After Pyongyang has conducted its sixth nuclear test and North Korean missiles continue to fly over Japanese territory and territorial waters, tensions over North Korea have reached a fever pitch. Analysts and commentators fear that the exchange of hostile rhetoric between Kim Jong–un and US President Donald Trump may soon get out of control. Just days after Trump threatened in his UN General Assembly speech that the United States might “totally destroy” North Korea, on September 23 Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister replied in kind.
China’s relations with North Korea are complex with a variety of bad choices and suboptimal solutions. It could be argued that the actor that has lost most in the recent tensions is China. It has often been argued that China should do more, above all by U.S. President Trump. However, what are the options and restraints China faces in its relations with North Korea? This short article does not mean to engage in the debate on whether China or the U.S.
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.
This Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping will kick off the 2016 G20 Summit in the rich eastern city of Hangzhou. The first summit of this kind to ever take place in China comes at a testing time for the global economy. World leaders are called to address enduring challenges, such as a downward trend in global growth, escalating trade protectionism, and renewed risks of currency wars. At the same time, the summit will be a chance for China to show its commitment to rebalancing the domestic economy while fostering international economic development and stability.
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.