Diplomacy

Kim Jong-un’s strategy: drive a wedge between South Korea and the US

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Seoul: Beyond a New Year’s declaration by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, that he would move to the mass-production of nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles in 2018 lies a canny new strategy to initiate direct talks with South Korea: drive a wedge into its seven-decade alliance with the United… Choe Sang-hun NYT Brisbane Times Kim, perhaps sensing the simmering tension between US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, called for an urgent dialogue between the two Koreas before ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018

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From North Korea to Venezuela, here are the conflicts to watch in 2018. It’s not all about Donald Trump. Robert Malley ICG That’s a statement more easily written than believed, given the U.S. president’s erratic comportment on the world stage — his tweets and taunts, his cavalier disregard of international accords, his readiness to undercut his own diplomats, his odd choice of foes, and his even odder choice of friends. And yet, a more inward-looking United States and a greater ... Read More »

Pakistan summons US ambassador over Trump’s angry tweet

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Pakistan summoned the U.S. ambassador in protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s angry tweet about Pakistan’s “lies and deceit,” while Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif dismissed the outburst as a political stunt. ISLAMABAD – Reuters Hurriyet David Hale was summoned by the Pakistan foreign office on Jan. 1 to explain Trump’s tweet, media said. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad confirmed the meeting took place. In a withering attack, Trump on Jan. 1 said the United States had “foolishly” ... Read More »

UN chief calls for restraint, urges Kabila to step down

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The UN chief has called on Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to peacefully leave office in accordance with an agreement in late 2016. AlJazeera The comments by Antonio Guterres late on Sunday came after security forces killed at least seven people and arrested more than 120 during protests against Kabila’s rule. Catholic protesters rallied in the capital, Kinshasa, and other cities after Sunday mass to demand Kabila, whose second term as president ended in December 2016, step… UN chief calls… Read More »

Joe Hockey discussed Alexander Downer’s Russia revelations with FBI

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The ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey personally steered Australia’s dealings with the FBI on explosive revelations of Russian hacking during last year’s presidential campaign in a sign of how politically sensitive the Australian government regarded the bombshell discovery, Fairfax Media understands. David Wroe Brisbane Times It is also understood there is now annoyance and frustration in Canberra that the High Commissioner to Britain Alexander Downer has been outed through leaks by US officials as the source of information ... Read More »

The South China Sea fell off Trump’s radar last year. He may have to pay attention in 2018.

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HONG KONG — President Trump railed against a lot of things in 2017. Chinese construction in the South China Sea was not really one of them, despite his campaign tough talk. Emily Rauhala The Washington Post Focused on North Korea and evidently enamored of President Xi Jinping, the voluble U.S. president said relatively little as China continued to build on disputed islands, rocks and reefs.A recent Chinese report hailed progress in the South China Sea last year, noting construction totaling 290,000 square meters, or 72 acres.That included ... Read More »

Chinese paper warns Australia on ‘interference’ in South China Sea

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Bangkok: A Chinese Communist Party-owned newspaper has published an article warning that Australia’s “interference” in the flashpoint waters of the South China Sea may prompt China to “adopt strong countermeasures which will seriously impact Australian economic development”. Lindsay Murdoch The Canberra Times Zhang Ye, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute in Beijing, wrote in the hawkish Global Times that Australia’s “kissing up to the United States” will “poison its relations with China and shake up [the] foundation for its strategic balance ... Read More »

Macron’s new year’s speech: ‘France can’t succeed without a strong Europe’

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French president promises to listen to dissenting voices but appeals to Europeans not to give in to ‘nationalists and sceptics’ Angelique Chrisafis in Paris The Guardian The French president, Emmanuel Macron, appealed to European citizens “not to give in to nationalists and sceptics”, as he used his new year’s speech to promise to make the European Union “more united, more sovereign and more democratic”. Macron said in a televised address: “I deeply believe Europe can become that economic, social, environmentally-friendly, scientific power that ... Read More »

Europe: What surprises are in store for 2018?

