“March madness” is not limited to US basketball courts but can define Pyongyang’s latest diplomatic overtures toward its neighbors. Frenzy basketball fever is accompanied by the unpredictability of the results of the college basketball tournament, which ranks the nation’s top 64 teams. Pyongyang’s diplomatic game is similar: full of surprises and unpredictability. Kim’s diplomatic game started out with his acceptance of a visit to Pyongyang by his South Korean counterpart’s special envoy.
Soon after Chinese President Xi Jinping has succeeded in getting a “CPC leadership system” proposed and approved by the recent National People’s Congress, concerns started to arise in the rest of the world about the impact of that plan on the model of Chinese economic governance, and ultimately on the scenarios for China’s economic stability and growth. Political stability in democratic countries has long and strongly been associated with economic growth, but no similar link can be applied to other countries.
Last month, China’s National People’s Congress voted a constitutional amendment abolishing the two-term limit for the country’s President. Xi Jinping, now in his second term, can therefore extend his political control well beyond his mandate, which was supposed to come to an end by 2023. This represents a significant change within China’s political system, since Xi is expected to further centralize his political power, with major consequences to be felt in the near future.
Chinese president Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un met in Beijing early this week, in what can be defined a historic meeting. The two heads of state never met. And Kim Jong-un has not visited a foreign country since 2011, year in which he came to power, following his father’s (Kim Jong-il) death.
The initiative brought together selected high-level experts, businesspeople, policy makers and other stakeholders from Asia and Europe to discuss current economic shifts in Asia and their potential impact on Europe also with a view to providing policy options to foster EU-Asia relations. Specific attention was devoted to Chinese investment in Europe, its relevance for the European economy, and political reactions both at the EU and national level.
In a few days, the US President Trump will start its first visit to China. Would this officially called state visit usher a "New Era" of Sino-US relationship, to borrow the currently hot notion in China? I would answer it in a positive direction, despite the fact that the hot notion may not be used. At least, it will be a very important and constructive visit for the development of the relationship between the two countries.
Which are the main aims of China's international relations strategy, and how is Xi pursuing them?
The One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative reflects China’s growing need for deeper engagement with the regions to its west and south – through intensified trade, investment, telecommunication, and infrastructure – as well as a grander vision for Chinese foreign policy. Encompassing over 60 countries, in an area covering mainly Asia and Europe, but also Oceania and East Africa, OBOR faces immense challenges, not only from a political and operational perspective, but also from a financial standpoint.