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Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Being royalty is usually a lifetime role, not one that comes with start and end dates. However, an end date as working members of Britain's royal family is set for Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Harry and Meghan's last day as working members of Britain's royal family will be March 31, a spokesperson for the Sussexes confirmed Wednesday.

The couple's office at Buckingham Palace, their headquarters for the past year, will be closed the next day, April 1. Going forward, Harry and Meghan will be represented through their charity, according to the spokesperson.

The end date marks a new chapter for Harry and Meghan, who announced last month their intention to step back as "senior members" of the royal family and to spend time outside the U.K.

Under guidelines announced in January by Buckingham Palace, Harry and Meghan will retain but no longer use their HRH titles, will no longer represent Her Majesty, will not receive public funds for royal duties and will spend the "majority of their time" in North America.

The Sussexes recently traveled to Miami and San Francisco for meetings but have been staying in Canada with their infant son Archie as they plan their next chapter.

The terms of Harry and Meghan's split from the royal family will be reviewed in one year, according to the spokesperson, who explained, "As there is no precedent for this new model of working and eventual financial independence, the Royal Family and the Sussexes have agreed to an initial 12-month review to ensure the arrangement works for all parties."

A major focus of Harry and Meghan's post-royal work will be their new non-profit organization. The couple will continue to focus on causes important to them, including "the Commonwealth, community, youth empowerment and mental health, collectively," according to their spokesperson.

What is not yet known is what the couple will name their nonprofit. Harry and Meghan had used the same Sussex Royal branding they have also used on their @SussexRoyal Instagram account and SussexRoyal.com website.

With their new roles outside the royal family, Harry and Meghan may be asked by royal officials to drop the word "royal" from their Sussex Royal brand.

The couple's spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that "discussions are still ongoing."

"As The Duke and Duchess are stepping back as senior Members of the Royal Family, and will work towards financial independence, use of the word 'Royal,' in this context, needed to be reviewed," the spokesperson said in a statement. "Discussions are still ongoing, however, a change will be announced alongside the launch of their new non-profit organisation."

Another new detail is that Prince Harry and Meghan plan to return to the U.K. and hold engagements there before their final day in March.

The couple spent an extended holiday break on Vancouver Island and have remained there with Archie for most of the past two months.

Meghan's last royal engagement in the U.K. was on Jan. 7, when she and Harry visited Canada House, just one day before they dropped their bombshell announcement. Harry's last U.K. engagement was on Jan. 19, when he delivered emotional remarks at a benefit for his Sentebale charity.

Harry is expected to make an appearance in the U.K. at the end of February. The couple have several U.K.-based events on their schedules in March.

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inakiantonana/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The European Union is set to announce Wednesday sweeping new proposals regulating technology including artificial intelligence and data collection. The proposals could place a temporary ban on all facial recognition in public, create a single market for data throughout the entire EU, and ask for almost $22 billion to invest in A.I.
 
The new tech regulations have sent Silicon Valley executives, like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to Brussels to lobby the EU's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager in the last week.

While details of the plan have yet to be released, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen has sought to confront "high-risk AI," or its application in sectors like health care, policing, and transport since she took office in December.

Some tech executives, like Pichai, have expressed cautious support of the plans.

"There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated," Pichai said in a speech in Brussels last month. But he urged "a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms with social opportunities."

Vestager said in a press briefing ahead of the announcement, that the commission’s plan "will produce and deploy much more artificial intelligence" in Europe, but create an AI environment that looks different from that in the U.S. and China.

In a widely leaked European Commission white paper, officials called for Europe to "become a global leader in innovation in the data economy and its applications."

In addition to releasing its plan to regulate AI, the EU is expected to also announce its European Data Strategy on Wednesday. The purpose of the plan is to “explore how to make the most of the enormous value of non-personal data as an ever-expanding and reusable asset in the digital economy," as per a statement from the EU.

After the plan is released, there will be a 12-week debate period, during which tech companies and European governments can weigh in on the initiatives.

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ABC News(SEOUL, South Korea) -- A high-level North Korean official who defected to South Korea in 2016 plans to run for a seat in South Korea’s National Assembly elections this April.

If elected, Thae Yong-ho would be the first-ever former North Korean official to become a lawmaker in the South.

A former deputy ambassador at the North Korean embassy in London, Thae caught public attention as he was spotted accompanying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s elder brother Kim Jong Chul to a Eric Clapton concert in London in 2015. He is the second-highest North Korean official in history to defect. The late Hwang Jang Yop, a former senior official in the regime widely credited with crafting North Korea’s founding principle of Juche, or self-reliance, defected in 1997.

“I stand before you as a proud South Korean citizen that wants to do his part in deciding the future of our country,” Thae told a group of foreign press members in fluent British-accented English on Wednesday in Seoul. “This is also a great opportunity to show the North Korean people our democracy and freedom.”

Thae said he believes thousands of North Korean laborers, students, diplomats and entrepreneurs currently working abroad outside of North Korea will get to see how democracy works and become interested in South Korean elections.

“Breaking down communism and totalitarianism will take more than coercive force,” Thae said. “This election, and my campaign, can be a game-changing opportunity for our peninsula.”

Since his defection four years ago with his wife and two sons, Thae has been protected by the South Korean government for fear of assassination or terror by North Korean infiltrators. He has occasionally appeared on local TV and wrote articles on North-South issues, gradually increasing his voice in recent months on human rights for 33,523 North Korean defectors living in the South. Thae’s YouTube Channel has drawn 137,000 subscribers and is growing fast.

Earlier this month, Thae joined the main opposition United Future Party, to run for the National Assembly election in April. The conservative party’s official in charge of candidacies announced that Thae “was the first among the defectors who volunteered to confront the voter’s judgment by running for the elections.” Unlike the proportional representation candidates, Thae has to compete with other party nominees. Thae is awaiting the United Future Party to designate in which local constituency he will be competing.

