Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 07/10/2023

RADAR SWEEP Geopolitics Newsletter July 03 – 10 2023 JAPAN FINALIZES DETAILS OF NATO STRATEGIC COOPERATION DEAL Officials concluded negotiations


Geopolitics Newsletter July 03 – 10 2023


Officials concluded negotiations on the Individually Tailored Partnership Programme (ITPP), with the view of announcing the landmark agreement at the NATO Leaders Summit in Vilnius July 11-14.

The ITPP covers 16 areas of cooperation, but notable among them is an agreement for joint capability and interoperability development between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and NATO. Under the ITPP, the JSDF and NATO will harmonize military asset standards to ensure further ease of maintenance and upgrades of military equipment. Furthermore, the deal formalizes the ramping up of joint JSDF-NATO military drills.

The agreement is aimed at strengthening the Japanese military’s capability to contain both China’s military operations in the region and Russia’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric towards Tokyo. Japan shares territorial disputes with China to its south and with Russia in the north. In concluding such an agreement—with other similar deals in the pipeline with other allies—Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is signaling that he will continue the hawkish security policies of his late predecessor and mentor, Shinzo Abe. The ITPP also facilitates Japan’s ongoing military build-up—a key tenet of Kishida’s focus for coming years.  Read more [External]

Japan NATO

Japan sent naval ships to participate in exercises with NATO navies in the Mediterranean Sea in 2022. Source: NATO


US Treasury Secretary Yellen began China trip – July 6

Yellen’s trip to Beijing this week forecasted a strengthening of communications between China and the US. Discourse surrounding China’s new national security and espionage law was scheduled, alongside matters of climate policy and economic challenges. Read more.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief began South Korea visit – July 7

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi visited South Korea this week to meet with government officials on Japan’s controversial plan to imminently release Fukushima-treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. Grossi is currently touring the Indo-Pacific to brief leaders to allay fears of the environmental impact of Japan’s plan, which has drawn criticism from across the region. Read more

China and India continue building infrastructure in disputed border territories – July 7

Despite continued border tensions and clashes, China is currently constructing a bridge across the Pangong Tso Lake, which India also claims. China is also constructing roadways and tunnels on the lake’s south banks to connect to the G-216 highway. The highway has direct access to Tibet. India, in response, has increased its infrastructure budget heavily to combat the increase in Chinese construction activity. Read more.

Japan marked one-year anniversary of the assassination of Shinzo Abe – July 8

Former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe was assassinated this time last year while delivering a support speech for the Liberal Democratic Party. Following his death, the party has made positive traction in Japan by centralizing multilateral alliances and connections in support to counter a rising and assertive Chinese presence. Read more.

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework talks held in Busan, South Korea – July 9

An initiative of US President Joe Biden’s administration to counter Chinese economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region, the 14-participating countries recently agreed to a groundbreaking IPEF supply chain deal. However, consensus on tariff reduction is proving harder to find, due in large part to the Biden administration’s reluctance to reduce tariffs. Read more

Solomon Islands prime minister visited China – July 9

It is Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare’s second visit to China after the 2019 visit shortly after formally switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. The Solomon Islands became the focus of geopolitical tensions in the Pacific when it inked a security deal with China last year, drawing criticism from Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Read more


Macron cancels Germany visit due to riots – July 3

The visit was planned to reenergize the Franco-German partnership amid multiple disagreements between the two nations. Macron may be forced to occupy himself with domestic affairs for the remainder of his final term which could affect France’s foreign policy capabilities.  Read more [External]

Israel summoned Ukraine ambassador over comments on Russia bias – July 3

Israel asked Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuck to appear before Israel’s foreign ministry to answer for comments accusing Israel of not supporting Ukraine. The ambassador is alleged to have characterized Israel’s stance as “a clear pro-Russian position.” Israel has been hesitant to provide military aid and has overall remained neutral in the conflict.  Read more

Lithuania tightened Russia and Belarus customs rules – July 3

Amid suspicion that both countries dodged EU sanctions, Lithuania implanted additional rules requiring proof that goods transiting the countries would not be sold in Belarus or Russia.  Read More

India hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council Heads of State meeting – July 4

