COMMENTARY

Pompeo pump-primes US Asia-Pacific strategy

MIKE Pompeo starts an important India trip on Tuesday as part of a wider three-nation visit which includes stop-offs in two other key allied nations - Japan and South Korea. This latest tour, on the back of his previous visits to the region as Secretary of State, will see him doubling down on...

COMMENTARY

Why the G-20 in Japan may be memorable

ENERGY and environment ministers met at the weekend to help finalise preparations for next week's G-20 leadership summit in Osaka, Japan. The event, which may yet see US-China trade tensions ease or escalate, could become the most important G-20 since the 2009 meeting in London during the storm...

Dealing with Kim: Trump's team needs to raise its game

WEDNESDAY marks the first anniversary of the landmark Singapore summit, perhaps the US administration's signature foreign policy initiative to date. Yet, amid much White House hype, the process has predictably failed to live up to the billing, with the talks just as likely to collapse completely...

London will need more than pomp to woo Donald Trump

DONALD Trump's attention turns to Eastern Europe on Tuesday when he meets Polish President Andrzej Duda. Yet, it was his landmark trip to Western Europe last week, configured around the 75th anniversary of D-Day, that has set the international political agenda in recent days.

COMMENTARY

Is Trump-Macron relationship at rupture point?

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump visits Paris on Thursday, on the last and potentially most consequential leg of his European trip, to see his "great" friend Emmanuel Macron. However, while the mood music will be upbeat, there are growing signs that relations between the presidents are chilling with...

COMMENTARY

China to cement Russia ties before G-20

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday for a three-day trip, timed just before this month's G-20 and reflecting their burgeoning bilateral dialogue. Yet it is not just this growing warmth that is driving relations, but also the current chilliness of...

New UK PM must tackle troubled Tory legacy

FRESH from her last ever EU summit Tuesday, Theresa May is making final preparations for her resignation next week as UK Conservative Party leader. While she will stay on as prime minister until at least July, her time in office is ending with a lousy legacy.

Status quo powers fall away in EU elections earthquake

SUNDAY night's results from the high turnout European Parliament (EP) elections, the biggest multi-country election in the world, saw gains for anti-integration parties - and also centrist liberals and greens. In what will be widely perceived as a referendum on the six-decade integration project...

Abe-Trump talks topped by trade and Korea

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump starts on Saturday a multi-day trip to Japan with a packed agenda, including preparations for next month's G-20. Yet the primary reason for the visit, from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's viewpoint, is the opportunity to deepen his personal bond with the mercurial...

COMMENTARY

Brexit Party rises as Tory and Labour lose ground

NIGEL Farage's Brexit Party is on course, according to polls, to win Thursday's European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom. This would be only the second time in over a century that an organisation other than the Conservatives or Labour have won a nationwide UK ballot, piling the...

COMMENTARY

From Russia with love for Pompeo

VLADIMIR Putin and Sergei Lavrov had warm words for Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in his first trip to Russia as US Secretary of State. However, despite Mr Putin's call to "fully restore" ties, in the highest-level US-Russia meetings since he met Donald Trump last year, bilateral relations remain...

Asia-Pacific tops US foreign policy priorities

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump is facing major foreign policy challenges from Venezuela to Iran this week. Yet, it is the Asia-Pacific that looms potentially largest for him after recent setbacks in trade talks with China, and the impasse in nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, underscoring the need...

COMMENTARY

EU plots ahead to 2020s amid troubled times

EUROPEAN presidents and prime ministers meet on Thursday for a landmark summit that will help set the European Union's strategic agenda for the next five years. The session, which comes just days before the May 23 European Parliament election, will not just look at the challenges and...

Brexit saga has wilted confidence in democracy

FORMER Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith on Sunday called for Prime Minister Theresa May to resign immediately, after the party lost more than 1,200 Council seats in the UK local elections. The Tories probably also face very difficult European Parliament elections on May 23, which could...

Why the European Parliament election matters for the world

AS April moves into May, this week sees the kick-off of the final leg of the landmark European Parliament election campaign. The May 23-26 ballot is assuming much bigger importance this year in what may, in effect, be a referendum on the six-decade integration project of the Brussels-based club...

COMMENTARY

Why Belt and Road worries the West

ANGELA Merkel and Emmanuel Macron met South-east European leaders in Berlin on Monday. While the summit discussed the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, also on the agenda was the growing concern in Brussels, Berlin and Paris about China's increasing influence in the sub-region also known as...

COMMENTARY

Eurozone anxious over Europe's 'election of the year'

THE most important national election of the year in Europe is held on Sunday as Spain goes to the polls for the third time in as many years. With no single party expected to win nearly enough votes for an outright majority, either another period of minority government or a potentially shaky...

COMMENTARY

EU-Japan summit to set G-20 agenda

JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top European leaders are making final preparations for this week's important EU-Japan summit. The meetings will not just deepen their bilateral strategic partnership, but also set the agenda for June's G-20 summit in Osaka.

COMMENTARY

Could potential Putin-Kim summit be a game changer?

THE Kremlin confirmed on Monday that preparations are underway for a historic first summit between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. With the meeting potentially as soon as next week, the key question is whether Russia can help unlock the stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

COMMENTARY

Halloween Brexit extension - more 'trick' than 'treat'?

THE House of Commons began a two-week recess on Monday after the latest Brexit extension to Oct 31 was agreed upon last week . While many MPs have welcomed the new Halloween deadline, it represents a classic Brussels fudge that may be more 'trick' than 'treat' for London and potentially the EU...

Trump tariffs on EU goods herald fresh trans-Atlantic tensions

DONALD Trump threatened this week to impose tariffs worth US$11.2 billion on European Union (EU) goods. The move would significantly escalate economic and political tensions between the world's biggest trading blocs and underlines the hollowness of the supposed trade "deal" agreed on last July...

EU-China summit timing is tricky

THE EU-China summit kicks off on Tuesday amid growing bilateral tension. Europe is becoming increasingly important for Chinese foreign policy and this is fuelling concerns in Brussels that Beijing is "dividing and ruling" to undermine the continent's collective interests.

COMMENTARY

Why May 23 could be Brexit Day as UK changes strategy

ANGELA Merkel visits the Republic of Ireland on Thursday, ahead of next Wednesday's special European Council summit of presidents and prime ministers on Brexit. The visit comes amid signs that - at long last - Theresa May could properly explore a cross-UK party deal on Brexit, and will ask...

COMMENTARY

NATO turns 70 with charm offensive to woo Trump

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg meets Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday. After the US president's remarkable threats last year to pull out of the military alliance, Mr Stoltenberg's chief goal this week will be to deepen support in Washington for the organisation...

COMMENTARY

Could elusive US-China trade deal be dotted before G-20?

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to begin in Beijing on Thursday a new round of trade negotiations with China. While a deal is still by no means guaranteed, there are growing incentives for both sides to cut an agreement at or before...