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THE PANGOAL REPORT
June 2017 (Vol. 5)
Jul 19, 2017
Pangoal Institution International Situation Monthly(Vol. 5)
Pangoal Institution International Situation Monthly(Vol. 5)

Originally, Trump intended to push for the US’s withdrawal from the Middle Eastern situation, decrease the extravagant cost of foreign strategic resources, and focus on anti-terrorism and Israeli-Palestinian talks. However, many of his advisors for security, diplomatic, and military affairs are senior officials with plenty of experience in the Middle East, and they believe that the Obama administration’s policies regarding the region were overly idealistic and tended to alienate Israel, thus leaving Russia substantial opportunities. Hence, they are determined to change US policy in the Middle East. As a result, the Trump administration continues the Republicans’ tradition of valuing Jewish interests, yet also appears cautious when handling the complexities in the region.

The Trump administration’s Middle East policies, which are already taking shape, contain five aspects. Firstly, they hold that the US should not continue involving in regime change and political reconstruction in the region, which is a tough and thankless job, and must concentrate instead on eliminating extremist forces like ISIS—this mission matches the doctrine of “America First,” which is reiterated in Trump’s domestic and foreign policies. Secondly, the US will drop the insistence that peace talks must be promoted with the two-state proposal, curb their ambiguous attitude toward the extension of Jewish settlements, shelve the claim about moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and set about discussing how to continue the Middle East peace process with Middle Eastern allies. Thirdly, the US will maintain a tough stance on Iran, and impose additional unilateral sanctions for its missile tests; nevertheless, they will renege on the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump’s campaign team was keen to emphasize during the election, and may play a waiting game instead. Fourthly, the US will rearrange its cooperative relations on military and security issues with Middle Eastern allies, such as Saudi Arabia, in exchange for their financial support for the Trump administration’s domestic infrastructure development projects, among other economic schemes. Fifthly, the US will tighten immigration and visa policies towards certain countries in the Islamic world, in order to undermine threats to homeland security and protect jobs.

In April, with approval from Trump, the US Navy launched surgical strikes against an air base belonging to Syrian government forces, in a response to use of chemical weapons on rebels and civilians. The action was later suspended abruptly, so as to avoid getting stuck in Syria. This decision won Trump great credit inside the US, while at the same time halted the US’s plan to cease efforts to overthrow the Assad regime in its policies regarding Syria, and thus destroyed an opportunity for the US to improve bilateral relations with Russia using Middle Eastern affairs.

The logic implied within Trump’s first visit to the Middle East in late May 2017 matches these features. In Saudi Arabia, Trump addressed the first Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which also involved leaders from six Gulf Cooperation Council member states and approximately fifty Arabic and Islamic countries. In his long speech, he emphasized that Middle Eastern countries must band together to gain strength, instead of waiting around for the US to crush enemies for them. Meanwhile, he also identified three objectives of the joint efforts between the US and Middle Eastern countries to fight against terrorism: firstly, every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil; secondly, the funding for terrorists must be cut off; thirdly, countries must also shut down oil sales channels and financial network for ISIS. Trump also sharply rebuked Iran, saying that it “has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” and “funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.” To conclude, he vowed that, “until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran.”

During his trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump revealed two “practical anti-terrorism actions”: the US sealed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which is worth 300 billion USD over 10 years, and over 100 billion USD will take effect immediately; the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology and Terrorist Financing Targeting Center was established in Saudi Arabia.

In Israel, Trump continued to stress that the special alliance between the US and Israel was “unbreakable,” and identified three targets in the US policies involving Israel during his presidency: jointly fighting against ISIS, jointly stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear capability, and facilitating the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine. During the “flash” visit to Israel, Trump said nothing about his claim to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which was reiterated often during the election campaign.

During a half-day visit to Bethlehem, a city on the west bank of the Jordan River, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to help Palestine and Israel reach “a historic peace deal” when meeting with

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. However - probably to appease Israel - Trump talked vaguely about how to achieve peace before the press; in this case, Abbas reiterated that the peace agreement must be built upon the two-state proposal and urged Israel to recognize Palestine as a state.

Trump’s first trip to the Middle East shows that the new administration gives much weight to affairs in this region, but policy clues revealed during the past several months still cannot create a clearer picture. Thus far, Trump’s policies towards the Middle East are still pieces oriented around individual issues, and are unable to form an overall landscape. Hence, they may not deliver success.

Trump’s Middle East diplomacy has identified that ISIS is the top enemy and biggest security threat for the US in the region and attempts to separate most Muslims from a handful of extremist forces. Military operations targeting ISIS have achieved some results; however, if the US fails to take effective measures to eliminate the conditions that harbor terrorism, both the country and its allies will continue to be troubled by security threats.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration also makes it clear that Iran is the major Middle Eastern challenger to the geopolitical interests of the US, in an attempt to resume the Bush administration’s explicit policy of supporting Sunnis and suppressing Shias, and back up the fight of US allies (e.g. Saudi Arabia) against Iran. Nonetheless, Iran, as a major power in the region, boasts some brilliant schemes: it extends its strategic reach to both the east and the west, so as to vigorously expand its maneuvering, and thus it is not on the defensive when dealing with the US.

Trump’s policies towards the Middle East are strongly pragmatic, equipped with three goals: boosting the interests of the US arms merchants in the Middle East, receiving protection fees from governments of US allies, and enticing them to heavily invest in the US. They result in a completely unbalanced “bill,” which can hardly woo the US allies, let alone construct “another North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)” in this region.

Mounting facts coming to light indicate that when the domestic political needs contradict with the regional strategic schemes, Trump would choose the former—the air strike on Syria is proof of this. Trump’s Middle East peace plan has not taken shape yet, but it’s already on the horizon. He began this work earlier that any of his predecessors, and broke with the “tradition” that US presidents would not be fully dedicated to promote the peace talks between Israel and Palestine until the end of their term. He may be learning from his predecessors’ lesson that they began work on it so late that nothing was achieved. By planning for the landscape in advance, he is attempting to increase his odds to “leave a glorious name in the history.” With his Middle East diplomacy, Trump has determined the goal of achieving substantial progress in the promotion of Israeli-Palestinian talks during his presidency. However, he has to face both Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Israel, the most conservative one in its history, and the Abbas regime of Palestine, which is comparatively less powerful. As a result, it is impossible for the Trump administration to cover the trust deficit between the two sides, while at the same time remaining skewed towards Israel.


Fundamental Cracks in Transatlantic Relations

On May 28th, the German chancellor Angela Merkel addressed an election rally in Munich: “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over.” She made these comments on US-Europe relations when referring to the G7 talks in Italy a few days ago, stating that “we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands...we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.” As the rally was organized in a beer tent, her speech is thus called the Bierzeltrede (beer tent speech). These statements clearly declare that Trump’s concluded European trip has achieved little in facilitating the US-Europe relations in the new era.

During the second half of Trump’s first foreign trip in late May, he made appearances in European countries, first visiting Italy and the Vatican, and then attending the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium and G7 talks in Sicily, Italy. Wherever he went, the new president was greeted with the utmost courtesy and enjoyed sufficient media reach. However, since the US administration and European countries disagree sharply on various issues, Trump’s European trip was quite “awkward.”

When meeting with Pope Francis, Trump and his family beamed with smiles, while the Pope showed a grim expression; at the NATO summit, Trump jostled Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way to secure a prominent spot for a photo opportunity; during a meeting at the US Embassy in Belgium, Trump had a tense handshake with France’s new president Emmanuel Macron—all this body language, which is described as “adaptive but aggressive” by the US media, have diverted attention from what he did during the trip.

For Trump, the major aim of his European trip was to fully demonstrate the “America First” doctrine when handling relations with European countries and emphasize the US’s leading role in Europe, instead of consolidating US-Europe partnerships and enhancing bilateral relations. In this way, he can justify himself in front of his domestic supporters and send a clear signal that he could be a “powerful president” both inside and outside the US, especially when his presidency is undermined by scandal over alleged contacts between Trump’s campaign team and Russia in addition to White House infighting.

While dining with Macron, Trump stressed that he had supported Macron’s election campaign; despite that, it is still known to all that he and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen once showed good feelings towards each other during the election. As the far right was stymied in the European elections held this year, the trend of conservatism in the US and Russia is slowing down, and the German Chancellor Merkel, “the last bastion of Western liberal power,” appears to be successful in seeking her fourth term. Therefore, Trump as the de facto leader of the US must act according to political trends, and conceal and adjust his support for the “right turn” of Europe together with the US.

During a meeting with the European Union (EU) and NATO leaders, Trump, on the one hand, scoffed that the new NATO headquarters is “beautiful,” while on the other hand criticized that European countries had not spent enough on national defense. Claiming that it was “not fair” for US taxpayers, Trump urged NATO states to reach the goal of spending 2 percent of their GDP on armament.

