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EU Tightens Sanctions on DPRK

19 July 2017

At the Foreign Affairs Council on 17 July the EU agreed to tougher sanctions against North Korea following its latest test of an intercontinental missile on 4 July. The statement called on the DPRK to ‘to comply without delay, fully and unconditionally, with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and to refrain from any further provocative action that could increase regional and global tensions.’

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EU-Japan Summit

6 July 2017

The 24th EU-Japan summit on 6 July was one of the most productive with leaders agreeing the broad outlines of an FTA and an updated strategic partnership agreement.

President Tusk said that the two sides were united by their shared values of democracy and the rule of law as well as support for a rules-based international order. The highly ambitious and comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was a signal that the two sides favoured free and fair trade instead of protectionism.

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Cooperation Memorandum Between EU-Asian Centre And the Renmin University of China

5 July 2017

In order to enhance the bilateral relationships, improve mutual understanding, develop academic exchanges, the Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies at Renmin University of China and EU-Asian Centre agree on the cooperative memorandum. Fraser Cameron, the diretor of EU-Asia Centre attented the signing ceremony with the Executive Director, Prof YAN Jin, Chairman of School Council, Prof. Dr. NIU Tong from Renmin University.   

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Asia Leads Global Growth

9 June 2017

According to the IMF latest forecasts, Asia continues to lead global growth with the region predicted to enjoy over 5% growth in 2017 and 2018 compared to just over 3.5% for the rest of the world. This means that Asia will contribute around two-thirds of global growth thus continuing a trend of several years. The reasons for this high growth include higher external and domestic demand, rebounding global commodity prices, and domestic reforms.

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China’s Showcase Silk Road Summit

18 May 2017

China certainly knows how to put on a good show. After the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo and the Hangzhou G20, President Xi’s Belt and Road Forum on 14-15 May brought together a staggering array of world leaders including Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdogan, Michelle Bachelet, Christine Lagarde and Antonio Gutteres.

Thanks to a closure of factories Beijing was bathed in sunshine and enjoyed clear blue skies. “I wish there was a summit every month” said my taxi driver.

Speaker after speaker lined up to laud President Xi’s vision for a new Silk Road. It was a ‘win-win project’ that would bring economic prosperity and ‘mutual benefit’ for all countries involved. The project would build roads, railways, ports, pipelines, energy and telecommunications infrastructure linking China to Central and South East Asia, Europe and Africa by land and sea. 

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EU ready to move forward with China after French election

8 May 2017

Sunday's convincing win for Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential elections provides the EU with an opportunity to shake off its populist blues and move forward with a new unity of purpose. The Macron win was important because he was by far the most pro-EU candidate arguing that what France needed was more European integration, not less. It is no surprise that his victory was especially welcomed in Brussels.

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china trip

Mogherini Visit to China and India

27 April 2017

Federica Mogherini had successful talks in China and India (plus Russia) in the third week of April. In both countries, largely as a reaction to the unpredictability of the Trump administration, she found a renewed interest in a strong EU as a pillar of the multilateral system especially on free trade and climate change. There was also growing interest in the EU as a security actor.

The China leg was to participate in the regular strategic dialogue with State Councillor Yang Jiechi. She also met the Minister of National Defence Chang Wanquan, PM Li Keqiang, EU business leaders, and gave a speech at Tsinghua university. The visit also helped prepare the annual EU-China summit scheduled for early June in Brussels.

 Building on President Xi’s Davos speech in which he emphasised China’s commitment to multilateralism, Mogherini was able to engage her Chinese interlocutors in a range of issues where the EU and China could work together.  These included trade where she pressed for conclusion of the bilateral investment negotiations; climate change – maintaining Paris commitments; UN sustainable development targets; urbanisation and innovation. Mogherini explained the on-going EU legislative proposal to change the EU’s anti-dumping procedures, which would impact on MES.

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Mogherini visits China and India as Asia reacts to Trump

18 April 2017

Federica Mogherini visits China and India this week as Asian leaders still struggle to come to terms with the Trump phenomenon. The EU foreign policy chief will be concentrating on measures to improve EU-China and EU-India relations but her interlocutors, and others in the region, will be focused more on Trump’s tweets, especially as tension is mounting between the US and North Korea.

Based on her own good ties to senior officials in Washington, Mogherini should be able to reassure Asian leaders that Trump’s rhetoric is one thing – his actual policy another. In the past week Trump has flip-flopped on major foreign policy issues including the relevance of NATO and how to handle China. It is no longer a currency manipulator but a valued partner in helping to tackle the DPRK nuclear issue.

Before and after his inauguration, President Trump had numerous phone calls and meetings with leaders and business people from the Asia Pacific region. During the campaign he worried many Asian leaders with his threats to leave TPP, raise tariffs on Chinese exports and make Japan and South Korea be responsible for their own defence. He also called into question the long-standing ‘One China’ policy by making an early phone call to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Business has also been rattled given the high uncertainty surrounding possible Trump policies in the trade and financial fields. More recently there are signs of a more moderate approach.

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How Trump can win the Nobel Peace Prize

7 April 2017

Sir, You report (April 3) that President Donald Trump “is prepared to tackle North Korea alone” but it should be painfully clear to everyone that there is no military solution to the problem of Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons. There is no certainty that the US knows the whereabouts of all North Korea’s launch sites, and any attack would lead to a devastating retaliatory strike on Seoul — a metropolis of 10m just 60km from South Korea’s border with the North.

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Carrie Lam new Hong Kong leader

28 March 2017

On 26 March Carrie Lam (59) was elected the new chief executive of Hong Kong. A former senior civil servant Lam was chosen by a 1200 strong electoral committee which includes 70 members of the territory's legislature, the Legislative Council - half of whom are directly elected. However, most of the Election Committee is chosen by business, professional or special interest groups.

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