Morning Consult Global: E.U. to Grant Ukraine and Moldova Candidate Status
 

Global

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June 23, 2022
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Chinese Attitudes on U.S. Trade Ties Turn Bearish 

The share of Chinese adults who forecast escalating economic tensions with the United States has risen to an all-time high of 65%, up 17 percentage points since February, according to Morning Consult’s U.S.-China Relations Barometer. Dig into the trends in the latest update from our head of geopolitical risk analysis, Jason McMann.

 

Top Stories

  • The European Union is expected to offer Ukraine and Moldova candidate status to join the bloc at their meeting in Brussels today, a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed as “like going into the light from the darkness.” Georgia, which was invaded by Russia in 2008, will also be granted “European perspective” but not candidate status as the bloc is concerned about Tblisi’s democratic backsliding. (The Guardian)
  • Russia has paid its bond obligations in rubles just ahead of the expiration of the grace period to resolve stuck payments on past due bonds. Due to sanctions limiting its access to the international settlement system, Russia is not able to use dollars to pay its debts even though it both wants to and has the currency, and Moscow argues it is being forced into default and that its ruble-denominated payments comply with financial rules. (Bloomberg)
  • U.S. President Joe Biden called on G-7 leaders to find ways to “stabilize global energy markets” at their meeting this weekend while also keeping the pressure on Russia amid high inflation and worrying economic portends globally. (Financial Times) Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said he did not intend to cause a recession while trying to tame inflation rates through interest rate hikes, but that recession in the United States was “certainly a possibility” and avoiding one while lowering inflation would be “very challenging.” (The New York Times)
  • China is hosting the 14th BRICS Summit — the forum for leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — via videoconference in what analysts expect will be a major showcase for China’s own model of governance and economic development. Beijing has long criticized Western democracy as chaotic and is expected to use the backdrop of war, food crises and poor economic prospects to underline its points at the meeting. (Al Jazeera)
 

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

 

What Else You Need To Know

Multilateral
 

Commonwealth heads expected to endorse climate charter

Wanjohi Kabukuru, The Associated Press 

Leaders of Commonwealth nations are expected to call for increased climate action at a meeting in Rwanda this week, ahead of the United Nations climate change summit in the seaside resort of Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt later this year.

 

Australia and Canada to join US-ROK-Japan missile detection drills: Sources

Chaewon Chung, NK News 

Participants will publicize biennial Pacific Dragon exercises for the first time since 2016, sources tell NK News.

 

G7 pledges to counter ‘state-driven censorship’ and help protect journalists

Owen Churchill, South China Morning Post 

‘Around the world, journalists face harassment and violence for their work, and press freedom is being restricted online and offline,’ say G7 media ministers.

 

China can expect a ‘harder line’ from G7, Nato countries at summits

Kinling Lo, South China Morning Post 

US officials predict Beijing will be named for the first time in the North Atlantic alliance’s policy framework.

 
Asia-Pacific
 

She was loved for standing up to China. She may die in jail

Primrose Riordan and Chan Ho-him, Financial Times 

The story of Claudia Mo is also that of Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong.

 

Laos faces public backlash as economy teeters toward default

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Nikkei Asia 

Debt crisis triggers rare anger against communist leaders on social media.

 

UN expert calls for Myanmar action as death toll tops 2,000 | Conflict News

Al Jazeera 

Tom Andrews says scale of the crisis triggered by the February 2021 coup demands countries take more meaningful action to end the violence.

 

At Shanghai congress, all eyes on fate of Xi’s close ally Li Qiang

Noriyuki Doi, Nikkei Asia 

COVID lockdown in Chinese economic hub erodes confidence in former rising star.

 

Nepal Backs Away From US State Partnership Program

P.K. Balachandran, The Diplomat 

Suspicious about the military content and wary of antagonizing China, Nepal rejects a U.S. disaster mitigation program.  

 
Europe
 

Ukrainian military and civilian holdouts brace for Russian onslaught

Steve Hendrix and Serhii Korolchuk, The Washington Post 

With Russian forces massed just across the river, Valentina Danko leaned over a pool of candlelight and wrote letters to her children. They had left months ago, but she chose to stay in her hometown and has lived in a dark school basement for 116 days.

 

Russian hackers targeting U.S., other Ukraine allies

Maggie Miller, Politico 

The hackers successfully infiltrated networks in nearly 30 percent of the attempts.

 

Macron says parties must cooperate after he loses control of parliament

Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian 

France’s president seeks to form a working majority despite Le Pen’s far-right party being main opposition.

