Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 17/07/2022 | foreign brief

RADAR SCAN Geopolitics Newsletter – July 11-17 SRI LANKA PRESIDENT RESIGNED AFTER MONTHS OF PROTESTS Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajajapaksa

Geopolitics Bulletin – July 11-17

SRI LANKA PRESIDENT RESIGNED AFTER MONTHS OF PROTESTS

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajajapaksa resigned Thursday, July 14, after months of protests, which culminated in the storming of the presidential residence by demonstrators. Rajapaksa fled the country for Singapore, where he announced his resignation. The protests began in March, after years of economic mismanagement and a drop in tourist numbers induced by the pandemic, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency.

People have been queuing for hours for essential items, such as fuel and medicine, due to a lack of foreign currency, which prevents them from importing goods. Sri Lanka is heavily dependent on foreign imports, including gas, fertilizers and foodstuffs. After defaulting on its international debt this year, the country is no longer able to borrow money and therefore has no way to spend to get out of this crisis.

While the president’s resignation has caused jubilation in the streets of Colombo, the economic chaos is likely to continue for at least several more months. The election scheduled by Parliament for a new president on July 20 will be a first step for the country’s economic recovery. Yet the new government will have to negotiate with the World Bank and IMF and will likely have to implement unpopular economic reforms. Learn more here and here

Sri Lankan anti-government protesters gather outside the president’s office in Colombo – Wikimedia Commons

INDO-PACIFIC GEOPOLITICS

CHINA COVID-19 POLICY – Macau has closed its casinos following the outbreak of COVID-19 – July 11

The world’s largest gambling hub – Macau – has closed its casinos for the first time in two years, following fresh outbreaks of COVID-19. China’s unwavering commitment to its Zero-COVID policy continues to cause continued lockdowns in the country’s economic hubs, preventing it from reopening to the world. Read more [EXTERNAL]

JAPANESE POLITICS – former Prime Minister Shinzo Abethe funeral took place in Tokyo July 12

Huge crowds paid their last respects to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He was Japan’s most influential leader in modern history and remained highly influential in his party until his death. Read more

INDO-PACIFIC DIPLOMACY – Leaders gathered for the Pacific Islands Forum – July 12

Leaders of the Pacific Islanders Forum met in Suva, Fiji. The Pacific Islands have been drawn into the biggest US-China competition. As China takes more assertive steps in the region, it threatens to overthrow the islands’ great historic ally, Australia. Read more.

CHINA DIPLOMACY – ChinaThe Minister of Foreign Affairs concluded his tour of Southeast Asia – July 14

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his 11-day tour of several Southeast Asian countries, during which he also attended the 7th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Meeting and the Foreign Ministers’ Summit. foreign countries of the G20. The tour is part of China’s recent efforts to increase its influence in the region. Read more

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Diplomacy

RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR The people of Donetsks Republic to open Moscow Embassy – July 12

The pro-Russian breakaway state in Ukraine has opened an embassy in Moscow. The opening of the embassy indicates that Russia is unlikely to deviate from its long-term goals of securing all of Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions. Read more.

MENA – President Biden began his Middle East tour in Israel – July 13

President Biden began his four-day Middle East tour in Israel. His visit comes amid high Israeli-Palestinian and Iranian-Israeli tensions. The tour is part of a larger effort to promote Saudi-Israeli relations. Read more.

national security

The UNSC met to discuss the peacekeeping mandate in Cyprus – July 13

The UN Security Council has decided to extend the UN peacekeeping mandate on the divided island. The extension comes amid increasing encroachment into the buffer zone from both sides. Read more

United States – President Biden met with the Saudi Crown Prince – July 15

US President Joe Biden met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss strengthening ties between the two countries. President Biden has also confirmed that he holds the Crown Prince personally responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Finance, economy and technology

