(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good morning. The North Korea meeting in limbo, a Malaysian opposition leader’s return and Indian elections. Here’s what you need to know:
• The White House brushed aside North Korea’s threats to cancel the summit meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un next month, saying the U.S. was “hopeful” it would happen but would be fine if it did not.
After objecting to military exercises, North Korea also rejected Washington’s demand that it quickly dismantle its nuclear program. And it singled out John Bolton, above right, Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, for criticism: “We do not hide our feelings of repugnance towards him.”
The State Department said it would continue planning for the meeting in Singapore, but the news was a familiar pattern from Pyongyang: diplomatic outreach, followed by erratic behavior. And in an apparent rebuke of Mr. Trump, former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson warned in a commencement address on Wednesday that American democracy was threatened by a “growing crisis in ethics and integrity.”
• “We must cast aside illusions and rely on ourselves,” President Xi Jinping of China said last month.
Now, as a top Chinese policymaker meets with the Trump administration this week in hopes of heading off a trade war, Washington and Beijing are anticipating a time when they don’t need each other so much. But both sides acknowledge full disengagement is impossible.
Also this week: Business owners, trade groups and industry representatives will testify before U.S. officials on the administration’s plan to impose tariffs on more than 1,300 Chinese imports such as steel, above.
And we fact-checked President Trump’s assertion that his decision to review restrictions on ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications company, were part of “the larger trade deal.” We also looked at why the U.S. is unnerved by China’s rise.
In contrast with Washington’s full-throated support of Israel, Europe’s response has been more critical. European officials also started working to save the nuclear accord with Iran, which President Trump pulled out of last week.
• Code name: Crossfire Hurricane.
The Russia investigation began with a top-secret F.B.I. mission to London to interview the Australian ambassador.
President Trump has dismissed it as a “witch hunt” — but the F.B.I. repeatedly took steps that benefited him.
And a Senate panel released thousands of pages of documents on the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Trump campaign officials and a self-described Kremlin informant.
Also on Wednesday: Mr. Trump released his financial disclosure, which revealed that he paid more than $100,000 to his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, above, for an unspecified reimbursement. Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, who claims she had an affair with Mr. Trump.
• A remote town in northeastern China has long cherished its special, if fraught, connection to Japan.
Fangzheng was once part of the Japanese imperial puppet state Manchuria, and the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden there, above, holds the graves of 5,000 Japanese who died when Soviet forces swept in during World War II.
But the town, like its cemetery, has been caught in the complex and tortured history that still divides Japan and China. In 2011, nationalists shut down the garden and branded the residents, many of whom have family ties to Japan, as traitors.
Now, warming relations between Tokyo and Beijing have given some hope. “It’s torture for people like me who love both countries,” one resident said.
• Didi Chuxing, China’s popular ride-sharing service, said it would overhaul its app and security practices after a 21-year-old passenger was allegedly raped and killed by a driver.
• The Los Angeles Times suspended its Beijing bureau chief, Jonathan Kaiman, after accusations of sexual misconduct, outlined in a letter addressed to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China.
• As tech companies contend with questions about the role of social media in politics, our most recent episode of “The Daily” looks at how inflammatory Facebook posts stirred ethnic violence in Sri Lanka.
• Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing giant, is teaming up with the designer Tomas Maier for a resort-focused collection. We spoke with Mr. Maier about the collaboration.
• The longtime Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, above, has been pardoned and will return to politics after his alliance’s election victory. [The New York Times]
• Four men wielding swords were shot dead at a security checkpoint, the latest in a wave of apparent terrorist attacks in Indonesia. [The New York Times]
• Michigan State University has agreed to pay $500 million to victims of the physician Larry Nassar, who sexually abused more than 300 young women. [The New York Times]
• Taliban insurgents overran the Afghan city of Farah, killing 30 people, and then retreating. [The New York Times]
• President Trump met with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan in an effort to start a new era of closer cooperation and to press for greater political and economic openness. [The New York Times]
• A Hong Kong journalist was roughed up and detained by the Beijing police while covering the disciplinary hearing of a human rights lawyer. [The New York Times]
• Aleksei Navalny, the Russian opposition figure, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for organizing an unsanctioned rally days before President Vladimir V. Putin’s inauguration. [The New York Times]
• With no clear winner in crucial state elections in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party was invited to try to form a government. [The Times of India]
• As air-conditioning is adopted more widely in countries like India and China, there is growing concern about increasing emissions and the burden on power grids. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• In this week’s Australia Diary, the joyful image above captures two defining aspects of the country’s culture: sportsmanship and mateship.
• Anne Frank covered up some pages in her diary that had dirty jokes and “sexual matters.” Researchers uncovered the hidden text using new digital technologies.
“Seinfeld” owned the 9 p.m. slot for NBC. The call to 911 was answered at 9:14 p.m., The New York Daily News reported, and an ambulance arrived in just four minutes. The streets of Los Angeles were nearly empty thanks to the show’s popularity, the fire department said.
“Now,” she said, “I know that in order to live a happy life you’re supposed to let go of your anger and move on.”
Robb Todd wrote today’s Back Story.
Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online. Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European or American morning. You can also receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights.
And our Australia bureau chief offers a weekly letter adding analysis and conversations with readers.
Browse our full range of Times newsletters here.
What would you like to see here? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.