Global Political Calendar: China's 40 years of reform and 2019 plans
Updated 13:29, 19-Dec-2018
By John Goodrich
China's economic plans will be in focus as it marks the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, another week of Brexit drama lies ahead and a U.S. government shutdown is on the cards.

Reform and opening-up

China celebrates the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up this month. On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping will give a keynote address at a major conference in Beijing.
Eyes around the world will be on how China plans to continue the process, and the upcoming annual Central Economic Work Conference – at which the country's economic policies for 2019 will be discussed – will be particularly closely watched given ongoing trade negotiations with the U.S.
Tian Yun, vice president of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times that the meeting would focus on stability and continuing the "three critical battles" – against financial risk, pollution and poverty – but new specific measures may be outlined at the meeting, for which a specific date is yet to be announced.
Tian forecasted more fiscal spending, and said support for private companies, greater access for foreign investors and tax cuts and other measures to boost consumption could be on the agenda.

Breaking Brexit deadlock

British Prime Minister Theresa May battles on after a tough week – in which she pulled a critical Brexit vote and survived a leadership challenge – but will feel far from secure after returning home from an EU summit empty handed.
Without concessions from the EU, her Brexit deal looks dead and her plan to pile pressure on MPs by holding out on a vote until the last possible moment could be undermined.
With no progress made and hardline Conservative MPs determined to get rid of her, the opposition Labour Party may make good on its threat to call a vote of no confidence in the government. Weekend reporting suggests the Cabinet is also maneuvering to find an alternative, with one faction backing a "managed no deal" and another promoting a second referendum.
A resolution to Brexit is no closer, but with a growing consensus that May's deal has no future, a new attempt to break the deadlock is likely.    

A Trump shutdown?

U.S. President Donald Trump's reputation for TV mastery took a hit last week when he was outmaneuvered by Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi in a bizarre televised meeting.
After surprising Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer by opening their discussions over the latest U.S. budget crisis to the cameras, Trump proceeded to delight the Democrats by taking ownership of a government shutdown if it happens this week.  
Trump said he would proudly shut down the government if he doesn't receive funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He wants five billion U.S. dollars to be allocated for the wall, before Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next month. With Christmas on the horizon, lawmakers will be looking for a compromise or stopgap before the shutdown deadline on Friday. 
Whatever happens, the dispute is a sign of the stalemate that divided government is likely to deliver in Washington over the next two years.


Monday: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi concludes a two-day trip to Laos, Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, special envoy to Kuwait's emir, continues a six-day trip to China, British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in parliament about the EU summit, and the U.S. faces a policy review meeting at the World Trade Organization.
Tuesday: President Xi Jinping delivers a speech in Beijing as China celebrates the 40th anniversary of the launch of reform and opening-up, a high-level meeting between European and African leaders is held in Vienna, former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn is sentenced, and Japan's new defense plans are expected to be approved by the Cabinet.
Wednesday: The second round of Madagascar's presidential election takes place.
Thursday: Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual end-of-year press conference in Moscow, and Togo votes in parliamentary elections.
Friday: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi begins a four-day trip to India, and the deadline to avert a U.S. government shutdown arrives.
Saturday: French President Emmanuel Macron begins a two-day visit to French troops stationed in Chad.
Sunday: Presidential and legislative elections are held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo