Introduction: The INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles was signed in 1987. On Feb 1, US announced to suspend compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty in response to a Russian missile which violates the agreement. If Russia does not show compliance with the treaty in the next six months, US may permanently withdraw. Russia claims that the range of that missile puts it outside the treaty, and it is US that is looking for excuses to leave the treaty. On Feb 2, Russian President Putin announced that Russia also suspended the treaty.
Analysis: It can be dated back to 2008 when both sides alleged that the other was violating the treaty. Neither side has taken necessary measures to preserve the pact. The collapse of INF Treaty may cripple other arms control agreements, stimulating the spread of nuclear arms and potential military aggressions. This particularly worried European countries who fear that missile buildups by US and Russia may reappear in Europe. For instance, German Chancellor Merkel said that Germany will “do everything possible” to hold further discussions in the next six months. Moreover, a new alternative arms control treaty may be created in the future, as suggested by President Trump. US may pursue a multilateral arms control pact since China has not been bound by the bilateral INF Treaty yet. Whether China will be included in the new treaty remains uncertain.
US-China Trade Talk
Introduction: On Wednesday, US and China began a round of high-level talks, focusing on China’s intellectual property and technology transfer issues and easing the tariff war. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met in Washington, DC. The meeting lasted for two days, and no deal was reached. China agreed to buy an additional 5 million tonnes of soybeans, and to increase imports of “US agricultural products, energy products, industrial manufactured goods and service products”.
Analysis: This meeting is the highest-level meeting after US and China called a 90-day truce in Buenos Aires. There is only a month left to reach a trade deal, otherwise US will increase tariffs on Chinese products after March 2. More China’s purchase of US goods may help US President Trump to accomplish his campaign pledge; at the same time, these steps are in accord with China’s further reform and opening up policies. Further discussions between US and China is on the agenda.
Introduction: US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the exact date and location of the second summit between him and Kim Jong-Un — the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) — has been decided and will be published next week. He also told the reporters that the meeting would be held at the end of February.
Analysis: The objective of Washington is to figure out a solution with DPRK to make Kim Jong-Un willing to give access to exports to monitor the nuclear and missile sites. Even though the ultimate goal of the US is to persuade DPRK to remove and destroy all the nuclear weapons and missiles they own, but it is highly unlikely since the WMDs are the important bargaining chips of Kim Jong-Un.
Introduction: Despite the difficulties from gov't shutdown, trade tensions and slowing global growth, the US economy added a whopping 304,000 jobs in January, marking the 100th straight month of consecutive job gains. Workers also earned more last month. Average hourly wages rose $0.03 in January, up 3.2 percent from a year earlier.
Analysis: Although the economy is recovered as the government operation return to normal, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that the partial government shutdown took about 11 billion dollars out of the US economy, and 3 billion of the total loss is permanent. Even though the employment rate looks satisfactory, but half a million people who are working part-time are supposed to have full-time jobs.
Introduction: Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy, who reports to the Human Rights Council that The crisis in Venezuela will not be solved by sanctions that “can lead to starvation”. Instead, humanitarian aid is necessary to the people of Venezuela. Although the target of sanction is Maduro’s government, the Venezuela people are the ones who are hurt most.
Analysis: Sanction can only lead to starvation and medical shortage, which is not answering to the crisis in Venezuela. The political interests of different powers and leaders should never be built on Venezuelans’ suffering. Solving the crisis through dialogue and consultation is the only available method that can be adopted now.