Thae said the turning point for him came when he saw the image of two North Korean fishermen apprehended in South Korean waters being handed over to North Korean authorities, against their will. The forced repatriation by the South Korean government was a controversial issue. North Korea claimed they were criminals who fled, but many, including Thae, in the South insisted that is propaganda in disguise and asylum should have been granted to the young men.

“As long as we are human beings, we should save the people who want to be saved,” Thae said. “That is humanity. That's why I want to change the law.”

Thae said he wants to help the international community understand the real face of the North Korean regime and get over the "total failure and diplomatic catastrophe" of Trump’s engagement efforts with Kim Jong Un.

But he said he realized that he needed a political platform to have his voice heard by foreign counterparts. For example, since he is a defector from North Korea, China bans him from entering the country. Thae wants to explain to Chinese officials where North Korea stands in nuclear negotiations, help the Japanese resolve the issue of civilians abducted by the North, and talk to U.S. senators and congressmen about why Kim Jong Un will "never give up its nuclear weapons program."

Thae’s race will be a tough one. He faces much criticism from South Korea’s ruling democratic party and its supporters in favor of rapprochement with the North.

“There are people here who say I shouldn’t talk about human rights or campaign for the assembly seat because Kim Jong Un feels uncomfortable,” he told the press, raising his voice. "We should not try to appease the [North Korean] government. That is surely unjust."

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zodebala/iStock(LONDON) -- The Chinese government has revoked the press credentials of three Beijing-based journalists from The Wall Street Journal as punishment for the headline of a recent opinion piece published by the U.S. newspaper that referred to China as "the real sick man of Asia."

An official from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the decision during a press conference Wednesday, saying the Feb. 3 op-ed "smears the efforts of the Chinese government and people on fighting the [coronavirus] epidemic." The move comes after the ministry had asked The Wall Street Journal last week to publicly apologize for the article and hold the person involved accountable.

"The editors used such a racially discriminatory title, triggering indignation and condemnation among the Chinese people and the international community," the official said. "However, regrettably, what the WSJ has done so far is nothing but parrying and dodging its responsibility. It has neither issued an official apology nor informed us of what it plans to do with the persons involved."

"The Chinese side handles affairs related to foreign journalists in accordance with laws and regulations," the official added. "The Chinese people do not welcome those media that speak racially discriminatory languages and maliciously slander and attack China. As such, it is decided that from today, the press cards of three WSJ journalists will be revoked."

The Wall Street Journal identified the three journalists as Josh Chin, its deputy bureau chief in Beijing and a U.S. citizen; reporter Chao Deng, also an American; and Philip Wen, an Australian national.

ABC News has reached out to the newspaper's publisher, Dow Jones & Company, for comment.

The initial cases of the novel coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, emerged back in December in Wuhan, the capital of China's central Hubei province. China has since placed the city under lockdown but the economic powerhouse has still struggled to contain the spread of the disease.

COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from the mild, such as a slight cough, to the more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no vaccine yet for the virus.

As of Wednesday, China's National Health Commission said it has received 74,185 reports of confirmed cases and 2,004 deaths on the Chinese mainland. An additional 94 confirmed infections have been reported in the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao as well as Taiwan, with one death in Hong Kong and another in Taiwan.

The newly discovered virus us spread overseas, with 805 confirmed cases in 25 countries, including the United States. There have been three deaths reported outside of China, bringing the worldwide death toll to 2,009, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

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Olkeksii Liskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department notified five Chinese media outlets on Tuesday that they must register as "foreign missions," requiring them to share information on all their U.S.-based employees and properties with the U.S. government.

Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network (CGTN), China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corp. and Hai Tian Development USA are all being designated in a move that ramps up the Trump administration's efforts to combat what they say is the Chinese Communist Party's increasingly dominant control of media and its spread of propaganda overseas, including in the U.S.

"We're not seeking conflict by any stretch of the imagination, but we're going to call it straight, we're going to call it as we see it," said a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on the announcement, "And the fact of the matter is each and every single one of these entities does in fact work 100% for the Chinese government and the Chinese communist party."

These designations were similarly used for Soviet outlets, such as Pravda, during the Cold War, although currently, Russian outlets including RT or Sputnik have not been required to register as foreign missions. The most recent designation was the Vietnam News Agency, a state-run outlet that was required to register five years ago, according to a second senior State Department official.

All five Chinese outlets have already been required to register by the Justice Department as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. But this authority will give the U.S. government increased insight into their operations, according to the senior officials, including a list of employees and requiring prior approval for acquiring any new commercial property.

Even U.S. citizens who work for one of these five outlets, which includes the widely available cable news channel CGTN, will have their information handed over to the U.S. government. That includes basic details, such as name, date of birth, residential address and job title, according to one official.

Asked about the timing, they said the outlets had increasingly come under party control under the rule of Xi Jinping, China's president and the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary, even reading a quote from Xi about the importance of party control over the media.

Senior Trump administration officials have become increasingly hawkish on China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence warning that the Communist Party is creating a totalitarian system that it seeks to export overseas to dominate the 21st century. In a speech to U.S. governors on Feb. 8, Pompeo warned that that effort to expand its influence even includes taking advantage of the freedom of the U.S. system.

"The Chinese Government has been methodical in the way it's analyzed our system, our very open system, one that we're deeply proud of. It's assessed our vulnerabilities, and it's decided to exploit our freedoms to gain advantage over us at the federal level, the state level and the local level," he said. "Today they have free rein in our system, and we're completely shut out from theirs."

