OSAKA, Japan: World leaders gather in Japan on Friday (Jun 28) for one of the most high-stakes and fractious G20 meetings in years, with a bruising US-China trade war, geopolitical tensions, and climate change on the agenda.The two-day summit in the city of Osaka will be dominated by trade issues, with all eyes on whether US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping can reach a truce in a dispute that has been hugely damaging for the world economy.But world leaders will also be seeking to tamp down tensions between Washington and Iran that have led to fears of a new conflict in the Middle East.And they will look for common ground on climate change, with Japan hoping to unite European leaders who want strong action with an American leadership committed to withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.Trump set the tone for the meeting before even arriving in Japan, taking aim at allies and foes alike.Tweeting from Air Force One, he slammed India, a longstanding partner, for … [Read more...] about High-stakes G20 Summit opens with trade tensions looming
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THE US-CHINA TRADE IMPASSE The deadlock is not about to be resolved any time soon. We have not heard all that much from the Chinese government directly but editorials from Chinese media are now giving us a sense of the way Beijing is viewing the current impasse. The People’s Daily wrote that “at no time will China forfeit the country's respect” while The Global Times said “the perception that China cannot bear it (a trade war) is a fantasy and misjudgment”. So what? That the debate is now being framed, not in purely economic terms, but in terms of respect and dignity will make a deal that much harder to reach. There is very little room when one is negotiating with dignity on the line. Trade talks have come back from the brink before, but given the perception of Beijing in Washington is worsening, and vice versa, few are predicting a rapid end to the trade war. What if talks fail: Expect a significant fallout that will impact the global economy. The … [Read more...] about Asian Insider May 13: What if trade talks fail?
BRUSSELS: European powers find themselves powerless to head off a looming clash between the United States and Iran, with no influence over Donald Trump's Washington and fading credibility in Tehran.Publicly, EU capitals still support the 2015 Iran deal as the best mechanism to keep Tehran's nuclear ambitions in check while easing the sanctions that have crippled its oil-dependent economy.But as President Trump doubles down on his rejection of the accord and threatens more sanctions, and Tehran responds by threatening to resume some nuclear activity, diplomats are pessimistic.This week one European official in Brussels admitted to AFP that hopes of saving the deal are getting "weaker and weaker", after the latest EU-US diplomatic encounter laid bare the growing rift."No negotiation is possible with the US administration on Iran, on climate, on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, because President Trump refuses to change his positions," one diplomat said.This came after EU commissioner … [Read more...] about Europe feels powerless as US faces off against Iran
WASHINGTON: U.S. President Donald Trump's unexpected decision to ban all Iranian oil purchases after May 1: ending exemptions for eight nations: came after hawkish economic and security advisors allayed the president's fears of an oil price hike, according to three sources familiar with the internal debate.The unprecedented move to fully sever Tehran’s financial lifeline - finalized just days before the April 22 announcement - underscores the influence of hard-liners within Trump’s National Security Council, which two of the sources said were the biggest advocates for the decision. They had for months argued for tightening the sanctions over the objections of State Department officials who favored allowing some partners and allies to keep buying Iranian oil."No one's actually tried to take this all the way to zero," a senior administration official told Reuters, adding that forging a consensus among government agencies required "a lot of work."President Donald Trump has … [Read more...] about How Trump’s hawkish advisors won debate on Iran oil sanctions
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump's unexpected decision to ban all Iranian oil purchases after May 1, ending exemptions for eight nations, came after hawkish economic and security advisors allayed the president's fears of an oil price hike, according to three sources familiar with the internal debate.The unprecedented move to fully sever Tehran’s financial lifeline - finalised just days before the Apr 22 announcement - underscores the strong influence of hard-liners within Trump’s inner circle. They had for months argued for tightening the sanctions over the objections of some State Department officials who favoured allowing some partners and allies to keep buying Iranian oil."No one's actually tried to take this all the way to zero," a senior administration official told Reuters, adding that forging a consensus among government agencies required "a lot of work."President Donald Trump has been eager to halt Iran’s oil exports since slapping sanctions on … [Read more...] about The debate behind Trump’s move to tighten Iran oil sanctions