- The Strategist - https://www.aspistrategist.org.au -

ASPI suggests

Posted By , and on October 18, 2019 @ 14:57

The world

UK and EU negotiators yesterday reached an agreement on a Brexit deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he’s confident will pass the House of Commons over the weekend. Politico [1] has a great read on the details of the proposed new deal and what’s changed from the old one. The announcement came after two days of negotiations in Brussels made as part of a final attempt to stop the UK from crashing out of the EU without a Brexit deal. Earlier in the week, Britain celebrated the state opening of parliament and tuned in to hear Queen Elizabeth II [2] set out the government’s agenda. The speech was unsurprisingly dominated by all things Brexit, with the head of state confirming that the government’s priority ‘has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October’, something that may well happen if the new agreement can get past parliament. The Atlantic [3] has the details.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency released [4] a set of draft guidelines on the technical and governance criteria for companies wanting to build the country’s 5G infrastructure. The draft has been met with criticism, with many commentators asking why Huawei hasn’t been specifically excluded from working on Germany’s 5G network. As drafted, the guidelines simply require the Chinese telecom giant to prove [5] its ‘trustworthiness’ to be eligible for tender.

As commentators continued to ponder the wisdom (or otherwise) of the US troop withdrawal [6] from northern Syria, the White House finally made a statement of sorts, in a bizarrely worded and threatening letter [7] from President Donald Trump to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If you’re a bit behind on what Turkey is doing in Syria and why, see this Vox article [8]. To stop Turkey from exacerbating the already horrible humanitarian disaster in Syria, America is left with one solution [9] according to The Atlantic—sanctions.

Foreign Policy [10] analyses why the US has chosen to indict Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish bank that aided Iran in evading US sanctions, adding to the tensions between Trump and Erdogan. Finally, Foreign Affairs [11] raises fears of an Islamic State resurgence following the Turkish invasion and asks who will deal with it.

Turkey has now agreed to a five-day ceasefire to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw, effectively achieving its goal of forcing the Kurds from its ‘safe zone’. See the ABC [12] for the details.

As news broke on Monday that a Chinese company may be about to lease an entire island [13] from Solomon Islands, fears of the Chinese state’s growing influence in the region have once again flared. Writing in The Conversation [14], Michelle Grattan covers shadow foreign minister Penny Wong’s call for Australia to redefine the boundaries of its relationship with China. The Sydney Morning Herald [15]’s Peter Hartcher, meanwhile, has looked at Australia’s position between the US and China and how we can manage their deteriorating relationship.

The UN General Assembly has controversially elected [16] Venezuela to serve on the Human Rights Council, despite efforts to prevent Nicolás Maduro’s government from obtaining a seat, as outlined by Human Rights Watch [17]. Costa Rica had put itself forward [18] for one of the two Latin American seats on the 47-member council. The second seat was secured by Brazil. Costa Rica’s decision to challenge Venezuela and President Carlos Alvardo Quesada’s public criticism of the Venezuelan regime are discussed in an article [19] in The Atlantic, which notes that regional solidarity is clearly under threat.

And finally, North Korea’s state media has released [20] a collection of photos of dictator Kim Jong-un riding a white horse up Mount Paektu with eyes ‘full of noble glitters’, signalling ‘a great event in the history of the Korean revolution’.

Tech geek

In what’s been described as a ‘shock move’ [21], the US Army has disqualified the KF-41 Lynx from its ‘Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle’ program. The Lynx was jointly offered by Rheinmetall and Raytheon to replace the M2 Bradley [22] infantry fighting vehicle. General Dynamics Land Systems, the only contender left for the program, hasn’t revealed what its offering will look like. This decision may have an adverse impact on Australia’s LAND 400 phase 3 program [23], as the Lynx has also been offered to the Australian Army.

South Korea has revealed its first full-scale mock-up of its KF-X fighter aircraft at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition. Korea Aerospace Industries is overseeing the program, and the first prototype is expected to take flight in 2021. Indonesia was intimately involved in the joint development and production of the KF-X from 2009 [24], but has since sought to renegotiate [25] its contribution to the project. In 2018, Indonesia had failed to pay [26] South Korea around US$200 million. For a timeline of contracts and key events, see here [27].

Finally, an image of a new Chinese Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine reportedly taken in September has emerged on Twitter [28]. The photo may have been taken by Vietnamese fishermen near the Paracel Islands. It’s highly unusual for nuclear submarines to surface away from their home base. Analyst H.I. Sutton has suggested [29] the submarine may have been caught in fishing nets. For some other submarine and fishing trawler incidents, see here [30].

This week in history

This week in 1934 the most famous of China’s Long Marches began [31]. A military retreat by the communist party’s Red Army, the march beginning on 12 October 1934 saw the First Front Army (eventually commanded by Mao Zedong) walk more than 9,000 kilometres to avoid annihilation.


For a look outside, see Al Jazeera [32] for some amazing photographs from the ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ competition.