In a similar vein, the State Department announced in October that Chinese personnel at the embassy in Washington and consulates across the U.S. would be required to notify the U.S. of any meetings with state and local governments and educational or research institutions. It was a decision to "level the playing field," a senior State Department official said at the time, as U.S. diplomats in China must get approval for any similar meeting while Chinese officials still do not.

The new registration requirement for media outlets will not, however, place any "constraints" on these outlets' activities in the U.S. or the content they produce and publish, according to the senior officials.

But while they wouldn't go so far as to accuse them of spreading disinformation, one official told ABC News, "They are part and parcel of the PRC (People's Republic of China) propaganda apparatus, and anyone that consumes news or any other content that those guys produce should keep that in the back of their mind."

Both officials batted away concerns about possible Chinese retaliation against U.S. or other Western journalists in China, saying press freedom there is already severely restricted.

The U.S. expects all five companies will comply, according to one official, who declined to discuss what enforcement options the administration would take if they did not.

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jarun011/iStock(WUHAN, China) -- The director of a hospital in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, died on Tuesday after contracting the virus.

Liu Zhiming, 51, was a neurosurgeon and director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, according to the Wuhan health commission.

Zhiming's death follows last week's report that more than 1,700 medical workers had been sicked by the virus, and six had died, most of them in Hubei province.

So far, there have been more than 72,500 infections in China and 1,850 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, with three deaths recorded outside of China. In the past 24 hours, 110 new cases of novel coronavirus were diagnosed outside of China.

Among those, 90% were diagnosed on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked off the coast of Japan.

"The situation on the ship obviously has evolved," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, said at a Tuesday news conference. While quarantining passengers in separate accommodations on the ship seemed like a better option than dispersing those individuals around the world a few weeks ago, "there's been more transmission than expected."

A new study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency of the National Health Commission, found that more than 80% of those who've contracted the newly discovered virus -- known officially as COVID-19 -- had mild symptoms and recovered, while 14% of the cases included severe symptoms, like pneumonia and shortness of breath. About 5% of patients had critical symptoms, such as organ and respiratory failure or septic shock.

The study, which cited analyses of more than 44,000 cases of COVID-19, also found that a patient's risk of death increased with their age, and relatively few children had contracted the disease.

Scientists need more research to understand why so few cases of the disease have been in children, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference Monday. And while the data indicates a decline in cases, Tedros cautioned that the trend should be "interpreted very cautiously."

"It's too early to tell if this reported decline will continue," he told reporters. "Every scenario is still on the table."

At a press briefing in Ethiopia on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on China to "increase its transparency" about the outbreak.

"We hope that every country that has information -- this includes China -- will be completely open and transparent. It took us too long to get the medical experts into the country," he said. "But we are hopeful that the Chinese government will increase its transparency [and] will continue to share this information."

COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from the mild, such as a slight cough, to the more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no vaccine yet for the virus.

Meanwhile, the Diamond Princess cruise ship continues to be the largest center of infection outside China.

The Diamond Princess docked at the Japanese port of Yokohama on Feb. 3 and was placed under quarantine two days later, as passengers and crew tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, more than 540 people on board the cruise ship have been infected with the disease -- 99 of whom were confirmed in the past 24 hours. At least one quarantine officer also has been infected, according to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which is leading and coordinating the public health response on board.

Those aboard the ship who were infected were brought ashore for treatment, while thousands of others were confined to their rooms until the quarantine period ends.

The United States is the first country to evacuate its citizens from the quarantined ship in Japan. More than 300 Americans, including 14 who'd tested positive for the novel coronavirus, were evacuated Monday on two flights chartered by the U.S. government, officials said. Roughly 60 Americans, some who were hospitalized and others who opted to stay on the ship, remain in Japan.

The first charter flight landed at Travis Air Force Base in California early Monday morning. The second landed soon after at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Everyone on board will be quarantined for 14 days. Several individuals, including some who tested positive, were transferred to hospitals, officials said.

Princess Cruises, which operates the cruise ship, announced in a statement Sunday that it will cancel all Diamond Princess voyages through April 20 due to the "prolonged quarantine period." The cruise line is offering a full refund to all 2,666 guests, more than 400 of whom were from the U.S.

The initial cases of COVID-19 emerged in December in Wuhan, the capital of China's central Hubei province. Chinese authorities have placed the city on lockdown in an effort to contain the virus.

The WHO has declared the outbreak a global health emergency, with a "very" high risk of spread within China and a "high" risk of spread at the global and regional levels.

The Health Commission of Hubei Province announced on Feb. 13 a change in how cases would be diagnosed and counted, with the total number of confirmed cases now including "clinically diagnosed cases," or patients who showed symptoms of the disease and were diagnosed through CT scans of the lungs, for instance, but not yet had laboratory testing.

The expanded criteria is meant to ensure "patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment," the commission said in a statement.

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Medley of Photography/iStock(LONDON) -- A British government job ad calling for "weirdos and misfits" has apparently backfired as an adviser hired resigned after a string of controversial statements emerged.

The original job was advertised on the blog of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, who is widely seen as the mastermind behind the success of Brexit in the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union and the Conservative Party's landslide election victory in December.

Among the desired categories for the jobs, which included a personal assistant and a data scientist role, were "weirdos and misfits with odd skills."

Andrew Sabisky, a researcher, was appointed to Cummings' team earlier this year. He resigned Monday after a string of controversial statements, particularly on eugenics -- the aim to alter the human gene pool by selective breeding -- were unearthed by the British media. Eugenics is widely associated with the aims of the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.

Sabisky's problematic comments included remarks suggesting black Americans had lower IQs than white people, a tweet comparing women's sports to the Paralympics, and a 2014 comment by Sabisky on one of Cummings' own blog posts saying compulsory contraception could be used in order to prevent "creating a permanent underclass."

