Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 07/03/2022 – 07/10/2022

Weekly Geopolitics Newsletter 03/07/2022 – 10/07/2022 RADAR SWEEP G20 FOREIGN MINISTERS’ MEETING IN INDONESIA Indonesia hosted the foreign ministers of

Weekly Geopolitics Newsletter 03/07/2022 – 10/07/2022

G20 FOREIGN MINISTERS’ MEETING IN INDONESIA

Indonesia hosted the foreign ministers of the G20 economic bloc for a two-day summit this week. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked significant tensions within the bloc between predominantly Western member-states and Moscow. US President Joe Biden has called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be ostracized from the G20 leaders’ summit in November and floated the possibility of expelling Russia from the bloc.

Despite this, Indonesia has sought to bridge the divides and invited both Russia and Ukraine to the leaders’ summit in November. Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, attended this week’s foreign ministers’ conference and walked out at various points amid torrents of Western criticism of its invasion. Russia also has many allies or at least nations which have refused to condemn the invasion within the G20—led mainly by the BRICS nations.

This week’s foreign ministers’ meeting comes after Russia’s increasing battlefield successes in Ukraine and illustrates the limits of Western efforts to isolate Russia from global diplomatic forums. Going forward, the G20 increasingly epitomizes the diverging views of developing nations grappling with food security, inflation and constrained global oil supply chains and the West seeking to tie those issues to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a bid to diplomatically isolate and sanction Moscow. Read more

Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 03/07/2022 - 10/07/2022

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov looks on as Indonesian President Joko Widodo calls for an end to the Ukraine War at the G20 Foreign Leaders Summit – Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 03/07/2022 – 10/07/2022 – Photo: Euractiv

INDO-PACIFIC GEOPOLITICS

Sri Lankan-Russia relations – Sri Lanka and Russia discuss oil deal – July 3

Sri Lanka’s Education Minister Susil Premajayantha traveled to Moscow for talks on much-needed oil supplies for the beleaguered island nation battling high inflation on food and fuel prices exacerbated by a Covid-induced economic slump and a looming food shortage. Sri Lanka’s economic woes are a major opportunity for Russia—which has discounted its oil prices in a bid to attract new customers to cover for the looming EU-wide partial oil ban as a result of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more

7th Lancang-Mekong meeting – 7th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting began in Bagan – July 4

The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), a multilateral organization aimed at governing transboundary water management in the Mekong, hosted its 7th meeting in Bagan, Myanmar. Last week’s meeting was focused on the progress of the Five-Year Plan of Action alongside an official opening of the LMC National Coordination Unit building. Conversation of the Mekong is expected to stay in limbo as China and Myanmar halt key hydropower projects in the region. Read more

Indian politics – Maharashtra chief minister faced no-confidence vote – July 4

Newly-appointed Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Eknath Shind, was scheduled to sit in a no-confidence vote. Legislative shift in India’s second most-populous city saw the political angle swing towards a dominating Maha Vikas Agadhi preference. The resilience of India’s democratic balance sternly reviewed as contents of power becoming more common. Read more

South Korea-USA relations – South Korean Justice Minister concludes US visit – July 7

South Korean Justice Minister Han Dong-Hoon concluded his visit to the US where he discussed continuing bilateral cooperation on key US agencies. Cyber-related illicit crime and interoperability in the Indo-Pacific region were of immediate interest to the two parties. In particular, the discussions focused on North Korea’s misuse of cryptocurrency amid continued ransomware attacks on Seoul. A stronger Seoul-Washington alliance was forged in response to the North Korean continued displays of OCBM and cyber-based power in the Indo-Pacific. Read more

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Japanese Politics – Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assassinated – July 8

Former Japanese Prime Minister was shot and killed while campaigning in the western city of Nara for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the July 10 Upper House elections. The assassination has shocked the nation and is likely to solidify electoral support for the LDP in the upcoming elections. Read more

Covid-19 – Shanghai begins lifting COVID restrictions – July 8

Shanghai began opening entertainment venues to address the concerning lack of tourism this week despite lodging an increase of local GDP. Karaoke rooms, cinemas, art galleries and scenic areas are expected to gradually reopen. China’s strict response to the pandemic saw major rounds of mass-testing and month-long lockdowns—in turn allowing the US to outpace the Chinese economy for the first time since 1976. Read more

DIPLOMACY

Ukraine Recovery Conference began in Lugano – July 4

Switzerland and Ukraine jointly hosted the Ukraine Recovery Conference with a focus on Ukraine’s long-term economic recovery from the Russian invasion rather than economic reform. Ukraine will require additional funding from the EU once its humanitarian needs are addressed. Read more.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Macron held informal meeting on Ukraine – July 4 [External]

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held a working meeting on Monday in Paris on the Ukraine crisis. France and Germany underscore their bilateral ties in light of Ukraine’s ascension as a candidate for the EU. Read more.

