International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:41:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk 32 32 Iran’s studies on climate change among the most reliable in the world, according to WHO Wed, 23 Nov 2022 14:50:05 +0000

TEHRAN — The World Health Organization’s representative in Iran, Jaffar Hussain, said Iran’s studies on climate change are among the most reliable in the world.

He made the remarks during the meeting on “improving energy consumption in the health sector in response to climate change” held on Tuesday at the Ministry of Health and in the presence of the Organization United Nations Industrial Development (UNIDO).

The Iranian government, in cooperation with us and UNIDO, is carrying out a joint project on climate and weather change outcomes in health, which fortunately has progressed well so far, Hussain added.

Iran has adhered to its global commitment to reduce its carbon footprint in the medium and long term.Stating that this project is being piloted in Golestan and Kohgiluyeh-Boyer Ahmad provinces, he said a workshop on the same topic was held recently in Golestan province, showing the effectiveness of the efforts.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in their latest joint climate change announcement, stressed that they are paying close attention to issues such as the pollution of air and water contamination as consequences of climate change, he explained.

Iran has conducted quality studies in the field of environmental health and works based on the effects of the environment on health, which are considered as one of the most reliable studies in the world in this field, said he also pointed out, referring to the lack of such projects. In other countries.

Attention to the social components affecting health across all sectors will help to take effective action to address climate change. Fortunately, Iran has signed on to its global pledge to reduce its carbon footprint in the medium to long term, he also said.

Highlighting the complications in Iran’s international relations due to the sanctions, he noted that despite these problems, Iran has shown its commitment to carry out a joint project with WHO and UNIDO, and it is the best service that can be provided in accordance with health development.

Climate change and health risks

According to a WHO report, Iran is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to its geographical, economic and climatic characteristics. For example, much of the country is susceptible to flooding, while changing rainfall patterns have also resulted in droughts and wildfires.

Climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, including droughts and floods. Sea level rise can lead to storm surges, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion into underground aquifers, and disruption of ecosystems. These events can lead to population displacements and affect water and sanitation infrastructure and services, contaminating water with faecal bacteria (e.g. E. coli, salmonella) from runoff or sewer overflow. Increased temperatures and precipitation can also lead to water contaminated with Vibrio bacteria or algal blooms.

Water resources are projected to be less reliable in Iran in the future, with an observed decrease of 50% in surface runoff (and consequent reductions in water availability) and a potential increase in flooding of around 52% .

Climate change will exacerbate these trends; by 2030, a further 25% decrease in surface water runoff in Iran is predicted.

Ambient air pollution can have direct and sometimes serious health consequences. Fine particles, which penetrate deep into the airways, subsequently increase mortality from respiratory infections, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Sand and dust storms have serious impacts on human health, increasing particulate matter and carrying harmful substances and pathogens, all of which contribute to air pollution and associated respiratory problems.

In addition, sand and dust storms increase desertification, drought and soil salinity, as well as diminishing water resources. This has serious consequences for people’s livelihoods as well as their health, with agricultural land being particularly affected. An increase in the frequency and severity of sand and dust storms has been observed around the world. This situation is expected to worsen with climate change and be further exacerbated by drought, land degradation and unsustainable land and water management.


Emanuel slams China’s Xi for trying to ‘airbrush’ ‘wolf warrior’ approach Mon, 21 Nov 2022 07:28:20 +0000

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s recent political maneuverings are an attempt to “airbrush” a “wolf warrior” diplomatic approach that has damaged the country’s brand and economy, the US ambassador to Japan said, Rahm Emanuel, at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Monday.

Xi’s “recent decisions are an attempt to airbrush the wolf warrior and economic coercion of China,” Emanuel said, referring to the combative and confrontational approach to international relations taken by a number of Chinese diplomats.

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Texas Democrats Call On Feds To ‘Intervene’ Against Greg Abbott’s ‘Invasion’ Declaration Thu, 17 Nov 2022 19:36:34 +0000

Six Texas House Democrats called on the Biden administration to exercise federal authority against the statement by the GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of an “invasion” at the US-Mexico border.

In a letter Thursday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Democrats said Abbott’s statement violated the Constitution by unlawfully usurping federal authority.

“As members of Congress representing the great state of Texas, we are deeply disturbed by recent comments by the Governor of Texas suggesting that he invoked invasion authorities under the U.S. Constitution to justify the use of resources of the state to further militarize our southern border,” the members wrote in the letter organized by Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas).

