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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 10/09/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 10/09/2021

Financial Times – Demetri Sevastopulo / Joe Biden calls Xi Jinping in bid to reset strained relations

  • Joe Biden has held his second call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since becoming president in an effort to break an impasse in the Sino-US relationship after previous top-level meetings produced little progress.
  • The White House said the two leaders had a “broad, strategic discussion” and that Biden had “underscored the United States’ enduring interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world”.
  • China’s foreign ministry said the talks were candid, and quoted Xi as saying that US policies towards Beijing were responsible for “serious difficulties” in relations. It was the first time the two presidents have spoken since February.
  • Biden and Xi had a different kind of interaction during their call partly because they had spent time together, the official said. Biden visited China in 2011 when he was vice-president and hosted Xi, who was also vice-president, in the US the following year.
  • South China Morning Post – Teddy Ng / US-China relations: Leadership call aims to stop competition from becoming conflict

Foreign Policy – Robbie Gramer and Jack Detsch / North Korea held a midnight military parade and no one is sure what to make of it

  • Horses, police dogs, and a bunch of dudes in bright red suits and gas masks: those were the stars of the show at North Korea’s midnight military parade early Thursday to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding.
  • As usual, North Korea experts in the outside world have few clues—beyond heavily curated state propaganda—to read into what the parade means and what type of signals Pyongyang could be sending.
  • First, North Korea didn’t display any ballistic missiles at the parade. And North Korean leader Kim Jong Un didn’t give a speech. Does that mean anything? Depends on who you ask. Some analysts saw this as an olive branch to the outside world; last year, North Korea displayed what is believed to be one of the world’s biggest ballistic missiles at a military parade.
  • Second, Kim isn’t looking so fat anymore.Pictures from the parade show whatever diet the formerly way-pudgier ruler is on seems to be working. 
  • The Washington Post – Michelle Ye Hee Lee / What’s happening inside North Korea? Since the pandemic, the window has slammed shut

The Guardian / Afghanistan flight carrying more than 100 foreign passengers lands in Doha

  • A flight carrying more than 100 international passengers out of Kabul has landed in Doha, the first such civilian flight since the chaotic evacuation of 124,000 foreigners and at-risk Afghans sparked by the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country.
  • About 113 people were aboard the flight to Doha operated by state-owned Qatar Airways, officials said. The passengers included US, British, Canadian, Ukrainian, Dutch and German citizens.
  • Qatari special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani described Thursday’s flight as a regular one and not an evacuation, and said there would be another flight on Friday. In Doha, the passengers will initially stay in a compound hosting Afghan and other evacuees.
  • US state department spokesperson Ned Price said 10 US citizens and 11 permanent residents were on the flight, out of “the 39 we invited”. Canada said 43 of its citizens were on the plane, while the UK and the Netherlands each had 13 on board.
  • Euractiv / First commercial flight takes off Kabul as UN accuses Taliban of harassment

Politico – Charlie Duxbury / Norwegian election set to hand big oil a win

  • Norway’s Green Party wanted next week’s general election to be about shutting down the country’s trillion-dollar oil industry. It’s not looking like a winning campaign issue in a country that’s ridden decades of oil and gas sales to astonishing wealth.
  • Outside Norway’s parliament on a recent Friday, hundreds of environmental campaigners gathered to demand a stop to drilling and then roared in unison to make their point.
  • The Greens — the party with the toughest anti-oil message — are currently polling at just 5 percent. The most popular four parties ahead of Monday’s vote — the Labor, Conservative, Center and Progress parties — are all campaigning for the oil industry to be largely left alone. 
  • While Norway touts itself as the world’s leading proponent of electric-car use, and its rivers meet much of its domestic power needs, it remains Western Europe’s leading fossil fuel state.
  • Financial Times – Richard Milne / Norway’s oil rises to top of election agenda as climate fears grow

Further reading for the weekend:

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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