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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 SUMMIT 2015

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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EU JAPAN SUMMIT

Positive EU-Japan summit

29 May 2015

The EU-Japan summit on 29 May was described as ‘positive’ by those attending the meeting. Prime Minister Abe hosted EU Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. 

The two sides reviewed progress on the FTA negotiations and the parallel strategic partnership agreement. They agreed to accelerate the negotiations on both with a view to completion as soon as possible ‘preferably by the end of 2015.’ (Japan is on the brink of concluding the TPP with the US and several Asian partners which will also impact on the EU). 

The summit touched on several hot spot issues including Ukraine and Russia, East Asian security, the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East and Africa.

Both parties confirmed they would not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and called on all parties to implement the Minsk agreements.

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ASEAN-EU

EU to Boost Support for ASEAN

20 May 2015

On 21 May the EU adopted a communication to strengthen EU-ASEAN relations. The plans include a number of proposals including:

-      taking trade relations with ASEAN to a different level and working towards an ambitious region to region Free Trade Agreement (FTA) building on bilateral agreements between the EU and ASEAN Member States

-      stepping up cooperation on \'Connectivity\' by exchanging lessons learned and by mobilising the financial means and expertise to support ASEAN efforts, including on the single market and through negotiating a civil aviation agreement;

-      strengthening collaboration on climate change and initiating a new, dedicated EU-ASEAN policy dialogue on environment and sustainable development;

-      more than doubling EU financial support for ASEAN integration (to 170 million) which comes on top of the EUR 2 billion for ASEAN Member States;  

-      implementing an extensive ‘package’ of new initiatives in the area of non-traditional security (maritime security, disaster management and crisis response, transnational crime, training courses on preventive diplomacy, crisis management, mediation, the rule of law and election observation).

In presenting the proposals: \"The EU and ASEAN: a partnership with a strategic purpose\" Federica Mogherini said \"The partnership between the EU and ASEAN is crucial and we are determined to build on it and strengthen our political and economic cooperation. From trade to security, from climate change to the rule of law, we have a deep cooperation and as the EU we are supporting ASEAN integration. Deepening and broadening our relation with ASEAN is key for the EU’s Asia strategy,” said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini.

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mogherini

Mogherini visit to Korea and China

9 May 2015

The EU’s HR/VP, Federica Mogherini, paid her first visit to Asia last week with trips to Korea and China. Asian governments have been frustrated as EU leaders, understandably, have had to concentrate on the EU’s neighbourhood since taking office last autumn. Now Asia is moving up the agenda with a range of ministerial and summit meetings planned for the coming months. The EU-Japan summit will be held on 29 May with the EU-China summit a month later.

Mogherini’s first stop was Korea where she was received by President Park as well as Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. Park has been keen on promoting EU-like cooperation in NE Asia (the NAPCI project) but has made little progress due to disputes over territory and history. A recent meeting of foreign ministers from Korea, Japan and China has given some hope for progress but much will depend on how the emotive history issue is dealt with in this 70th anniversary year of the end of world war two.

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ABE

Abe’s US Visit Provokes Mixed Reactions

4 May 2015

Last week’s visit to the US by Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, resulted in mixed reactions. The White House welcomed the deepening ties between the two countries while China and Korea criticised the Japanese PM for not apologising properly for Japanese aggression in the 1930s and 40s.

During his carefully choreographed visit, Abe and his US interlocutors agreed “new defence guidelines” which will allow Japan to exercise “collective self-defence” and to fight alongside US forces if under attack. Abe was pleased that President Obama reiterated the US pledge to defend the disputed Senkaku islands if attacked.

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mogherini

Mogherini to visit Korea and China

27 April 2015

The EU’s HR/VP, Federica Mogherini, will pay her first visit to Asia next week with trips to Korea and China. Asian governments have been frustrated as EU leaders, understandably, have had to concentrate on the EU’s neighbourhood since taking office last autumn. Now Asia is moving up the agenda with a range of ministerial and summit meetings planned for the coming months. The EU-Japan summit will be held on 29 May with the EU-China summit a month later.

Mogherini’s first stop will be Korea where she will be received by President Park as well as Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. Park has been keen on promoting EU-like cooperation in NE Asia (the NAPCI project) but has made little progress due to disputes over territory and history. A recent meeting of foreign ministers from Korea, Japan and China has given some hope for progress but much will depend on how the emotive history issue is dealt with in this 70th anniversary year of the end of world war two.

The EU and Korea are like-minded partners with few problems. The FTA is functioning well and the parallel political agreement has been supplemented by an agreement for Korea to participate in the EU’s CSDP missions. This will be one of the agenda items for Mogherini and Yun Byung-se to discuss along with the usual range of international issues including Russia/Ukraine, Iran, Syria/Iraq, and the DPRK. 

 

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AIIB

Europe Rushes to join AIIB

23 March 2015

Several EU member states have rushed to meet the 31 March deadline for countries wishing to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as founding members. In a move publicly criticised by the US, the UK was the first big member state to announce that it would join the Chinese-led bank. The British move has been followed by Germany, France, Italy and Luxembourg with others considering joining before the end of the month.

The AIIB will have an initial $50 billion capital of which Beijing will put up 50% to fund infrastructure projects in Asia and is expected to be formally established by the end of 2015. Twenty-one countries including China, India and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding last October to establish the bank and so far 27 countries have applied to join as founding members.  

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Trilateral ministers

South Korea hosts Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers

22 March 2015

In their first trilateral meeting for three years, South Korea\'s Yun Byung-se welcomed Fumio Kishida from Japan and Wang Yi from China to Seoul on 21 March to discuss ways to ease tensions in the region. The ministers agreed to organise a ‘trilateral summit’ for their leaders ‘at the earliest convenient time’.

Following the meeting, Mr Yun said the ministers had agreed ‘to strengthen trilateral co-operation’ in the spirit of looking squarely at history and moving forward to the future’. Reiterating China\'s position, Mr Wang said: ‘The war has been over for 70 years, but the problem with history remains a present issue, not an issue of the past’.

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