Perhaps as a way to further pressure European countries, Trump did not explicitly endorse the NATO mutual defense doctrine as usual when attending the summit, and brought a twisted piece of steel from the North Tower of the World Trade Center as a revealing “gift.” It was the 9/11 terrorist attacks sixteen years ago that triggered the application of Article 5 on Collective Defense of NATO, which means that each member state considers an armed attack against any member state, in Europe or North America, to be an armed attack against them all.

As the G7 summit members agreed to strengthen their efforts to fight against terrorism and continue imposing sanctions against Russia and pressuring North Korea, it is likely that the G7 leaders will continue to cooperate on security issues. However, as Trump refused to accept Europe’s stance on climate change, the two sides clashed with one another. The White House later announced that Trump would make a final decision regarding the US’s exit from Paris Agreement within one week of returning to the US.

Although the G7 summit agreed to resist protectionism and work together to improve the operation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the US and Europe still differ greatly on trade issues. When meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker and European Council President Donald Tusk, Trump’s private complaints about Germany being “bad, very bad” for selling so many cars to the US were recorded by the media, which led to new diplomatic spats between the two countries.

From the perspective of domestic politics, Trump’s European trip is “successful.” However, it was a “catastrophe” for US-Europe relations, as a German television network Das Erste commented when covering the G7 summit. Evidently, Europe is not a diplomatic priority for Trump, as his diplomatic schedule does not contain any long-term strategic plans concerning Europe—there are only short-term interests.

Europe is still a shield for the US’s battles against terrorism. The focus of US-Europe cooperation on security and defense will be further shifted to prevention and suppression of terrorism, and this will be connected with joint fights against terrorism launched by US and its Middle Eastern allies, which the Trump administration has been working on.

Trump believes that the US has committed too much to European defense, and thus he must urge European countries to share responsibilities. This has been fundamental for the Trump administration’s policies regarding European security, a barrier hindering the US and Europe from adapting their defense cooperation to changes in the international situation, and a major proof of the US’s increasing unreliability in the eyes of Europe.

For Trump, European countries, especially the industrial ones represented by Germany, are the US’s trade rivals and a major source of foreign trade deficit. Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” campaign rhetoric must be first put into effect in US-Europe trade relations. In the years ahead, trade friction will remain a problem for bilateral relations.

After exiting from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trump administration has not decided how to handle the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the negotiation of which is drawing to a close. Overall, they wish to continue discussion. Nevertheless, Europe has lost confidence in the Trump administration, refusing to resume negotiations. Hence, whether the US needs to make pragmatic adjustments depends on the overall trend of US-Europe economic relations.

Trump’s plan to improve US-Russia relations has ground to a halt due to scandal over alleged contacts between Trump’s campaign team and Russia. Hence, he cannot bypass the EU when handling relations with Russia and issues in Ukraine, Syria, and Iran. Therefore, the US must adopt more pragmatic polices and draw closer to Europe on relevant issues.

Trump is upset about the continuing domination of liberalism in Europe, and will further handle its relations with the UK and EU separately, so as to highlight the UK’s role in the US diplomatic policies towards Europe. In this way, US-UK relations will see substantial progress during his presidency, which will, in return, facilitate the UK’s exit from EU and continue impacting the inner momentum for changes in EU and the development of far-right populism.

For Europe, Trump stands for “a different America.” Will US commitments to European unity and security remain effective? Have the values connecting the US, Europe, and even the whole Western world together broken down? Europe must reconsider and renew the knowledge of these fundamental problems in the years ahead. It can be predicted that awareness of independent development will soar in Europe. While trying to maintain cooperative relations with the US, Europe will also seek to explore its own way of pragmatic diplomacy and focus more on all-round partnerships. In this sense, the opportunity for China-Europe relations may be a mid-to-long-term one.


Stirs Caused by the US's Exit from Paris Agreement

On June 1st, 2017, Trump announced that the US would cease all participation in the Paris Agreement, an addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement, painstakingly concluded at the United Nations Climate Change Conference on December 12th, 2015, and officially signed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on April 22nd, 2016, aims to provide an international law basis for the world’s response to climate changes in the post-2020 era. In this Agreement, each country commits and plans its own contribution to cutting down carbon emissions.

The efforts former US President Barack Obama made to mediate, facilitate, and conclude the Paris Agreement represent his core political and diplomatic legacy. The Obama administration, in adherence to liberalism, took responsibility for promoting and advancing the US’s energy reform. The Agreement is also an important symbol and result of China-US collaboration and cooperation in responding to global challenges. On September 3rd, 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Obama submitted their instruments of Agreement ratification to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of United Nations (UN).

In running for his presidency, Trump trumpeted his platform that the Paris deal “bound” the US, which aroused deep concerns from the international community. After election, though not taking any immediate withdrawal measures, he called off the “Clean Power Plan” championed by the Obama administration, and made substantial cuts to the personnel and budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. The “Clean Power Plan” proposed to implement the obligations the US undertook within the framework of the Paris Agreement. According to the Plan, by 2030, the US would reduce national electricity sector emissions by an estimated 32 percent below 2005’s level.

Trump seems to be passive about climate change. This is, for one thing, an important manifestation of his political right-deviation and confrontation with liberalists and the pro-establishment camp, and for another, driven by profound economic benefits. In terms of domestic and foreign policies, Trump upholds the principle of “America First.” By taking measures such as attracting manufacturers back to the US, reducing foreign trade deficit, cutting development cost, and promoting energy consumption, the Trump administration aims to stimulate the economy to bounce back quickly within a short term, retain the support of the middle and lower class, and thus reinforce their ruling. Trump is backed by giant interest groups from the traditional energy sector who believe that the Clean Power Plan would increase economic growth cost, and suppress the recovery and backflow of middle- and lower-end manufacturing. Hence, they insist on annulling all international commitments.

Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement, more than just affecting the global efforts on climate change, may influence international politics of the year 2017 in a lot of ways. This might be a start for the US’s “neo-isolationism” era in a real sense. That is to say, the US might further dismiss international obligations and begin favoring conservatism and selfishness, unless Trump steps down from his office, or some internal or external elements converge into a sufficiently strong impetus to force the Trump administration into remediation.

Anti-Trump sentiments have already been soaring in the US; now, his opponents are entirely riled. Not only the “political polarization” of the two dominant US parties has become more serious, but the “political vendetta” between the liberalists and the pro-establishment camp grows fiercer.

With the changes in the US’s “core values,” the issue of climate change is no longer a bond showing the mutual interests and values of the US and Europe, but a major area of diplomatic conflicts. The withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement has even touched the bottom line of bilateral relations, which will further alienate the two sides, shrink space for dialogues, and in the end, destroy mutual trust and shake the foundation of strategic interests. Nevertheless, the restoration of such a relationship would require generations of effort.

In regards to the issue of climate changes per se, the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement implies that the country, which emits as much as 17% of the world’s total carbon dioxide annually, has explicitly abandoned leadership in climate governance, and decided to scale down international climate-related aid. Though some states and cities as well as new economic businesses oppose this decision, and wish to remain in the Paris Agreement, the US, as a whole, can no longer fulfill its emission reduction commitments completely, only part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) at the most. The authority and effectiveness of the Paris Agreement would be greatly damaged, forcing all parties to reconsider their attitudes towards the commitments. The behaviors of the US would eventually make it harder and more expensive to achieve the target of keeping the global temperature rise well below 2°C.

China also faces smaller emission targets, greater emission reduction pressure, and increased reduction cost. Meanwhile, China-US climate cooperation, an important pillar for the development of bilateral relations, would be less effective. Nevertheless, this might give China greater advantage in leading renewable energy development as opposed to the US. There are two key questions worth thinking over: First, what should China do with this Agreement once the US leaves the Agreement? Continue to work as a “responsible power”? Or hold things back to a certain extent? As to this question, the world is watching China, waiting to follow. Secondly, as the US starts to “withdraw” from “leadership” in various fields of the international system, should China step forward and take the job? Is it time for China to do so? Is China strong enough?

The two key issues mentioned above call for all-around analysis and evaluation. But one thing is affirmative: China should not change its plan of promoting ecological progress and following a green development path. This is a goal specifically proposed at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and an important part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for national economic and social development as well. The plan concerning ecological progress and green development is of vital importance to the nation’s economy and people’s livelihood, as well as the sustainable competitiveness of our nation and people, and thus can never be changed; nor should we retreat or regret.


Shanghai Cooperation Organization Expands

On June 9th, the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. India and Pakistan were officially admitted as members of the SCO. After accepting the two countries, the SCO, now with eight members, has expanded its geographical coverage to South Asia, and become a regional organization featuring broad coverage, enormous population, and great potential. Notably, this is expected to create more cooperation opportunities, and enhance multilateral cooperation. For China, a new platform for improving relations with the two countries is now in place.

However, entrenched strategic doubts and security conflicts between India and Pakistan also raise concerns among the founding members of SCO. Would they bring contradictions and disputes into SCO, and add to the complexities of organizational operation and mechanism-based decision making? This concern does not come out of thin air. On the sub-regional cooperation platform of South Asia where India and Pakistan both belong to, the two countries are still as incompatible as fire and water. How can they set aside conflicts and make concerted efforts for multilateral cooperation?