 

Nato dispute: Senior British ministers in Turkey on charm offensive

Ragip Soylu, Middle East Eye 

Defence and foreign ministers looking to make progress on Finland’s Nato bid, while Sweden case seen as more complicated.

 

Olaf Scholz: NATO partners can ′rely on Germany′ 

Deutsche Welle 

In a speech ahead of key summits, the German chancellor has told parliament that “we will defend every square meter of NATO territory.” He also described a partnership with Russia under Vladimir Putin as “unimaginable.”

 

Cracks Emerge in U.K. System for Hosting Ukrainian Refugees

Joanna Sugden and Olha Fokaf, The Wall Street Journal 

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are staying in British homes, but as war drags on reality for both guests and hosts is setting in.

 

Britain’s Inflation Crisis Deepens, Fueling Strike Action

Elissa Miolene and Paul Hannon, The Wall Street Journal 

U.K. records the sharpest rise in prices among large, rich countries in May, with little respite in sight for hard-pressed workers.

 

Brexit: unilateral action on NI protocol ‘not conducive’ to trade deal, warns US

Lisa O’Carroll and Julian Borger, The Guardian 

Exclusive: officials’ comments put paid to idea displeasure with UK is limited to Irish caucus on Capitol Hill.

 
Latin America
 

Chile meets controversy in remaking the role of first lady

The Associated Press 

Chile’s new left-leaning government is doing away with the office of the first lady in an effort to transform a role that both the president and his partner have characterized as archaic.

 
Middle East and Africa
 

Jacob Zuma barred South Africa spy agency from investigating Guptas, inquiry concludes

Joseph Cotterill, Financial Times 

Final report into biggest scandal of post-apartheid era finds both former and current presidents at fault.

 

Lebanese lenders claim IMF plan to seize assets breaks the law

Jonathan Wheatley and Raya Jalabi, Financial Times 

Proposal to seize assets labeled unlawful and unconstitutional.

 

In South Africa’s Farmgate Scandal, a Theft and Then a Silence

Tileni Mongudhi and John Eligon, The New York Times 

Namibian investigators tracing money transfers by men suspected of stealing wads of cash from President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa say their cross-border calls for help went unanswered.

 

How Iran Tapped International Banks to Keep Its Economy Afloat

Ian Talley, The Wall Street Journal 

Global financial institutions handle transactions for Iran’s sanctioned companies, enabling Tehran to resist U.S. pressure, documents show.

 

Burkina Faso to create military zones to fight jihadi rebels

Arsene Kabore and Sam Mednick, The Associated Press

Burkina Faso’s ruling junta says it will create two military zones where civilians must vacate their homes to allow the army to battle jihadi rebels without any hindrances.

 

Iran’s Raisi pushes regional diplomacy as nuclear tensions rise

Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera 

Tehran has seen a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months, hosting three presidents in June alone.

 
North America
 

State, USAID refuse to cooperate on Afghanistan audits, watchdog says

Lara Seligman, Politico

Inspector General John Sopko fired off a letter to Ron Klain and others, blaming State and USAID for “illegal obstruction” of his office’s investigation.

 

Los Angeles may ban new gas stations to help combat climate emergency

Dani Anguiano, The Guardian 

The city famous for its car culture could quit building fossil fuel infrastructure – and it would be the largest city to do so yet.

 
Opinions and Perspectives
 

Analysis: What Turkey Wants to Let Finland and Sweden Into NATO

Steven Erlanger, The New York Times 

Finnish and Swedish hopes of being accepted as applicants by next week’s NATO summit meeting have been dashed by a Turkish government that says it is in no hurry.

 

Russia’s gas squeeze: a moment of truth for Europe

The Editorial Board, Financial Times 

EU countries are turning back to coal but they should be speeding up the transition to renewables.

 

Biden Should Cut Off the Gas Revenues That Fund Myanmar’s Junta

Thinzar Shunlei Yi, The New York Times 

The United States has rightfully condemned the junta and put in place some punitive measures. But Washington has refrained from taking a simple step that would weaken the generals’ ability to make war on their own people: imposing sanctions on Myanmar’s lucrative gas revenues.

 

Why the U.S. and China Aren’t Decoupling So Fast

Michael Hirsh, Foreign Policy 

Decoupling is all the rage. But a strong dollar and long-term corporate ties make the relationship as co-dependent as ever.

 

Is there any way out of Israel’s neverending election cycle?

Hadas Gold, CNN 

A fifth round of elections in less than four years will likely be held sometime in the fall. And despite the fact that Netanyahu is in the midst of witness testimonies in an ongoing corruption trial, he could be back in power in a matter of months.

 
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