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.
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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.
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CFR – Daily news brief Jan. 12, 2023

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Putin Replaces Russia’s Top General in Ukraine After Battlefield Setbacks

Russia’s highest-ranking military officer, General Valery Gerasimov, was promoted to lead the country’s forces (FT) in Ukraine, replacing General Sergey Surovikin. Since Surovikin was appointed three months ago (CBS), Russia has lost control of the southern town of Kherson and struggled to provide basic equipment to the hundreds of thousands of troops it started conscripting in September. Surovikin has also faced criticism for housing hundreds of troops in a building that was bombed by Ukraine. He will now serve as one of Gerasimov’s deputies.
Meanwhile, tensions have reportedly flared between Russia’s military and its Wagner Group of mercenaries over which forces deserve credit for alleged territorial gains in the town of Soledar. An unnamed source told the Financial Times that Surovikin’s demotion could be linked to the Wagner Group’s apparent successes.
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Jan. 10, 2023

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Leaders of U.S., Canada, Mexico Meet 

U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are meeting in Mexico City (AP) for the North American Leaders’ Summit. Their discussions are expected to produce agreements (Reuters) on migration, semiconductors, climate change, and antidrug cooperation.
In a meeting between López Obrador and Biden yesterday, the two presidents pledged to step up cooperation (Reuters) on curbing fentanyl trafficking to the United States. Meanwhile, U.S. business leaders have voiced concern over López Obrador’s policies favoring state control in the economy. U.S.-Mexico trade increased by 19 percent (WaPo) in the first eleven months of 2022 as U.S. companies moved business away from China.
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Counci on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Jan. 9, 2023

Daily News BriefJanuary 9, 2023
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Bolsonaro Supporters Attack Government Buildings in Brazil

Brazilian police arrested at least three hundred people after thousands of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed and vandalized (AP) Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace yesterday in scenes reminiscent of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The rioters protested the results of last year’s presidential election, which Bolsonaro lost to left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro has for years pushed false claims about the credibility of Brazil’s election system, and many of his supporters say the 2022 election was stolen from him.
Multiple world leaders condemned the events (NYT) and voiced support for Lula, who said there was “incompetence or bad faith” on behalf of police who allowed the events to unfold. Bolsonaro, believed to be in Florida, tweeted a condemnation (NYT) of the attack several hours after it began.
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily News Brief Jan. 3, 2023

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IMF Director Warns One-Third of World Could Face Recession This Year

For most of the global economy, 2023 will be “tougher than the year we leave behind,” International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a CBS interview. She said the economies of the United States, China, and the European Union (EU) are all slowing down. While Georgieva said the United States “may avoid a recession,” the Wall Street Journal found that more than two-thirds of economists at twenty-three large financial institutions are projecting a U.S. recession this year. Georgieva also said that the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 will continue to strain the economies of the EU and China, respectively. She added that countries should work to secure their supply chains but warned that dividing the global economy into U.S. and Chinese blocs could “chop $1.5 trillion” from global gross domestic product (GDP) each year. 
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Dec. 29, 2022

Editor’s note: There will be no Daily Brief until Tuesday, January 3, in observance of New Year’s Day.
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Russia Rejects Ukraine’s Peace Conditions, Bombards Its Power Grid

Russia fired nearly seventy missiles (WaPo) at Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities today in what appeared to be one of its biggest strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid. Ukraine’s military said it shot down fifty-four of the missiles. The attack came hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s rejection (Al Jazeera) of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s conditions for peace. 
In recent weeks, Zelenskyy has promoted a peace plan in which Russia would face a war crimes tribunal and give up occupied territories in eastern Ukraine. A Kremlin spokesperson yesterday rejected the possibility (NYT) of ceding the territories, while Lavrov said today that Kyiv’s plans to drive Russia out of eastern Ukraine were an “illusion.” 
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily News Brief Dec. 27, 2022

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China Makes Sweeping Changes to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

From January 8, China will no longer require (Nikkei) passengers to undergo mandatory testing and quarantines upon arrival and will relax limits on the number of flights entering the country, authorities announced yesterday. The policy shift follows the easing (NYT) of domestic pandemic restrictions in the wake of mass protests over the country’s harsh zero-COVID strategy.
Beijing also said that citizens will regain permission to go abroad “in an orderly manner” after almost three years of what was effectively a ban on nonessential travel. Amid the reopening, COVID-19 has strained health-care facilities across the country and Beijing has limited official reporting on the number of cases and deaths. In response, Japan announced that it will require negative tests upon arrival (SCMP) from travelers from mainland China.
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Council on Foreign relations – Daily News Brief Dec. 21 2022

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Zelenskyy Visits Washington in First Foreign Trip Since Russia’s Invasion

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden (WaPo) and address Congress today in his first trip outside of Ukraine since Russia invaded in February. During the meeting, Biden is expected to announce a $2 billion military aid package for Ukraine that will reportedly include the Patriot missile system, the most advanced air defense system in the U.S. arsenal.
Zelenskyy’s visit comes as U.S. lawmakers consider a spending package (NYT) that includes $45 billion in emergency and economic aid to Ukraine. If approved, it would bring the total U.S. aid to Ukraine to more than $100 billion. Some lawmakers from the Republican Party, which will soon take control of the House of Representatives, have objected to the new funding. 
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Council on Foreign relations – Daily news brief Dec. 19, 2022

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Countries Reach Landmark Deal on Protecting Biodiversity

At a UN biodiversity summit in Canada, nearly two hundred countries agreed to extend protected status (AP) to more than 30 percent of the world’s land and water by 2030, a goal known as 30×30. Currently, about 17 percent of all land and 10 percent of marine areas are protected. 
China held the presidency of the conference and pushed for the final deal (The Guardian) despite objections from African countries that sought a new fund for biodiversity. The deal calls on rich countries to provide $20 billion per year by 2025 and $30 billion per year by the end of the decade to prevent biodiversity loss in poor countries. It also mandates reform of $500 billion in environmentally damaging subsidies in areas such as food and fuel and emphasizes that Indigenous communities should lead conservation efforts.

