Financial Times – Charles Clover & Edward White / China’s navy to conduct live-fire drills in Taiwan Strait
- China’s navy announced it would hold live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait next Wednesday. They will be the first naval manoeuvres by China in the sensitive waters since 2015.
- The Chinese defence ministry announcement followed a large exercise by the People’s Liberation Army Navy on Thursday – billed by state media as the largest Chinese naval drill ever – and a speech by Xi Jinping, China’s president, announcing the need for China to build the world’s leading naval force.
- In a step that angered Beijing, Taiwan on April 9 announced the US had agreed to grant it a licence to buy sensitive technology so it could build its own submarines. That came just weeks after Trump signed new legislation promoting higher level visits between Taiwan and the US.
- Some commentators have also connected the timing of the Taiwan Strait exercises next week to increasing tension over Syria, and Chinese support for Russia.
The Guardian – Martin Farrer / Trump says he would rejoin TPP if offered better terms than Obama
- US President Donald Trump has said he would lead the US back into the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact – but only if he was offered a better deal than that negotiated by the Obama administration.
- “We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!” tweeted Trump.
- Japan’s trade minister, Taro Aso, said he expected Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump to discuss the TPP at their summit meeting next week.
Foreign Policy – Derek Chollet & Ben Fishman / Pompeo has been undermining the State Department since the Benghazi investigation
- Secretary-Designate Mike Pompeo was one of the standouts on the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
- The inquiry did not fundamentally change the public’s understanding of the tragedy. Yet by persistently attacking the State Department and questioning its mission, the committee undermined the legitimacy of the institution and the competence of its personnel.
- Although Pompeo’s views on Benghazi don’t hold up to scrutiny, their legacy persists. For diplomats on the front lines, their broader lesson is to shy away from risk altogether. Further, the partisan investigation set the stage for the recent hollowing out of the State Department, with budgets slashed, senior positions unfilled, and experienced ambassadors racing to retire.
- The good news is Pompeo has studied State’s bureaucracy and understands the challenges diplomats face abroad. And now that he has some experience as CIA director, perhaps he has new appreciation for the importance of strong diplomacy.
Euractiv – Florence Schulz / Energy transition goals lack ambition, local projects lead the way, study suggests
- Energy transition in Europe is proceeding too slowly and Brussels is lacking ambition to fulfil the requirements of the Paris Agreement – those are the conclusions of the recently published “Energy Atlas” of the German Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, affiliated with the German Green Party.
- The European Commissions’ Clean Energy Package identifies two key issues: a binding EU target for renewable energy use of at least 27% and energy efficiency improvement of 30% by 2030.
- “These goals are not ambitious enough, you cannot not reach them”, says Dörte Fouquet, one of the authors of the study. The Parliament seems to agree with this position, and has taken up the cause to strike out at 35% respectively in the negotiations with the Council.
- Given the lack of ambition in Brussels seen by Fouquet, she, like many other experts, sees the greatest potential for a successful energy transition in the hands of local communities. Nevertheless, excessive network access fees and administrative barriers would still have to be removed.
The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.