“As such, we are writing to urge the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security to intervene in the Governor of Texas’ ongoing efforts to usurp the federal government’s power to manage international relations and the right to immigration,” they added.

On Tuesday, Abbott said via Twitter a series of measures, including deploying “gunboats” on the Rio Grande and declaring Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations, invoking “the invasion clauses of the constitutions of the United States and Texas. “.

The move has ruffled feathers on both sides of the border.

The Mexican government on Tuesday issued a statement pushing back against Abbott and put its consular system under scrutiny for “the violation of rights [of Mexican citizens] by any authority.

“In the United States, the implementation of immigration laws, border control and the negotiation of international agreements fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government, which is why bilateral dialogue on these issues between our countries has not place only at this level,” reads the Mexican Foreign Office. Release from ministry.

“The measures announced by the governor, in any case, can be understood as political measures.”

In their letter, Texas Democrats also downplayed Abbott’s language.

“Apart from legal authority, there is simply no border invasion. Many immigrants arriving at our border are exercising their right to seek asylum and other forms of humanitarian assistance. They are not waging war on the United States or Texas,” the lawmakers wrote.

Texas lawmakers added that the US Constitution “prohibits states from engaging in activities that involve international affairs.”

They said that calling a migratory phenomenon an invasion could have deadly consequences.

“Declaring an invasion under the U.S. Constitution is an inflammatory and divisive idea that will certainly lead to unnecessary litigation and foster dangerous anti-immigrant sentiments,” they wrote.

“Put simply, this type of reckless blow will only continue to put Latin American communities at greater risk of violence.”

Texas has a long history of anti-Mexican violence, including widespread persecution by law enforcement like the Texas Rangers well into the 20th century.

During Abbott’s tenure as governor, the state saw the 2019 El Paso shooting, the deadliest anti-Hispanic mass shooting in the nation’s history.

Along with García, Texas Democratic Representatives Al Green, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Verónica Escobar, Joaquín Castro and Lloyd Doggett signed the letter.

“We hope you share our same sense of urgency and act accordingly to mitigate the consequences of this reckless course of action,” the lawmakers wrote.

For the latest news, weather, sports and streaming videos, head to The Hill.

WRAPUP 4-G20 reviews resolution condemning Russian invasion Tue, 15 Nov 2022 07:43:56 +0000

(Updates with draft resolution details)


Most G20 members could strongly condemn the war in Ukraine


Zelenskiy urges G20 to help end war as part of plan


Indonesia calls for action on global economic issues


Xi Jinping will hold meetings with several other Chinese leaders

By Fransiska Nangoy and Stanley Widianto

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, November 15 (Reuters) – Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) on Tuesday considered a draft resolution in which most members strongly condemn the war in Ukraine and stress that it is exacerbating fragilities in the economy world, diplomats said. said.

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and the sanctions,” said the 16-page draft statement, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

“Recognizing that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we recognize that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy,” he said.

The document still needs to be adopted by the summit and could be modified.

G20 ministers’ meetings in the past have failed to produce joint statements due to disagreement between Russia and other members over language, including how to describe the war in Ukraine.

The summit, being held on the Indonesian island of Bali, marks the first meeting of G20 leaders since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which Russia described as a “special military operation”.

War and worries about global inflation, food and energy security overshadowed the meeting.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the summit in a virtual address that now is the time to stop Russia’s war in his country “fairly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law”. .

He called for the restoration of “radiological safety” with regard to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the introduction of price restrictions on Russian energy resources and the expansion of a grain export initiative. He also called for the release of all Ukrainian prisoners.

“Please choose your path to leadership – and together we will surely implement the formula for peace,” he said.

The summit opened earlier in the day with a call from Indonesian President Joko Widodo for unity and concrete actions to fix the global economy despite the deep divisions caused by war.

“We have no other choice, collaboration is necessary to save the world,” he said. “The G20 must be the catalyst for an inclusive economic recovery. We must not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to descend into another cold war.”

The G20, which includes countries ranging from the United States, Russia and Brazil to India, Saudi Arabia and Germany, accounts for more than 80% of global gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of its population.

The war has sparked calls from some Western leaders to boycott the summit and withdraw Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation.

Indonesia resisted, refusing to withdraw Putin’s invitation.

Russia said Putin was too busy to attend the summit with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his place. Lavrov on Monday denied a news agency report that he had been taken to hospital in Bali with a heart condition and was present at the meeting.

However, it was unclear if he remained in the room while Zelenskiy gave his speech.