Originally founded for security cooperation, the SCO has reached substantial achievements in regional anti-terrorism work, and developed a set of effective cooperation model beneficial to all parties. Terrorism and threats to national security develop contiguously in Central and South Asia, and the area links with equivalents in the Middle East to form a corridor under the influence of extremists. Both India and Pakistan are deeply afflicted by terrorism and religious extremist forces. The risks and challenges posed thereby have a direct bearing on the future of the two nations. With the substantive participation of India and Pakistan, and their acceptance of and compliance with SCO’s anti-terrorism principles, the organization’s anti-terrorism work is expected to become more powerful fundamentally, and the two new members will benefit greatly.

Cooperation of all parties is rapidly expanding to the economy, trade, and culture, etc., which generates an increasingly great attraction for India and Pakistan. Through SCO collaboration, it is possible that the two countries find a new path to steer clear of their disagreements, break through the limitation of thinking regionally, and thus jointly work for a win-win situation and reconsider their bilateral relations. In this way, the parties who have toiled to straighten out the strained relations among South Asian countries are expected to see light after spending so much time in the dark.

The SCO must make plans patiently and handle matters meticulously before its members come together. All parties should consider things from a broader perspective clearly and specifically. As to China, which maintains important relations with both India and Pakistan, the mediation of India-Pakistan relations under the framework of SCO serves as a key proving ground for it to mediate more issues on a broader scale.


China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue Held

On June 21st, 2017, as a vital initiative for implementing the outcomes from the Xi-Trump meeting in Mar-a-Lago in April 2017, the first round of China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogues (D&SD) was held in Washington, D.C. This round of D&SD was co-hosted by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. General Fang Fenghui, member of Central Military Commission and Chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff Department, was also present.

Through the D&SD, the consensus reached by the two leaders was reinforced. Both sides pledged to expand areas of cooperation, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, and promote healthy and stable development of bilateral relations in the long term.

According to the consensus list announced by China, the two sides have discussed the basic principles for improving bilateral interaction, and explored new ways of building strategic security trust. In the military-to-military relationship, both sides vowed to follow through on annual exchange programs and called for early mutual visits of the two countries’ defense chiefs and the visit of Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to China. The two sides also pledged to deepen cooperation on areas such as humanitarian assistance, anti-piracy, and military medical sciences and to implement memorandums of understanding on confidence-building mechanisms.

On June 22nd, President Trump met with Yang Jiechi and the Chinese delegation in the White House. Trump expressed delight to see China-US cooperation has made progress in all aspects since the Florida meeting, and expected more progress to be made in bilateral relations as high-level communication increases. In addition, he also stated that the US is ready to work together with China in projects concerning the Belt and Road Initiative.

The D&SD is one of the high-level dialogue mechanisms initiated by the two leaders after active interaction and readjustment of strategic dialogues. This year, the two countries will hold the first round of the other three high-level dialogues, with themes on economy, law enforcement and cybersecurity, and social and cultural issues respectively.

This round of D&SD also laid the foundation for closer and more direct interaction between Xi and Trump. According to the agenda, the two heads of state will meet again during the G20 summit next month in Hamburg, Germany, and Trump will visit China later this year upon Xi’s invitation.

The Florida meeting held in April put an end to an extended chill in China-US relations during the transitional phase of the US’s presidential terms. The formerly worsening of bilateral relations can be attributed to Trump’s unorthodox telephone call with Tsai Ing-wen, his subsequent suspicion of the One China policy, and remarks criticizing China on economic, trade, and North Korean nuclear issues. During the meeting, the two sides achieved principled consensus on promoting the building of a partnership that features non-confrontation, non-conflict, and mutual benefits. Additionally, the high-level dialogue mechanisms of China and the US were re-arranged; the 100-Day Action Plan on trade was initiated; and consensus on strengthening consultation over the North Korean nuclear issue and other regional security issues was reached. With these results, citizens seem to have become much more optimistic on China-US relations.

After the Xi-Trump meeting, the two sides have worked proactively for consensus implementation. The 100-Day Action Plan has already reaped “initial results”; meanwhile, the communication over the North Korean nuclear issue has, at least, prevented new nuclear tests and long-range missile launches. Notably, when the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing this May, the Trump administration sent middle-ranked officials of the National Security Council (NSC) of the White House, which demonstrated an adjustment of the Capitol’s mistrustful and precautionary attitude toward China when it comes to international order changes.

With the China-US relations bouncing back, local governments and enterprises in the two countries spot potential opportunities once China and the US push for common interests with their reform and development strategies. Market intention for mutual investment comes back. In June, the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit was held in Washington, D.C. Among all countries present at the summit, China had the largest delegation made up of over one hundred and fifty investors from various industries. The US investors, engaged in innovation, agriculture, energy industry and financial service industries, renewed their hope in investing in China.

With the establishment of a model featuring mutual valuing and effective communication between the two countries, uncertainties in bilateral relations are considerably reduced, which creates relatively favorable conditions for the continuation of cooperation and management of differences. Nevertheless, risks remain. As China-US relations and international and regional situations are in constant development and undergo constant change, certain differences and frictions may still escalate.

First, there is still no solution to the North Korean nuclear issue. The Trump administration pushes China to bear the brunt, hoping to corner North Korea with Chinese sanctions, and even shows the tendency of linking the nuclear issue with China-US economic and trade relations. However, since there are some particularities in China-North Korea relations, it is impossible for China to satisfy the US’s demands at the cost of sacrificing bilateral relations or even changing North Korea’s regime. Trump is running out of patience regarding getting help from China. In mid-June, the US undergraduate Otto Warmbier died just days after returning to his homeland after he was imprisoned for 17 months in North Korea, which aroused public indignation. Because of this incident, the possibility for the Trump administration to improve relations with North Korea and restart bilateral dialogues has further decreased. Given that Trump has not handled the North Korean nuclear issue properly, it remains unclear whether the White House will blame China and urge bilateral cooperation.

Secondly, sources of China-US economic and trade friction are yet to be removed. Among all administrative objectives, Trump seeks to make international trade fair again, and reduce the foreign trade deficit. And US statistics show that China’s trade surplus with the US accounts for 47% of the US’s trade deficit. Though the 100-Day Action Plan has made initial achievements, most of them are confined to areas with relatively good conditions such as beef and agricultural products exported to China, while the “structural impediments” are yet to be removed. For example, few pre-establishment national treatments are granted to the US enterprises in China; Chinese enterprises are confronted with political discrimination when they invest in the US, and China is somewhat restricted from importing high-tech products from the US. Things may grow more difficult over time. And the resumption of the Negotiations on the China-United States Bilateral Investment Treaty is at a far distant date. If Trump believes the trade negotiations would amount to nothing, he might return to foreign exchanges, thus resulting in more severe frictions in economic restructuring. Once the White House’s reform of the taxation system starts, it is essential to cautiously assess the reform’s influence on China-US economic relations.

Thirdly, the potential risk of South China Sea issue and Taiwan issue looms. Though the Trump administration is not so concerned with the South China Sea issue, the US military forces are especially worried and apprehensive, and insist on implementing the “Freedom of Navigation Program,” in order to pin down China’s marine strategies and strengthen the basis for the development of its Department of the Navy in the Western Pacific Region. Besides the risks of frictions or even conflicts on the South China Sea, the US might find an excuse to bring up this issue in case of other contradictions. In an interview with the press after the D&SD, Tillerson noted that “the US position remains unchanged”: “We oppose changes to the status quo of the past through the militarization of outposts in the South China Sea and excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law.” Meanwhile, China stressed that the US side should abide by its commitment to impartiality on relevant disputes concerning territorial sovereignty, respect China’s sovereignty and security interests, and respect the efforts of regional countries to resolve disputes through peaceful negotiation.

When it comes to the Taiwan issue, as the “diplomatic truce” crumbles and Tsai Ing-wen loses control of the diplomatic situation,the US, in consideration of the requirements for geopolitical balance, is expected to announce new arms sales to Taiwan. (Days after this essay was finalized, on June 29, the Trump administration noticed the Capitol Hill that it had approved weapons sales to Taiwan. Valued at around 1.42 billion dollars, the deal includes technical support for early warning radar, anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and components for SM-2 missiles valued at around 1.42 billion dollars. Though the total amount of the weapons is not very large, this deal signifies a start of the Trump administration’s arm sales to Taiwan.)

Fourthly, China-US relations suffer from political infighting in the US. Nearly half a year after Trump took office, he still has not integrated into Washington’s traditional mainstream politics. The increasingly acute fight between pro-establishment and anti-establishment camps, as seen in the Trump-Russia scandal and others, seriously hinders the government from working efficiently. With this background, the Trump administration has sought balance in the Asia-Pacific Region, hence the greater reliance on China. Nevertheless, the White House is badly in need of diplomatic achievements, especially in economy, trade, and the North Korean nuclear issue. Only in this way can Trump prove his ability to create jobs and solve diplomatic problems for the country. Therefore, he is anxious to achieve quick success and receive instant benefits in dealing with China. However, the “results-driven” diplomacy he touts is paradoxical; in addition, since the US now lacks clear strategic thinking on policies toward China, there are still many uncertainties in the development of China-US relations.