Sabisky announced his resignation on Twitter Monday, saying his comments had been subject to "selective quoting" by the media. His Twitter account and the comment on Cummings' blog post have now been deleted.

The scrutiny on the appointment increased further after Johnson's office initially refused to comment on the hiring. When responding to questions on the prime minister's views of Sabisky's comments, a spokesman said: "The prime minister's views are well publicized and well documented," according to The Independent.

Critics on social media quickly observed that The Spectator magazine, of which Johnson was editor at the time, once published an article by the columnist Taki suggesting black people had lower IQs than white and Asian people. Johnson has since apologized for the publication of the article.

Kwasi Kwarteng, a lawmaker from Johnson's Conservative Party and government minister, said Sabisky's comments were "racist" and "reprehensible."

ABC News was unable to reach Sabisky for comment. Downing Street did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ABC News.

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Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- China indicated that it will likely delay its annual congress meeting in March because of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, the committee for the National People's Congress said Monday.

Postponing the biggest political meeting of the year would be in the best interest of citizens' safety and health, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reported.

High-profile cancellations linked to the outbreak continue, with Beijing postponing its International Automotive Exhibition on Monday. The event, which was originally slated for April 21-30, will be rescheduled in order to "to ensure the health and safety of exhibitors and participants," the organization said in a statement.

The Tokyo Marathon will take place as scheduled on March 1 but race organizers dramatically reduced the number of runners who are eligible to participate. Only elite runners and wheelchair participants will be allowed to compete in what was previously expected to be a 38,000-person event. "We cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated," race organizers said in a statement Monday.

New data out of China is giving scientists a clearer picture of the outbreak, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general at the World Health Organization, said Monday at a news conference.

More than 44,000 patients have confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and the mortality rate of about 2% appears less deadly than SARS or MERS.

About 80% of people who contracted the virus had mild symptoms and recovered, while 14% of cases included severe symptoms, such as pneumonia and shortness of breath. Roughly 5% of patients had critical symptoms like organ and respiratory failure and septic shock. Risk of death increased with age, and relatively few children contracted the disease. Scientists need more research to understand why so few cases of the disease have been in children.

While the data appear to show a decline in cases, Tedros cautioned that the trend should be "interpreted very cautiously."

"It’s too early to tell if this reported decline will continue," he said. "Every scenario is still on the table."

Meanwhile, more than 300 Americans who were passengers aboard a cruise ship quarantined at sea in Japan over coronavirus infections have evacuated the country on two flights chartered by the U.S. government, officials said.

After disembarking from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 14 of the passengers were found to be infected with the novel coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, prior to boarding the charter planes at Tokyo International Airport on Monday. The passengers, who had been tested a couple days earlier, "were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols," according to a joint statement from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"After consultation with HHS officials, including experts from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the State Department made the decision to allow the 14 individuals, who were in isolation, separated from other passengers, and continued to be asymptomatic, to remain on the aircraft to complete the evacuation process," according to the statement, noting that the individuals would continue to be isolated from the other passengers during the flights.

"All passengers are being closely monitored by medical professionals throughout the flight, and any who become symptomatic will be moved to the specialized containment area, where they will be treated."

The first charter flight landed at Travis Air Force Base in California early Monday morning. The second landed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Upon arrival, all passengers will remain under quarantine for 14 days. Those who develop symptoms in flight and those with positive test results will remain isolated on board the aircraft until they are transported to "an appropriate location for continued isolation and care," according to a joint statement from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from mild, such as a slight cough, to more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no vaccine yet for the virus, nor any known effective therapeutics.

Utah resident Mark Jorgensen was among the American passengers evacuated from the cruise ship on Monday. He confirmed to ABC News by telephone that he had arrived at Travis Air Force Base in California. His wife, Jerri, however, is still in Japan. She remains isolated in a hospital there after being diagnosed with COVID-19 but is staying positive, Jorgensen told ABC News.

Jorgensen posted several photos and videos to his Facebook page on Monday, documenting the evacuation. He said it took a total of three hours for the hundreds of passengers to disembark the cruise ship and load into nine buses on the dock. On the charter flight, crew members were clad in full protective gear while passengers wore face masks.

"The logistics of putting this together have got to be enormous," Jorgensen wrote in one of his Facebook posts.

The Diamond Princess docked at the Japanese port of Yokohama on Feb. 3 and was placed under quarantine two days later, as passengers and crew tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, at least 454 people on board the cruise ship have been infected with the newly discovered virus. At least one quarantine officer has also been infected, according to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which is leading and coordinating the public health response on board.

All those infected with the disease on the Diamond Princess have been brought ashore for treatment, while thousands of other passengers have been confined to their rooms on board until the quarantine period ends. The United States is the first country to evacuate its citizens from the quarantined ship.

Princess Cruises, which operates the ship, announced in a statement Sunday that it will cancel all Diamond Princess voyages through April 20 due to the "prolonged quarantine period." The cruise line is offering a full refund to all 2,666 guests who were on board the ship. More than 400 passengers were from the United States.

The ship is the largest center of infection of anywhere outside China, where the first cases of the new coronavirus were detected back in December. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

As of Monday, China's National Health Commission said it had received at least 70,635 reports of confirmed cases and 1,772 deaths on the Chinese mainland. More than 82 percent of the confirmed infections were reported in Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan, the outbreak's epicenter. An additional 87 confirmed infections had been reported in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions as well as Taiwan province. One death was reported in Hong Kong and another in Taiwan, according to China's National Health Commission.

Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China's National Health Commission, told reporters last Friday that 1,716 medical workers are among those infected and six of them have died. Most of the workers were in Hubei province, Zeng said.