On the eve of the summit, US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a three-hour bilateral meeting during which the two leaders pledged to communicate more frequently despite numerous differences.

Monday’s meeting was the first time the two have met in person since Biden became president and the talks appeared to signal an improvement in superpower relations after a downward spiral in recent months.

Russia’s Xi and Putin have grown increasingly close in recent years and reaffirmed their partnership just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. Nonetheless, China has been careful not to provide any direct material support that could trigger Western sanctions against it.

On Tuesday, Xi told French President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting that China advocates a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks, Chinese state media reported.

Biden and Xi “underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine” during their meeting, according to a statement from the White House. A statement from China’s foreign minister said Xi had said Biden’s nuclear weapons could not be used and nuclear wars could not be fought.

The West has accused Russia of making irresponsible statements about the possible use of nuclear weapons since its invasion of Ukraine. Russia in turn accused the West of “provocative” nuclear rhetoric.

On the sidelines of the summit, many leaders will hold bilateral talks, many of which will meet with Xi, who is on just his second foreign visit since the coronavirus pandemic began.

After the meeting with Macron, Xi is expected to hold talks with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and, later in the week, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as China tries to reduce friction with the United States and its allies.

“It’s not decisive but an important step in trying to reduce disagreements,” Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said of Xi’s meetings at the rally.

(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Stanley Widianto, Nandita Bose, Leika Kihara, David Lawder and Simon Lewis in Nusa Dua, Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Writing by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Trade, security on agenda of Xi’s visit to Saudi Arabia – Saudi minister Sat, 12 Nov 2022 17:38:17 +0000

Strengthening trade ties and regional security will be priorities during an upcoming visit by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Saturday.

The visit, which two sources said was due to take place in December, comes at a time when relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States have been strained by a dispute over oil supplies, and amid concerns regarding the growing cooperation between the Gulf Arab States and China. Jubeir did not give details of the trip but said visits between Chinese and Saudi leaders were “natural”.

“China is Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner, we have huge investments in China and the Chinese have huge investments in Saudi Arabia,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the summit. COP27 climate in Egypt. “We have huge actions in play and these visits are not uncommon,” Jubeir said. “The same with our other trading partners and strategic partners, whether it’s the US, UK, France, Germany, that’s what countries do.”

Two sources familiar with discussions ahead of Xi’s trip said the Chinese leader is expected to visit in the second half of December and attend a China-Gulf summit alongside leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as to a second scheduled summit with other Arab leaders. Asked about the priorities for the trip, Jubeir, who is also the kingdom’s climate envoy, said:

“We are looking at the things that are close to our hearts: stability and security in the region and in the world, how you further increase trade and investment between the two countries, and of course the issue of climate is now at the top of the list. the international relations agenda.” Jubeir said Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, was sincere in its efforts to fight climate change and limit greenhouse gas emissions.

On Thursday, oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to establish a carbon capture and storage center at the COP27 climate talks, one of dozens of initiatives Jubeir said the kingdom was working on. Environmental activists tend to be wary of carbon capture on the grounds that industry can use it to justify the continued use of fossil fuels.

“We believe that in Saudi Arabia there is no contradiction between improving the climate and producing oil,” Jubeir said. (Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Incumbent President Tokayev declares the principle of fairness in all sectors as part of his electoral program Wed, 09 Nov 2022 18:28:22 +0000

Editor’s note: As Kazakhstan approaches the November 20 presidential elections, The Astana Times will contribute a series of articles in the form of reviews and interviews providing insight into each candidate’s election platforms.

ASTANA – The campaign platform of the incumbent president and candidate of the popular coalition Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is based on three principles: a fair state, a fair economy and a fair society.

“We will build a strong government that respects the principles of democracy, the rule of law and equality,” Tokayev said. Photo credit: Candidate’s official website.

Tokayev announcement his election campaign platform titled “A Fair Kazakhstan – For All and For All Now and Forever” on October 26.

The popular coalition nominated Tokayev after collecting 399,809 signatures from people in 17 regions and 3 cities of republican significance, nearly three times more than needed. The popular coalition was established on October 6, and brought together more than 30 non-governmental organizations and parties.

After the announcement, Tokayev said he intended to initiate fundamental changes in the economy, social sphere and regional politics with the mission of building an equitable Kazakhstan.

“The reforms will be an effective response to the aspirations of the people and will ensure our resilience in the face of extreme pressure from external challenges,” he said.