In general, China-US relations are changing for the better and developing stably. However, traditional and new problems remain to be solved. In solving the problems, the two sides should use a highly cautious manner, and most important of all, set aside differences, manage uncertainties, seek maximization of common interests, and put in place a “dual-combination” paradigm guaranteed by the principle of mutual respect and driven by the results of mutually beneficial cooperation.


New Storm Ferments in Middle East

Two exceptional events occurred in June 2017: the Qatar-centered “Tie-breaking Storm” and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince replacement.

On June 5th, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt ended diplomatic relations with Qatar, cutting off land, air, and sea travel to and from Qatar, and demanding that Qatari diplomats leave the country within 48 hours and citizens two weeks. Soon, the Haftar regime of Syria, Yemen, Maldives, Mauritania, and Comoros also broke ties with Qatar.

The event was directly caused by Qatar Newswire, the country’s official news agency. It published a speech by the Emir Tamim on May 24th, appreciating Iran as a “regional power” and “force for regional stability,” and considering it “unwise” to stand against Iran. Though the Qatari authorities later clarified that the speech was fake, the official media in Saudi Arabia and UAE still criticized Qatar for supporting Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Israel.

As a small country in the Middle East, Qatar has sound relations with Iran and shares off-shore gas fields with it. Meanwhile, it is also a military ally of the US in the region, and operates the US’s largest overseas air base. While providing sustained support and funding to the Muslim Brotherhood, a hostile group in the eyes of monarchical states, it also helps Saudi Arabia strike Iran-supported Houthi rebels in Yemen. It maintains semi-formal diplomatic ties with Israel, but also hosts the Hamas leader Mashal. Moreover, as a rich country with convenient overseas transportation and trade network, Qatar is not much affected by the tie-breaking events.

In the course of events, Turkey and Iran clearly supported Qatar, whereas the US sent contradictory signals. Soon after the event broke out, Trump tweeted that it was “so good to see the Saudi

Arabia visit already paying off.” On the contrary, the State Department said that the US did not interfere with the tie-breaking decisions, and the Secretary of State Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and other states to relax the blockade against Qatar. On June 14th, the US Defense Secretary Mattis signed a huge arm sales order with his Qatari counterpart, planning to sell dozens of F-15 fighters to Qatar, with a total value of twelve billion USD. In the meantime, two US warships arrived in Qatar for a joint military exercise with the Qatari navy.

The “Qatar diplomatic crisis” is actually a compelling event induced by Sunni states against Qatar, a Sunni “fence sitter” pursuing “enlightened policies.” At least in terms of its motivations, the US can be a hidden driver or even manipulator, serving Trump’s policies to isolate Iran from other Middle Eastern countries. The event will further divide the Middle East into blocks. If Qatar makes a concession, it must adjust policies on issues related to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, such as reducing funding to the Brotherhood, stopping support for Taliban and Hamas, and reorganizing and even closing down Al Jazeera. While Gulf States have put forward conditions for the reestablishment of diplomatic ties, and Kuwait is also actively mediating, Qatar seems not to have given in at the moment. Even if it does so, it may only pay some lip service whilesustaining links with Iran.

On June 21st, the Saudi King Salman removed his nephew as crown prince in favor of his son, defense minister and former deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, which is seen as a sign of further adjustment in Saudi Arabia’s domestic and foreign policies.

The 31-year-old Salman has already attracted much attention in many fields since becoming the deputy crown prince and defense minister. Militarily, he led the strike against Houthi rebels in Yemen; economically, he launched the “Vision 2030” plan for economic and social reform, and actively promoted openness in culture, entertainment, and foreign investment in this conservative country; he also proposed ending dialogues with Iran and drove the tie-breaking event against Qatar. The “Vision 2030” reform plan, under the charge of young Salman, aims to free the country from sole reliance on oil and secure Saudi’s position as the top regional power.

No more than one day after young Salman became the crown prince, the US President Trump sent his congratulations on the phone. The young Salman has a close relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Kushner arranged young Salman’s meeting with Trump in the White House this March, which laid a foundation for Trump’s visit to Saudi this May. During his visit to the US, the two sides signed a bulk arm sales order totaling 110 billion USD. According to the US media, Trump sees young Salman as a key partner in consolidating the Sunni coalition in the Persian Gulf Region.


"Black June" in the UK

The UK has experienced a “Black June”: on June 3rd, several places in London suffered terrorist attacks, which caused large casualties; on June 9th, Prime Minister Theresa May held an early election after dissolution of the Parliament, which produced unexpected results; successively on June 14th, the world-shocking fire at Grenfell Tower broke out, with dozens of citizens dead or missing. With a disquieting political atmosphere and social tension lingering around Downing Street, London is having an unlucky year. On June 19th, another vicious incident occurred – a van truck dashed into worshippers at a mosque, causing one death and several injuries. The incident was handled by the police as a “terrorist attack.”

This March, a “lone wolf” terrorist attack occurred in London. A car crashed outside Parliament at the Westminster Bridge, resulting in three deaths and over forty injuries. There was nothing different from the one which happened near the London Bridge, and ISIS has already claimed responsibility. These successive incidents are revenges taken by extremist terrorist forces on UK policies in Syria and the Middle East, which aggravated the social turbulence in the country.

In the early election, though Theresa May held her position as the Prime Minister, the Conservatives she led obtained only 318 seats, and lost majority in Parliament. With no party winning enough seats to have a majority in the House of Commons, a “hung Parliament” led by a minority party emerged again, which would prolong discussions on proposals and delay policy implementation.

Two months ago, when Theresa May dissolved Parliament, she expected to exercise full control over Parliament by means of an early election, and negotiate the Brexit with Europe in a strong position. However, it turned out that the Conservatives held even fewer seats and lost the majority position, which was a political setback for her. Theresa May chose to continue in office and stressed she would launch Brexit negotiations with the EU as scheduled. However, even if her efforts to form a new government with the Democratic Unionist Party (ten seats in the election) were successful, there would only be a loose coalition. The election results would render the prospect of Brexit even harder to predict. With no single political party having control over the Parliament, the more powerful opposition parties are bound to make trouble for the government during Brexit negotiations. In absence of a domestic consensus on Brexit policies, future negotiations with the EU might become more difficult.

The tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower further harmed UK society. The authorities have initiated a complete investigation. As the public and media are highly dissatisfied with the May government and the London municipality for their delayed response, there have been great demands for accountability.

Under a series of strikes, Theresa May’s ruling position seems to have wavered, and a new round of political reshuffling is under way. Furthermore, increasing political uncertainties will solidify already serious inflation and sluggish family income growth, hindering economic recovery in the UK. At a deeper level, a series of incidents reflected the worsening of frictions between elitism and populism, which is loosely linked with the general unrest in Europe and frequent disputes between the US and Europe.

Donald Trump’s Middle East Diplomacy

Cracks in Transatlantic Relations

Stirs Caused by the US’s Exit from Paris Agreement

China-US Relations before the Second Xi-Trump Meeting

New Storm Ferments in Middle East

“Black June” in the UK


Trump's Hasty Policies towards the Middle East

Saudi Arabia, the US’s principal ally in the Middle East, became the first destination for President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad as president. In the entirety of US history, a new president has never chosen a region other than Europe or the Americas as the first stop of his foreign tour—the maverick leader, again, set a precedent. During the trip, which had been in the works for more than three months, Trump also visited Israel and Palestine.

It is no secret that the Trump administration attaches great importance to Middle Eastern affairs when dealing with diplomacy. After Trump took office, he has hosted state leaders or royal family members of various Middle Eastern and Northern African countries in the White House, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, and Egypt, and kept in close contact via telephone with them. Through these contacts, Trump is not only quickly “learning” about the Middle Eastern affairs, but also attempting to develop the new administration’s policies towards the Middle East.

Originally, Trump intended to push for the US’s withdrawal from the Middle Eastern situation, decrease the extravagant cost of foreign strategic resources, and focus on anti-terrorism and Israeli-Palestinian talks. However, many of his advisors for security, diplomatic, and military affairs are senior officials with plenty of experience in the Middle East, and they believe that the Obama administration’s policies regarding the region were overly idealistic and tended to alienate Israel, thus leaving Russia substantial opportunities. Hence, they are determined to change US policy in the Middle East. As a result, the Trump administration continues the Republicans’ tradition of valuing Jewish interests, yet also appears cautious when handling the complexities in the region.