Eurozone finance ministers discuss enlargement to Croatia – 11 July

Ministers approved three laws that will allow Croatia to become the 20th member of the euro zone and will set the final exchange rate for converting Croatian currency into euros. While Croatian officials view EU membership as beneficial, citizens fear that this conversion will lead to increased pressure on prices during a period of already high inflation. Read more

The euro hit parity with the US dollar for the first time in 20 years – July 12

Worries of an EU-wide recession amid soaring energy prices dragged the value of the currency lower. The slowness of the European Central Bank to raise interest rates is another reason for its depreciation against the dollar. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns amid financial crisis – July 13

The resignation of Rajapaksa puts an end to the reign of a family in power for almost 20 years. At the time of his resignation, Sri Lanka was on track for 70% inflation, its external debt stood at $51 billion and it was dependent on Indian foreign aid. The country is currently in talks with the IMF for a bailout deal. Read more

Company

LATAM – Argentine Liaison Table Group Protested Over Fuel Shortages – July 13

The Liaison Table, a group of Argentine agricultural producers, staged a strike to protest diesel shortages and regional variations in its prices. In Argentina’s very peasant north, diesel prices are double those in the capital, sparking strong protests among farmers using machinery. The strike came amid Argentina’s ongoing economic and political crisis, underscoring frustrations with the center-left government of President Alberto Fernandez. Read more

INDIA – The Dalai Lama made his first trip after the Indo-Chinese border confrontation – July 15

The Dalai Lama traveled to Ladakh in northwest India to give Buddhist teachings for the first time since a deadly Sino-Indian military clash in 2020. Beijing opposes Indian territorial claims in the Ladakh border region and accuses the Dalai Lama of separatism. The “Tibet question”, posed by the Dalai Lama and the Indian Tibetan diaspora, adds tension to strained relations between India and China. Read more

Environment

VIETNAM – Vietnam halves environmental taxes on fuel – July 11

Vietnam’s National Assembly approved the tax cut as the country faces inflationary pressures amid escalating global energy prices. Hanoi’s main goal is to ensure economic stability and curb inflation, although the tax cut will cause the country to fall behind on its climate commitments to reduce coal consumption. Read more

UN – ECOSOC held its High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development – ​​July 12

The second session of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development opened to review the progress made and discuss the next steps required. Read more

United States – Senator Joe Manchin refused to support President Bidens climate legislation – July 14

US Senator Joe Manchin has told Democratic leaders he will not support an economic package this month that includes new spending on climate change and tax increases for businesses and wealthy individuals. Manchin’s opposition marks a significant setback for President Biden’s climate agenda. Read more [EXTERNAL]

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OTHER

UK POLITICS – The Conservative Party has begun the process of selecting a new leader – July 12

Britain’s Conservative Party has begun to choose a new party leader, after Boris Johnson announced his resignation. Read more [EXTERNAL]

THE WEEK AHEAD

DIPLOMACY – Iran, Russia and Turkey will hold a trilateral meeting

The presidents of the three countries will meet in Tehran to discuss strengthening economic ties in light of the sanctions against Russia. Here.

INDO-PACIFIC — July 20: The Sri Lankan Parliament will elect the countrys next president — July 20

Following the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan parliament will choose a replacement to lead the country out of the current economic and political crisis. Here.

ECONOMY – Nordstream Gas Pipeline set to restart after maintenance-related suspension — July 21

Germany and EU countries are waiting to see if the pipeline will resume gas delivery from Russia. Here.

DIPLOMACY – South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin to begin a three-day diplomatic trip to Japan – July 18

Park’s trip could mark a historic turning point in bilateral relations. Here.

ECONOMY – Beginning of the MERCOSUR summit in Asuncion – July 21

The meeting will see all presidential representatives of the MERCOSUR grouping gather in Asuncion to discuss trade relations and the functioning of the trading bloc. Here.

Contributions by: Madeline McQuillan, Keely Dion, Laurence Dynes and Shravan Krishnan Sharma

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