The Health Commission of Hubei Province announced last Thursday a change in how cases are diagnosed and counted, with the total number of confirmed cases now including "clinically diagnosed cases," or patients who showed symptoms of the disease and were diagnosed through CT scans of the lungs, for instance, but have not yet had laboratory testing. The expanded criteria is meant to ensure "that patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment," the commission said in a statement.

Outside of China, there were 694 laboratory-confirmed cases in 25 countries and three reported deaths as of Monday, according to the WHO, which would bring the global death toll to 1,775.

Prior to the arrival of the Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, there were 15 reported cases in the United States, according to the WHO. The patients are in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. All but two of the U.S. cases are linked to travel to Wuhan, China.

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David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An Oscars screening, tons of movies, the internet and workout classes. Some would say this sounds like a great vacation -- but it isn’t the kind of vacation guests on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship were expecting.

Officials have found more than 200 cases of the novel coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, on board the cruise ship, which has been docked at Japan's port of Yokohama since Feb. 3.

Reporting for ABC News’ "Perspective" podcast, Maggie Rulli has been talking to passengers aboard the vessel, some of whom have nicknamed it the “ship of doom.”

John Haering and his wife Melanie went on the cruise to celebrate his retirement. Now, he’s quarantined off the boat with a 103-degree fever and a positive test for the virus, while his wife remains on the ship.

“I’m alone here in the room and would rather be back on the cruise ship,” John said.

But being quarantined on a ship for days can affect mental health, so the cruise line is providing entertainment packages and helping those aboard pass the time with movies and online workout classes. With some passengers getting only one hour outside over the last six days, it’s important to keep spirits high.

Back on land, the mood in Japan is fearful so the number of people going out on weekends and nights has noticeably decreased. Restaurants, theaters and bars are about half as full as they usually are at peak times. People in the street cover themselves with face masks.

“You don’t know where the germs are; we still don’t really know how it’s transferred,” Rulli reports outside the docked ship. “Washing my hands nonstop, I have hand sanitizer on me at all times, I have those wet wipes, I try to wipe down my phone every hour with those wipes.”

With more than 1,300 coronavirus fatalities in China, officials are not taking chances -- so those who are infected or at high risk are being quarantined until their test results come back negative.

The cruise ship is currently starting to unload some of its passengers, but there are still many to go before all guests are clear to return to their normal lives.

You can listen to the full episode of "Perspective" here.

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iStockFourteen years after Colombia's landmark decision to legalize abortions in some cases, the country is once more bracing itself for a historic vote.

The Colombian Constitutional Court has until Feb. 19th to decide whether it will legalize abortion for pregnancies up to 12 weeks. The current law allows for abortion in only three instances: if the mother's life is at risk, if a fetus is malformed or if the pregnancy is a result of rape.

This is the "first real opportunity to actually advance reproductive rights," according to Paula Avila-Guillen, the director of Latin America Initiatives for the Women's Equality Center.

"I think they have the opportunity to actually make history," Avila-Guillen told ABC News.

The decision is hanging on two female justices who have not yet made clear how they will vote, according to Avila-Guillen. She said that out of the nine justices, four men are in favor, and two men, as well as one woman, are against.

The country's current abortion law is among the more lenient in Latin America.

The Center for Reproductive Rights classifies Colombia's abortion law as legal if it is "to preserve health." Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru also fall under that category.

Six Latin American countries have total abortion bans: the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Suriname.

By law, all institutions providing health services in Colombia -- whether public, private, secular or religious -- are required to perform an abortion if a woman proves that she meets one of the three exceptions.

Even so, advocates say the reality is that it's not regulated and hospitals often deny women the service.

Out of the estimated 400,400 abortions performed in the country each year, only 322 are legal procedures performed in health facilities, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization on sexual and reproductive rights.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, found that of the 428 women and girls who requested an abortion through MSF in 2017 and 2018, 88% reported that they faced at least one obstacle while trying to access the service.

MSF noted that while the data does not represent the country as a whole, "it does provide a snapshot of the situation."

There are two main abortion providing groups in Colombia: Orientame and ProFamilia, both of which have multiple facilities across the country.

Dr. Juan Vargas, a gynecologist of 25 years at ProFamilia, told ABC News that in 2019 the clinic performed some 22,000 abortions. He said that most of the women who seek abortion from a ProFamilia clinic do so for health reasons. Rape accounts for 1%, while fetal malformation makes up about 3%, according to Vargas.

He noted that rape survivors need to prove in some way they have been raped. It is most often done through a police report or complaint, he said; however, many victims of rape often do not report their assault.

Vargas said between 90 to 95% of women who seek an abortion are granted one at ProFamilia. Abortions that are not performed at one of the facilities are done in hospitals, where proper access is a major issue, according to Avila-Guillen.

"Safe abortions continue to be a problem," she said. "Access has never really materialized."

Unsafe abortions are one of the five leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide, according to MSF. The other four are postpartum hemorrhage, sepsis, birth complications and hypertensive disorders.

"Of all these, unsafe abortion is the only one that is completely avoidable," MSF reports.

Avila-Guillen said such a consequence makes the upcoming vote all the more important.

"This will be significant and a huge legacy for this court and these two women judges, which it's in their hands to recognize women's rights and women's autonomy and women's equality," she said.

Though Avila-Guillen did not have statistics on how the public in Colombia feels about abortion, she said like many places around the world, the country is in the midst of a "battle."

"We just elected our first female mayor who is married to a congresswoman, and I think that just shows you how Colombia is moving toward a more progressive society," Avila-Guillen said.

Yet on the other hand, she noted, Colombia has not been spared a push of a right-wing agenda and there are some in the country who still vehemently oppose abortion rights.

She noted that the Colombian Constitutional Court is only considering the change in law after author Natalia Bernal Cano, who wrote a book titled "The right to information about the risks of induced abortion," brought forth a case to ban abortion entirely. In her book, Cano argues that she is providing "the right to information about the risks to women's mental and physical health from the voluntary interruption of pregnancy."

