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XI in UK

Concern at British Red Carpet for President Xi

30 October 2015

A ‘new golden era’ between ‘new global partners’ with the UK wanting to be China’s ‘best friend in the West’ – these were just a few of the headlines surrounding the visit of China’s President Xi to the UK in October. It was little wonder that many in Washington and Brussels raised eyebrows at the extravagant welcome for China’s top political ruler.

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NZ and Juncker

EU and New Zealand to open FTA negotiations

30 October 2015

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, and Presidents Tusk and Juncker, agreed on 29 October to start scoping talks for a potential FTA. The two sides have already signed a political partnership agreement so this is the logical next step. The EU had been reluctant to open further FTA negotiations as DG Trade was already stretched with TTIP, the EU-Japan FTA and trade negotiations with other countries. Now it seems the way is clear for talks between two very like-minded partners in global affairs.

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TPP Agreed

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreed

11 October 2015

Last week in Atlanta, the trade ministers of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam, announced that they had successfully concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Their statement said that ‘after more than five years of intensive negotiations, we have come to an agreement that will support jobs, drive sustainable growth, foster inclusive development, and promote innovation across the Asia-Pacific region. Most importantly, the agreement achieves the goal we set forth of an ambitious, comprehensive, high standard and balanced agreement that will benefit our nation\'s citizens.’

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DPRK 70 years

DPRK Displays Military Might

11 October 2015

There was no rocket test but the DPRK Workers Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power on 10 October with a remarkable display of military might during a two-hour parade in Pyongyang.


There were no Western or regional leaders in attendance but China sent Lui Yunshan, a senior Politburo member. It is likely that China only agreed to send such a high-level representative if the DPRK agreed not to use the occasion for another missile test. Lui brought a letter from President Xi, who has yet to meet Kim Jong Un, underlining China’s desire for stable relations (code for China’s displeasure at the DPRK’s nuclear programme).

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EU-ROK Summit 2015

Routine EU-Korea Summit

16 September 2015

On 15 September, President Park hosted President Tusk and Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström for the annual EU-Korea summit in Seoul. This was largely a routine summit as relations between the two sides are very good and there are few major issues of disagreement. Korea is the only country in Asia with which the EU has three major agreements covering trade, political and security cooperation.

It was also an interesting summit from an institutional perspective as this was the first summit where the usual EU tandem of President of the Council and President of the Commission were not both present. Juncker had pressing issues at home, notably migration, and his role was divided between Tusk and Malmström.

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Lee Hsien Loong

People's Action Party (PAP) wins Singapore election

14 September 2015

The ruling PAP intensified their five decade hold on power by winning nearly 70% of the two million votes cast and 83 of 89 seats in last Friday’s elections. The opposition, running in all constituencies for the first time, had hoped to challenge the PAP\'s dominance which had seen their share of the vote drop to 60% in 2011.

Presidents Tusk and Juncker said in a congratulatory statement that ‘we look forward to continuing the excellent cooperation between the EU and Singapore. Our Free Trade and Partnership and Cooperation Agreements will deepen our bilateral ties and enable us to better address emerging global challenges. These Agreements will also serve as stepping stones for greater engagement between the EU and Southeast Asia. As Singapore prepares for the future, we look forward to meeting Prime Minister Lee to discuss the next chapter of our relationship.’

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Mogherini at ARF 2

Mogherini attends ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)

4 September 2015

Mogherini continued her hectic travel schedule well into the summer break by attending her first ministerial meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Kuala Lumpur in August. Her visit was well received and follows up on the Joint Communication \"The EU and ASEAN: A partnership with a strategic purpose\" and the corresponding Council conclusions from June 2015 which agreed a further strengthening of EU-ASEAN relations. Mogerhini was also able to build on her Shangri-La speech in June when she outlined the EU’s comprehensive approach to security questions. Pursuing this aim, the EU presents itself as a unique partner for ASEAN offering a variety of tools to assist ASEAN with its ambitious programme of regional integration. Mogherini\'s participation in the ARF reinforced the EU’s commitment to EU-ASEAN relations, a message further reinforced by the recent appointment of the first dedicated ambassador to ASEAN, Francisco Fontan Pardo.

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Korea talks defuse tension

Korea Talks defuse tension

2 September 2015

The world has become used to an increase in tension between the DPRK and South Korea during the annual military manoeuvres between the US and South Korea.  But this time the stand-off reached a new and heightened stage after two South Korean border guards were badly injured due to an alleged North Korean mine. This led to a brief exchange of artillery fire between the two sides with, fortunately, no one being injured.

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EU-China relations moving forward

30 June 2015

The 29 June EU-China summit attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Presidents Tusk and Juncker marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and China. Relations between the first and second global economic powers have developed tremendously over the past four decades and are now set for a further leap forward. The summit agreed a broad-ranging agenda for future cooperation and now the challenge will be to implement agreed policies and finalise negotiations on key subjects such as a bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

Trade between the EU and China has continued to flourish but experts believe that a BIT could give a one per cent boost to economic growth. The EU share of foreign investment in China is 28% while China accounts for less than 5% of overseas investment in Europe. European businesses complain about the lack of an effective legal framework guaranteeing protection of investments, weak enforcement of IPR and forced technology transfer. Chinese businesses complain about the complexity of EU rules and regulations.

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IISS 2015

Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the IISS 2015

31 May 2015

Let me start with a sincere thank you. First of all for the invitation: it is not to be given for granted, that the European Union - that for sure is not an Asian or a Pacific power - is considered relevant in this Dialogue. Still, it is. Very much so. We share economic relations, investments and trade interests - and that is evident to everybody, especially here in Singapore. But we share much more than that: political partnerships, security cooperation, global challenges to which we need to give responses that will be effective only if they will be joint ones. From terrorism to climate change, from natural disasters to cyber-attacks, the threats we face today have no borders - they are global by nature, bydefinition. And we need strong, global partnerships to face them.

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