Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May 6, 2014

China plans for North Korean regime collapse leaked

Beijing's lack of faith in rule of Kim Jong-un exposed in contingency plans to detain key North Korean leaders, set up border refugee camps and respond to "foreign forces"

By Julian Ryall, Tokyo
China has drawn up detailed contingency plans for the collapse of the North Korean government, suggesting that Beijing has little faith in the longevity of Kim Jong-un’s regime.
Documents drawn up by planners from China’s People’s Liberation Army that were leaked to Japanese media include proposals for detaining key North Korean leaders and the creation of refugee camps on the Chinese side of the frontier in the event of an outbreak of civil unrest in the secretive state.
The report calls for stepping up monitoring of China’s 879-mile border with North Korea.
Any senior North Korean military or political leaders who could be the target of either rival factions or another “military power,” thought to be a reference to the United States, should be given protection, the documents state.
N…

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of May 5, 2014

EUROPE
May 5: EU finance ministers will meet in Brussels.May 5: The European Commission will publish its Spring European Economic Forecast during a news conference in Brussels.May 5: Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic will visit Vienna, Austria, where he will attend the meeting of the Committee of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Council of Europe.May 5: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will start his European tour in Warsaw.May 5: Japan is expected to announce an initiative to help Eastern European countries build coal-fired power plants at the meeting of energy ministers from Japan and other G-7 industrialized nations in Rome.May 5-6: The EU agriculture and fisheries ministers' informal meetings will continue in Athens.May 6: EU finance ministers will hold a meeting of the Ecofin Council.May 6: The European Commission will discuss climate change adaptation and mitigation in range of the release of IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel …

Understanding the European Parliament

Members of the European Parliament vote in Strasbourg, eastern France, on Dec. 12, 2013, on procedures to take after Ukraine rejected an EU association agreement.(FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The European Parliament's evolution from a consulting assembly to a supranational chamber with significant legislative powers highlights the extent of EU members' concerns about the democratic legitimacy of the continental bloc. After the May 22-25 election, the European Parliament will face three significant challenges: an electorate that is uninterested in the continental body, the onslaught of Euroskeptical parties wanting to weaken the European Union from within and national governments that will resist EU attempts to deepen continental integration.

Analysis


The European Parliament is a quintessentially EU product. It is meant to represent more than 500 million citizens. It is unique in the sense that it is the world's only democratically elected international institutio…

Angolan and Congolese Governments Discuss Conflict-Free Diamonds

Diamond sellers look at precious rocks in a section of the Tshilamba market in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Sept. 3, 2012.JUNIOR D.KANNAH/AFP/GettyImages

Summary


The history of the development of diamonds in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is deeply entrenched in violence. Officials from the two countries have been meeting in the northeastern Angolan town of Dundo to discuss the conflict-free development of diamonds found in their countries. However, Luanda and Kinshasa are less concerned about the humanitarian welfare of those mining their countries' diamonds than about making sure the resource is not used to restart either a proxy conflict against each other or a civil war within either country.

Analysis


The Angolan government is promoting the development of diverse economic sectors in order to expand its economy beyond the narrow hydrocarbons sector Luanda has historically depended on. Hydrocarbons are by far the most significant component of the Angolan …

Kiev Faces a Complex Crisis

Smoke from a burning pro-Russian activist blockade rises around a flag of the Donetsk Republic on May 3 in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Summary
On May 2, Ukrainian forces restarted their military operation in eastern Ukraine. By May 4, Kiev reportedly controlled most of Kramatorsk, and security forces had surrounded Slovyansk, a stronghold for pro-Russian militants. Authorities struggled to maintain order in the southern city of Odessa, where more than 40 people were killed in May 2 clashes and where pro-Russian protesters stormed a police station May 4 and released detainees with little police interference.

On April 30, the International Monetary Fund had approved a $17 billion aid package for Ukraine, with the first tranche scheduled for disbursement in early May. The developments underscore the twofold crisis facing the government in Kiev. Most immediately, authorities are struggling to exert power in the country's eastern regions. Meanwhile, despite financial a…

Japan Promises to Follow Through with Africa Aid

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on Jan. 14.(CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Analysis


Japan is highlighting its renewed investment in Africa even as China promises not to take a colonialist path in the region. Tokyo will "steadily" implement the $32 billion worth of aid and investment it has allotted to Africa over the next five years, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said during a meeting with African leaders in Cameroon on May 4. The $32 billion pledge, promised last year, marks an increase from Japan's $9 billion in aid to Africa between 2008 and 2012 -- a period that also saw a net decrease in Japan's direct investment in Africa.

Japan is attempting to revive its international standing and boost its economy through deeper engagement with developing countries around the world, especially those on whom it depends for resources. Despite the meeting in Cameroon, Japan's recent efforts have focused on E…