Abe meets Trump ahead of the Signapore summit
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a meeting with the US President Donald J. Trump in order to discuss Tokyo’s priorities regarding the denuclearization of North Korea. Mr. Abe urged the US President to raise the issue of Japanese abductees in North Korea during a summit between the US and North Korean leaders which is due to be held this week.
A dozen Japanese citizens abducted in 1970s and 1980s are believed to be in North Korea. Pyeongyang claims that eight of the 12 have died and four never visited their country. Abe is also expected to ask Trump to reconsider newly imposed tariffs on Japan and other US allies.
‘Abe will come—and risk exposing that his personal diplomacy with Trump may be on its last legs—because the overriding concern is that Trump’s eagerness to call the June 12th meeting a historic success will result in a bad deal,’ Mireya Solis was of the opinion an interview with Tokyo Business Today.
‘Abe has made the return of abductees a key political issue, and holds strong ties with the families involved. He has sought to strike a deal with North Korea since the 1980s, when he served as secretary for his father, then Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe,’ Kurumi Mori and Emi Nobuhiro opine in an article for Bloomberg.
‘Abe praised the [Moon Jae-in–Kim Jong-un] summit as a success, but past efforts at negotiation with the North have not always been easy for Seoul and Tokyo. This time, the breakneck pace and unpredictability of recent summitry have been particularly surprising for Tokyo,’ Sheila A. Smith states in her analysis for CFR.
Middle East and North Africa
Turkey carries out air strikes against Kurds in Iraq
Turkey carried out air strikes in northern Iraq against more than a dozen targets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The strikes are believed to have killed at least six suspected PKK fighters, according to the head of the Turkish armed forces.
Meanwhile, the US-backed Kurdish in Syria have announced their decision to depart the northern town of Manbij following an agreement between Ankara and Washington.
In an article in the New Arab, it was stated: ‘Due to the difficult terrain and the small number of forces dispatched to northern Iraq by Ankara, this latest incursion may simply be a way to drum up greater support for the ruling party ahead of Turkish voters heading to the polls on 24 June.’
‘Some Arab residents in Manbij would prefer the city to be taken over by the Turkish Army and Syrian rebels allied with them. Others see risks in allying with Turkey, and say they want the Syrian government to retake Manbij,’ Jenan Moussa and Harald Doornbos opined in an article for the New York Times.
Iran may boost enrichment of Uranium
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that Tehran would not tolerate both sanctions and nuclear restrictions. He warned that the country may start boosting its uranium enrichment capacity if European partners do not stand up to reinstated US sanctions.
‘Albeit drastically reduced, economic benefits can be generated at least to a level that would allow Iran to conclude that it is worth staying in the deal. Tehran should assist the Europeans in laying out the threshold of what it will take to stay in,’ Adnan Tabatabai states in his piece for the Progressive Post.
‘Iran is not the sturdy, stable government that its enablers like to depict. It is a regime that has forfeited its legitimacy, is drowning in corruption, and rests its power on security organs that it fears will prove unreliable in a crunch,’ Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz write in their analysis for Foreign Policy.
‘Khamenei reiterated his 2014 stated goal of achieving 190 SWU (separate working units of uranium enrichment). But important point here is that he emphasized this would take place within the Iran deal context,’ Ariane Tabatabai of the Georgetown University said in her tweet.
Sub Saharan Africa
Militants targeted in US strikes in Somalia
A US air strike in northern Somalia over the weekend killed 27 suspected al-Shabab militants, according to the US Africa Command. It is believed that no civilians were killed in the strike.
Ethiopian migrants drown near the Yemen coast
According to estimates, 46 migrants drowned after a boat capsized near the coast of Yemen. The boat had left Somalia earlier last week. It is believed that each month, almost seven thousand migrants make the journey across the Gulf of Aden, according to the International Organization for Migration.
G7 summit in danger of facing trade wars
US President Donald J. Trump is staring daggers at his allies in the build-up to a summit of Group of Seven (G7) leaders in Quebec this weekend following trade retaliation for US metal tariffs on Canada, Europe, and Japan.
In a statement from the White House, Trump will leave the summit before other leaders on Saturday and travel straight to Singapore, where he is set to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un next week. Ahead of the G7 conference, French President Emmanuel Macron said world leaders should not make compromises on the summit’s concluding agreement in order to please the US President. He suggested that they could also issue it without Trump’s signature. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticized Trump for withdrawing from international accords and imposing the new tariffs on allies.
‘The G-7 (originally the G-6) was founded to sustain an open international economic order, which includes combating protectionist tendencies. In that sense, these trains have been destined for collision,’ Tarun Chhabra opines for the Brookings Institution.
‘As a lifelong free trader myself, tariffs have not been my preferred policy tool. But at a time when nations have become so unwilling to play by the rules and restore reciprocity, tariffs are a wake-up call to the dangers of a broken trading system that is increasingly unfree,’ says the White House Economic Advisor Lawrence Kudlow in the Washington Post.
‘The US has gone to war with the good guys, not the bad. By slapping tariffs on America’s allies, Trump has put the US in the worst of all positions: he has alienated the very countries that could help the US fight strategically important trade battles with China,’ Rana Foroohar states in an analysis for the Financial Times.
Australia looks safeguards against sexual abuse
A church in Tasmania’s Anglican plans to sell more than a hundred properties to raise 15.2 million dollars; of which almost some 3.8 million dollars will go to a fund for survivors of sexual abuse in the church.
Australian banks face a hefty fine
The largest bank of Australia has agreed to pay a fine after regulators found it violated money laundering and counterterrorism laws by failing to report suspicious financial transactions. The fine would be the largest corporate civil penalty in the country’s history. However, it is still subject to court approval.
US-NATO exercises begin in Poland and the Baltics
Some 18000 troops from 19 countries began two weeks of drills on the North American Treaty Organization’s eastern flank. The US Army set up a new European headquarters in Poland, which is reportedly considering a permanent US deployment, last year.
IMF and Argentina agree on a 50 billion dollar loan
Argentina is set to receive a 50 billion dollar loan from the IMF in order to bail itself out of an economic ditch. The loan was requested by Argentina last month after a steep drop in the value of the peso. However, it is still to be approved by the IMF’s board. Political opponents of President Mauricio Macri criticized his decision to seek aid from the IMF as they blame a similar IMF loan for Argentina’s 2001–2002 economic crisis.