The court has since used her case to consider ultra petita, or beyond what is sought.

"They have requested a lot of technical information from providers, from lawyers, from public health experts, from criminal attorneys, so that is a good sign," Avila-Guillen said. "Whatever decision they make, it's going to be informed and based on facts."

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zabelin/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The United States and Taliban reached an agreement on Friday to reduce violence for seven days, which could open the door to the two sides signing a larger peace deal reached last year, according to a senior State Department official.

That larger deal would require U.S. forces to begin to withdraw, in exchange for a Taliban commitment to not allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorism and to sit down with other Afghans for peace talks -- two commitments critics are skeptical the militant group will follow through on.

The reduction in violence had been a key U.S. demand since President Donald Trump called out negotiations last fall, but it's a step short of the complete ceasefire that the Afghan government had been calling for.

Still, after over 18 years of war, the seven-day deal could open the door to a historic agreement that ends U.S. deployment in Afghanistan, with the senior official not ruling out a complete withdrawal.

But first, the Taliban must follow through and implement the reduction in violence, according to the official.

"Should the Talibs implement what they've committed to doing, we'll go forward with the agreement," they said.

A Taliban source told ABC News the reduction would begin on Feb. 22, with plans for the two sides to sign the larger agreement on Feb. 29 and Afghan national peace talks to begin March 10.

While it's not a full ceasefire, the reduction is nationwide and includes Afghan government forces, not just the U.S. and Taliban. The language is also "very specific," the official said, including prohibiting roadside bombs, suicide bombs and rocket attacks.

The U.S. military will monitor the reduction and use a hotline directly to the militant group, as well as the Afghan government, to raise any violations or other issues.

The senior official said they expect there will be some "spoilers ... who benefit from the status quo" and will conduct attacks, but the U.S. --- led by Gen. Austin Miller, head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan -- will assess each incident individually.

"That's why this channel is so important, that if we see something, we should be able to determine, and if we can't determine, we raise questions," the official said.

It's still unclear if certain military activity will still be permissible, making this interim deal different from a complete ceasefire.

The official, who briefed reporters traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Munich, would not go into reports of secret annexes in the larger U.S.-Taliban deal or discuss specifics, like how many U.S. troops and what kind could remain behind.

They said only the U.S. withdrawal would be "conditions-based and in phases," tied directly to the Taliban meeting its commitments.

Those commitments are to joining Afghan national peace talks and to barring terrorists from any safe haven in the country -- "no hosting, no presence, no training, no recruitment, no fundraising," the official said, which has been the top U.S. priority over 18 years after al Qaeda operatives used the country to launch the Sept. 11 attacks.

Critics remain skeptical that the militant group can fulfill that promise, but the official said the U.S. will have "monitoring and verification" to ensure they do.

The Afghan government, which the Taliban refuses to recognize, had been hoping for a permanent ceasefire first. The U.S. had initially called for a one as part of any deal, but abandoned that after the Taliban made clear they wouldn't agree to it. But the senior State Department official said a "comprehensive, permanent ceasefire to end the Afghan-Afghan war will be one of the first topics" of Afghan national peace talks.

They refused, however, to say whether the U.S. withdrawal was conditioned on those Afghan peace talks being successful, calling it a hypothetical.

Those talks will bring the Taliban together with a wide range of Afghan leaders, including government officials, but they'll be forced to attend in a "private" capacity because of the Taliban refusal to recognize the Kabul government.

A round of informal Afghan national dialogue yielded some success last July, bringing together Taliban and government officials, civil society leaders, tribal elders and some women that agreed on a somewhat vague, but inclusive resolution calling for peace.

But the senior official left the door open to the agreement ultimately ending with no U.S. troops in Afghanistan at all.

"Having a military presence in Afghanistan is not an end in itself for the United States," the official said. "What's important is whether there are conditions in Afghanistan that necessitate a presence ... and that depends on whether the Talibs deliver."

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Samara Heisz/iStock(BEIJING) -- Chinese health officials have revealed for the first time the number of frontline workers who have been infected by the novel coronavirus.

Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China's National Health Commission, told reporters Friday that so far, 1,716 medical workers have tested positive for the newly discovered virus, known officially as COVID-19, and six of them have died. Most of the workers were in Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak since the first coronavirus cases emerged in its capital, Wuhan, back in December.

"At present, the duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy," Zeng said at a press conference Friday. "Their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great and the risk of infection is high."

As of Friday, there were 63,851 reports of confirmed cases and 1,380 deaths on the Chinese mainland. More than 81% of the confirmed infections were reported in Hubei province. There were another 81 reports of confirmed cases and one death in the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong, according to the National Health Commission.

Hubei province reported a nearly tenfold increase in cases on Thursday morning, after health officials applied new methodology to how cases are categorized.

The Health Commission of Hubei Province explained in a press release that the record spike was due to a change in how cases are diagnosed and counted, with the total number of confirmed cases now including "clinically diagnosed cases," or patients who showed symptoms of the disease and were diagnosed through CT scans of the lungs, for instance, but have not yet had laboratory testing.

The expanded criteria is meant to ensure "that patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment," the commission said.

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Program, said at a press conference Thursday that the overnight increase in cases from China shouldn't be considered a spike since they are being retrospectively reported.

"We need to be cautious when drawing conclusions from daily reported numbers," Ryan told reporters. "We need to be very careful when reporting any extremes."

There are at least 447 cases confirmed in 24 other countries, according to the WHO, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency. There's been one death in Japan and one in the Philippines, bringing the global death toll to three.

So far, there are only 15 cases confirmed in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patients are in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. All but two of the U.S. cases are linked to travel to Wuhan, China.

COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from mild, such as a slight cough, to more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. There is no vaccine yet for the virus, nor any known effective therapeutics.

Meanwhile, a cruise ship quarantined at sea in Japan has become the largest center of infection of anywhere outside China.

Since the Diamond Princess arrived at the Japanese port of Yokohama on Feb. 3, at least 218 people on board have tested positive for the new coronavirus. At least one quarantine officer has also been infected, according to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

All those infected with the disease on the Diamond Princess have been brought ashore for treatment, while the other passengers have been confined to their rooms on board as the ship remains quarantined at sea.

However, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced Thursday its plans for a voluntary disembarkation of guests to complete their quarantine period at a shoreside facility.

A spokesperson for Princess Cruises, which operates the ship, said "it is our understanding that this will be a phased approach, with the most medically vulnerable guests in the first phase, including older adults with pre-existing health conditions."

"According to officials, guests in the first group will be tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus," the cruise line spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. "If the test is positive, they will be transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and isolation. If the test is negative, they will be given the option to leave the ship and be transported to a quarantine housing facility."

All guests aboard the Diamond Princess "remain welcome to stay on board through the end of the quarantine period," the spokesperson added.

Earlier in the week, the spokesperson told ABC News that 23 Americans were among those who had tested positive for COVID-19. It's unclear whether any additional U.S. citizens have been infected since then.

Approximately half of all people who were onboard the Diamond Princess are from Japan, while more than 400 passengers are from the United States, according to the cruise line spokesperson.

Natalie Costa, the cruise director aboard the Diamond Princess, posted a video message on Friday, saying, "We are all hanging in there, doing fine and keeping together as a big family."

"A lot of questions coming in about what we're doing during the day," Costa continued. "It changes, changes from hour to hour. We're manning the photos were getting deliveries out, different games and puzzles."

"Wherever we're required," she added, "that is where we are."

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Circle Creative Studio/iStock(LONDON) -- Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, plan to close their Buckingham Palace office as they step back from their roles as working members of the royal family, a royal source told ABC News.

The source confirmed the closing of office means some members of Harry and Meghan's staff will lose their jobs, saying, "While the details are still being finalized and efforts are being made to redeploy people within the Royal household, unfortunately there will be some redundancies."

Harry and Meghan's office has been based at Buckingham Palace since last year, when Harry and his brother Prince William split their households.

In their new roles that will begin this spring, Harry and Meghan plan to spend "the majority of their time" in North America, according to Buckingham Palace. They are currently in Canada with their 9-month-old son Archie but there is speculation that could also spend time in the Los Angeles area, where Meghan was born and raised.

Harry and Meghan, who will no longer use their HRH titles, will also no longer represent Queen Elizabeth and no longer receive public funds for royal duties, freeing them to earn money on their own.

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State Department by Michael Gross/ Public Domain(WASHINGTON) -- After nearly 22 months in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa on Saturday, in a bid to reassert the U.S. as the leading partner to the world's youngest and likely to be most populous continent amid strong Chinese influence and a growing Russian presence.

The top U.S. diplomat will visit Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia, describing them as "three countries in various stages of development in their transition to democracy and their stability."

His major themes will include promoting trade with the U.S., good governance and the rule of law, while also urging African officials and business leaders to eschew Chinese investment.

But he will face considerable headwinds because of the Trump administration's lack of engagement with Africa, President Donald Trump's reported disparaging remarks about the continent and several new policies, including proposing budget cuts for African programs, expanding the president's travel ban to include nearly a quarter of the continent's population and potentially cutting back the U.S. military's presence.

"The challenge that Pompeo's facing in Africa is explaining the contradictory messages coming from Washington," said Witney Schneidman, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Africa Growth Initiative. "It's the lack of attention that's been paid. It's the fact that (former national security adviser John) Bolton rolled out this Africa strategy 14 months ago, and since then, very little has been accomplished where many other nations have moved forward."

Pompeo's trip will mark the first by a Trump cabinet official there in 19 months, after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana and pledged the U.S. would facilitate $1 billion of private-sector deals in July 2018. Trump's previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson only visited once in his 13 months on the job, getting fired the day after returning from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad and Nigeria.

Still, African officials are largely willing to look past that and eager for increased U.S. investment, especially as an alternative to Chinese financing, with its excessive amounts of credit, tied to steep interest rates and high risk of forfeiture. That's a message that Pompeo, one of the administration's lead China hawks, has carried on nearly all his foreign trips, warning Southeast Asian countries of China's "debt-trap diplomacy" or Western European allies against using Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that leads in 5G technology. Just last Saturday, he warned China is always "working you ... working the team around you" in a speech to U.S. governors.

But African leaders already know all that, according to Ahmadou Aly Mbaye, economics professor at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, who said that they want to hear what the U.S. will do to help them finance their economic growth and provide for their burgeoning populations instead.

"The needs for investment are huge, in particular, in terms of infrastructure investment," Mbaye said, but, "The existing routes the West and the U.S. are using have shown their limitations. The World Bank and Western international organizations provide very little to fill in these gaps. ... If you remove China, you have almost nothing left."

Pompeo told reporters traveling with him on Thursday that he wants to talk to leaders in all three countries and at the African Union about encouraging economic reforms to increase market access, combat corruption and promote the rule of law -- all of which would bring more American investment, he said.

That will be a particularly important message in Ethiopia, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pushes to liberalize the economy by privatizing state monopolies, and in Angola, where President Joao Lourenco has tackled corruption and tried to shift the country off economic dependence on oil exports. Pompeo said the U.S. could also provide technical assistance to help spur these reforms.

To that end, Trump may host African leaders for a U.S.-Africa investment summit in Washington, co-hosted by South Africa, according to Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador in Pretoria and a close Trump friend.