The Trump administration’s Middle East policies, which are already taking shape, contain five aspects. Firstly, they hold that the US should not continue involving in regime change and political reconstruction in the region, which is a tough and thankless job, and must concentrate instead on eliminating extremist forces like ISIS—this mission matches the doctrine of “America First,” which is reiterated in Trump’s domestic and foreign policies. Secondly, the US will drop the insistence that peace talks must be promoted with the two-state proposal, curb their ambiguous attitude toward the extension of Jewish settlements, shelve the claim about moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and set about discussing how to continue the Middle East peace process with Middle Eastern allies. Thirdly, the US will maintain a tough stance on Iran, and impose additional unilateral sanctions for its missile tests; nevertheless, they will renege on the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump’s campaign team was keen to emphasize during the election, and may play a waiting game instead. Fourthly, the US will rearrange its cooperative relations on military and security issues with Middle Eastern allies, such as Saudi Arabia, in exchange for their financial support for the Trump administration’s domestic infrastructure development projects, among other economic schemes. Fifthly, the US will tighten immigration and visa policies towards certain countries in the Islamic world, in order to undermine threats to homeland security and protect jobs.

In April, with approval from Trump, the US Navy launched surgical strikes against an air base belonging to Syrian government forces, in a response to use of chemical weapons on rebels and civilians. The action was later suspended abruptly, so as to avoid getting stuck in Syria. This decision won Trump great credit inside the US, while at the same time halted the US’s plan to cease efforts to overthrow the Assad regime in its policies regarding Syria, and thus destroyed an opportunity for the US to improve bilateral relations with Russia using Middle Eastern affairs.

The logic implied within Trump’s first visit to the Middle East in late May 2017 matches these features. In Saudi Arabia, Trump addressed the first Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which also involved leaders from six Gulf Cooperation Council member states and approximately fifty Arabic and Islamic countries. In his long speech, he emphasized that Middle Eastern countries must band together to gain strength, instead of waiting around for the US to crush enemies for them. Meanwhile, he also identified three objectives of the joint efforts between the US and Middle Eastern countries to fight against terrorism: firstly, every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil; secondly, the funding for terrorists must be cut off; thirdly, countries must also shut down oil sales channels and financial network for ISIS. Trump also sharply rebuked Iran, saying that it “has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” and “funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.” To conclude, he vowed that, “until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran.”

During his trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump revealed two “practical anti-terrorism actions”: the US sealed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which is worth 300 billion USD over 10 years, and over 100 billion USD will take effect immediately; the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology and Terrorist Financing Targeting Center was established in Saudi Arabia.

In Israel, Trump continued to stress that the special alliance between the US and Israel was “unbreakable,” and identified three targets in the US policies involving Israel during his presidency: jointly fighting against ISIS, jointly stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear capability, and facilitating the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine. During the “flash” visit to Israel, Trump said nothing about his claim to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which was reiterated often during the election campaign.

During a half-day visit to Bethlehem, a city on the west bank of the Jordan River, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to help Palestine and Israel reach “a historic peace deal” when meeting with

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. However - probably to appease Israel - Trump talked vaguely about how to achieve peace before the press; in this case, Abbas reiterated that the peace agreement must be built upon the two-state proposal and urged Israel to recognize Palestine as a state.

Trump’s first trip to the Middle East shows that the new administration gives much weight to affairs in this region, but policy clues revealed during the past several months still cannot create a clearer picture. Thus far, Trump’s policies towards the Middle East are still pieces oriented around individual issues, and are unable to form an overall landscape. Hence, they may not deliver success.

Trump’s Middle East diplomacy has identified that ISIS is the top enemy and biggest security threat for the US in the region and attempts to separate most Muslims from a handful of extremist forces. Military operations targeting ISIS have achieved some results; however, if the US fails to take effective measures to eliminate the conditions that harbor terrorism, both the country and its allies will continue to be troubled by security threats.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration also makes it clear that Iran is the major Middle Eastern challenger to the geopolitical interests of the US, in an attempt to resume the Bush administration’s explicit policy of supporting Sunnis and suppressing Shias, and back up the fight of US allies (e.g. Saudi Arabia) against Iran. Nonetheless, Iran, as a major power in the region, boasts some brilliant schemes: it extends its strategic reach to both the east and the west, so as to vigorously expand its maneuvering, and thus it is not on the defensive when dealing with the US.

Trump’s policies towards the Middle East are strongly pragmatic, equipped with three goals: boosting the interests of the US arms merchants in the Middle East, receiving protection fees from governments of US allies, and enticing them to heavily invest in the US. They result in a completely unbalanced “bill,” which can hardly woo the US allies, let alone construct “another North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)” in this region.

Mounting facts coming to light indicate that when the domestic political needs contradict with the regional strategic schemes, Trump would choose the former—the air strike on Syria is proof of this. Trump’s Middle East peace plan has not taken shape yet, but it’s already on the horizon. He began this work earlier that any of his predecessors, and broke with the “tradition” that US presidents would not be fully dedicated to promote the peace talks between Israel and Palestine until the end of their term. He may be learning from his predecessors’ lesson that they began work on it so late that nothing was achieved. By planning for the landscape in advance, he is attempting to increase his odds to “leave a glorious name in the history.” With his Middle East diplomacy, Trump has determined the goal of achieving substantial progress in the promotion of Israeli-Palestinian talks during his presidency. However, he has to face both Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Israel, the most conservative one in its history, and the Abbas regime of Palestine, which is comparatively less powerful. As a result, it is impossible for the Trump administration to cover the trust deficit between the two sides, while at the same time remaining skewed towards Israel.


Fundamental Cracks in Transatlantic Relations

On May 28th, the German chancellor Angela Merkel addressed an election rally in Munich: “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over.” She made these comments on US-Europe relations when referring to the G7 talks in Italy a few days ago, stating that “we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands...we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.” As the rally was organized in a beer tent, her speech is thus called the Bierzeltrede (beer tent speech). These statements clearly declare that Trump’s concluded European trip has achieved little in facilitating the US-Europe relations in the new era.

During the second half of Trump’s first foreign trip in late May, he made appearances in European countries, first visiting Italy and the Vatican, and then attending the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium and G7 talks in Sicily, Italy. Wherever he went, the new president was greeted with the utmost courtesy and enjoyed sufficient media reach. However, since the US administration and European countries disagree sharply on various issues, Trump’s European trip was quite “awkward.”

When meeting with Pope Francis, Trump and his family beamed with smiles, while the Pope showed a grim expression; at the NATO summit, Trump jostled Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way to secure a prominent spot for a photo opportunity; during a meeting at the US Embassy in Belgium, Trump had a tense handshake with France’s new president Emmanuel Macron—all this body language, which is described as “adaptive but aggressive” by the US media, have diverted attention from what he did during the trip.

For Trump, the major aim of his European trip was to fully demonstrate the “America First” doctrine when handling relations with European countries and emphasize the US’s leading role in Europe, instead of consolidating US-Europe partnerships and enhancing bilateral relations. In this way, he can justify himself in front of his domestic supporters and send a clear signal that he could be a “powerful president” both inside and outside the US, especially when his presidency is undermined by scandal over alleged contacts between Trump’s campaign team and Russia in addition to White House infighting.

While dining with Macron, Trump stressed that he had supported Macron’s election campaign; despite that, it is still known to all that he and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen once showed good feelings towards each other during the election. As the far right was stymied in the European elections held this year, the trend of conservatism in the US and Russia is slowing down, and the German Chancellor Merkel, “the last bastion of Western liberal power,” appears to be successful in seeking her fourth term. Therefore, Trump as the de facto leader of the US must act according to political trends, and conceal and adjust his support for the “right turn” of Europe together with the US.

During a meeting with the European Union (EU) and NATO leaders, Trump, on the one hand, scoffed that the new NATO headquarters is “beautiful,” while on the other hand criticized that European countries had not spent enough on national defense. Claiming that it was “not fair” for US taxpayers, Trump urged NATO states to reach the goal of spending 2 percent of their GDP on armament.

Perhaps as a way to further pressure European countries, Trump did not explicitly endorse the NATO mutual defense doctrine as usual when attending the summit, and brought a twisted piece of steel from the North Tower of the World Trade Center as a revealing “gift.” It was the 9/11 terrorist attacks sixteen years ago that triggered the application of Article 5 on Collective Defense of NATO, which means that each member state considers an armed attack against any member state, in Europe or North America, to be an armed attack against them all.

As the G7 summit members agreed to strengthen their efforts to fight against terrorism and continue imposing sanctions against Russia and pressuring North Korea, it is likely that the G7 leaders will continue to cooperate on security issues. However, as Trump refused to accept Europe’s stance on climate change, the two sides clashed with one another. The White House later announced that Trump would make a final decision regarding the US’s exit from Paris Agreement within one week of returning to the US.

Although the G7 summit agreed to resist protectionism and work together to improve the operation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the US and Europe still differ greatly on trade issues. When meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker and European Council President Donald Tusk, Trump’s private complaints about Germany being “bad, very bad” for selling so many cars to the US were recorded by the media, which led to new diplomatic spats between the two countries.

From the perspective of domestic politics, Trump’s European trip is “successful.” However, it was a “catastrophe” for US-Europe relations, as a German television network Das Erste commented when covering the G7 summit. Evidently, Europe is not a diplomatic priority for Trump, as his diplomatic schedule does not contain any long-term strategic plans concerning Europe—there are only short-term interests.

