South Korea’s nuclear deal
The U.S. has agreed to give South Korea a central role in the strategic planning for the use of nuclear weapons in any conflict with North Korea. In return, South Korea agreed to not pursue its own nuclear arsenal.
The deal, announced during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to Washington, is meant to assure South Korea that the U.S. will use its nuclear arsenal, if needed, to dissuade or respond to a nuclear attack from the North — even if that risks a strike on an American city. The concept is called “extended deterrence.”
The accord is an admission that disarming North Korea is no longer plausible. In the past four years, the North’s arsenal has grown so fast that U.S. and South Korean officials have stopped trying to keep a precise count.
Xi speaks with Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, had long requested a conversation with China’s leader, Xi Jinping. Yesterday, the two spoke by phone — their first known contact since Russia’s invasion.
Both framed the call carefully. China’s official account notably omitted the words “Russia” and “war,” and referred instead to the need for a “political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.” Zelensky said the discussion was “long and meaningful.”
Despite Xi’s conversation with Zelensky, China and Russia remain closely aligned: Last month, Xi met with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and the two also spoke little of the war, though China has floated a potential peace plan.
Xi has also been trying to burnish his image as a global statesman by helping to restore ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and by welcoming President Emmanuel Macron of France to China.
More power to Catholic women
Pope Francis will let women vote at a meeting of bishops for the first time, an important step toward giving them more say in the affairs of the Roman Catholic Church.
The meeting, of an advisory committee called the Synod of Bishops, periodically takes place at the Vatican to discuss issues like divorce. In 2021, the pope amended church laws to let women be Bible readers at Mass, serve at the altar and distribute communion — practices that were already common in many places.
Humans love the dizziness that comes from spinning in circles. Apparently, so do other primates, like the gorilla in a now-viral video. “They seem to do it for the same reason that children do — because it’s fun and exhilarating,” said an author of a new study that looked at why apes spin.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Indian girls’ cricket dreams
This spring, a new professional cricket league for women in India held its inaugural season — a $500 million bet on female talent in the country’s most popular sport.
The Women’s Premier League is already creating new opportunities for female athletes, as seen in one village in Punjab, where a team of girls ranging in age from 9 to 14 dream of becoming professional cricketers.
Their coach takes them to see games far away. He pours his salary into their team and brings recruiters to watch them play. He builds their confidence, encouraging them to see cricket as an escape from the confines of Indian village life, where women perform most of the domestic labor.
“This is what it looks like to chip away at India’s rigid gender divide,” writes Mujib Mashal, our South Asia bureau chief.