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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 15/09/2020

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 15/09/2020

Foreign Policy – Jack Detsch / Japan’s Suga will struggle to pull off Abe’s defense transformation

  • Yoshihide Suga, the low-key son of a farmer who will be named Japan’s next prime minister on Wednesday, is in many ways a policy clone of recently resigned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
  • Suga, who overcame two favored party rivals to unexpectedly grab the top of the greasy pole, lacks the political pedigree or hobnobbing skills that made Abe a fixture on the international political scene.
  • But he also lacks Abe’s compulsion to break the constraints of Japan’s post-war defense posture, and is additionally hemmed in by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic damage it’s wrought.
  • Suga is likely to maintain a domestic focus, especially when it comes to extending Abe’s recipe for goosing the economy, but experts expect he will soon be challenged by North Korea, likely with cyberintrusions, and a resurgent China, which has confronted Japan repeatedly in recent years over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
  • Financial Times – Robin Harding / Japan after Abe: Suga aims to consolidate power

South China Morning Post – Stuart Lau / China pledges expanded trade with EU but stops short on market access concessions

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged to expand agri-food imports from the European Union and cooperate on climate change – but he stopped short of making key concessions on the thorny issue of market access and hit back hard at EU criticism of human rights in China.
  • In a press conference after the virtual meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen could hardly conceal her disappointment – mirroring the bloc’s harder stance towards China on a range of issues. “I want to caution that a lot – a lot – still remains to be done,” she said, citing market access and sustainability.
  • “With market access, it is not a question of meeting halfway, it is a question of rebalancing the asymmetry and a question of openness of our respective markets,” she said. “China has to convince us that it is worth having an investment agreement.”
  • Xi agreed to “expedite” treaty talks to get a deal completed on time and Von der Leyen confirmed that progress had been made on several other fronts, including state subsidies and state-owned enterprises.
  • Euractiv – Alexandra Brzozowski / EU, China make progress on investment deal despite human rights tensions

The Guardian – Jessica Elgot and Heather Stewart / Brexit: internal market bill passes by 77 votes amid Tory party tension

  • Conservative MPs fired a warning shot at Boris Johnson’s conduct of the Brexit process on Monday night, as former cabinet ministers and attorney generals withheld support for a controversial bill which will break international law.
  • Among those who refused to support the bill on Monday were a slew of senior Conservatives, select committee chairs and QCs – most notably the former chancellor Sajid Javid and ex-attorney generals Sir Geoffrey Cox and Jeremy Wright.
  • Theresa May was in South Korea on a planned invitation for the World Knowledge Forum but has made clear she was unhappy at the bill’s implications. In total 30 Tory MPs abstained and two – Sir Roger Gale and Andrew Percy – voted against.
  • However, Johnson’s sizeable majority meant the UK internal market bill passed with a comfortable cushion of 77 votes on Monday night, by 340 votes to 263. The real showdown is now set to be next week’s vote on an amendment by Bob Neill, the Conservative chair of the justice select committee.
  • Politico – Emilio Casalicchio / The UK’s big Brexit bust-up, explained

The New York Times – Peter Baker, Lisa Friedman and Thomas Kaplan / As Trump again rejects science, Biden calls him a ‘climate arsonist’

  • With wildfires raging across the West, climate change took center stage in the race for the White House on Monday as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called President Trump a “climate arsonist” while the president said that “I don’t think science knows” what is actually happening.
  • A day of dueling appearances laid out the stark differences between the two candidates, an incumbent president who has long scorned climate change as a hoax and rolled back environmental regulations and a challenger who has called for an aggressive campaign to curb the greenhouse gases blamed for increasingly extreme weather.
  • Mr. Trump flew to California after weeks of public silence about the flames that have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, wiped out communities and forests, burned millions of acres, shrouded the region in smoke and left at least 27 people dead.
  • Mr. Biden, for his part, assailed Mr. Trump’s record on the climate, asserting that the president’s inaction and denial had fed destruction, citing not just the current emergency on the West Coast but flooding in the Midwest and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.
  • Foreign Affairs – Jeff D. Colgan / The climate case against decoupling

Today’s story:

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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