclear restraint. He promised unspecified technological help that — if it includes the few critical technologies Mr. Kim has sought to perfect — could help the North design a warhead that could survive re-entry into the atmosphere and threaten its many adversaries, starting with the United States.


Nowhere in the statements made Wednesday was there even a hint that North Korea should give up any of its estimated 50 or 60 nuclear weapons. To the contrary, Mr. Putin declared: “Pyongyang has the right to take reasonable measures to strengthen its own defense capability, ensure national security and protect sovereignty” — though he did not address whether those measures included further developing the North’s nuclear weapons.


While the shift has been clear-cut, what it could portend is stunning. “This is a renewal of Cold War-era security guarantees, no doubt,” said Victor Cha, who worked on North Korea issues during the George W. Bush administration. Those guarantees date to a now-defunct 1961 mutual defense treaty between Pyongyang and Moscow.


This time, however, the agreement “is based on mutual transactional needs — artillery for Russia and high-end military technology” for North Korea, said Mr. Cha, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They are united not by ideology, as in the Cold War, but in common opposition to the U.S. and the Western liberal order,” he added.


19russia northkorea assess 02 cjqk master1050为了给乌克兰战争寻求武器供应,俄罗斯正在向朝鲜靠拢。

As the threat from North Korea grows, Mr. Cha said, the new pact is almost certain to solidify an increasingly formal security alliance between Japan, South Korea and the United States.


The Russians signaled what was coming 18 months ago.


Desperate for more artillery to press the war effort in Ukraine, Mr. Putin turned to Mr. Kim for some modest help with ammunition in late 2022. That trickle has now reportedly turned into a flood: five million rounds of ammunition, by the estimates of Western intelligence services, and a growing array of North Korea-made munitions, jammed into what the State Department said were 11,000 shipping containers full of arms. Ballistic missiles followed.


It is a reflection of the fact that North Korea now has, for perhaps the first time in its history, a valuable bargaining chip that one of its allies in its standoff with the West needs: It is a prodigious arms producer.


At first, Mr. Kim was happy to receive oil and food in return. But in the intelligence assessments circulating in Washington and Europe, officials say, there is growing concern that the North Korean leader is now determined to surmount the last big technological hurdle in making his country a full-fledged nuclear weapons state — the capability to reach any American city with his nuclear weapons.


Russia holds the keys; the question is whether it is willing to hand them over.


“Russia’s need for support in the context of Ukraine has forced it to grant some long-sought concessions to China, North Korea and Iran,” Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, told Congress in March, “with the potential to undermine, among other things, long-held nonproliferation norms.”


In closed, classified sessions, she was far more specific, taking key members of Congress through the array of technologies Mr. Kim has not yet shown he can master. Most of them involve keeping a nuclear warhead aloft for 6,000 miles and making sure it can survive, and accurately hit its target, on re-entry to the atmosphere.


That is the step a series of American presidents have said they cannot live with. Before the conclusion of this week’s meeting in Pyongyang, Mr. Cha wrote that the prospect of Russian help to the North “presents the greatest threat to U.S. national security since the Korean War.”


“This relationship, deep in history and reinvigorated by the war in Ukraine, undermines the security of Europe, Asia and the U.S. homeland. Amid front-burner issues like the wars in Ukraine and Gaza,” he contended, the “administration relegates this problem to the back burner at its own peril.”


19russia northkorea assess 03 cjqk master1050首尔一个火车站的电视屏幕正在播放朝鲜2月进行的导弹试验。

Of course, Washington has faced so many warnings about the dangers of North Korea’s arsenal — dating to its first nuclear test 18 years ago — that it has become almost the background music of geopolitical upheaval.


Mr. Kim has also shown a willingness to strike the United States in non-nuclear ways. The North was responsible for a devastating hack of Sony Pictures a decade ago, which took out most of the studio’s computing capability. The attack was prompted by Sony’s decision to release “The Interview,” a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy about two journalists sent off to assassinate Mr. Kim.

金正恩也表现出以非核方式打击美国的意愿。十年前,朝鲜对索尼影业进行了毁灭性黑客攻击,摧毁了它的大部分计算能力。事情的起因是,索尼决定发行由塞斯·罗根和詹姆斯·弗兰科主演的喜剧片《采访》(The Interview,也译作《刺杀金正恩》,这部电影讲述了两名记者被派去刺杀金正恩的故事。

In many ways, it set the stage for the modern cyber wars, and the North has financed the expansion of its nuclear program by hacking into central banks and other lucrative Western targets.