The electoral program gives priority to solving the problem of the shortage of drinking water and strengthening food security. The government will invest more in the education of younger generations.

“We will revive the agricultural sector so that living and working in rural areas is no less prestigious than in big cities. Farmers will become a new driving force for the development of our economy,” Tokayev said.

More than 450 people from all over Kazakhstan, leaders in their fields, actively participate in the campaign and explain Tokayev’s electoral program, the headquarters of the popular coalition reported.

Tokaev vowed to pursue the country’s foreign policy aimed at protecting national interests, enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested states, and ensuring international peace and security.

Tokayev was born on May 17, 1953 in Almaty and grew up in a family of career intellectuals. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1975 and began his career as a service assistant in the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He worked as a diplomat at the Soviet Embassy in Beijing, where he served until 1991 as second secretary, first secretary, and finally adviser. In 1992, Tokayev became the Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan. Then he was Minister of Foreign Affairs for 10 years over two terms (1994-1999 and 2003-2007). Tokayev then worked as Deputy Prime Minister and then as Prime Minister (1999-2002).

Tokayev headed the Senate of Parliament for more than 10 years, then he worked as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Head of the European Office of the United Nations in Geneva.

In 2019, Tokayev won the presidential election with a majority of 70.96% and was elected second president of Kazakhstan.

Tokayev Platform Basics

According to Tokayev’s platform, the first principle provides for further political modernization, introduction of professional state and corporate government. State decisions must be taken “in a balanced, open and fair manner, and above all taking into account the interests and demands of society”.

Tokayev said that people’s support will be the main factor in achieving the goals of his electoral program.

The principle of a fair state aims to achieve the creation of an efficient state apparatus, objective and independent courts, the protection of the rights of citizens and the protection of the country.

Tokayev plans to pursue a balanced foreign policy aimed at securing national interests and developing mechanisms to ensure regional security. Kazakhstan will increase its contribution to strengthening the international security system within the framework of the United Nations.

The second principle seeks to build an economy based on the balance of interests and the well-being of citizens, businesses and the state, as well as the efficient use of the country’s resources.

“Oligarchical capitalism in Kazakhstan has generated social inequalities and an imbalance in the internal market. The unscrupulous activity of the monopolists hampered the growth of real incomes of citizens, led them into a “poverty trap” and did not allow the middle class to grow stronger. We will radically change the model of economic development,” Tokayev said.

The reforms will be implemented to achieve a competitive agricultural sector and promote sustainable rural development, provide open transport corridors and logistics, provide reliable energy and digital opportunities. Digital transformation also includes the creation of at least 150,000 jobs in IT companies and the contribution of digital technologies to the economy at 1% of the country’s total GDP.

The third principle aims to create a developed social infrastructure and ample opportunities for the realization of human potential.

“We will build a healthy, educated, hard-working, socially protected and patriotic society… The support of the people will be the main factor in achieving these goals. The more citizens are involved in the implementation of the planned transformations, the faster we will obtain the result. I am sincerely interested in seeing the lives of the citizens of Kazakhstan improve. It is important that this aspiration is shared by the whole nation,” Tokayev said.

A fair social policy is the cornerstone of the Fair Kazakhstan platform. Funding for the construction and modernization of kindergartens, schools, hospitals, cultural and sports facilities, as well as targeted aid will be provided.

The main points of the third principle include:

– social investments will function as direct investments in human capital

– Citizen morbidity will be reduced and life expectancy will be increased as part of health care reforms

– the National Fund will transfer 50% of the annual investment income at the initiative of the National Fund for Children (to children’s savings accounts up to the age of 18)

– a new concept and a law on youth policy will be adopted

Tokayev reiterated that the support of the people will be the main factor in achieving these goals.

The climate and us | COP27: A victory for Loss and Damage, but the fight for fairness remains Mon, 07 Nov 2022 12:08:40 +0000

The United Nations (UN) climate conference (COP27) has started in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt on a significant note. He has put ‘loss and damage’ financing on his official agenda for the first time in the UN climate talks, meaning the issue will be discussed and negotiated over the next two weeks to arrive. to a landing zone on how this funding can be materialized. .

Why is this important?

Simply because “loss and damage” is a contentious issue. This involves holding polluters to account and ensuring they compensate climate-vulnerable nations for loss and damage to life, infrastructure, biodiversity, culture, and more. On a question involving responsibility and liability for historic emissions that have contributed significantly to global warming of 1.15 degrees Celsius today over pre-industrial levels, there has been considerable pushback from rich or annex 1 countries.