The administration also requested in its new FY 2021 budget $800 million for the Development Finance Corporation, a newly created government agency that provides financing for private development projects. That's more than double the $299 million Congress gave it in fiscal year 2020. Trump's budget proposal also sought an additional $50 million for its Prosper Africa initiative to increase two-way trade, for a new total of $75 million. But overall, the budget proposal slashes assistance to Africa by 39%, or $3.23 billion, and funding for key health programs in Africa like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which would see a 26% cut.

There is a similar contradiction in the administration's military posture across the continent. Senior officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy, have warned for months now about the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, the region situated between the Sahara desert and the savanna and stretching across the continent from Senegal and Mauritania to Sudan and Ethiopia.

With terrorist fighters and weapons flowing south from Libya, the Sahel has seen a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks -- with Nagy warning in November that the U.S. and European strategy to contain it was not working: "We need to have a much, much more robust engagement. There has to be much more robust coordination."

But the Pentagon is currently reviewing whether to slash its troop presence in West Africa. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday no decision had been made about the U.S. counterterrorism mission there, but the Pentagon announced Wednesday that about one thousand service members would depart as part of a change in mission in East Africa, where a special Army unit to train local partner forces will replace members of an Army infantry division.

Even that scaling down "makes very little sense," according to Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow also with Brookings, who called it "an overly narrow fixation on pulling forces out of Africa and elsewhere in order to get them closer to Russia and China" and position them for "great power" competition, as Trump's national security strategy says.

Mbaye said any cuts to troop totals in the Sahel would be "very, very worrisome."

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mashabuba/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- As the Trump administration ramps up the country’s nuclear capabilities in the latest Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal, the clock is ticking on the only remaining arms control treaty that keeps the world’s two leading nuclear powers -- Russia and the United States -- in check.

In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, said the treaty’s expiration would signal for the first time in more than four decades that "there is no arms control regime in the world" -- which could potentially lead to arms proliferation.

"When we combine the huge numbers of arsenals and potentially even higher numbers of arsenals as New START goes away ... that's a recipe for sort of that return to Cold War-style arms racing that I think people are worried about," Pranay Vaddi, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace fellow, told ABC News.

Vaddi, who helped work on New START during his time at the State Department, said that he had expected the increased nuclear investments as a result of an Obama-era nuclear modernization framework and the subsequent impact of the Budget Control Act.

But Vaddi said the efforts to recapitalize U.S. nuclear programs against growing nuclear capabilities from adversaries could not come at a more inconvenient time as the treaty’s days are numbered.

Commander of U.S. Strategic Command Charles A. Richard, who testified at the hearing, addressed concerns over a potential arms race, saying that the idea "baffles him," as no other nation has done more to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.

He acknowledged how critical New START has been in providing transparency and information on nuclear threat levels from Russia, but pointed out its shortcomings.

"It does not address a very large class of weapons that the Russians have a significant advantage in … and it is a bilateral treaty," Richard said. "Ultimately a decision to extend a treaty is a political decision."

The White House has put off extending the 2011 Obama-Medvedev negotiated treaty in an attempt to bring China into a multilateral nuclear arms agreement.

Tuesday at an Atlantic Council forum, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien fielded reporters' questions regarding the United States' timeline and position on extending New START.

"I think we’ll be sitting down with our Russian colleagues very soon and we’ll be talking about those important issues," O’Brien told one reporter.

In response to another question, O’Brien invoked the White House’s desire to bring China into negotiations: "Once any potential agreement takes shape, we’ll have to see how the issue of China plays into it. But we’ll get through that as part of the negotiating process."

A deadline to form a position on New START, however, is something O’Brien said the administration could not predict right now.

As for Russia’s position, the country’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke at a news conference in January, saying that President Vladimir Putin made an offer to extend the treaty as an "insurance policy" while planning multilateral negotiations.

"We suggest extending the New START Treaty without any preconditions ... I hope that the Americans have heard us," Lavrov later said.

Many arms control experts have criticized the administration for not moving forward with extending New START as leverage to bring China into negotiations.

The Arms Control Association responded that the notion of using New START as a bargaining chip is useless, "unless the administration is willing to walk away from the treaty if Russia and China don’t meet U.S. demands for talks."

Moreover, using the treaty as leverage would be a dangerous risk because the treaty "is too important to be gambled away," the association said in a statement.

Vaddi also challenged the White House’s strategy of leverage, saying that it only made sense if the administration had an idea of what it wants out of an agreement with China, which the White House has yet to identify.

He critiqued the idea of bringing China into multilateral negotiations since the country’s number of nuclear warheads pales in comparison to that of the U.S. and Russia, a counterpoint that other arms experts have raised. China also does not perform its nuclear operations in the same manner that U.S. and Russia do.

As the U.S. continues to hold off, lawmakers, advocates and political figures have echoed a growing concern over the fate of New START.

On Feb. 5, the treaty’s anniversary, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Sen. Bob Menendez and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Eliot Engel published a joint statement urging for its extension, calling the treaty an "indispensable pillar of security."

Former U.S. Secretary Madeleine Albright and former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov penned an op-ed in the New York Times earlier this week as a Hail Mary to push for the extension of New START.

Last year, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced a bipartisan bill that calls for the extension of New START following the United States' withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

"The collapse of New START would be a global disaster – and can be avoided at the stroke of a pen," said Derek Johnson, executive director of the international Global Zero movement, an international group that seeks to eliminate all nuclear weapons.

Whether an arms race will happen or not, Vaddi suggested that it would be in Russia’s interest to play the responsible party as opposed to producing more nuclear weapons if the treaty were to expire.

"The U.S. and Russia would not benefit from engaging in any kind of conflict that involves these weapons," he said.

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