A seemingly endless series of United Nations financial sanctions has failed to cripple either the nuclear expansion or the North’s closely related missile program. American efforts at sabotage have worked, but not for long.


So that leaves the United States dependent on the cold calculus of deterrence: reminding the North, with exercises of long-range bombers, that a strike on the United States or its allies would almost certainly result in the destruction of the country. But a credible security pact with Moscow would complicate that reasoning, with its suggestion that Russia could potentially strike back on the North’s behalf. The terms of Wednesday’s agreement, however, were not clearly spelled out.


Mr. Putin’s announcements on Wednesday were also a reminder that North Korea’s continued success in pursuing nuclear weapons marks one of Washington’s greatest bipartisan failures. It began in the Clinton administration; faced with an emerging crisis with the North in 1994, the administration considered taking out its emerging nuclear program before it produced a single weapon.


President Bill Clinton pulled back, convinced that diplomacy was the better route — the beginning of three decades of on-again, off-again negotiations. China and Russia helped, joining in the “Six Party Talks” with North Korea that sought to buy off its program.


When that collapsed, there were sanctions and a United Nations monitoring group that was supposed to publicly present evidence of sanctions evasion. When the monitoring operation came up for renewal at the United Nations recently, Russia successfully led the charge to get rid of it, at least for now.


Now there are two immediate challenges ahead for the United States, Japan, South Korea and other allies. The first is to attempt to stop the transfer of the technology Mr. Kim has on his shopping list. It includes, Mr. Cha and other experts say, the means to build quiet nuclear-armed submarines, and the technology to evade missile defenses.


In the past, Mr. Putin has provided missile designs to the North, American intelligence officials have reported, but there is little evidence that he has helped with actual nuclear weapons. Now the North has leverage: Keeping the artillery store open for Mr. Putin may hinge on Mr. Kim’s getting what he wants.


And no one is watching this more closely than the Iranians. They, too, are supplying the Russians with drones. U.S. officials believe the two are discussing missiles. And just last week, the Iranians stepped up pressure on Israel and the United States, saying they were putting their most advanced centrifuges — capable of quickly turning Iran’s fuel stockpile into the material needed to make three nuclear weapons — deep inside an underground facility that may be beyond Israel’s ability to reach with bunker-busting bombs.


If North Korea’s gambit works, the Iranians may also see a benefit in growing even closer with Russia. And Mr. Putin may conclude he has little to lose.




The New York Times

Move over, Microsoft and Apple. The stock market has a new king.


On Tuesday, Nvidia leapfrogged two of tech’s most storied names to become the world’s most valuable public company, according to data from S&P Global. Its ascent has been powered by the boom in generative artificial intelligence and surging demand for the company’s chips — known as graphics processing units, or GPUs — which have made it possible to create A.I. systems.


Nvidia’s rise is among the fastest in market history. Just two years ago, the company’s market valuation was a little over $400 billion. Now, in the span of a year, it has gone from $1 trillion to more than $3 trillion.


On Tuesday, Nvidia’s share price rose 3.6 percent, lifting its value to $3.34 trillion. Microsoft and Apple both fell, ending the day trailing the Silicon Valley chip maker.


Nvidia’s ascent is a testament to how much artificial intelligence has upended the world’s biggest companies. The rise of the powerful technology first elevated Microsoft to the biggest market capitalization in January, dethroning Apple, before pushing Nvidia to take the crown. Last week, Apple said it, too, was getting into the A.I. game and will add the technology to its products, including the iPhone, this fall.


Years before other big chip companies, Nvidia’s chief executive, Jensen Huang, bet that GPUs would be essential to building artificial intelligence, and he tailored his company to accommodate what he believed would be tech’s next big boom.


His big bet is paying off. By some measurements, Nvidia controls more than 80 percent of the market for the chips used in A.I. systems. Nvidia’s biggest customers regularly jockey for orders for chips to run computers in their giant data centers, and are building their own A.I. chips so they are not so dependent on one supplier.


