Global Political Calendar: What will Kim and Trump offer in Hanoi?
By John Goodrich
The Kim-Trump summit in Vietnam and deadline for agreement between China and the United States on trade will dominate a week which also features highly consequential votes on Brexit.
When Kim Jong Un met Donald Trump in Singapore last year, the spectacle and symbolism of a Democratic People's Republic of Korea leader shaking hands with a U.S. president outshone an end-of-summit declaration that was short on detail.
On the U.S. side, signals are mixed: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has maintained the "maximum pressure" narrative, but envoy Stephen Biegun has indicated that Trump may soften his line. By Thursday evening, the world should know what concessions both sides are willing to put on the table to achieve a deal.
Trade deadline hits
March 1 is the deadline for China and the United States to reach an agreement on trade, and intensive negotiations have taken place in Beijing and Washington over the past 10 days.
At a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday, Trump said "great progress" had been made but cautioned there was still work to be done. Liu, who opted to extend the Chinese delegation's negotiations in Washington, also expressed positivity. Wednesday could be an illuminating day: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will testify before Congress.
For Trump, it is a big week domestically. Speculation that the Mueller report will be released has been downplayed, but his former lawyer Michael Cohen will twice testify before Congress and the House will vote on blocking his national emergency order.
Fresh Brexit votes will be held on Wednesday, but will Prime Minister Theresa May dare put her deal to the British parliament? Or will MPs again be presented with an amendable motion, delaying a meaningful vote until March?
There are no easy choices. Unless May makes a breakthrough with the EU by Tuesday, in Egypt or Brussels, she'll have nothing to add to a deal comprehensively defeated in January – she would almost certainly lose heavily again.
And unless a deal is passed, MPs are likely to vote on an amendment that would effectively take no-deal off the table and force May to ask the EU to delay Brexit. Senior members of the government have indicated they would back such an amendment, which, in ordinary times, would result in their sacking or resignation.
The prime minister is faced with an unenviable few days: Can she negotiate a path that preserves her Brexit deal while keeping her party and government together?
Monday: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov begins a two-day visit to Hong Kong SAR, the U.S. and the Taliban are set to resume talks in Qatar, Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong visits Cambodia, French President Emmanuel Macron meets Iraqi counterpart Barham Salehin in Paris, the first League of Arab States-European Union summit concludes, and the 14-member Lima Group holds talks on Venezuela.
Tuesday: British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement to parliament on Brexit, the U.S. House of Representatives votes on blocking President Donald Trump's southern border national emergency declaration, and Liberian President George Weah wraps up a trip to Israel.
Wednesday: DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Trump meet in Hanoi for a two-day summit, the 16th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of China, Russia and India is held in Zhejiang, the British parliament casts votes on Brexit, French President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold talks, Michael Cohen testifies at an open hearing of the House Oversight Committee, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies before Congress
Thursday: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits the Philippines, Turkey and the EU hold a high-level dialogue, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets nine Eastern European leaders in Slovakia, and Michael Cohen testifies at a closed hearing of the House Intelligence Committee.
Friday: The deadline for China and the U.S. to resolve their tariff dispute arrives.
Saturday: Foreign ministers from the League of Arab States meet in Cairo.
Sunday: A parliamentary election is held in Estonia.