Europe is still a shield for the US’s battles against terrorism. The focus of US-Europe cooperation on security and defense will be further shifted to prevention and suppression of terrorism, and this will be connected with joint fights against terrorism launched by US and its Middle Eastern allies, which the Trump administration has been working on.

Trump believes that the US has committed too much to European defense, and thus he must urge European countries to share responsibilities. This has been fundamental for the Trump administration’s policies regarding European security, a barrier hindering the US and Europe from adapting their defense cooperation to changes in the international situation, and a major proof of the US’s increasing unreliability in the eyes of Europe.

For Trump, European countries, especially the industrial ones represented by Germany, are the US’s trade rivals and a major source of foreign trade deficit. Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” campaign rhetoric must be first put into effect in US-Europe trade relations. In the years ahead, trade friction will remain a problem for bilateral relations.

After exiting from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trump administration has not decided how to handle the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the negotiation of which is drawing to a close. Overall, they wish to continue discussion. Nevertheless, Europe has lost confidence in the Trump administration, refusing to resume negotiations. Hence, whether the US needs to make pragmatic adjustments depends on the overall trend of US-Europe economic relations.

Trump’s plan to improve US-Russia relations has ground to a halt due to scandal over alleged contacts between Trump’s campaign team and Russia. Hence, he cannot bypass the EU when handling relations with Russia and issues in Ukraine, Syria, and Iran. Therefore, the US must adopt more pragmatic polices and draw closer to Europe on relevant issues.

Trump is upset about the continuing domination of liberalism in Europe, and will further handle its relations with the UK and EU separately, so as to highlight the UK’s role in the US diplomatic policies towards Europe. In this way, US-UK relations will see substantial progress during his presidency, which will, in return, facilitate the UK’s exit from EU and continue impacting the inner momentum for changes in EU and the development of far-right populism.

For Europe, Trump stands for “a different America.” Will US commitments to European unity and security remain effective? Have the values connecting the US, Europe, and even the whole Western world together broken down? Europe must reconsider and renew the knowledge of these fundamental problems in the years ahead. It can be predicted that awareness of independent development will soar in Europe. While trying to maintain cooperative relations with the US, Europe will also seek to explore its own way of pragmatic diplomacy and focus more on all-round partnerships. In this sense, the opportunity for China-Europe relations may be a mid-to-long-term one.


Stirs Caused by the US's Exit from Paris Agreement

On June 1st, 2017, Trump announced that the US would cease all participation in the Paris Agreement, an addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement, painstakingly concluded at the United Nations Climate Change Conference on December 12th, 2015, and officially signed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on April 22nd, 2016, aims to provide an international law basis for the world’s response to climate changes in the post-2020 era. In this Agreement, each country commits and plans its own contribution to cutting down carbon emissions.

The efforts former US President Barack Obama made to mediate, facilitate, and conclude the Paris Agreement represent his core political and diplomatic legacy. The Obama administration, in adherence to liberalism, took responsibility for promoting and advancing the US’s energy reform. The Agreement is also an important symbol and result of China-US collaboration and cooperation in responding to global challenges. On September 3rd, 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Obama submitted their instruments of Agreement ratification to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of United Nations (UN).

In running for his presidency, Trump trumpeted his platform that the Paris deal “bound” the US, which aroused deep concerns from the international community. After election, though not taking any immediate withdrawal measures, he called off the “Clean Power Plan” championed by the Obama administration, and made substantial cuts to the personnel and budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. The “Clean Power Plan” proposed to implement the obligations the US undertook within the framework of the Paris Agreement. According to the Plan, by 2030, the US would reduce national electricity sector emissions by an estimated 32 percent below 2005’s level.

Trump seems to be passive about climate change. This is, for one thing, an important manifestation of his political right-deviation and confrontation with liberalists and the pro-establishment camp, and for another, driven by profound economic benefits. In terms of domestic and foreign policies, Trump upholds the principle of “America First.” By taking measures such as attracting manufacturers back to the US, reducing foreign trade deficit, cutting development cost, and promoting energy consumption, the Trump administration aims to stimulate the economy to bounce back quickly within a short term, retain the support of the middle and lower class, and thus reinforce their ruling. Trump is backed by giant interest groups from the traditional energy sector who believe that the Clean Power Plan would increase economic growth cost, and suppress the recovery and backflow of middle- and lower-end manufacturing. Hence, they insist on annulling all international commitments.

Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement, more than just affecting the global efforts on climate change, may influence international politics of the year 2017 in a lot of ways. This might be a start for the US’s “neo-isolationism” era in a real sense. That is to say, the US might further dismiss international obligations and begin favoring conservatism and selfishness, unless Trump steps down from his office, or some internal or external elements converge into a sufficiently strong impetus to force the Trump administration into remediation.

Anti-Trump sentiments have already been soaring in the US; now, his opponents are entirely riled. Not only the “political polarization” of the two dominant US parties has become more serious, but the “political vendetta” between the liberalists and the pro-establishment camp grows fiercer.

With the changes in the US’s “core values,” the issue of climate change is no longer a bond showing the mutual interests and values of the US and Europe, but a major area of diplomatic conflicts. The withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement has even touched the bottom line of bilateral relations, which will further alienate the two sides, shrink space for dialogues, and in the end, destroy mutual trust and shake the foundation of strategic interests. Nevertheless, the restoration of such a relationship would require generations of effort.

In regards to the issue of climate changes per se, the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement implies that the country, which emits as much as 17% of the world’s total carbon dioxide annually, has explicitly abandoned leadership in climate governance, and decided to scale down international climate-related aid. Though some states and cities as well as new economic businesses oppose this decision, and wish to remain in the Paris Agreement, the US, as a whole, can no longer fulfill its emission reduction commitments completely, only part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) at the most. The authority and effectiveness of the Paris Agreement would be greatly damaged, forcing all parties to reconsider their attitudes towards the commitments. The behaviors of the US would eventually make it harder and more expensive to achieve the target of keeping the global temperature rise well below 2°C.

China also faces smaller emission targets, greater emission reduction pressure, and increased reduction cost. Meanwhile, China-US climate cooperation, an important pillar for the development of bilateral relations, would be less effective. Nevertheless, this might give China greater advantage in leading renewable energy development as opposed to the US. There are two key questions worth thinking over: First, what should China do with this Agreement once the US leaves the Agreement? Continue to work as a “responsible power”? Or hold things back to a certain extent? As to this question, the world is watching China, waiting to follow. Secondly, as the US starts to “withdraw” from “leadership” in various fields of the international system, should China step forward and take the job? Is it time for China to do so? Is China strong enough?

The two key issues mentioned above call for all-around analysis and evaluation. But one thing is affirmative: China should not change its plan of promoting ecological progress and following a green development path. This is a goal specifically proposed at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and an important part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for national economic and social development as well. The plan concerning ecological progress and green development is of vital importance to the nation’s economy and people’s livelihood, as well as the sustainable competitiveness of our nation and people, and thus can never be changed; nor should we retreat or regret.


Shanghai Cooperation Organization Expands

On June 9th, the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. India and Pakistan were officially admitted as members of the SCO. After accepting the two countries, the SCO, now with eight members, has expanded its geographical coverage to South Asia, and become a regional organization featuring broad coverage, enormous population, and great potential. Notably, this is expected to create more cooperation opportunities, and enhance multilateral cooperation. For China, a new platform for improving relations with the two countries is now in place.

However, entrenched strategic doubts and security conflicts between India and Pakistan also raise concerns among the founding members of SCO. Would they bring contradictions and disputes into SCO, and add to the complexities of organizational operation and mechanism-based decision making? This concern does not come out of thin air. On the sub-regional cooperation platform of South Asia where India and Pakistan both belong to, the two countries are still as incompatible as fire and water. How can they set aside conflicts and make concerted efforts for multilateral cooperation?

Originally founded for security cooperation, the SCO has reached substantial achievements in regional anti-terrorism work, and developed a set of effective cooperation model beneficial to all parties. Terrorism and threats to national security develop contiguously in Central and South Asia, and the area links with equivalents in the Middle East to form a corridor under the influence of extremists. Both India and Pakistan are deeply afflicted by terrorism and religious extremist forces. The risks and challenges posed thereby have a direct bearing on the future of the two nations. With the substantive participation of India and Pakistan, and their acceptance of and compliance with SCO’s anti-terrorism principles, the organization’s anti-terrorism work is expected to become more powerful fundamentally, and the two new members will benefit greatly.

Cooperation of all parties is rapidly expanding to the economy, trade, and culture, etc., which generates an increasingly great attraction for India and Pakistan. Through SCO collaboration, it is possible that the two countries find a new path to steer clear of their disagreements, break through the limitation of thinking regionally, and thus jointly work for a win-win situation and reconsider their bilateral relations. In this way, the parties who have toiled to straighten out the strained relations among South Asian countries are expected to see light after spending so much time in the dark.

The SCO must make plans patiently and handle matters meticulously before its members come together. All parties should consider things from a broader perspective clearly and specifically. As to China, which maintains important relations with both India and Pakistan, the mediation of India-Pakistan relations under the framework of SCO serves as a key proving ground for it to mediate more issues on a broader scale.