“No one else fully saw or appreciated this,” said Daniel Newman, chief executive of the Futurum Group, a tech research firm. “They saw the trend, built for the trend and enabled the market. They can effectively charge whatever they want.”

“没有人能够完全预见或理解这一点,”科技研究公司Futurum Group的首席执行官丹尼尔·纽曼说。“他们发现了这一趋势,顺应了这一趋势,并推动了市场的发展。他们实际上可以随心所欲地定价。”

Nvidia’s ascent has made Mr. Huang, 61, a celebrity in the tech world. After a computer conference in Taiwan early this month, he was surrounded by attendees who wanted his autograph, including a woman who asked him to sign her chest.


The company’s rise is reminiscent of dot-com era titans like Cisco and Juniper Networks, which built the equipment that ran communications networks for the internet. Cisco’s shares increased more than a thousandfold between its initial public offering in 1990 and 2000, when it briefly became the world’s most valuable company.


The speed at which Nvidia’s value has grown has been startling. Apple crossed $1 trillion in August 2018 and became the first $3 trillion company last June. Microsoft also took nearly five years to climb from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.


Nvidia’s investors are betting more on its potential than on its current profits. Microsoft and Apple each generated more than $21 billion in profit during the three months that ended in March. Nvidia generated $14.88 billion in profit in its most recent quarter, which ended in April, but that was up more than 600 percent from a year earlier.


“The numbers have gotten so big so quickly that people worry: Is this sustainable?” said Stacy Rasgon, an analyst with Bernstein Research. “If the return on A.I. turns out to not be there, then the whole thing comes crumbling down.”


Just 12 companies have led the S&P 500 by market valuation since the index was created in 1926: AT&T, Apple, Cisco, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, General Motors, IBM, Microsoft, Philip Morris, Walmart and now Nvidia, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.


Nvidia’s rise has been fueled by its ability to consistently exceed Wall Street expectations. Sales in its last quarter tripled from a year earlier to $26 billion. It also projected that it would double sales in the current quarter.


Nvidia sells everything from chips, and the software needed to build A.I. systems with those chips, to supercomputers. The machines, which have 35,000 parts and are packed with the company’s GPUs, sell for $250,000 or more. A new supercomputer that Nvidia is bringing to the market could sell for more than $1 million, Mr. Rasgon said.


“Even though the cost of the system is going up, the performance per dollar is getting better with every generation, and that’s how they’re able to keep customers buying,” Mr. Rasgon said.


Wall Street has been watching for signs of a slowdown. Microsoft, Meta, Google and Amazon have all developed their own chips that can be used for A.I., and traditional chip rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices and Intel have tried to cut into Nvidia’s business with their own A.I. processors.


But Mr. Huang believes that it will take time for anyone to catch up to Nvidia. The company has a decade head start and has cultivated a large community of A.I. programmers who prefer its technology.


“We are fundamentally changing how computing works and what computers can do,” Mr. Huang said in a conference call with analysts in May. “The next industrial revolution has begun.”





Arsh Raziuddin

Last fall, Jina Kim and two of her friends splurged on a two-night stay at the Ananti at Busan Cove, a luxury resort in Busan, South Korea.


The resort, where rooms start at $369 a night, features infinity pools, spas, eight restaurants, a private coastal walk and beach area, and a 4,600-meter “Water House” — an indoor pool and sauna fed by natural hot-spring water.


“We just spent the whole day in the resort hotel, swimming, eating and drinking,” said Ms. Kim, a 32-year-old former teacher who is now a stay-at-home mother.


Ms. Kim and her friends weren’t worried about how they would pay for the trip because they had spent over a decade saving in a “gyemoim,” a Korean term for people who form financial planning groups to save money for future expenses.


Forming gyemoim groups can help friends or families split travel costs equally so everyone can participate, regardless of his or her personal budget.


“Honestly, if we didn’t make the gyemoim, then it would have been too difficult for us to arrange that kind of trip,” Ms. Kim said. “It would have cost too much, and we didn’t want other members to feel pressured by that.”


Maintaining Relationships Through Saving


Collective financial planning has had a long history in many parts of the world.


“It’s actually not unique to South Korea,” said Euncheol Shin, an associate professor of economics at KAIST College of Business in Seoul. “This practice first developed because there was no financial market out there, and if you wanted to borrow some money, you had to do some self-financing.”


