The World This Week

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The World This Week
China: Xi welcomes “Old friend” Henry Kissinger 

  GP Team

The World This Week #223, Vol. 5, No.27
23 July 2023

Regional Round-ups

East and Southeast Asia This Week

China: Xi welcomes “Old friend” Henry Kissinger 
On 20 July, Chinese leader Xi Jinping met the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing. Xi welcomed him calling Kissinger an “old friend.” Kissinger was a vital player in establishing the US-China relationship in the 1970s and his visit aimed at resolving estranged ties. Kissinger said: “Under the current circumstances, it is imperative to maintain the principles established by the Shanghai Communique, appreciate the utmost importance China attaches to the ‘one China’ principle, and move the relationship in a positive direction.”

South Korea: US missile submarine reaches South Korea
On 18 July, the United States sent its nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine to South Korea. This comes after the “Washington Declaration” was signed between the two to deter North Korean aggression in the regions and narrow the defence gap. 

North Korea: G-7 appeals to China to curb Pyongyang’s sanction evasion
On 21 July, G-7 countries with the EU and others issued a letter urging China to help curb North Korea from further violating United Nations sanctions. The letter stated: “We have concerns regarding the continuing presence of multiple oil tankers... that use your territorial waters in Sansha Bay as refuge to facilitate their trade of sanctioned petroleum products to the DPRK.” 

Thailand: Pheu Thai Party as the frontrunner
On 20 July, Bangkok Post reported that the Pheu Thai Party emerging as the frontrunner. It is expected to form a new government after the Move Forward Party (MFP) leader's renomination was rejected by parliament. Bhumjaithai, Palang Pracharath, and Chartthaipattana parties oppose MFP's plan to amend the lese majeste law. Pheu Thai may form an alternative coalition by including parties from the previous government and excluding MFP. The House Speaker has scheduled the next prime ministerial vote for 27 July. MFP is yet to decide on joining the coalition.

South Asia This Week
India: Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of Sri Lanka in New Delhi
On 21 July. President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived in New Delhi. He met the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and expressed his gratitude for the solidarity India has provided during the tough times. He said: “I have conveyed to PM Modi and to the government and people of India our profound appreciation for the solidarity and support rendered to Sri Lanka in what was undoubtedly the most challenging period in our recent history.”

Middle East and Africa This Week
Nigeria: ECOWAS hold talks on democratic transactions and security
On 19 July, Africanews reported on four countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conducting talks on democratic transactions and security.  Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who is currently the ECOWAS leader, presided the meeting in Abuja, participated also byNiger, Guinea-Bissau and Benin . They largely discussed the security in Mali following the withdrawal of the UN mission. 

South Africa: Putin not to attend the BRICS summit
On 19 July, following a consultation between President Cyril Ramaphosa and other BRICS representatives, South Africa announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the BRICS summit in August. South Africa has been facing a dilemma in hosting the summit following the International Criminal Court's (ICC) arrest warrant on Putin for alleged war crimes during the war in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be attending the summit instead; Putin will be attending the summit virtually. 

Europe and the Americas This Week
Kosovo: Turkish drones amid increasing defence spending by Pristina
On 16 July, Kosova’s Prime Minister shared an image of him with Turkish Bayraktar drones on his social media page, and asserted that Kosovo will become safer. In the last two years, his government had raised troop numbers by 80 per cent and the defence budget by more than 100 per cent. Turkish origin Bayraktar drones have gained prominence in recent conflicts. Kosovo has also hinted at joining NATO.

The US: The USS Canberra becomes the first US Navy warship to be commissioned at a foreign port
On 22 July, an independent class littoral combat ship, the USS Canberra, was commissioned in Sydney. USS Canberra commander mentioned that the naming of the navy vessel further strengthened the bonds between Australia and the US. Australia’s defence minister, added that as part of the ongoing connection between the two navies, an Australian officer would forever be part of the USS Canberra’s crew.

Europe: First EU-CELAC Summit in eight years
On 17 and 18 July, leaders of the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states (CELAC) convened at Brussels for a summit after a gap of eight years. The summit aspired to renew and reaffirm the relations between the two blocs. Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, said that the two regions had to collectively tackle the impacts of the COVID pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and “China's growing assertiveness abroad.” At the summit, CELAC leaders avoided condemning Russia for the war despite attempts from the EU. Furthermore, talks were also held on Europe’s colonial past and the transatlantic slave trade with calls for economic reparations. The EU also announced infrastructure development programs in the Latin America and Caribbean region.   

Venezuela: Former military intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal extradited to the US on charges of drug trafficking 
On 19 July, Hugo Carvajal, former military intelligence chief of Venezuela and a staunch ally of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, was extradited to the US from Spain, where he will stand trial on accusations of drug trafficking and supporting rebel groups in Colombia. According to reports, Carvajal used his power to facilitate cocaine trafficking that was bound for the US through Mexico. Last week, the European Court of human rights rejected his appeal against extradition, and Spanish authorities expedited the process. 

Panama: Former President sentenced for money laundering 
On 18 July, Ricardo Martinelli, former President of Panama, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of USD 19 million on charges of money laundering. Martinelli, who was announced as the Presidential candidate of his party for the 2024 Venezuelan elections, called the ruling “political persecution,” stating: “When politics enters through the door, justice goes out the window.” He announced that he will appeal the ruling. He will be barred from running in the elections if the sentencing is upheld. 

Bolivia: Largest lithium reserves in the world 
On 20 July, Luis Arce, Bolivia’s President, reported that the country has close to 23 million metric tons of lithium reserves, making it the largest deposits in the world. An earlier data of 21 million metric tons was revised after over 66 wells were discovered in the Coipasa and Pastos Grandes salt flats. Arce also said that his government was discussing with EU leaders to get investments for utilizing the lithium reserves for lithium-based projects. 

About the Authors
Harini Madhusudan, Rashmi Ramesh, Akriti Sharma and Ankit Singh are PhD scholars in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. Padmashree Anandhan, Anu Maria Joseph, Femy Francis and Rishika Yadav are Research Associates at NIAS. Sneha Sunrendaran, Prerena P and Ryan Marcus Manuel are Research Interns at NIAS.  

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