RADAR SWEEP Geopolitics Newsletter August 1-7 2022 NANCY PELOSI VISITS TAIWAN – Aug. 2-3 US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied
Geopolitics Newsletter August 1-7 2022
NANCY PELOSI VISITS TAIWAN – Aug. 2-3
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied pressure from Beijing and visited Taiwan on August 2. The visit was part of her Asia tour and was kept under wraps until the plane of the congressional delegation approached the island while en route to South Korea. Pelosi met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and promised that the US would not abandon Taiwan. Pelosi’s visit marks the most senior political visit from the US to Taiwan since 1997 when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited Taiwan during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis.
In response to Pelosi’s visit, China conducted major naval exercises with live-fire drills, which saw missiles fly over the island of Taiwan. Beijing also announced that it would cancel bilateral cooperation with the US on national security and climate change issues and that it would impose wide-ranging sanctions against many Taiwanese exports.
The trip will likely further damage the already strained relationship between Washington and Beijing in the long run and put further pressure on Taipei. The heightened tension is expected to persist for at least several more weeks. Many already consider Pelosi’s visit the beginning of the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis. Read more [EXTERNAL]
US Secretary of State visited the Philippines – Aug. 6
Antony Blinken’s visit to the Philippines was part of the US efforts to counter Chinese influence in the region. The two countries still maintain a mutual defense treaty, signed in 1951. Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to strengthened cooperation on energy, trade and investment. Blinken’s visit will likely further antagonize China, which claims the whole of the South China Sea for itself. Read more
US Secretary of State visited Cambodia to engage ASEAN on Myanmar – Aug. 3
Antony Blinken met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to improve previously frosty relations with the ASEAN member state and long-term ally of China. Blinken also expressed concern for Cambodia’s eroding democracy. Cambodian leadership will have to walk a fine line between its relations with Washington and Beijing but will not turn its back to China. Read more
Chinese FM Wang Yi visited Bangladesh – Aug. 6
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his counterpart in Bangladesh to renew memoranda of understanding and deepen the two countries’ relationship. China is already Bangladesh’s largest trade partner and a major investor. Chinese infrastructure investments will likely continue to grow in the coming years. Read more
Cook Islands held general elections – Aug. 1
Soaring imported food prices and increasing dependence on Chinese investment has divided Cook Islands politics. The Cook Islands recently took out a loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and will likely continue strong economic cooperation with China. However, the small archipelago nation may soon be forced to choose between closer ties with the US or China. Read more
CABEI delegation ended its Taiwanese visit – Aug. 5
A delegation from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) concluded a six-day visit to Taiwan, during which trade and investment opportunities were discussed. The trip seems to have helped strengthen economic ties and diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Central American states, even as intense competition and pressure from China act as a potential disruptor. Read more.
Erdogan met with Putin in Sochi – Aug. 5
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, their second meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine. Turkey maintains ties with Russia, despite supporting Ukraine and cooperating with Western allies. Erdogan, who has served as an integral mediator between Russia and Ukraine, discussed a wide range of economic and military matters with Putin. Read more.
Maldives President concluded India visit – Aug. 4
The President of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, held diplomatic talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a four-day visit. The leaders discussed several issues concerning political cooperation and security. The two countries are planning to pursue developmental projects which will strengthen their alliance in the future. Read more.
US-led RIMPAC 2022 exercise concluded – Aug. 4
The US-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercises concluded this week, with 26 participant states. Drills and wargames were shaped by the growing US-China rivalry. The US announced that Taiwan would not participate, in order to not further antagonize Beijing. Read more.
China held live-fire drills in the South China Sea – Aug. 2
China has announced a series of live-fire drills in the South China Sea in close proximity to Taiwanese waters in apparent retaliation for American government officials visiting Taiwan. Read more.
Belgian Air Force concluded NATO deployment in Baltics – Aug 1
A detachment of Belgian F-16 jets ended their deployment to the Baltics. The detachment was present in Estonia as part of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence. NATO has been instrumental in denying air superiority to the Russian Air Force over Ukraine. Read more.
Finance, Economics and Technology
UK Conservative Party held its third Leadership Debate – Aug. 4
The third debate between UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak took place. Economic issues have dominated the campaign with the two politicians clashing over methods to tackle national debt accumulated due to the pandemic. Truss is currently leading in the polls. Read more.
Reserve Bank of Australia increased interest rates – Aug. 2
The Reserve Bank of Australia raised interest rates by 50 basis points in an attempt to mitigate inflation. Prices in Australia have risen by 6.1% year on year, and the Australian government expects inflation to rise to 7.75% by the end of the year, leading to a drop in real wages. Read more.
Sovcomflot convened a Euro-bondholders meeting – Aug. 2
Russian state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot held a Euro-bondholders meeting to assure investors on their ’ability to continue operations amid the withdrawal of coverage by Western insurance providers. EU proposals to ban the insurance of Russian tankers will exacerbate revenue shortages for Russia. Russian insurers will allow Sovcomflot to continue operations in the short term, though Western sanctions will cause Russian companies to seek funding from eastern countries like China or India. Read more.
EU gas rationing plan took effect – Aug. 1
EU countries will be expected to reduce gas consumption by 15% until March 2023. The decision comes amid fears that Russia will cut off gas to the continent after Russian gas giant Gazprom announced it would not be able to comply with European gas contracts. Read more.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guetteres visited Japan and acknowledged Hiroshima anniversary – Aug. 6
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guetteres visited Hiroshima, Japan on the 77th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing. Guetteres warned of a new worldwide arms race and nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War. The Secretary General’s attendance underscored the importance of the event ahead of subsequent regional visits to discuss nonproliferation. Read more.
Guineans protested against military rule – Aug. 4
Widespread protests against military rule transpired in Guinea, despite their infinite ban. Following lulls in Guinea’s political transition and the junta’s prohibition of street protests, the opposition coalition National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) organized nationwide demonstrations to protest the junta and its violations of civilians’ rights and freedoms, namely the right to protest. Read more.
US-China cooperation on climate change broke down – Aug. 5
Following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Beijing announced it would halt cooperation with the US on climate change. This comes only three months before the next international climate summit (COP27) and casts doubt over the prospect of the world’s two largest carbon polluters reaching climate targets. Read more
India approved new emissions target – Aug. 4
The Indian government approved new targets to lower its emissions. India — the world’s third largest carbon dioxide emitter—has pledged to meet at least 50% of its energy demands with renewable energy by 2030. Read more
Al-Qaeda leader killed in US drone strike – July 31
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul. al-Zawahiri planned the 9/11 attacks together with Osama Bin Laden and has been on the US most wanted list for over two decades. A Taliban spokesperson decried the assassination as a violation of international principles. Read more
THE WEEK AHEAD
Antony Blinken to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo – Aug. 9
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit the resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, which has become increasingly important to high high-tech supply chains, including batteries and semiconductors. Here.
Mexico’s central bank set to publish an increase in benchmark interest rates to an expected 8.5% – Aug. 11
Increased interest rates are attempting to slow rising inflation amidst economic growth. Here.
Russia’s International Army Games to commence – Aug. 13
Russia’s two-week-long International Army Games are scheduled to commence on Aug 13, with teams from over 30 countries in attendance. Here.
US-Indonesia “Super Garuda Shield” Joint Military Exercises conclude – Aug. 14
The two-week exercises saw participation from 14 nations. Here.
Contributions by: David Song-Pehamberger, Madeline McQuillan, Keely Dion, Laurence Dynes and Shravan Krishnan Sharma