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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 30/06/2022

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 30/06/2022

Politico – David M. Herszenhorn / Nato leaders brand Russia a direct threat’ in new strategy blueprint

  • NATO leaders meeting in Madrid adopted a new strategic blueprint on Wednesday bluntly branding Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.”
  • The unvarnished labeling of Russia as a clear and present danger in NATO’s new “Strategic Concept” — a once-in-a-decade planning document — represents the leaders’ formal verdict on President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which brought full-scale war to Europe for the first time in the 21st century.
  • At a news conference announcing NATO leaders’ initial decisions at their meeting in Madrid, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hailed the landmark decision by Finland and Sweden to abandon decades of non-alignment and join NATO.
  • Stoltenberg triumphantly welcomed the two Nordic countries, which got a green light on Tuesday night to join the alliance after weeks of obstruction by Turkey. Stoltenberg said the expected expansion showed Putin’s war had backfired and that the Russian dictator had failed in his goal of preventing the alliance from adding new members.
  • NATO / NATO 2022 Strategic Concept

The Guardian – Graham Russell / NATO leaders voice concern about threat China poses to world order for first time

  • China is not an adversary but it does represent serious challenges, Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, said on Wednesday, as the alliance agreed for the first time to include threats posed by Beijing into a blueprint guiding its future strategy.
  • While Russia’s war against Ukraine has dominated discussions at the Nato summit, China earned a place among the western alliance’s most worrying security concerns.
  • “We now face an era of strategic competition … China is substantially building up its forces, including in nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbours, including Taiwan,” Stoltenberg said. “China is not our adversary but we must be clear-eyed about the serious challenges it represents.”
  • The alliance’s last blueprint – or strategic concept – was agreed to in 2010 and did not mention China. The new one states that China’s policies challenge Nato’s interests, security and values, though Russia remains the most significant and direct threat to security.
  • Foreign Affairs / Will China and Russia stay aligned?

South China Morning Post / Chinese president Xi Jinping making first visit to Hong Kong since 2017 to mark 25th anniversary of city’s handover

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday begins a two-day visit in Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule on July 1, with police throwing a tight security blanket around the city.
  • His long-awaited visit will be his first outside mainland China since the pandemic started in 2020. It will also be the second time he has presided over the city’s anniversary events, after a 2017 trip. 
  • Xi, his wife Peng Liyuan and a delegation of mainland Chinese officials are expected to arrive from Shenzhen by train at the West Kowloon high-speed railway terminus on Thursday afternoon.
  • The president is expected to meet a group of pro-Beijing politicians and tycoons at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre in Wan Chai on the first day of his visit, before inspecting the Science Park in Tai Po. 
  • Financial Times – Primrose Riordan et al. / The reinvention of Hong Kong

The Guardian – Libby Brooks and Severin Carrell / Second Scottish independence referendum: what happens next?

  • Scotland’s first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon made a significant statement on progress towards a second independence referendum at Holyrood on Tuesday, sending a personal email to the party’s estimated 119,000 members that said: “The referendum campaign starts here.”
  • Sturgeon told MSPs the Scottish government wants to stage a second independence referendum on 19 October 2023, using the same question put to voters in 2014: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
  • Sturgeon said Scotland’s lord advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, has written to the supreme court asking it to rule on the legality of holding a new referendum without Westminster’s permission.
  • She also wrote to Boris Johnson formally requesting that Westminster gives Holyrood the legal powers to legislate for another vote under section 30 of the Scotland Act. That process was used in the 2014 referendum and has been consistently described as the “the gold standard” by Sturgeon.
  • Financial Times – The Editorial Board / Sturgeon seizes the initiative on a new Scottish referendum

Today’s longer reads:

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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