Egypt, host of COP27 with the G77 and China, which had proposed the agenda item, and the rest of the developing world, however, managed to seal it following what the president of the COP27 Sameh Shoukry described it as over 40 hours of “herculean informal negotiations”. .”

What is this item on the agenda?

“Issues relating to financing arrangements responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including emphasis on addressing loss and damage.” The agenda item has two footnotes: 1) Neither the inclusion of this agenda item nor any annotations to it prejudge outcomes on issues related to the governance of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. 2) This sub-point and its results are without prejudice to the examination of similar questions in the future.

Furthermore, Shoukry clarified during the adoption of the agenda on Sunday that the issue will be discussed on the basis of cooperation and facilitation, and does not involve liability or compensation. The Loss and Damage Agenda will launch a process to make a final decision no later than 2024. It is indeed remarkable that such a contentious issue has found a place on the official agenda. And unless the negotiations lead to something more concrete, it will be a lost opportunity.

“The inclusion of the issue of loss and damage in the COP as an agenda item is welcome, but this is linked to the outcomes of the CMA, with the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, which is different from the COP At the CMA, the discussion will only be about the Warsaw mechanism, not the finance facility or the window, so fingers crossed whether this will result in a ambitious result,” said RR Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute. This implies that the mechanism for funding loss and damage cannot be discussed by all official bodies of countries meeting at COP27 .

Jen Allen, a lecturer at Cardiff University who teaches international relations, tweeted:

The semantics can take some time to understand, as is the case with the jargon and expressions used in negotiations of this type.

The L&DC Master document, a briefing note prepared by loss and damage researchers on Sunday evening, said the wording of the agenda “means there is space to discuss loss and damage funding here at COP27. The agenda item will be negotiated in the subsidiary bodies. It will provide a space to negotiate some of the issues that arise from the Glasgow Dialogue which started in 2022 and will end in 2024… We hope that the outcome of the negotiations under this agenda item will be an agreement to establish a loss and damage financing facility and the process for setting it up.

The fight for an L&D facility has only just begun. Other critical issues on the official COP27 agenda include issues related to adaptation, including the adaptation fund, long-term climate finance – including the new collective quantified target on climate finance (after 2025); issues related to capacity building and development and technology transfer.

What’s not on the agenda?

The most important are fossil fuels.

If during COP26 in Glasgow, fossil fuels – coal in particular – were discussed, this time the subject is not on the agenda. It is worrying. “There is a huge greenwashing exercise in play at COP27,” Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network International, said Monday during the briefing. She said there were even more fossil fuel representatives at COP27 than there were at COP26, where they outnumbered any country’s delegation. Fossil fuels and just transitions will be discussed – but outside the formal agenda parallel to the negotiations.

Also, there is no agenda item on keeping the 1.5 degree Celsius target within reach. Observers at COP26 and COP27 say Bolivia proposed the agenda to maintain the 1.5 degrees Celsius target last year, but it was scuttled by wealthy countries pushing for it. agenda without “equity” and the approach of “common but differentiated responsibilities” – cornerstones of the Paris Agreement.

Another worrying development is a recommendation that was adopted last night by a technical body (the Article 6.4 Monitoring Body) that would promote ocean geoengineering and other technofixes under the Paris. Some experts believe this could weaken existing references to human rights, particularly the rights of indigenous peoples.

As COP27 progresses, the traditional positions of groups of countries, especially large groups from the South and North, will gain strength. And yet, this COP brings a lot of hope for the developing world simply because it is being held in Africa with the participation of African countries. Africa and most of Asia’s equity positions are likely to be in focus.

“The context of this COP27 shows a lack of trust with rich nations that do not keep their commitments, and CSOs [civil society organisations] being limited in their rights to raise their voices,” Essop said Monday. “We are on the continent where ‘loss and damage’ is a reality. It is not too late for COP27 to rise to the occasion of Africa and the developing world where other conferences have failed. But we can no longer dodge this vital issue.” Said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa during the press briefing.

Over the next two weeks, I will try to write about how critical agenda items including loss and damage, adaptation finance and climate finance are taking shape. Starting next Monday, I will be writing from the ground in Sharm el-Sheikh during the final stage of negotiations that will hopefully lead to a powerful outcome for the developing world.