China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue Held

On June 21st, 2017, as a vital initiative for implementing the outcomes from the Xi-Trump meeting in Mar-a-Lago in April 2017, the first round of China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogues (D&SD) was held in Washington, D.C. This round of D&SD was co-hosted by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. General Fang Fenghui, member of Central Military Commission and Chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff Department, was also present.

Through the D&SD, the consensus reached by the two leaders was reinforced. Both sides pledged to expand areas of cooperation, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, and promote healthy and stable development of bilateral relations in the long term.

According to the consensus list announced by China, the two sides have discussed the basic principles for improving bilateral interaction, and explored new ways of building strategic security trust. In the military-to-military relationship, both sides vowed to follow through on annual exchange programs and called for early mutual visits of the two countries’ defense chiefs and the visit of Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to China. The two sides also pledged to deepen cooperation on areas such as humanitarian assistance, anti-piracy, and military medical sciences and to implement memorandums of understanding on confidence-building mechanisms.

On June 22nd, President Trump met with Yang Jiechi and the Chinese delegation in the White House. Trump expressed delight to see China-US cooperation has made progress in all aspects since the Florida meeting, and expected more progress to be made in bilateral relations as high-level communication increases. In addition, he also stated that the US is ready to work together with China in projects concerning the Belt and Road Initiative.

The D&SD is one of the high-level dialogue mechanisms initiated by the two leaders after active interaction and readjustment of strategic dialogues. This year, the two countries will hold the first round of the other three high-level dialogues, with themes on economy, law enforcement and cybersecurity, and social and cultural issues respectively.

This round of D&SD also laid the foundation for closer and more direct interaction between Xi and Trump. According to the agenda, the two heads of state will meet again during the G20 summit next month in Hamburg, Germany, and Trump will visit China later this year upon Xi’s invitation.

The Florida meeting held in April put an end to an extended chill in China-US relations during the transitional phase of the US’s presidential terms. The formerly worsening of bilateral relations can be attributed to Trump’s unorthodox telephone call with Tsai Ing-wen, his subsequent suspicion of the One China policy, and remarks criticizing China on economic, trade, and North Korean nuclear issues. During the meeting, the two sides achieved principled consensus on promoting the building of a partnership that features non-confrontation, non-conflict, and mutual benefits. Additionally, the high-level dialogue mechanisms of China and the US were re-arranged; the 100-Day Action Plan on trade was initiated; and consensus on strengthening consultation over the North Korean nuclear issue and other regional security issues was reached. With these results, citizens seem to have become much more optimistic on China-US relations.

After the Xi-Trump meeting, the two sides have worked proactively for consensus implementation. The 100-Day Action Plan has already reaped “initial results”; meanwhile, the communication over the North Korean nuclear issue has, at least, prevented new nuclear tests and long-range missile launches. Notably, when the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing this May, the Trump administration sent middle-ranked officials of the National Security Council (NSC) of the White House, which demonstrated an adjustment of the Capitol’s mistrustful and precautionary attitude toward China when it comes to international order changes.

With the China-US relations bouncing back, local governments and enterprises in the two countries spot potential opportunities once China and the US push for common interests with their reform and development strategies. Market intention for mutual investment comes back. In June, the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit was held in Washington, D.C. Among all countries present at the summit, China had the largest delegation made up of over one hundred and fifty investors from various industries. The US investors, engaged in innovation, agriculture, energy industry and financial service industries, renewed their hope in investing in China.

With the establishment of a model featuring mutual valuing and effective communication between the two countries, uncertainties in bilateral relations are considerably reduced, which creates relatively favorable conditions for the continuation of cooperation and management of differences. Nevertheless, risks remain. As China-US relations and international and regional situations are in constant development and undergo constant change, certain differences and frictions may still escalate.

First, there is still no solution to the North Korean nuclear issue. The Trump administration pushes China to bear the brunt, hoping to corner North Korea with Chinese sanctions, and even shows the tendency of linking the nuclear issue with China-US economic and trade relations. However, since there are some particularities in China-North Korea relations, it is impossible for China to satisfy the US’s demands at the cost of sacrificing bilateral relations or even changing North Korea’s regime. Trump is running out of patience regarding getting help from China. In mid-June, the US undergraduate Otto Warmbier died just days after returning to his homeland after he was imprisoned for 17 months in North Korea, which aroused public indignation. Because of this incident, the possibility for the Trump administration to improve relations with North Korea and restart bilateral dialogues has further decreased. Given that Trump has not handled the North Korean nuclear issue properly, it remains unclear whether the White House will blame China and urge bilateral cooperation.

Secondly, sources of China-US economic and trade friction are yet to be removed. Among all administrative objectives, Trump seeks to make international trade fair again, and reduce the foreign trade deficit. And US statistics show that China’s trade surplus with the US accounts for 47% of the US’s trade deficit. Though the 100-Day Action Plan has made initial achievements, most of them are confined to areas with relatively good conditions such as beef and agricultural products exported to China, while the “structural impediments” are yet to be removed. For example, few pre-establishment national treatments are granted to the US enterprises in China; Chinese enterprises are confronted with political discrimination when they invest in the US, and China is somewhat restricted from importing high-tech products from the US. Things may grow more difficult over time. And the resumption of the Negotiations on the China-United States Bilateral Investment Treaty is at a far distant date. If Trump believes the trade negotiations would amount to nothing, he might return to foreign exchanges, thus resulting in more severe frictions in economic restructuring. Once the White House’s reform of the taxation system starts, it is essential to cautiously assess the reform’s influence on China-US economic relations.

Thirdly, the potential risk of South China Sea issue and Taiwan issue looms. Though the Trump administration is not so concerned with the South China Sea issue, the US military forces are especially worried and apprehensive, and insist on implementing the “Freedom of Navigation Program,” in order to pin down China’s marine strategies and strengthen the basis for the development of its Department of the Navy in the Western Pacific Region. Besides the risks of frictions or even conflicts on the South China Sea, the US might find an excuse to bring up this issue in case of other contradictions. In an interview with the press after the D&SD, Tillerson noted that “the US position remains unchanged”: “We oppose changes to the status quo of the past through the militarization of outposts in the South China Sea and excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law.” Meanwhile, China stressed that the US side should abide by its commitment to impartiality on relevant disputes concerning territorial sovereignty, respect China’s sovereignty and security interests, and respect the efforts of regional countries to resolve disputes through peaceful negotiation.

When it comes to the Taiwan issue, as the “diplomatic truce” crumbles and Tsai Ing-wen loses control of the diplomatic situation,the US, in consideration of the requirements for geopolitical balance, is expected to announce new arms sales to Taiwan. (Days after this essay was finalized, on June 29, the Trump administration noticed the Capitol Hill that it had approved weapons sales to Taiwan. Valued at around 1.42 billion dollars, the deal includes technical support for early warning radar, anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and components for SM-2 missiles valued at around 1.42 billion dollars. Though the total amount of the weapons is not very large, this deal signifies a start of the Trump administration’s arm sales to Taiwan.)

Fourthly, China-US relations suffer from political infighting in the US. Nearly half a year after Trump took office, he still has not integrated into Washington’s traditional mainstream politics. The increasingly acute fight between pro-establishment and anti-establishment camps, as seen in the Trump-Russia scandal and others, seriously hinders the government from working efficiently. With this background, the Trump administration has sought balance in the Asia-Pacific Region, hence the greater reliance on China. Nevertheless, the White House is badly in need of diplomatic achievements, especially in economy, trade, and the North Korean nuclear issue. Only in this way can Trump prove his ability to create jobs and solve diplomatic problems for the country. Therefore, he is anxious to achieve quick success and receive instant benefits in dealing with China. However, the “results-driven” diplomacy he touts is paradoxical; in addition, since the US now lacks clear strategic thinking on policies toward China, there are still many uncertainties in the development of China-US relations.

In general, China-US relations are changing for the better and developing stably. However, traditional and new problems remain to be solved. In solving the problems, the two sides should use a highly cautious manner, and most important of all, set aside differences, manage uncertainties, seek maximization of common interests, and put in place a “dual-combination” paradigm guaranteed by the principle of mutual respect and driven by the results of mutually beneficial cooperation.


New Storm Ferments in Middle East

Two exceptional events occurred in June 2017: the Qatar-centered “Tie-breaking Storm” and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince replacement.

On June 5th, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt ended diplomatic relations with Qatar, cutting off land, air, and sea travel to and from Qatar, and demanding that Qatari diplomats leave the country within 48 hours and citizens two weeks. Soon, the Haftar regime of Syria, Yemen, Maldives, Mauritania, and Comoros also broke ties with Qatar.

The event was directly caused by Qatar Newswire, the country’s official news agency. It published a speech by the Emir Tamim on May 24th, appreciating Iran as a “regional power” and “force for regional stability,” and considering it “unwise” to stand against Iran. Though the Qatari authorities later clarified that the speech was fake, the official media in Saudi Arabia and UAE still criticized Qatar for supporting Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Israel.