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Council on Foreign relations – Daily news brief Nov. 28, 2022

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Outrage Over COVID-19 Restrictions Prompts Rare Protests in China

Tens of thousands of people joined demonstrations (FT) in at least ten cities across China over the weekend, at times clashing with security forces. In addition to objecting to harsh restrictions under the country’s zero-COVID policy, many protesters denounced limitations on freedom of speech and some called for Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down (NYT).  The protests were sparked by a deadly fire in a locked-down area of the Xinjiang region on Friday. Demonstrators marched in urban centers and at universities, and today police patrolled areas of Beijing and Shanghai (Reuters) where the demonstrations occurred. Authorities eased some pandemic restrictions (AP) in Beijing and Guangzhou today, but did not mention the demonstrations. 

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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief, Nov. 21, 2022

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COP27 Ends With Landmark Deal on Loss and Damage

The final deal of this year’s UN climate conference, COP27, included two historic firsts (Bloomberg): an agreement to establish a fund to help poor countries cope with climate damages, and a call for multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to implement reforms ensuring that more of their funding addresses the climate crisis. The details of the loss and damage fund were left for future talks. Meanwhile, the communiqué left out proposed text on phasing down use of all fossil fuels, mentioning only coal. Negotiators were given an unusually short period of time to review the draft text on several major aspects of the communiqué, the Financial Times reported. After some delegates criticized the lack of transparency in negotiations, UN climate chief Simon Steill said he would review the summit process before next year’s conference to make it “as effective as possible.” 
“The loss and damage deal agreed is a positive step, but it risks becoming a ‘fund for the end of the world’ if countries don’t move faster to slash emissions,” the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Manuel Pulgar Vidal tells the New York Times. “[The loss and damage agreement] tees up a big fight for next year’s Cop28 over who pays into and who benefits from the fund. Rich countries are pushing for China to chip in and finance to be targeted at ‘vulnerable’ countries,” Climate Home News’ Megan Darby, Joe Lo, and Chloé Farand write. This Backgrounder looks at the successes and failures of global climate agreements.
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily newsbrief Nov. 15, 2022

November 15, 2022
Editor’s note: For the duration of the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties (COP27), the Daily News Brief will include a special section dedicated to developments at the climate conference.
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G20 Summit Focuses on Ukraine War

A draft communiqué from today’s Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Bali, Indonesia, said “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine” and its consequences for the world economy, the Financial Times reported. The draft also denounced using or threatening to use nuclear weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the summit, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video address.  Deals on climate policy and funding were also announced, with the U.S. and Indonesian presidents unveiling a $20 billion plan (Bloomberg) to move Indonesia away from coal power. Ahead of the summit, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Indonesia said they will cooperate on forest preservation (Reuters). The countries collectively contain more than half the world’s tropical rain forests.
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Nov. 14, 2022

Editor’s note: For the duration of the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties (COP27), the Daily News Brief will include a special section dedicated to developments at the climate conference.
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Biden, Xi Hold First In-Person Meeting

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled an interest in improving cooperation (Nikkei) on global issues during their first in-person meeting of Biden’s presidency. The meeting lasted three hours, and they also discussed policy toward Taiwan (NYT), China’s human rights record, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a White House readout. The readout said Biden told Xi that U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed, and that Washington objects to Beijing’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive reactions” toward the island. The leaders spoke in Bali, Indonesia, where they will attend the Group of Twenty (G20) summit this week. Their meeting comes amid tensions related to U.S. restrictions on China’s chip sector and Chinese military drills that followed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.
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Council on Foreign Relations – The World This Week October 21, 2022

The New Nuclear Era, Richard Haass

A Russian nuclear missile during the military parade in Moscow’s Red Square in 2020, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesThe world is on the cusp of a new era where nuclear weapons are likely to play a more prominent role. Read more on
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Oct. 21, 2022

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Truss’s Departure Kicks Off Another UK Leadership Contest

Lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party in the United Kingdom (UK) will hold a preliminary vote (FT) on Monday to choose candidates to succeed Liz Truss, who announced her resignation yesterday. Party members will then choose from the final two candidates in an online poll next Friday. The victor will become the UK’s fourth prime minister in four years and take the helm of a country rattled by inflation and market turmoil under Truss’s six week tenure. Ex–finance minister Rishi Sunak, who opposed Truss’s controversial tax cuts, is expected to stand for the role. Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, an immigration hard-liner, and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson could also join (The Economist) the race. Markets have calmed after Truss’s second finance minister reversed her budgetary plans, but the Conservative Party still trails the opposition Labour Party by around 30 percent in opinion polls.
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