Global Political Calendar: Koreas talk, Li at WEF, Abe challenged
By John Goodrich
The third inter-Korean summit of 2018 takes place in Pyongyang, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends "Summer Davos" in Tianjin, a new round of US tariffs on China could be introduced, Shinzo Abe faces a challenge to his leadership in Japan, and Brexit developments are expected as EU leaders gather in Austria.
Kim and Moon reunite
Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, respectively the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), will meet for their third summit of the year on Tuesday. Moon is expected to play mediator in Pyongyang, with progress on US-DPRK negotiations having slowed: Mike Pompeo's recent trip to the DPRK was cancelled, but talks over a second Kim-Trump meeting are ongoing. The Kim-Moon talks, which are likely to focus on reducing military tensions and avenues for economic cooperation, are scheduled to last until Thursday.
Tariff cloud over 'Summer Davos'
Premier Li Keqiang will attend the World Economic Forum's 12th Summer Davos Forum in Tianjin, though economic news looks likely to again be dominated by tariffs. US President Donald Trump last week held back from imposing 200 billion US dollars of new levies on China, and an invitation to resume talks was offered. However, a senior White House official told Reuters that tariffs at 10 percent could be imposed as soon as Monday. Li will address the opening ceremony of the Summer Davos forum, which is focused on innovation, and is due to hold talks with national leaders and other delegates.
Calls for a more muscular EU approach on the world stage – and a bigger role for the euro, which could help European companies skirt US sanctions on Iran – are likely to come up at an informal EU summit on Wednesday and Thursday. Migration and Brexit will certainly be on the agenda, with speculation that a special Brexit summit could be announced. Tensions could be high after the European Parliament voted to pursue disciplinary action against Hungary, and on the eve of the summit Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is due in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ishiba takes on Abe
Trade talks between Japan and the US resume on Friday, but a more pressing concern for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a challenge to his leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The latest polling from Kyodo News suggests Abe will comfortably beat former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and remains on course to be the country's longest serving prime minister. The incumbent, who holds a 20-point lead among party members according to the poll, will look to complete his ambition to change Japan's pacifist constitution if reelected.
Monday: Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng continues a three-day trip to Russia where he co-chairs meetings on investment and energy cooperation, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi continues a trip to the Philippines, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to discuss Syria in Sochi, and the UN's atomic watchdog, the IAEA, holds its annual general conference as member states battle to save the Iran nuclear deal.
Tuesday: ROK President Moon Jae-in travels to Pyongyang for a three-day summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban meets Putin in Moscow, the three-day "Summer Davos" forum begins in Tianjin, Polish President Andrzej Duda meets US President Donald Trump at the White House, and the UN General Assembly convenes in New York.
Wednesday: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends "Summer Davos" in Tianjin, Vice Premier Han Zheng begins a three-day trip to Singapore where he will meet President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and EU leaders gather for a two-day informal summit in Austria.
Thursday: Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a leadership election, pitting current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe against former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, and the US Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Friday: Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi holds trade talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in New York.
Saturday: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at an Armed Forces Day parade in Tehran.
Sunday: The Maldives votes in a presidential election, Switzerland holds two agriculture-related referendums, and Britain's Labour Party begins an annual conference at which it may call for a second Brexit referendum.