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Talk about a poisoned chalice… Katya Adler  “You’re the Europe editor,” say the BBC powers that be. “Tell us what to look out for in 2018.” Yet if we’ve learned anything at all from the last couple of years in European politics, it’s that hedge betting is a far more comfortable path to take than prediction-making. A year ago who could have foreseen the Macron phenomenon, taking over the French presidency and dominating the country’s parliament? Who, last December, predicted ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies. By Suzan Fraser, Associated Press Suzan Fraser, Associated Press PBS NewsHour Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and ... Read More »

Andrew Adonis quits, attacks May ‘the voice of UKIP’

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20:  British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves number 10, Downing Street as she heads to the House of Commons for the weekly Prime Minister's Questions session on December 20, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Labour peer described Brexit as ‘a dangerous populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump.’ By ANNABELLE DICKSON Politico LONDON — A Labour peer resigned Friday from his role advising the U.K. government on infrastructure policy criticizing Theresa May’s approach to Brexit. Andrew Adonis, a transport secretary in the last Labour government, accused the U.K. prime minister of becoming the “voice of [the U.K. Independence Party]” in her Brexit policy, according to the Daily Telegraph, which obtained a copy of his ... Read More »

The Year of Chance for the Balkans: The 5 key events of 2018

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While 2016 was a year of challenges and despair when it comes to the future of the EU and its enlargement in the Western Balkans, 2017 brought some much-needed positive news. EWB Even though 2016 was marked by the Brexit referendum, victory of Donald Trump in the US and the rise of populism and Euroscepticism, 2017 raised new hopes with some positive outcomes. Eurosceptics lost in successive elections in Austria, the Netherlands and France, and failed to make a significant ... Read More »

Albania’s Shotgun Wedding Proposal To The EU – OpEd

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To avoid seeing the Western Balkans “wooed” or even seduced by China, Russia, or radical Islam, it’s critical for the EU to move forward with accession talks with the Western Balkan states as soon as possible. Theodoros Papadopoulos Eurasia Review That’s according to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who made the remarks at a conference organized by Friends of Europe earlier this month in Brussels. The accession process for the Western Balkans had been largely shunted aside for roughly a ... Read More »

Minsk is dead! Long Live Minsk?

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Minsk is shorthand for a diplomatic process established in 2014 and early 2015 The formal deadline for completing Minsk was December 2015, a deadline that long since passed without its first phase — a ceasefire — going into effect. MICHAEL KIMMAGE War On The Rocks The next two phases — decentralization and a political process for the Donbas — have never progressed beyond the hypothetical. As of this winter, the line of contact between the Ukrainian and the Russian-backed forces ... Read More »

Ankara’s Look East: How Turkey’s Warming Ties with Russia Threaten Its Place in the Transatlantic Community

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The strongmen of Turkey and Russia have met frequently this past year to discuss the Syrian civil war and bilateral relations Aaron Stein War on the Rocks In parallel, Turkey’s relations with its Western allies have deteriorated amid disagreements about the rule of law in Turkey and Washington’s policies in Syria. Russia and Turkey have a strong economic relationship, underpinned by the Russian export of natural gas to Turkey, Russian tourism to Turkey, and Turkish construction firms active in the ... Read More »

Italy’s ‘minister of fear’

TOPSHOT - A migrant tries to board a boat of the German NGO Sea-Watch in the Mediterranean Sea on November 6, 2017.
During a shipwreck, five people died, including a newborn child. According to the German NGO Sea-Watch, which has saved 58 migrants, the violent behavior of the Libyan coast guard caused the death of five persons.

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Interior Minister Marco Minniti credits his ‘desert diplomacy’ with stopping the flow of migrants to Italy. By GIULIA PARAVICINI Politico To his admirers, Marco Minniti, Italy’s powerful interior minister, is the mastermind who solved Europe’s migration problem. To his critics, he’s the unscrupulous architect of a secret deal with North African militias and thus responsible for severe human rights violations of refugees trapped in Libyan detention centers. Since he took office in December 2016, the 61-year-old former communist from Calabria, ... Read More »