Dr. Shin gave an example of a village 200 years ago that needed to buy seeds to grow rice. The financial structures to take out loans didn’t yet exist in many places, so villages pooled their money, bought supplies and split what they reaped.


Over time, this practice evolved into a way for people to keep friendships strong and communities united.


Each member of a gyemoim contributes what are essentially “club dues” — often between $10 and $50 each month, with the amount decided by the group. As the balance increases, the members discuss how to spend it together.


Ms. Kim first formed a gyemoim with two friends after they met at a social club in 2014. The three were attending different colleges and believed the gyemoim would allow them to regularly meet up.


Initially, they each agreed to contribute 15,000 won, or about $13, every month. Over the next decade, they saved more than 3,000,000 won, or about $2,200, before deciding to spend the money on a trip to the Ananti, the resort. By then, the three friends had become busy with their own careers and families, but they remained close, in part, because of the gyemoim.


“It allowed us to keep in touch and have a good time together without worrying about the cost,” Ms. Kim said.


Young-hoon Lee, 35, said his mother headed the gyemoim for her apartment building.


Mr. Lee, a teaching assistant at an English language academy, is part of a gyemoim that consists of two women and four men, all of whom contribute 50,000 Korean won, or about $36, each month.


“We became close friends during high school, and we’ve remained friends into adulthood,” he said. “Initially, we got together just to have fun, but as everyone started working, we began thinking more about the future. So, while maintaining our friendship is important, we also decided to support each other through significant life events, such as weddings or funerals.”


Mr. Lee’s gyemoim typically uses its shared funds to reconnect a handful of times a year, usually to enjoy a meal of Korean barbecue or fried chicken and beer.


Ms. Kim also traveled with a different gyemoim to Vietnam at the end of April. The trip cost much less than her stay at the Ananti, though she said her group of three women still stayed in a nice hotel and had a great time together.


Why Gyemoims Work in South Korea


Gyemoim groups can work in South Korea because of the nature of the country’s social interactions and culture of trust.


For example, in South Korea you could walk into a coffee shop in Seoul and leave your bag, laptop and wallet full of credit cards and cash at your seat unattended and go to the bathroom without needing to worry if it would all be there when you got back. (Though, to be sure, scams and fraud occur just like anywhere else.)


“Let’s say that you and I are friends,” Dr. Shin said. “We have grown up in a small town for a very long time. We know everything about each other. If I borrow some money and I don’t pay it back, then you’re going to say, ‘Hey, everyone, Euncheol borrowed some money from me, and he never paid me back.’” Because of the collective nature of social groups, Dr. Shin explained, he would be ostracized by people in his community.


Forming a group to save is so common in South Korea that one bank is adapting to the custom. KakaoBank, an arm of the country’s most popular communication app, KakaoTalk, now offers a gyemoim group account product where friends can share a bank account managed by one designated account holder.

组团储蓄在韩国非常普遍,一家银行正在适应这一习俗。Kakao银行是韩国最受欢迎的通讯应用Kakao Talk的子公司,现在提供一种起会群组账户产品,朋友们可以共享一个由指定账户持有人管理的银行账户。

Mr. Lee and Ms. Kim started their gyemoim groups before KakaoBank existed, so they entrusted their funds to one member of their saving circles. Some groups, like Mr. Lee’s, still prefer this “old-fashioned” method of collecting money. Mr. Lee said one of his groups had decided who would be entrusted with the money by majority vote.


Both of Ms. Kim’s gyemoim groups now use the KakaoBank option because it allows all members to see how their pooled money is moved in their account, which earns up to 2 percent interest. The account manager is the sole person with control over how the funds are used, but everyone pays in. Users can set reminders to send their monthly dues to the account and communicate through the app’s chat feature.


Gyemoim groups don’t last forever. Circumstances change, friends may have a falling-out, someone may no longer want to participate or a new person may want to join. When that happens, it’s up to the collective to decide how to handle it.


“There are no particular rules to run a group, although in some groups, other people have created their own rules,” Ms. Kim said. “But my groups never really had rules.”


Ms. Kim’s gyemoim that visited Busan used to include another friend, who decided to bow out a few years ago for financial reasons.


