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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 08/28/2022

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Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 08/28/2022

Thai PM suspended

RADAR SWEEP

Geopolitics Newsletter August 22-28 2022

Thai PM suspended by constitutional court – Aug 24

Against expectations, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was suspended by the country’s constitutional court pending a review on whether he violated the eight-year term limit written in the constitution. Though he has only been prime minister since 2019, he has ruled the country de facto since 2014 when the military junta under his command took over in a coup d’etat.

Whether the court will rule to uphold the suspension remains unclear, but Prayut is unlikely to completely relinquish power anytime soon. He has already stated that he would continue as the country’s defense minister, and he still has the backing of the military. The real test of Thailand’s fledgling democracy will likely come with next year’s elections, which must be held no later than March 2023. Read more

Thai PM suspended
Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was suspended by the country’s constitutional court pending a review on whether he violated the eight-year term limit written in the constitution – Photo: Photo: Athit Perawongmetha—Reuters/Landov

Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

Taiwan celebrated 64th anniversary of its battle against China – August 23

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warned that China would incur a “heavy price” if it were to invade Taiwan. Her remarks were given on the 64th anniversary of the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Eurasian Intergovernmental Council met in Kyrgyzstan – August 25

The Council, comprising key political figures from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, discussed financial cooperation and supply chain upgrades. Emphasis was placed on maintaining Chinese investment via the Belt and Road Initiative, putting China in a strong position in the region. Read more.

Indian FM Jaishankar concluded his visit to South America – August 27

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar concluded his first ever official visit to South America. The visit—which included visits to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina—focused on strengthening trade relations and giving Indian businesses a stronger footing in the region. Read more

Governments, IGOs held the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development  – August 27-28

Co-hosted by the Japanese government, the African Union, the UNDP and the World Bank, this year’s event has focused on laying the foundation for an African post-pandemic economic recovery through various development projects. Read more

Diplomacy

Russian FM met Syrian counterpart – August 23

The foreign ministers of Russia and Syria met in Moscow amidst Russia’s continuing military operation in Ukraine to discuss ways to further improve bilateral ties and increase cooperation in defense and foreign policy. This meeting preceded the long-awaited upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting that will be held in Uzbekistan. Read more.

Finland and Sweden NATO accession summit started – August 26

Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine has prompted Finland and Sweden to break their years-long neutrality policies and officially join NATO. However, Turkey—a member since 1952– has not been keen on accepting their bids until its concerns are addressed. Turkey’s demands range from the deportation of wanted militants to the withdrawal of a long-imposed weapons embargo and have stalled Helsinki and Stockholm’s accession process. In this framework, the Trilateral Summit is a key step toward reaching a mutual agreement that could see NATO expand its borders significantly. Read more.

National Security

Chinese military drills continued – August 23

The People’s Republic of China held military drills off Hong Kong and Macao. The drills are a continuation of an increased military presence and activity in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. Read more

No questions asked” Falklands firearms amnesty began – August 26

Authorities began an amnesty period that will last until September 3 to collect licenses and unlicensed firearms and ammunition. This initiative is designed to collect abandoned weapons from the 1982 Argentine invasion and the current British military presence that have found their way into civilian hands. Read more

Russias International Army Games concluded in Venezuela – August 27

Around 30 countries participated in the two-week-long Army Games that have been hosted annually by Russia since 2015. Read more

Finance, Economics and Technology

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin visited Mongolia – August 28

This is Park’s first official visit to Mongolia since the two countries upgraded their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership in September last year. Through this partnership, both countries emphasized the need to increase investment and reduce trade barriers. Read more

São Paulo hosted the AS/COA Womens Hemispheric Network Conference – August 28

The panel focused on financial inclusion and entrepreneurship, as well as risk-taking and innovation. The conference aimed to find solutions as to how financial innovation can be a means for inclusion. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Society

Ukraine marked its Independence Day – August 24

Wednesday marked the 31st anniversary of Ukraine voting to break away from the Soviet Union. Twenty-two people were killed in a missile strike at an eastern Ukrainian train station on the day of the celebrations, confirming projections by Ukrainian President Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials that Russia would step up attacks around the holiday. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Angola held its general elections – August 24

Angola held its general elections this week. The country’s incumbent leader Joao Lourenco is set to remain president after his party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MLPA) maintained its lead, and won approximately 51 percent of the vote. Read more.

Thailand raises minimum wages – August 26

The Thai government raised daily minimum wages by an average of 5 percent, making them among the highest in Southeast Asia. The move is intended to offset the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic but may also be aimed at countering allegations of economic mismanagement by the government. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Environment

CAPA Latin America Aviation and LLCs 2022 summit began – August 25

The Center for Aviation Latin America held a two-day Aviation and Low Cost Carriers summit in Salvador, Brazil. The summit brought together regional and international stakeholders to discuss the future of the aviation industry in Latin America, focusing on “green” aviation and post-pandemic market recovery. Read more.

Russian State Duma discussed the threat to Zaporizhzhya Plant – August 25

Russia’s State Duma held a special meeting regarding the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. Following Ukrainian shelling near the plant, Russian leaders convened to discuss the prevention of further attacks, which could lead to a nuclear disaster. Russia called for a UN Security Council meeting to address the issue, insisting that international organizations cooperate with Moscow. Read more.

UN talks on new high seas treaty concluded – August 26

After five years of negotiations, the final session of the United Nations Convention on a Treaty of the High Seas concluded in New York. The treaty addresses the global use of marine resources in the high seas–international waters that begin at the border of nations’ exclusive economic zones. Treaty negotiations focused on threats to marine areas unprotected by jurisdiction, including rising carbon dioxide levels, pollution and overfishing. Read more.

See Also

THE WEEK AHEAD

China and Russia are expected to take part in Vostok-2022 military exercises – August 30-Sep 5

The exercises will take place in Russia and include India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other countries. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Michelle Bachelet to conclude tenure as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Aug 31

The High Commissioner has faced pressure over the outstanding human rights report on Xinjiang, the release date of which remains unknown. Read more [EXTERNAL]

UK, Sweden and Finland to hold military exercises – Aug 29-Sep 2

British and Swedish troops are expected to join Finnish military exercises in Northern Finland. Read more [EXTERNAL]

Taiwans top China-policy maker to visit the US – TBC

Taiwan’s head of the Mainland Affairs Council is expected to visit the US to meet with officials and speak to think-tanks. Read more [EXTERNAL]

 

Contributions by: David Song-Pehamberger, Madeline McQuillan, Keely Dion, Laurence Dynes and Shravan Krishnan Sharma

 

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