ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 08/01/2019

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The Guardian / Kim Jong-un arrives in China for meeting with Xi Jinping

  • North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un has arrived in China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping for a three-day visit seemingly aimed at coordinating an approach in advance of a second summit with US President Donald Trump that could happen early this year.
  • After not meeting the Chinese President for more than six years after his rise to power, this will be Kim’s fourth meeting with Xi since March 2018.
  • Harry J. Kazianis, director of defense studies at the US-based Centre for the National Interest: “Kim is eager to remind the Trump administration that he does have diplomatic and economic options besides what Washington and Seoul can offer. In fact, during his New Year’s Days speech Kim’s ‘new way’ that he referred to may well have been a veiled threat to move closer to Beijing. That should make America quite concerned.”
  • Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies: “Both Xi and Kim see value in coordinating their positions in advance of Trump-Kim summits. That appears to be a pattern. Kim also seeks Beijing’s help in getting international sanctions eased.”
  • The Guardian – Lily Kuo / ‘Most extraordinary millennial’ – why does China focus on Kim Jong-un’s age?

Financial Times – Edward Luce / The fading of the US multinational lobby

  • It used to be said that what was good for General Motors was good for America. Donald Trump’s administration believes that what is bad for Apple is bad for China. Which means it is good for America.
  • Trump’s business friends tend to be property developers, private equity billionaires, casino magnates, and heads of family-owned companies. Many are based in middle America and cater to a purely domestic market. They are little affected by the tariff wars Trump has unleashed.
  • In the coming weeks, Trump may escalate his trade war with China. His goal is to force the repatriation of production, such as that of iPhones. Hurting S&P 500 companies, which derive almost half of their revenues from overseas, is a price Trump seems willing to pay.
  • The irony is that Trump still treats the Dow Jones index as a barometer of success. In reality, it reflects far less of the US business picture than it used to.

Deutsche Welle / Trump administration downgrades EU mission to US

  • The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the EU’s delegation to the US, from the level of nation state (which it obtained in 2016) to the level of international organization. The demotion happened at the end of last year without notice.
  • After discovering the downgrade, EU diplomats in Washington reached out to the State Department. “They have told us that they forgot to notify us and that this is a decision they have taken because that is apparently what the chief of protocol thinks is the proper thing to do,” said a Washington-based diplomat of an EU member state.
  • However, the diplomat believes that “this is clearly not simply a protocol issue, but this is something that has a very obvious political motive.” According to the official, the EU is yet to receive a formal notification in writing.

Politico – Jan Cienski / Poland’s transformation is a story worth telling

  • Looking at the numbers, there isn’t much question that the transformation that began in 1989 has been the best time in Poland’s 1,000-year history. However, that isn’t a story that the current Law and Justice party government is keen to tell.
  • Since emerging from economic freefall in 1992, Poland has not seen a recession. That gives it the best track record of any current European country, and one of the best records of any country ever. Now the unemployment rate is lower than at any time since 1989 — at 5.7 percent.
  • Polish workers have also become enormously more productive. In 1993, the average Polish worker generated $10 of GDP per hour worked, about a quarter of the output of his German counterpart. Two decades later, the average Pole was generating $29, almost half of the output of an average German.
  • Once it joined the EU in 2004, Poland benefited from a flood of EU structural funds, in some sense the equivalent of the post-war reconstruction money it had missed out on because of the onset of the Cold War.

European Council on Foreign Relations – Mark Leonard & Jeremy Shapiro / Top ten foreign policy trends in 2019

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.

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