G20 Foreign Ministers Summit in Bali – July 7

G20 leaders agreed in Bali as global food insecurity and inflation worsened following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As this year’s G20 president, Indonesian President Joko Widodo emerges as a leader seeking a peaceful resolution to Russian aggression as world leaders openly condemn Russia. Read more.

The 50th regular session of the UNHRC concluded – July 8

A round table representing Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, the Netherlands and Sweden set about issues of media freedom and literacy, given an increase in attacks on journalists and the spread of misinformation worldwide. Read more.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern visited Australia and held talks with Australian PM Anthony Albanese – July 8 [External]

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Anthony Albanese of Australia held their second meeting since Albanese’s election. The leaders agreed on climate change and natural disasters, New Zealanders’ living rights in Australia, and foreign policy on Chinese influence in the Pacific. Read more.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Sweden and Finland signed NATO ascension protocol – July 5

On Tuesday, Sweden and Finland signed the NATO ascension protocol after reaching an agreement with NATO member state Turkey which initially opposed their ascension. Turkey largely achieved its demands of having both states take a harsher stance of Kurdish militant groups and also managed to unblock the sale of US fighter jets to it. Turkey achieving its demands indicate it has attained more geopolitical importance both within NATO and in the region. Read more.

German Parliament approved law to accelerate acquisition of military equipment – ​​July 7

Germany’s Bundestag approved the Armed Forces Procurement Acceleration law on Thursday. The law forms part of German attempts to rearm and modernize its armed forces reversing decades of pacifist defense policy. The approval of the law will bolster these attempts and contribute to an increase in German military strength within NATO and the EU. Read more.

FINANCE, ECONOMICS & TECHNOLOGY

Dutch-Armenia Business Days Summit 2022 – July 6

Talks will focus on increasing Dutch investment in commercial, construction, agriculture and technology sectors and is part of a wider strategy of European engagement in the Caucasus region. Of particular interest is Armenia’s significant reserves of gold and copper as the EU seeks possible alternatives to Russian gold amid ongoing rounds of EU sanctions on Moscow. Read more

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COMPANY

Arab women’s rights activists hold strikes across region – July 6

Growing cases of femicide in Egypt have swelled close to double since 2022. Women’s rights activist groups across countless Arab nations hosted strikes in response to weakening police efforts and lack of awareness towards gender-based violence in mainstream media. Egyptian lawmakers and women’s activist groups are calling for heightening of the law to protect vulnerable people in positions where gender-based violence is intensifying. Read more

Paris airport workers began strike – July 8

Ground staff at France’s largest airport scheduled to strike in response to unraised wages despite the costs of growing inflation alongside heightening air travel demand. Ebbs and flows of civilian unrest in other industries are becoming more common as the EU records major inflation hikes. Read more

OTHER

UK Politics – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces his resignation from the Conservative Party – July 7

Boris Johnson revealed he would step down as Britain’s Prime Minister this week following the resignations of several key government officials and the loss of party support caused by his mishandling of recent political scandals. Johnson will remain as Prime Minister until the Conservate Party selects a new leader, which could take months. Read more

North Africa – Campaigning began in Tunisia ahead of the referendum on the proposed new constitution – July 3

Campaigning commenced this week over proposed changes to the constitution drafted by Tunisian President Kais Saied. The changes would grant the president rampant executive powers while removing almost all legislative and judicial checks on power. Although most opposition parties plan to boycott the July 25 referendum, the new constitution is likely to pass with minority support from current voters. Read more

THE WEEK AHEAD

INDO-PACIFIC – Pacific Island Forum in Fiji – July 11-12

Climate change remains the key issue for Pacific Island nations, but a comprehensive Chinese regional security deal is also on the agenda after the Solomon Islands also signed a bilateral security agreement with Beijing, raising concerns in the West of China’s militarization of the South Pacific—a traditional sphere of influence for Australia and New Zealand. here

DIPLOMACY – Eurozone finance ministers meeting – July 11

The inclusion of Croatia in the Eurozone currency bloc will be on the agenda. here

DIPLOMACY – China to host virtual meeting with 10 Pacific Island countries on signing multi-lateral pacts – July 14

China will look to forward its regional vision of a multilateral economic and security partnership. here

trade MERCOSUR Common Market Group meeting scheduled to be held

MERCOSUR will hold its Common Market Group meeting ahead of the Jul 21 Summit of Heads of State. here

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