From the climate crisis to air pollution, issues of development-environment trade-offs to India’s voice in international environmental negotiations, HT’s Jayashree Nandi brings her in-depth knowledge of the field to a weekly column

Opinions expressed are personal

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How Putin is trying to regain control over Europe – Wed, 02 Nov 2022 11:52:01 +0000

Charles Michel and Emmanuel Macron must feel frustrated as Vladimir Putin seeks to regain control of the South Caucasus region and show that he is not weakened by his difficulties in Ukraine, writes Sébastien Boussois.

Sébastien Boussois is a doctor in political science, researcher on the Middle East, Euro-Arab relations/terrorism and radicalization, teacher in international relations, and scientific collaborator of CECID (Free University of Brussels), OMAN (UQAM Montreal) and SAVE BELGIUM ( Society Against Violent Extremists).

By receiving Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Sochi on October 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin showed that he still intended to count in the Caucasus and influence his traditional area of ​​influence.

Captured by his war against Ukraine, he had somewhat neglected the South Caucasus region for several months, the very place where Moscow had snatched in November 2020, exactly two years ago, a peace between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, after a particularly deadly 44. – day of war.

This war allowed Baku to restore its integrity and recover the 20% of its territory occupied by Armenia since 1992, which had been condemned three times by the United Nations for violating the sovereignty of Azerbaijan.

This conflict caused nearly 6,000 deaths and Russia allowed a ceasefire in the first instance, and in the second, the presence of an interposition force and rounds of negotiations to reach a peace agreement. final peace.

On the side of Azerbaijan, the file has been closed for two years and Baku wishes to advance this process with Armenia, still torn and embittered at having lost these pro-Armenian separatist territories.

However, since his re-election, the Armenian Nikol Pashinian has multiplied actions and meetings with the Azerbaijani President to make Karabakh a real zone of peace, and settle a number of outstanding issues such as mines, definitive borders, the return refugees, the exchange of prisoners, but also the construction of access roads as well as economic cooperation to energize the two countries.

Since last February, with the start of the war in Ukraine, and while Moscow was cornered elsewhere, incidents have multiplied between the two countries on the ground, despite the leaders’ persistent desire to advance peace.

It was the European Union that then took over with the organization of several meetings chaired by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, to advance the various issues.

Last October, the creation of the European Political Community promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron saw the light of day in Prague and was notably illustrated by a new meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders.

Many saw in this evidence that European mediation was advancing but had also taken advantage of the Russian vacuum.

However, everything could have changed recently.

With the meeting in Sochi in recent days, where Putin has been receiving officials for weeks, the dice are once again cast.

The Russian President’s show of force with the presence of Pashinyan, whose country has remained very close to Russia since the beginning of the war, and Aliyev, who was one of the first to condemn the invasion and bring its humanitarian and material support to Ukraine, revives the dynamics of competition between mediations.

Charles Michel and Emmanuel Macron must be feeling frustrated as Putin seeks to regain control of the South Caucasus region and show that he is not weakened by his troubles in Ukraine.

Against Europe, Putin wants to wield both arms and words, war and diplomacy.

The story of the questioning of the domination of the West, in which the partners and supporters of Russia have engulfed themselves, involves Moscow in all the fields of an unprecedented hybrid war.

Russia’s desire to promote bilateralism (transactionalism, as supporters of Donald Trump would say), and to play hegemony in the Caucasus is a new parameter of the paradigm shift sought by Moscow and all those who want the end of this Western leadership, wherever it is.

Even if it is very far from the geographical and political borders of Europe.

Biden faces ‘unpredictable’ era with Chinese power Xi Sun, 30 Oct 2022 11:46:00 +0000

By AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration is taking stock of a newly empowered Xi Jinping as the Chinese president begins a breakaway third five-year term as leader of the Communist Party. With US-China relations already strained, Washington is increasingly concerned that tougher days are ahead.

Xi has gained unprecedented power over China’s ruling party since Mao Zedong, the leader from 1949 until his death in 1976. Xi’s consolidation of power comes as the United States has updated its defense strategies and national security to reflect the fact that China is now the American leader. strongest military and economic adversary.

Biden is proud to have established a relationship with Xi since he first met more than a decade ago when they were their country’s vice presidents. But Biden now faces a counterpart in Xi backed by a greater measure of power and determined to cement China’s superpower status even as it navigates strong economic and diplomatic headwinds.

“We have not returned to the Mao era. Xi Jinping is not Mao,” said Jude Blanchette, director of Chinese studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “But we are definitely in new territory and unpredictable territory in terms of the stability and predictability of the Chinese political system.”

political cartoons

Biden and Xi are expected to hold talks on the sidelines of next month’s Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, a long-awaited meeting that would come after nearly two years of strained relations. The leaders are determined to gain the upper hand in a competition they believe will determine which country will be the world’s leading economic and political force in the next century.

