Over the last ten years, the situation on the ground in Afghanistan has shown an ambiguous mix of instability and tentative signs of progress. To this very day, any future scenario bears the mark of uncertainty. How to assess the conflict and the political situation in Afghanistan? What are the broad choices for international and regional engagement? How to foster the reconciliation process with the Taliban?
WHAT IS THE G20?
The G20 is an international group initially founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis as a forum for the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries and the European Union. In 2008, in the midst of the global financial crisis, the US President George W. Bush invited the leaders of the G20 members to coordinate actions in order to respond to the crisis giving the start to the actual G20 Leader’s Summit. Since 2010 the meeting is held annually and the host country change every year.
Officially announced by president Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has since become the centrepiece of China’s economic diplomacy.
It is a commitment to ease bottlenecks to Eurasian trade by improving and building networks of connectivity across Central and Western Asia, where the BRI aims to act as a bond for the projects of regional cooperation and integration already in progress in Southern Asia.
But it also reaches out to the Middle East as well as East and North Africa, a truly strategic area where the Belt joins the Road. Europe, the end-point of the New Silk Roads, both by land and by sea, is the ultimate geographic destination and political partner in the Belt and Road Initiative.
This report, edited by Alessia Amighini, provides an in-depth analysis of the BRI, its logic, rationale and implications for international economic and political relations.
Get ready folks for a new premiere of slapstick comedy between Korea and China featuring a new actor, Moon Jae-in, elected South Korea’s president on May 9. A Korean president’s slapstick comedy show is a never-ending story. We already watched a couple of episodes featuring former president Park Geun-hye. One was her attendance at China’s military parade in 2015, triggering questions about her diplomatic stance between Washington and Beijing.
The security dimension is a key factor in the OBOR initiative, considering that Xinjiang region is an exclusive gateway for Central Asian oil and gas imports as well as for trade corridor between China and the West.
Unpredictable, erratic, prone to contradiction and potentially very dangerous. Donald Trump’s policies towards China could turn out or indeed continue to be all of that. Then again, they could be none of that or something completely different and we already got a very good taste of what may lie ahead in terms of surprises of how he and (some of) his controversial advisers are planning to deal with Beijing.
The ongoing standoff over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands is key for global peace and prosperity. In September 2012, in reaction to the Japanese government’s hastened acquisition of three Senkaku islets from a Japanese private citizen, China started to send its forces in the waters surrounding the small archipelago administered by Japan.
The work of the G20 benefits from the agenda-setting of the country holding the presidency as well as from the continuity that can be kept in the agendas, year after year. From this perspective, Germany, presiding over the G20 during 2017, will be able to fruitfully take up important items that have been developed under the Chinese presidency.
While the G20 originated with the aim to be more representative of developing countries’ interests than other existing global alliances, such as the G7, and the G20’s agenda has considerable importance in the development of Africa, South Africa remains the only permanent African member of the institution, the only African voice within the group. This under-representation of Africa is partly an internally-driven problem, i.e.