China South Korea: At the regular daily press briefing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry disclosed, “Upon the invitation of President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Park Geun Hye is to visit China at the end of June.”
Park’s spokesperson Kim Haing also told reporters in Seoul. “South Korea and China plan to announce details, including the length of the visit, at an appropriate time in the future.”
Comment: Park’s will be a formal state visit. The timing of this announcement is a diplomatic block buster that humiliates North Korea. It occurred on the same day that North Korean Vice Marshal Choe was receiving guidance from President Xi. Choe departed Beijing with no invitation for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has never been invited to Beijing.
China has “tilted” to South Korea in public.
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Afghanistan: Explosions and gunfire rocked central Kabul Friday as the Taliban launched an attack close to an Afghan intelligence facility and the headquarters of a government force that protects foreign firms. The Taliban said they were targeting CIA trainers. Two people died and 13 were injured in the attack. Six to eight attackers were killed in the firefight that lasted nine hours, according to press service reports.
Comment: This fighting occurred in the center of Kabul, indicating a major lapse in security. . It is another example of the ability of anti-government fighting groups to attack any target they choose at will. The damage and losses were not large, but the demonstration of the anti-government group’s ability to strike at the seat of power and the international quarter is a significant terror effect.
Phi Beta Iota: See correction from the field, DefDog: Kabul Update – Media Gets It Wrong … Again
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Syria: Syrian troops have captured much of the rebel stronghold of al-Qusayr, in central Homs province, squeezing opposition fighters into the north of the strategic town, a military officer said on Friday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said regime forces supported by Hizballah fighters were attacking northern areas of the city, encircling rebel fighters there.
Comment: Capture of al-Qusayr by government forces cuts the main supply route to Homs, which is the next target in the government/Hizballah offensive. Loss of Homs would eviscerate the uprising.
The recent successes will strengthen the government’s position in forthcoming talks. As the leader of a successful offensive, it will be difficult to persuade Asad that he must step down or even make many concessions.