“In our case,” she said, “we asked her what she wanted to do with her part of the money. She decided to have her part refunded instead of using it. ”


While there was a peaceful parting of ways in Ms. Kim’s gyemoim, disagreements aren’t unheard-of, either. Ms. Kim said she had a friend who was part of a gyemoim that disbanded when its members couldn’t agree on how to plan a trip. For a group to be successful, she added, members need to share similar interests and values.


Could Gyemoim Groups Work in the U.S.?


No American bank offers a product quite like what South Korea’s KakaoBank offers for gyemoim groups. To ensure full transparency for all members of your group, the closest option is to open a joint checking or savings account so those involved can have equal access.


This could be difficult depending on the size of your group and your proximity to one another. Banks that don’t have traditional brick-and-mortar locations are most likely going to have the best options. For example, a representative from Ally Bank, which operates online, said the bank allowed up to four co-owners on a spending account.


If you open an account with a bank that includes fees, factor the cost into everyone’s shared contribution.


Opening a joint account has drawbacks, too, such as what might happen if a friend wants to leave the group. Depending on the bank, removing someone from a joint account can be tough or impossible without closing the account.


In addition, unlike an individual account, a joint account gives every person equal legal ownership of the funds in it whether the person contributed all of the money or not. Despite shared ownership, you can’t force anyone to pay dues into the account, either.


Still, if you wanted to form a gyemoim, you could do it the old-fashioned way by selecting one trusted person to be in charge of pooled funds in an individual savings account.


The cultural traditions that allow gyemoims to work well in Korean society aren’t as present in Western culture, so collective funding can be a bit of a gamble if you don’t know your members well.


When forming a group, Mr. Lee suggested, include at least “one or two trustworthy people.” He also recommended the group stay open to new members, as circumstances can change unexpectedly, and new friends can energize a group that has grown stale.


Mr. Lee also recommended forming groups around a specific purpose, such as getting together regularly to pursue a hobby. Friends who have known one another a long time, such as Ms. Kim and her friends, may easily save money with no concrete purpose in mind. But new friends or acquaintances will thrive if they have mutual interests.


“As a Korean who values a sense of community, I think the culture of community is good, and I hope more people will pursue a culture where everyone gets along well,” Mr. Lee said.




克里姆林宫发布的视频截图显示,俄罗斯总统普京和朝鲜领导人金正恩周三早间在平壤一个机场举行的欢迎仪式上。 Kremlin, via Reuters

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has arrived in North Korea, according to Russian state media, visiting for the first time in 24 years after vowing to bring ties with Pyongyang to new heights and jointly rebuff what he called the “global neocolonial dictatorship” of the United States.


The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, met the Russian president on the airport tarmac early Wednesday local time, Russian state news agencies reported.


Mr. Putin arrived in the dead of night, descending from his airplane to a red carpet lined by uniformed guards to embrace the waiting North Korean leader, video later released by the Kremlin showed. Mr. Kim ushered Mr. Putin into a Russian-made Aurus limousine that he had received from him last year.


The war against Ukraine has driven Mr. Putin closer to Mr. Kim, who has won new status with the Kremlin by opening his vast munitions stores to Moscow.


Nine months ago, after Mr. Kim arrived by armored train in the Russian Far East, the two men met at a Russian cosmodrome and toasted their “sacred struggle” against the West. The North Korean leader, in between visiting sensitive Russian rocket and fighter jet facilities, invited Mr. Putin to make a reciprocal visit.


Now, the Russian president has taken him up on the offer. And the deepening relationship between the two authoritarian leaders poses a particular challenge for Washington. The United States once relied on Moscow’s cooperation in its attempts to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile program. Now, it faces a Kremlin intent on playing spoiler to American geopolitical interests around the world.


Russian state media released footage showing large Russian flags and portraits of a smiling Mr. Putin lining the streets of Pyongyang as North Korea prepared to welcome the Russian leader.


What does Russia want?


Ahead of the trip, Mr. Putin issued an order authorizing the conclusion of a new “comprehensive strategic partnership” agreement with North Korea.


He also published an article in Rodong, the North’s main newspaper, praising Mr. Kim for resisting “economic pressure, provocations, blackmail and military threats from the United States” and thanking Pyongyang for its strong support of Russia’s operations in Ukraine.


