Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 03/06/2023

RADAR SWEEP Geopolitics Newsletter Feb. 27 – Mar. 6 2023 CHINA HOLDS ANNUAL SESSION OF RUBBERSTAMP PARLIAMENT Just under 3,000


Geopolitics Newsletter Feb. 27 – Mar. 6 2023


Just under 3,000 delegates representing the armed forces, villages, towns, cities, and provinces across China converged on Beijing this week for the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC). The NPC is the official legislative body and “highest organ of state power” in China’s political system. Technically, the NPC has the power to amend the constitution. In reality, delegates rubberstamp laws already decided by senior officials in the ruling Communist Party.

In 2018, the NPC overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment removing the two-two limits on the Office of the President and Head of State of China with 2,958 voting in favor, two opposed, and three abstentions. This year, the NPC is expected to officially confirm President Xi Jinping for an unprecedented third term in office. Of course, Xi is already installed as the General Secretary of the Communist Party when he was re-elected to a similarly historic third term on October 23, 2022, at the party conference. This week’s NPC vote legally makes him President and Head of State as well.

Xi’s protege, Li Qiang, will also be confirmed as Premier, replacing outgoing Li Keqiang. The Premier is traditionally tasked with stewardship of China’s economy and with China facing the toughest economic conditions—especially after two years of Covid-Zero stifled economic growth to a historic low of 3% last year—the Premier is likely to face expected targets set by the ruling party for at least 5% growth this year. Given so much of global economic growth depends on China, international observers will be watching any economic signals coming from this week’s NPC and how Li Qiang navigates China’s economy in the next year. Read more [External]

National People's Congress

The National People’s Congress meets annually in March Source: Xinhua


India’s Raisina Dialogue held in New Delhi – Mar. 2

The conference was held over three days. Discourse centered on the Indo-Pacific rules-based order, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and macroeconomic development. Key figures from the African Union, World Bank and European Union will attend along with global leaders, heads of state and members of the academic sector. Read more

Japanese Diet Commission on the Constitution met in Tokyo – Mar. 2

The Commission advises the Japanese parliament on suggested reforms of the Japanese pacifist constitution. Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, is currently planning to amend the constitution; particularly Article 9—the renunciation of war as a sovereign right of the nation–by the end of his term. Constitutional change to Article 9 would theoretically allow a more assertive foreign and security policy.  Read more

14th National Committee of the Chinese Peoples’ Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) met in Beijing – Mar. 4

The CPPCC is the top policy-advisory body to the ruling Communist Party. The body discussed China’s domestic political landscape, foreign policy issues, economic growth and post-Covid recovery. China recently concluded its zero-Covid policy which has directly influenced regional economic growth via the consumption of Russian energy reserves. Read more

Australia’s Avalon Defense and Aerospace Expo concluded – Mar. 5

The biennial event was held this week in the shadow of the Australian government’s looming Defence Strategic Review. In anticipation of the Review, military drones—expected to be a major feature of future defense acquisitions—was a hot topic of discussion. Read more


UN Human Rights Council opened 52nd plenary session in Geneva – Feb. 27

The 47 member states of the Council are chosen from among member states of the UN General Assembly. This session features three Central Asian Republics—Tajikistan; Kyrgyzstan; and Kazakhstan for the first time—controversial picks given their contentious recent human rights record. Read more

Belarus President and staunch Russian ally Lukashenko visited China – Feb. 28

President Victor Lukashenko—the subject of Western sanctions in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—met with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, where closer economic and security ties were on the agenda. China is also Belarus’ welcome conduit to deflect fallout from the West’s economic sanctions in response to the invasion. Read more

German Chancellor Scholz met US President Joe Biden in Washington – Mar. 3

Sanctions on Russia, support for Ukraine and economic relations were discussed. While Scholz and Biden are largely in agreement regarding support for Ukraine, bilateral tensions have arisen recently regarding US subsidies on green technology—seen in Berlin as disadvantaging German green investments. Read more

National Security

Iranian Warships depart Rio de Janeiro – Mar. 4

The Iranian Navy’s goodwill visit is part of a rapprochement in Brazilian-Iranian relations since the election of Brazil’s leftist president, Ignacio Lula da Silva. Relations were strained during the presidency of Lula’s ultra-conservative predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, over the latter’s support for Israel and US President Donald Trump. Read more

Estonia held general election – Mar. 5

The party of the incumbent Prime Minister Kaja Kallas—and staunch supporter of Ukraine in the current Ukrainian War—is favored to return as the largest party in parliament but his coalition options are vulnerable to not gaining enough votes to return to parliament. The worst-case scenario would be a situation where a far-right party—which has courted Estonia’s sizeable ethnic-Russian minority—may dictate less support for Ukraine. Read more

Finance, Economics and Technology

International Energy Week Conference concluded in London – Mar. 2

Over 1000 oil and gas industrialists and other stakeholders discussed whether China’s reopening will bolster global energy demand and whether sanctions on Russia will permanently wound Moscow—one of the largest energy producers.  Read more


Africa’s Regional Forum on Sustainable Development concluded ninth session – Mar. 2

Participants mostly included non-governmental organizations—especially from the UN—and government delegations from across the continent. Access to clean water for impoverished communities and clean efficient energy sources for Africa’s governments were on the three-day agenda. Read more

UN marked World Wildlife Day – Mar. 3

The UN recognized the day in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) inoculation. This year’s theme, “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”, is focused on biodiversity integrity, control on trade and wildlife practices, and solutions for sustainability. Read more


UNHRC began plenary meeting in Geneva – Feb. 27

The United Nations Human Rights Council sat in Geneva to open its 52nd session. This session concentrated on three new membership nation-states – Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – who have been targeted by activists for Human Rights violations. International attention was presented to these nations within Eurasia to call for judicial independence, respect for migrant workers and civil liberties, and uninterrupted investigation of human rights abuses. Read more.


Turkish opposition parties convene to select Presidential candidate – Mar. 6

The challenger could potentially topple long-serving leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently under pressure following a devastating earthquake. Read more [External]

Australian Prime Minister to visit India – Mar. 9

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will begin a three-day visit to India—the first since 2017—where closer economic and security ties (and watching a cricket match) are on the agenda. Read more [External]

Nigeria to hold gubernatorial elections – Mar. 11

It comes after two weeks of contentious presidential elections where opposition parties accused electoral authorities of conducting flawed elections. Read more [External]

Contributions by: John Milo and Joseph Egidio