US-China Trade talk
Introduction: Though Chinese Vice Premier Liu He brought Xi’s invitation during his visit to Washington, DC, US President Donald Trump said he would not meet Chinese President Xi before the coming March 1 deadline of achieving a trade deal. A new round of trade talks will begin on Monday in Beijing, and Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will lead the US side.
Analysis: The reason why President Trump turned down the invitation might because US does not want to erode its leverages in the trade talk. Additionally, US may aim to further push ahead with the threat of tariffs to add its leverages. US may demand structural changes to prevent unfair trade practices, forced technology transfer, and infringement of intellectual property rights. This can be seen as President Trump’s effort to achieve his “America First” strategy.
US withdrawal from Syria
Introduction: US is planning to withdraw US troops out of Syria by the end of April 2019. This move could be referred back to President Donald Trump’s saying in December 2018 that the fight against Islamic State “was almost won”. On February 6, US Secretary of State Pompeo reassured US’s allies that US’s pull-out did not mean “the end of America’s fight”. He encouraged them to continue their commitment on defeating Islamic State.
Analysis: The potential withdrawal may have significant impacts in the area. US departure would contribute to the consolidation of power of Assad’s regime in Syria. Assad may feel more secure and embark on reclaiming the lands he has lost. Iran and Russia have supported Assad since the beginning of the war, so it might be a good news for them as well. However, it remains uncertain whether ISIS would build up its power and reemerge after US departure.
Introduction: US President Donald Trump is going to hold the second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam at the end of February. In his annual State of the Union address to Congress this year, Trump emphasized that more efforts are needed to achieve peace with North Korea. The coming second summit may continue in persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
Analysis: Vietnam is an interesting choice to be the host of the summit. Vietnam not only maintains good relationships with both North Korea and the United States, it is also a model of being underdeveloped and isolated in the past but has been striving after reforms; a model of being hostile with the United States in the past but has been in good relation with the United States in the present. Thus, Vietnam might be an example that US wants North Korea to follow. A sticking point of the summit would be whether US will ease its sanctions on North Korea in exchange for denuclearization.
Trump Declares a National Emergency to Build Border Wall
Introduction: US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the United Sates-Mexico border on Friday, a move expected to plunge him into a fight with Democrats over what they call an unconstitutional attempt to fund a wall without approval from Congress.
Analysis: US federal law gives a number of powers to the president to use in response to a "crisis, exigency, or emergency circumstances threatening the nation". It's unclear where Trump can get the funding because Congress would still need to earmark money for the wall. However, some legal experts have told local media that Trump may be able to turn to unallocated funds in the Department of Defense's budget.