Victory over Ukraine has been the guiding principle of Russian foreign policy for more than two years, and Mr. Putin’s top priority on the trip will be to ensure North Korea’s continued cooperation in helping him achieve his aims on the battlefield.


North Korea is one of the world’s most impoverished and isolated countries, but it has one of the biggest militaries.


The exact scope of the North’s military aid for Moscow’s war is unclear. Many analysts say the contribution has been meaningful, because the Russian military requires evermore ammunition in its war of attrition against Kyiv. Russian forces have recently been making territorial gains against Ukraine in part because they are able to expend more ammunition.


In an interview with Bloomberg last week, the South Korean defense minister, Shin Won-sik, said Seoul had tracked at least 10,000 shipping containers that could hold as many as 4.8 million artillery shells being ferried from North Korea to Russia. The minister predicted that Mr. Putin would ask for more during his trip.


17putin nkorea explainer 3 bgfj master10503月,乌克兰基辅,救援人员在被俄罗斯导弹摧毁的建筑物废墟中搜寻。

Before Mr. Kim’s visit to Russia last year, U.S. intelligence reported that Moscow had purchased millions of artillery shells from North Korea. The United States has since accused Russia at the United Nations of firing multiple North Korean ballistic missiles into Ukraine.


But questions about the quality of the North’s supplies have arisen. Officials in Kyiv have said that Russia fired roughly 50 North Korean ballistic missiles at Ukrainian territory last winter and that the fail rate of the weapons was high.


The burgeoning relationship with Moscow has already yielded dividends for Pyongyang. In March, Russia vetoed the annual renewal of the U.N. panel of experts that had been scrutinizing North Korean sanctions violations for 15 years. The move highlighted the drastic shift in Moscow’s stance toward Pyongyang after years of playing a role in U.N. disarmament efforts there.


Before their mandate expired, U.N. monitors verified that debris from a January attack on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv had come from a North Korean missile and said the weapons transfer had violated the U.N. arms embargo on Pyongyang, according to Reuters. The embargo prohibits the export and import of weapons.


Mr. Putin is unlikely to acknowledge any ammunition or weapons deliveries during the trip. Russia has denied any military transfers that violate the U.N. embargo.


The Kremlin foreign policy aide, Yuri V. Ushakov, told journalists at a briefing on Monday that the two leaders would discuss energy, transport, agriculture, economic and security issues during the trip.


Mr. Putin will also visit Vietnam later this week, underscoring the Kremlin’s propensity to contest American interests even in nations where Washington has been improving its ties. The Russian leader’s trip there comes after President Biden visited in September.


What does North Korea want?


Mr. Kim, whose grandfather came to power with Moscow’s backing in 1948 and founded North Korea, has been steadily expanding his arsenal of high-end weapons and looking increasingly for the Kremlin’s help.


The warming of relations between Moscow and Pyongyang has led to a breakdown of international efforts aimed at containing North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions and has raised questions about future sanctions enforcement.


Since the two leaders met last year, questions have persisted about what Mr. Kim has received in return for supplying Moscow with ballistic missiles and much-needed artillery shells.


Among other things, the conflict has given Pyongyang the rare opportunity to evaluate the performance of its missiles in live combat and potentially perfect their design.


North Korea would also welcome greater access to Russia’s sophisticated military technology, including its extensive knowledge of satellites. Two months after Mr. Kim’s visit to Russia last year, North Korea put its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit, a launch that South Korean officials said had been aided by technological assistance from Moscow.


Russia, which has the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and one of its most sophisticated submarine programs, possesses a range of other technologies of interest to North Korea. Despite disarmament efforts over many years by Washington and the United Nations, Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests and developed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.


Isolated from the rest of the world owing to international sanctions, North Korea has a range of needs outside the military sector that Moscow could also help meet. South Korean officials have said that Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter, is supplying food and raw materials, as well as parts for weapons manufacturing.


In the article published in Rodong ahead of the trip, Mr. Putin said that Moscow would support North Korea’s struggle against “the cunning, dangerous and aggressive enemy” by deepening economic relations and establishing a new trade settlement system free from American interference.


Mr. Ushakov said that Russia’s trade with North Korea reached $34.4 million in 2023, nine times the amount of the previous year. He said the summit would include a discussion about restoring humanitarian ties that were suspended during the pandemic because of North Korea’s strict rules.







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