ESADEgeo’s Daily Digest, 25/04/2017

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POLITICO, P. Taylor: France’s next big challenge: defense policy

  • French voters face a stark choice between isolationist policies or being proactive in shaping a European defense policy capable of responding more successfully to terrorism.
  • As much as France values its strategic autonomy, it can no longer go it alone.
  • If elected, Macron has a chance to embrace a comprehensive approach to security, including “hard security” and also diplomacy, aid, trade and institution-building.
  • Macron should give priority to developing a long-term defense program with Germany, open to other partners including Britain if it wishes. This effort should come as part of a grand bargain with Berlin to strengthen the Eurozone and implement long-overdue economic reforms.

South China Morning Post, K. Huang: Is Philippines offering Beijing an olive branch over South China Sea?

  • At the upcoming ASEAN summit, the Manila government is expected to bring up longstanding disputes with China in the South China Sea.
  • Philippines may take a moderate tone and focus on crafting a framework for a code of conduct to contain maritime tensions.
  • “We acknowledge that differences exist, but that does not mean the whole relationship should be affected by that, because we also have good economic relationships and people to people exchanges,” said Enrique Manalo, acting Foreign Minister of the Philippines.
  • A new bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea between the two nations is set to be launched in May.

Foreign Policy, R. Gramer: Japan wants to revive the Trans Pacific Partnership even without the U.S.

  • According to Japanese officials, Japan intends to carry forward TPP, essentially in its current form, even without the US. Talks will begin in May.
  • This would be a change of course for the government of Shinzo Abe, who had called the deal “meaningless” without the US.
  • Japan is seeking market access and countering the China-centric Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The Japanese government may also have prepared the ground with the Trump Administration in order to minimize chances of a backlash.
  • The TPP will have to be re-drafted, which may give way to cascading demands that could eventually undermine the effort.
  • Trump may be warming up to sprawling trade agreements after all, as suggested by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The Guardian, J. Borger: Donald Trump summons entire Senate to White House briefing on North Korea

  • The entire US Senate will go to the White House on Wednesday in order to be briefed by James Mattis and Rex Tillerson about the ongoing confrontation with North Korea.
  • Such meetings are not unprecedented but it is very rare for them to take place at the White House.
  • Senate aides were unsure of the purpose of using the White House, speculating it could be symbolic and intended to show Trump’s seriousness or to showcase an assertive president.
  • “The status quo in North Korea is unacceptable and the [Security] Council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Trump said at a Monday meeting with ambassadors from UN Security Council members.

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