POLITICO—C. Kroet / Manuel Valls to back Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche in parliament
- Former French PM Manuel Valls has announced his intention to join Macron’s En Marche (renamed as “En Marche la République”) in the legislative elections.
- Valls: “The Socialist party is dead”.
- The party will announce on Thursday the names of its 577 candidates that it will field in the parliamentary elections.
Financial Times—S. Wagstyl, A. Beesley & D. Robinson / Merkel rules out eased Eurozone spending rules to help Macron
- German Chancellor Angela Markel has dismissed the idea of relaxing Eurozone rules in order to help Macron.
- Merkel: “German support cannot replace French policymaking […] I don’t see why — as a priority — we should change our policy.”
- However, Germany’s socialist Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, called for ending “financial policy orthodoxy”, adding that “whoever launches reforms [as Mr Macron plans] should not at the same time be forced into strict fiscal austerity.”
- No major policy changes by the German government are expected before elections in September, and until then the focus will be on Macron’s domestic reform agenda, whose success depends on his ability to form a stable government.
Foreign Affairs—D. Kim / What the South Korean Election means for Trump
- Ahead of today’s South Korean Presidential election, polls have shown Moon Jae-in of the progressive Democratic Party to hold a comfortable lead.
- After Trump’s recent remarks that Seoul should pay for a U.S. anti-ballistic missile system (called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD) recently deployed in South Korea, many voters perceive that Washington has bullied Seoul into accepting THAAD and then shoved the bill at them. This may increase the progressives’ chances in the election.
- A win by the progressive candidate could spell turbulent times for the partnership, because of completely divergent views on how to deal with Pyongyang. If a conservative candidate won, Trump’s “maximum pressure and engagement” approach would be expected to prevail.
- The U.S. administration needs a grand design and clear strategy that resolves the North Korean nuclear-missile problem in the context of intertwined regional challenges.
South China Morning Post—M. J. Valencia / On the South China Sea, the US and Asean are increasingly on different pages
- Differences between the U.S. and Asean regarding the South China Sea are becoming more and more visible, although they keep being ignored by some analysts.
- Southeast Asian claimants – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam – want to avoid getting caught up in a China-U.S. struggle for preeminence and be forced to choose sides, which could worsen the current climate of domestic instability in those countries.
- The U.S. government argues that Chinese interference with probes by U.S. military vessels violates freedom of navigation. However, these are two different things, and Asean countries are not worried that China is actually seeking to undermine freedom of navigation in the region.
- If the U.S. is serious about maintaining a rules-based order in the South China Sea, it should ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.