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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 10/23/2022

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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 10/23/2022

Xi Jinping third term

RADAR SWEEP

Geopolitics Newsletter October 16 – 23 2022

Xi Jinping Appointed Unprecedented Third Term as General Secretary at Conclusion of 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress

Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping was confirmed for a third term as the party’s leader at the conclusion of the week-long party congress on Oct. 22. The gathering of over 2,200 party delegates elected from amongst the party’s 96 million members is held once every five years to appoint the leadership of the ruling party. Since the death of founding leader, Mao Zedong, it was the post-Mao party norm for the general secretary to serve for a decade—two five-year terms—before stepping down.

However, this party congress saw delegates clear the way for Xi to continue as general secretary indefinitely, a change foreshadowed in 2018 when constitutional two-term limits for the office of the president were dropped by China’s rubber-stamp parliament.

The end result of this party congress is that Xi will be confirmed for a third presidential term as China’s head of state at next March’s annual parliament. In China’s one-party state political system, the Presidential office is held exclusively by the Communist Party General Secretary. Read more

Xi Jinping third term
Xi Jinping gives his opening speech at the 20th five-yearly party congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Source: CNN

Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

Defense Exhibition DefExpo 2022 began in India – Oct. 17

Initially scheduled for March—but likely delayed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—the five-day Indian-hosted defense industry exhibition began on Monday. Since Russian military equipment is at the core of India’s defense systems, the Ukrainian war has provided the Indian defense establishment with time to assess the capabilities of Russian military assets. Read more

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong visited Australia – Oct. 16

Prime Minister Lee Hisen Loong of Singapore landed in Australia to commence several annual three-day bilateral meetings with his counterpart Anthony Albanese. The meetings covered energy, economic reform and hydrogen deals, potentially facilitating major private sector projects such as the $30 billion Sun Cable project. Read more

Botswana foreign minister visits India to increase trade – Oct. 22

The southern African country seeks to diversify away from diamond mining. Yet, Indian companies currently play a significant role in Botswana’s diamond mining industry, which accounts for 40% of Botswana’s GDP and 70% of export earnings. Read more

Diplomacy

Finnish President visited Iceland – Oct. 20

The visit focused on Finland´s pending accession to NATO and on the ongoing war in Ukraine. In the long-term, Finnish assistance meant to increase Iceland’s own security involvement in NATO is likely. Read more

Franco-German ministerial meeting delayed to January – Oct. 19

Initially planned for October 12, different ideas on how to respond to the European energy crisis and the war in Ukraine have strained relations between the two states whose partnership largely guides EU policy. This has led to a postponement while both countries attempt to resolve their differences. Read more

Turkey’s president visited Azerbaijan – Oct. 20

The trip included an attendance to the opening of an airport in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region—the subject of a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2020. Turkey remains a staunch ally of Azerbaijan, but Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan has recently reached out to Armenia in a tentative bid to spur the rival countries to normalize relations. Read more.

UN Security Council deliberated over Haiti humanitarian aid – Oct. 21

The UNSC convened to address Haiti’s cholera outbreak—originating from Haitian peacekeepers returning from a UN mission in Nepal. Of immediate concern are the deteriorating security conditions in the country. Read more

EU sanctions Iran over crackdown on human rights protests – Oct. 17

The sanctions include asset freezes on Iranian officials and are the EU’s response to Tehran’s crackdown on mass protests inside Iran following the death in custody of a woman arrested over breaching strict hijab-wearing laws. Read more

National Security

NATO began nuclear deterrence military exercises – Oct. 17

The military alliance began two-week annual military exercises over Belgium, Britain and the North Sea last week. The exercises come ahead of similar nuclear weapon exercises by Russia, at a time of heightened tensions between NATO and Russia over the latter’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more

EU leaders discussed gas price cap – Oct. 20

While the bloc has met and exceeded its gas storage targets for the beginning of November, member states are attempting to address high prices. During the meeting, Germany dropped its opposition to a price cap, clearing the way for the European Commission to develop proposals. Read more

Russian flight ban from airports near Ukraine extended to October 28 – Oct. 22

The temporary ban was instituted in light of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region against Russian forces in September. Rapid Ukrainian advances put the Russian city of Belgorod on within striking distance of Ukrainian missiles and artillery. Read more

Finance, Economics and Technology

The Bahamas implemented temporary price control measures on food staples – Oct. 17

In response to spiraling inflation, the Bahamian government implemented price control measures on 38 staple food goods for six months. Controls include 5% ceilings for wholesalers and 25% for retailers. Read more

See Also
Xi to begin Vietnam visit

Environment

African Energy Week began in South Africa – Oct. 18

The African Energy Chamber hosted the 2022 African Energy Week, which focused on engaging with stakeholders, green-energy investments and long-term energy extraction. The country has struggled with rolling power blackouts for over a decade because of insufficient energy generation. Read more

Politics

Liz Truss resigned as British Conservative Party leader – Oct. 20

After 44 days in office following the resignation of her predecessor, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss announced she would resign her post and await the selection of a new leader to become prime minister. Truss´s tenure was rocked by controversy due to her plans for tax cuts that were quickly reversed.  Read more

Ulf Kristersson was sworn in as new Swedish prime minister – Oct. 18

Kristersson formed a right-of-center coalition government with the support of the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD). While SD will not control any ministries, its support is crucial for the new government and will likely hold significant influence over it. Read more

Bulgarian parliament reconvened following elections – Oct. 19

The elections saw the center-right grouping of GERB-SDS win the most seats but without a majority to govern. Incumbent caretaker President Rumen Radev will continue leading in the short- to medium-term until a majority is found. Read more

Chinese nationals face court in South Africa over human trafficking – October 21

The court proceedings represent a recent crackdown by South Africa, likely aimed at addressing international criticism that it has failed to meet minimum global standards on combating human trafficking. Read more

THE WEEK AHEAD

Berlin to host German-Ukrainian forum – October 24

A gathering of public and private sector officials will meet to discuss the reconstruction of Ukraine at the conclusion of the current Ukrainian war. Read more [External]

Russian tourists holding Schengen visas to be banned from Czech Republic – October 25

The Central European country becomes the latest EU member to restrict Russian tourists. Schengen visas allow visa-free entry across most of Europe, including most EU    countries. Read more [External]

United States: Israeli president to visit Washington – October 25

The visit comes ahead of an Israeli general election next month, which could see the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to power. Read more [External]

New British Prime Minister to be confirmed – October 28

Rishi Sunak, former chancellor (finance secretary) is set to be confirmed as the next PM after his most serious challenger, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pulled out. Read more [External]

 

Contributions by: John Milo, Cian Muenster, Joseph Egidio

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