“There are so many issues we need to discuss with China,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. He added that U.S. and Chinese officials have been working to arrange a leaders’ meeting, though a meeting is yet to be confirmed. “Some issues are quite controversial and some should be collaborative,” Kirby said.

Biden and Xi traveled to the United States and China together in 2011 and 2012, and they’ve held five phone or video calls since Biden became president in January 2021. But the US-China relationship has become much more complicated since those who got to know you talk over meals in Washington and on the Tibetan Plateau a decade ago.

As president, Biden has repeatedly blamed China for human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities, Beijing’s crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, business practices coercive measures, military provocations against autonomous Taiwan and differences over Russia’s pursuit of its war against Ukraine.

Xi’s government has criticized the Biden administration’s stance on Taiwan – which Beijing seeks to unify with the communist mainland – as undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese president also hinted that Washington wants to stifle Beijing’s growing influence as it tries to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy.

“External attempts to suppress and contain China may intensify at any time,” Xi warned in his speech to the Communist Party congress. “So we need to be more aware of potential dangers, be prepared for worst-case scenarios, and be prepared to withstand high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms.”

Dali Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago who studies China politics, said potentially stabilizing developments were emerging in the relationship after months of bitterness.

Two of the best-known Chinese diplomats in Washington were brought up at the Communist Party meeting. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been selected for the Communist Party’s Politburo, the political body made up of the 24 top officials. Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang joins its central committee. Their elevation should bring a measure of continuity to US-China relations, Yang said.

Yang noted that there had also been an effort by the Communist Party leadership to “soften its warm embrace of Russia.” Last month, after meeting Xi on the sidelines of a summit in Uzbekistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that Xi had expressed “concerns and questions” about the war in Ukraine.

With his third term confirmed, “in some ways Xi is now freer to act and less encumbered by not having to always watch what his rivals are doing,” Yang said. “I think that may actually affect his approach and may make him more comfortable in his dealings with Biden.

White House officials have played down hope that Xi’s new five-year grip on the Communist Party could give him leeway to engage more fully on issues where China has overlapping interests with United States.

Biden, in a meeting with Defense Department officials on Wednesday, stressed that the United States is “not looking for conflict” with China. Hours later, Chinese state television reported that Xi had told members of the national committee on US-China relations that Beijing should find ways to work with Washington on issues of common concern.

The moment of reconciliation was short-lived.

The next day, US and Chinese officials were trading rhetorical blows over the US decision earlier this month to extend export controls on the sale of advanced semiconductor chips to China.

“The United States has overstated the concept of national security and suppressed China’s development, and normal business cooperation has been politicized and militarized,” Wang Hongxia, a counselor at the Chinese Embassy, ​​told reporters. in Washington.

His comments came shortly after a senior Commerce Department official, Undersecretary Alan Estevez, told a forum in Washington that ‘if I was a bettor, I’d put money in’. for the United States to impose additional export controls on China.

China’s economy is slowing, with Beijing announcing this month that growth for the first nine months of the year was 3%, which would put it well below its official target of 5.5% for the year. whole. The country’s economy is also moving away from strict ‘zero’ COVID rules, and Beijing is facing a deceleration in exports and property prices that fell to their lowest level in seven years in September.

It also faces increased competition from the United States and the European Union, which are investing tens of billions of dollars to compete on semiconductors and other technologies. All of this points to the possibility that China will not eclipse US gross domestic product by 2030, as many economists have predicted.

Ruchir Sharma, chairman of Rockefeller International, recently concluded that with its likely growth trajectory, China would overtake the US economy by 2060, if it succeeds.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken as well as Chief U.S. Naval Operations Officer Admiral Mike Gilday have recently expressed concern that Beijing may be trying to speed up its schedule. to take over Taiwan. Blinken said China has made “a fundamental decision that the status quo is no longer acceptable.”

China has largely refrained from criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine, but has also refrained from supplying weapons to Moscow. Still, the conflict has raised fears in Taiwan that China – which has never controlled the island – may be further emboldened to press ahead with its longstanding unification plan.

US-China tensions were further heightened by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August and Biden’s remark in May that the US military would defend Taiwan if attacked by China, then downplayed the White House.