As a small country in the Middle East, Qatar has sound relations with Iran and shares off-shore gas fields with it. Meanwhile, it is also a military ally of the US in the region, and operates the US’s largest overseas air base. While providing sustained support and funding to the Muslim Brotherhood, a hostile group in the eyes of monarchical states, it also helps Saudi Arabia strike Iran-supported Houthi rebels in Yemen. It maintains semi-formal diplomatic ties with Israel, but also hosts the Hamas leader Mashal. Moreover, as a rich country with convenient overseas transportation and trade network, Qatar is not much affected by the tie-breaking events.

In the course of events, Turkey and Iran clearly supported Qatar, whereas the US sent contradictory signals. Soon after the event broke out, Trump tweeted that it was “so good to see the Saudi

Arabia visit already paying off.” On the contrary, the State Department said that the US did not interfere with the tie-breaking decisions, and the Secretary of State Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and other states to relax the blockade against Qatar. On June 14th, the US Defense Secretary Mattis signed a huge arm sales order with his Qatari counterpart, planning to sell dozens of F-15 fighters to Qatar, with a total value of twelve billion USD. In the meantime, two US warships arrived in Qatar for a joint military exercise with the Qatari navy.

The “Qatar diplomatic crisis” is actually a compelling event induced by Sunni states against Qatar, a Sunni “fence sitter” pursuing “enlightened policies.” At least in terms of its motivations, the US can be a hidden driver or even manipulator, serving Trump’s policies to isolate Iran from other Middle Eastern countries. The event will further divide the Middle East into blocks. If Qatar makes a concession, it must adjust policies on issues related to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, such as reducing funding to the Brotherhood, stopping support for Taliban and Hamas, and reorganizing and even closing down Al Jazeera. While Gulf States have put forward conditions for the reestablishment of diplomatic ties, and Kuwait is also actively mediating, Qatar seems not to have given in at the moment. Even if it does so, it may only pay some lip service whilesustaining links with Iran.

On June 21st, the Saudi King Salman removed his nephew as crown prince in favor of his son, defense minister and former deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, which is seen as a sign of further adjustment in Saudi Arabia’s domestic and foreign policies.

The 31-year-old Salman has already attracted much attention in many fields since becoming the deputy crown prince and defense minister. Militarily, he led the strike against Houthi rebels in Yemen; economically, he launched the “Vision 2030” plan for economic and social reform, and actively promoted openness in culture, entertainment, and foreign investment in this conservative country; he also proposed ending dialogues with Iran and drove the tie-breaking event against Qatar. The “Vision 2030” reform plan, under the charge of young Salman, aims to free the country from sole reliance on oil and secure Saudi’s position as the top regional power.

No more than one day after young Salman became the crown prince, the US President Trump sent his congratulations on the phone. The young Salman has a close relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Kushner arranged young Salman’s meeting with Trump in the White House this March, which laid a foundation for Trump’s visit to Saudi this May. During his visit to the US, the two sides signed a bulk arm sales order totaling 110 billion USD. According to the US media, Trump sees young Salman as a key partner in consolidating the Sunni coalition in the Persian Gulf Region.


"Black June" in the UK

The UK has experienced a “Black June”: on June 3rd, several places in London suffered terrorist attacks, which caused large casualties; on June 9th, Prime Minister Theresa May held an early election after dissolution of the Parliament, which produced unexpected results; successively on June 14th, the world-shocking fire at Grenfell Tower broke out, with dozens of citizens dead or missing. With a disquieting political atmosphere and social tension lingering around Downing Street, London is having an unlucky year. On June 19th, another vicious incident occurred – a van truck dashed into worshippers at a mosque, causing one death and several injuries. The incident was handled by the police as a “terrorist attack.”

This March, a “lone wolf” terrorist attack occurred in London. A car crashed outside Parliament at the Westminster Bridge, resulting in three deaths and over forty injuries. There was nothing different from the one which happened near the London Bridge, and ISIS has already claimed responsibility. These successive incidents are revenges taken by extremist terrorist forces on UK policies in Syria and the Middle East, which aggravated the social turbulence in the country.

In the early election, though Theresa May held her position as the Prime Minister, the Conservatives she led obtained only 318 seats, and lost majority in Parliament. With no party winning enough seats to have a majority in the House of Commons, a “hung Parliament” led by a minority party emerged again, which would prolong discussions on proposals and delay policy implementation.

Two months ago, when Theresa May dissolved Parliament, she expected to exercise full control over Parliament by means of an early election, and negotiate the Brexit with Europe in a strong position. However, it turned out that the Conservatives held even fewer seats and lost the majority position, which was a political setback for her. Theresa May chose to continue in office and stressed she would launch Brexit negotiations with the EU as scheduled. However, even if her efforts to form a new government with the Democratic Unionist Party (ten seats in the election) were successful, there would only be a loose coalition. The election results would render the prospect of Brexit even harder to predict. With no single political party having control over the Parliament, the more powerful opposition parties are bound to make trouble for the government during Brexit negotiations. In absence of a domestic consensus on Brexit policies, future negotiations with the EU might become more difficult.

The tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower further harmed UK society. The authorities have initiated a complete investigation. As the public and media are highly dissatisfied with the May government and the London municipality for their delayed response, there have been great demands for accountability.

Under a series of strikes, Theresa May’s ruling position seems to have wavered, and a new round of political reshuffling is under way. Furthermore, increasing political uncertainties will solidify already serious inflation and sluggish family income growth, hindering economic recovery in the UK. At a deeper level, a series of incidents reflected the worsening of frictions between elitism and populism, which is loosely linked with the general unrest in Europe and frequent disputes between the US and Europe.

International Events in April & May, 2017


● On June 1st, the US President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement.


During his visit to Germany, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that China and Germany would honor their commitment to the Paris Agreement.


● On June 3rd, three terrorist attacks took place at the London Bridge, the nearby Borough Market, and Vauxhall in central London, causing seven deaths and forty-eight injuries.


● On June 5th, countries including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Maldives, and Mauritius cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorist activities.


● From June 7th to 10th, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Kazakhstan and attended the 17th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States and the Opening Ceremony of Expo 2017 Astana.


● On June 8th, James Comey, former FBI director dismissed by Trump, bore witness at the Senate Intelligence Committee.


● On June 9th, the UK election results were announced. While Theresa May was successfully re-elected as Prime Minister, the Conservative Party she led only secured 318 seats, less than half of the total seats, and lost its leading position in Parliament.


India and Pakistan were formally accepted as SCO member states at the 17th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States.


Foreign media reported that two Chinese citizens kidnapped in Baluchistan, Pakistan were killed by ISIS.


● On June 12th, Panamanian President Varela announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.


● On June 13th, North Korea released the US college student Otto Warmbier after seventeen months of imprisonment. After being sent back to the US, Warmbier was diagnosed with severe brain damage and he was unresponsive to external stimuli.


● On June 14th, a residential building named “Grenfell Tower” in west London caught fire. By June 16th, thirty were dead and forty-five were unaccounted for. Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a thorough investigation into the fire.


● On June 16th, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl passed away.


US President Trump announced that the US would tighten some of US policies on Cuba issued by the Obama administration, prohibit US enterprises from trading with those controlled by the Cuban military, and restrict limitations on US citizens travelling to Cuba. He also emphasized that the US would continue its economic and financial blockade and trade embargo against Cuba.


● On June 17th, the US Aegis ship Fitzgerald crashed into a Philippine container ship in waters near the Izu Peninsula of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The accident caused serious damage to the US ship, with 7 crew drowned.


● From June 18th to 20th, the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit was held in Washington. China dispatched the largest delegation among all participating countries. Over 150 investors from different industries joined the delegation.


● On June 19th, a vicious incident occurred in London. A van plowed into a crowd of worshippers at a mosque, causing one death and several injuries. The 48-year-old man driving the van was arrested on site.


After release by North Korea, the US student Otto Warmbier died in a hospital in his hometown of Cincinnati. President Trump made a statement and denounced North Korea’s “brutality.”


● On June 21st, Saudi King and Prime Minister Salman issued an order to strip his nephew Nayef from his title as crown prince and appoint his son, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, as crown prince and defense minister.


The first round of US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue was held in Washington D.C.


● On June 22nd, French President Emmanuel Macron remarked on the Syrian issue in an interview that France would abandon efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; instead, it would launch a complete fight against all terrorist groups for peace and stability in Syria. To this end, France expects cooperation with Russia.


● On June 23rd, countries including Saudi Arabia offered Qatar several terms to resolve diplomatic disputes, including requiring Qatar to downgrade its relations with Iran and close down Al Jazeera.


● On June 24th, the North Korean Foreign Ministry replied to the death of US student Otto Warmbier and said it was not involved.


The Japanese Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe addressed in Kobe, hoping to present a proposal for constitutional amendments to the commissions on the constitution of both chambers of the Diet before the end of an upcoming extraordinary Diet session.


● On June 29th, the US State Department informed the Congress of approved weapons sales to Taiwan valued at 1.42 billion dollars.

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