India hosted the 23rd Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Council of Heads of State today. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered “important remarks” at the virtual meeting, and Iran was formally inducted into the organization. Read more

Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson visited the US – July 5

Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson visited the US for talks focused on Sweden’s pending status as an applicant for NATO membership. While Sweden has the support of most member states, Hungary and Turkey’s opposition is stalling the ratification process. Turkey is likely to agree in the medium term but may attempt to seek more concessions. Read more

Turkey, Sweden, and Finland held a trilateral meeting – July 6

Senior officials from Turkey, Sweden, and Finland held a trilateral meeting in Brussels to attempt an agreement regarding Sweden’s accession to NATO. Turkey still blocks Sweden as it holds concerns over Stockholm’s support of groups allegedly aligned with a Kurdish separatist group, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).  Read more

Swiss defense minister Viola Amherd met with German, and Austrian counterparts – July 7

Amherd signed a memorandum of understanding to participate in the European air defense system Sky Shield, joining 17 countries, including the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK, an initiative that aims to complement NATO’s air defense systems on the continent. Read more

Politics and Society

Thailand’s parliament reconvened following its election – July 3

Thailand’s newly-elected lawmakers held their first parliamentary session to form a new government following May’s general election. A vote to elect a new prime minister is expected to follow in the coming weeks. Read More

US President Biden’s nomination of controversial former Trump appointee drew criticism – July 3

Elliott Abrams, Donald Trump’s former special envoy to Iran and Venezuela, was nominated to the bipartisan US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. The decision has drawn ire from the progressive wing of President Biden’s own Democratic party for Abrams’ role in the Iran-Contra scandal and defense of human rights violations by the US-backed Salvadoran Army in the 1980s. Read more [External]

Hong Kong authorities released arrest warrants for eight foreign activists – July 3

Bounties worth $1 million have been slapped on eight activists who fled from Beijing’s crackdown on the territory to Australia, Britain, and the US. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee warned that the activists would be “prosecuted for life”. The UK, the US and Australia do not have extradition treaties with China. Read More [External]

The British National Health Service marked 75 years – July 4

The British National Health Service (NHS) celebrated its 75th anniversary on Tuesday. Established in 1948, the NHS is a universal, comprehensive, tax-funded system that is free in times of need. The anniversary was marked by several events, including a series of conferences on the current state and future of the NHS, organized by the British Health Foundation. Read More

Emmanuel Macron met French mayors – July 4

The French president met 250 local officials at the Elysee Palace. France has been plagued by rioting and looting since Nahel Merzouk, 17, was gunned down by a policeman in a Paris suburb. Read More [External]

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Warangal, Telangana – July 8

During his visit, Modi inaugurated infrastructure projects worth over $738 million, focusing on highway and railroad development. Modi’s visit to Telangana took place in the context of a four-state tour that also included Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Modi hopes that the tour will boost his popularity in these provinces ahead of the 2024 general elections. Read More [External]

Latvian parliament inaugurated Edgars Rinkevics as president – July 8

The 100-seat Saeima legislature inaugurated Edgars Rinkevics, the country’s top diplomat since 2011, as president for a four-year term. He received 52 votes, one vote more than is required to win. Rinkevics, who announced in 2014 that he was gay, will be the first openly gay president in the Baltic state. Read More


NATO Leaders Summit to be held in Vilnius – July 11

The summit will likely be crucial for Ukraine’s hopes of a roadmap toward NATO membership. Read more [External]

Russia seeks meeting of UN Security Council on Nordstream blasts – July 11

Moscow seeks to use the meeting to accuse Ukraine of causing the blasts. Read more [External]

IMF board to meet on Pakistan’s latest IMF bailout package – July 12

Pakistan is hoping the $3 billion bailout deal to alleviate its sovereign debt will be approved at the meeting. Read more [External]

G20 finance ministers and central bank governors to meet in India – July 14

Notable for the attendance of the first Indian World Bank president, Ajay Banga, global inflation is likely to be the key focus. Read more [External]

France to celebrate Bastille Day amid heightened security after recent rioting – July 14

Fireworks have been banned as part of significant security measures to contain violent protests following the police killing of a French teenager of North African descent. Read more [External]


Contributions by: John Milo, Joseph Egidio, Will Wain-Williams, Cian Muenster, and Kareem Salem