“What is concerning now is that with Xi’s unlimited power and ambition, he could use Taiwan to distract himself from his internal problems,” said Keith Krach, former undersecretary of state under the Trump administration. “I hope he looked at the courage of Ukrainians and felt that the people of Taiwan are just as brave, maybe even more.”

Associated Press writer Josh Boak contributed to this report.

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Tensions in semiconductors rattle cross-Strait relations Thu, 27 Oct 2022 23:00:12 +0000

Author: Yvette To, CityU

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and President Joe Biden’s promise that the US would defend the island have heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait. At the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of reunification with Taiwan.

The growing technological rivalry between the United States and China and the global shortage of chips make Taiwan’s role as the world’s leading supplier of semiconductors strategically and economically important for both powers.

The question is what will happen to global chip production in the event of a cross-strait military conflict. COVID-19 lockdowns have already disrupted the global supply of semiconductors. Since the world’s semiconductor production capacity is heavily concentrated in Asia, including Taiwan, South Korea and China, a cross-strait military conflict will undermine global semiconductor production. In a military confrontation, China could impose an embargo on Taiwanese exports of critical technologies.

Taiwan is home to several of the largest semiconductor foundries in the world. Together, they represent more than 63% of the global market share. The world is heavily dependent on the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which produces over 90% of the world’s most advanced semiconductors, including 5 nanometer chips.

Supply interruptions will directly impact Apple – TMSC’s biggest customer – Nvidia, Qualcomm and AMD. It will also disrupt major US tech companies specializing in the computer processors and chipsets that power modern devices, from consumer electronics and medical equipment to artificial intelligence and military technology.

With supplies from Taiwan cut in the event of a cross-strait conflict, companies may have to look to South Korea for replacement chips. Samsung is the world’s second-largest semiconductor foundry by revenue, accounting for about 17% of the global market, a share 35% lower than TSMC’s. But production capacity at South Korean smelters is unlikely to meet global demand, and Seoul could be drawn into the conflict if the United States gets involved.

Chinese foundries produce around 8% of the world’s semiconductors. But even if Chinese companies keep their semiconductor production in a cross-strait dispute, the chips they can mass-produce are mainly 28-nanometer and 14-nanometer chips. These are less sophisticated and less powerful than the 7 nanometers and 5 nanometers manufactured by TSMC and Samsung.

Although there were reports in August 2022 that China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation had made a big leap in the successful development of 7-nanometer chips, the company’s mass production capability remains unknown. . Indeed, the global semiconductor supply chain is complex and involves different manufacturing steps requiring high, medium and low-skilled inputs. Any disruption will impact both upstream and downstream industries.

Southeast Asian countries are also involved in semiconductor manufacturing. Malaysia packages and tests newly manufactured semiconductors, which account for 13% of the global market share. Singapore operates manufacturing plants for US-based Micron and GlobalFoundries and several assembly and test facilities for Taiwanese companies.

Many industries depend on a stable supply of semiconductors, which exposes them to the effects of cross-Strait conflict. The automotive industry is still grappling with the global chip shortage that emerged in 2020. In recent years, automakers have been competing with other consumer electronics vendors on Asian-made chips. Some auto giants have already cut production, while others expect the chip crunch to last until 2024. A military dispute involving the world’s chip production hub will further strain industry, creating ripple effects on other parts of the automotive supply chain.

The effects of cross-strait conflict can be mitigated by building supply chain resilience. Some countries and companies have already started to diversify and secure their semiconductor supply chains. But diversification comes at a cost. The U.S. Chips and Science Act uses federal grants to incentivize tech companies — including American, Taiwanese, and South Korean companies — to invest in the development and manufacturing of cutting-edge chips in the United States. Companies are not allowed to build advanced chip manufacturing facilities in China for 10 years to receive these subsidies.

While incentives to relocate and relocate friends can help stabilize semiconductor supply, incentives move the world away from multilateral trade toward geopolitical trading blocs. The semiconductor industry is the first to experience this change, but it won’t be the last.

A cross-strait military conflict would be a lose-lose situation for the warring parties and the world. Given the high stakes, the leaders of the United States and China should maintain an ongoing dialogue to communicate their interests as well as their differences. The United States should refrain from actions that would arouse Beijing’s suspicions of American support for Taiwan independence.

Maintaining the status quo is essential to maintaining peace in the strait. To that end, the United States should continue to work with allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia, to share intelligence and prepare militarily for any future conflict.

Yvette To is a postdoc in the Department of Public and International Affairs at the City University of Hong Kong.