CFR – Daily news brief Jan. 13, 2023

Editor’s note: There will be no Daily Brief on Monday, January 16, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Top of the Agenda

Japan’s Kishida Visits White House Amid Historic Military Buildup at Home

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and U.S. President Joe Biden will meet today (WaPo) in Washington, with Biden expected to praise Japan’s plans to dramatically boost its defense spending. Their meeting is expected to focus on the war in Ukraine, Chinese military aggression, the North Korean nuclear threat, and boosting security cooperation. Ahead of the visit, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told Nikkei that Washington is willing to help Tokyo gain the ability to launch missile attacks on enemy territory.
The two leaders are also expected to discuss U.S. export controls (Reuters) targeting China’s semiconductor sector. Tokyo supports the controls but has not matched them. Kishida’s visit caps off a weeklong tour of Western partner countries ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) summit that Japan will host in May.

“[Russian] President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s growing pressure on Taiwan have reminded leaders in Tokyo and Washington that even carefully crafted deterrence efforts can fail, and the consequences can be dire. A more robust set of responses in the face of new uncertainty has become necessary,” the American Enterprise Institute’s Zack Cooper and Eric Sayers write for War on the Rocks. “Joint operational planning between the US and Japan, previously something that took place under the cover of joint exercises, is now emerging into the open,” Stanford University’s Daniel C. Sneider writes for the Oriental Economist.
CFR’s Sheila A. Smith previews today’s summit on The World Next Week podcast. 
Pacific Rim

Axios: New U.S. Controls on Investment in China Will Likely Exclude Biotech, Batteries. The controls will focus mainly on quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and semiconductors, Axios reported
South and Central Asia

India Sets Green Hydrogen Use Targets

India’s newly released green energy policy aims to generate demand (Reuters) for green hydrogen, or hydrogen fuel made using renewable energy, by creating consumption targets for several sectors. Its state-run shipping company must operate at least two ships using green hydrogen by 2027 and new steel plants must be capable of operating using the fuel.

Pakistan/UAE: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will provide a $1 billion loan (Bloomberg) to Pakistan and extend the terms of a previous $2 billion loan, Pakistan’s prime minister’s office said. The new assistance comes as Pakistan remains beset by an economic crisis. 
Middle East and North Africa

CIA Chief Makes Surprise Visit to Libya. CIA Director William Burns arrived in Libya yesterday (Al-Monitor), becoming the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit the country so far. His meetings with Libya’s top officials are expected to focus on counterterrorism, oil and gas, and relations with Russia and the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group. 

Iran/Syria/Turkey: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian welcomed the possibility (Al Jazeera) of a rapprochement between the Syrian government and Turkey, which has backed rebel fighters in Syria’s north.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Malawi’s Cholera Death Toll Rises to 750.To prevent the further spread of the disease, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda yesterday ordered the closure (AP) of several businesses and restricted the sale of precooked foods.  Nigeria: More than seventy-one million Nigerians under the age of thirty-four have registered to vote (Bloomberg) in next month’s general elections, according to Nigeria’s election commission.
For the Africa in Transition blog, CFR’s Michelle Gavin lays out the stakes of Nigeria’s elections

Sweden Discovers Europe’s Largest Deposit of Rare Earth Minerals. Sweden’s state-owned mining company said it found over a million tons (WaPo) of the minerals, used in products such as smartphones and electric vehicles. They could take around a decade to hit the market. 

Czech Republic: Voters go to the polls today (The Guardian) in the first round of an eight-way election to choose the successor to President Miloš Zeman, who has reached the end of his two-term limit.

Brazilian Police Find Draft Decree to Overturn Election in Home of Ex-minister

During a probe of security failures related to Brazil’s January 8 capitol riot, police searching the home of former Justice Minister Anderson Torres found a draft decree (CNN) that would have allowed the military to overturn the October election that former President Jair Bolsonaro lost. Torres tweeted that he likely planned to throw it away. This photo essay shows the extent of damages from the riot

Bolivia: Protesters outside of the city of Santa Cruz are blocking a major highway (AP) to demand the release of Governor Luis Fernando Camacho, the country’s most prominent opposition leader. Camacho was detained in December on terrorism charges.
United States

Attorney General Appoints Special Counsel for Biden Documents Case. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed (WaPo) top Justice Department official Robert K. Hur to serve as special counsel in the investigation of classified documents found in President Biden’s home and former office.
Friday Editor’s Pick

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University presents King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” [PDF].
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