Reuters presents the latest photos [33] from Syria as Turkish forces continue their offensive against the Kurds.


Global Dispatches [34] this week analyses the ‘Girl effect’—the idea that community and societal benefits accumulate when investments are targeted specifically at the education and health of girls and young women. [24:04]

Still a little behind on what’s happening in Syria? CSIS [35] has you covered in this podcast focusing on the ongoing conflict and the withdrawal of US forces, including why it happened and its impacts. [30:04]


Canberra, 22 October, 5.15–7 pm, Australian National University: ‘US–China relations and America’s Asian partners’. Register here [36].

Sydney, 22 October, 6.15–7.15 pm, Lowy Institute: ‘What’s next for Islamic State?’ Register here [37].

Melbourne, 23 October, 6.45–7.45, University of Melbourne: ‘The importance of history: reflections from a foreign correspondent’. Tickets here [38].

Article printed from The Strategist: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au

URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/aspi-suggests-151/

URLs in this post:

[1] Politico: https://www.politico.eu/article/the-brexit-deal-explained-2/

[2] hear Queen Elizabeth II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XXYk9zdC_8

[3] The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/10/britain-queen-speech-brexit/599986/

[4] released: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-rules-leave-5g-network-door-open-for-huawei/a-50847915

[5] prove: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3033254/germanys-proposal-5g-network-security-leaves-door-open-chinas

[6] US troop withdrawal: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/america-betrays-the-kurds-again/

[7] threatening letter: https://twitter.com/trish_regan/status/1184559361638748161/photo/1

[8] Vox article: https://www.vox.com/world/2019/10/16/20908262/turkey-syria-kurds-trump-invasion-questions

[9] solution: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/10/trump-syria-turkey-sanctions/600055/

[10] Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/16/halkbank-indictment-turbocharges-u-s-turkey-tensions-zarrab-erdogan-iran/

[11] Foreign Affairs: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2019-10-16/isis-already-rising-ashes

[12] ABC: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-18/pence-says-turkey-agrees-to-ceasefire-in-syria/11614464

[13] lease an entire island: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2019/10/14/solomons-deal-with-chinese-developer-sparks-concern/

[14] The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/define-the-boundaries-in-new-phase-of-australia-china-relationship-wong-125210

[15] Sydney Morning Herald: https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-has-a-key-role-to-play-in-contest-between-us-and-china-20191014-p530ez.html

[16] elected: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-rights/venezuela-wins-seat-on-un-rights-council-despite-us-opposition-idUSKBN1WW2I7

[17] Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/10/un-venezuela-unfit-rights-council-seat

[18] put itself forward: https://ticotimes.net/2019/10/04/costa-rica-presents-itself-as-alternative-to-venezuela-for-the-un-human-rights-council

[19] article: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/15/venezuela-disintegration-ripping-latin-america-apart-costa-rica-bid-to-join-unhrc/

[20] released: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50064893

[21] ‘shock move’: https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/land-amphibious/4968-us-drops-lynx-from-m2-bradley-ifv-replacement-program

[22] M2 Bradley: http://www.military-today.com/apc/m2_bradley.htm

[23] LAND 400 phase 3 program: https://www.australiandefence.com.au/news/rheinmetall-and-hanwha-shortlisted-for-land-400-phase-3

[24] from 2009: https://thediplomat.com/2015/12/south-korea-indonesia-firms-ink-new-defense-pact/

[25] renegotiate: https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2018/05/07/is-south-koreas-future-fighter-jet-partnership-with-indonesia-falling-apart/

[26] failed to pay: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-security-southkorea/south-korea-says-fighter-jet-deal-with-indonesia-is-on-track-despite-200-million-unpaid-idUSKCN1MW0D6

[27] see here: https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/kf-x-paper-pushing-or-peer-fighter-program-010647/

[28] on Twitter: https://twitter.com/duandang/status/1184386738749227009?s=20

[29] has suggested: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hisutton/2019/10/16/chinese-nuclear-submarine-involved-in-incident-in-south-china-sea/#604a8bd691b7

[30] see here: https://britishseafishing.co.uk/submarine-and-trawler-collision-incidents/

[31] Long Marches began: https://www.britannica.com/event/Long-March

[32] Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/winners-wildlife-photographer-year-competition-191016101304040.html

[33] latest photos: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/turkey-attacks-kurds-in-northeast-syria-idUSRTX76VOB

[34] Global Dispatches: https://player.fm/series/global-dispatches-world-news-that-matters/the-girl-effect-in-international-development

[35] CSIS: https://player.fm/series/csis/an-ongoing-discussion-on-syria

[36] here: http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/cap-events/2019-10-22/us-china-relations-americas-asian-partners

[37] here: https://myaccount.lowyinstitute.org/events/whats-next-for-is

[38] here: https://events.unimelb.edu.au/events/13121-the-importance-of-history-reflections-from-a-foreign-correspondent

Copyright © 2024 The Strategist. All rights reserved.