1. The 2nd US-North Korea Summit in Hanoi
The US and North Korea have chosen Hanoi as the venue for the summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un in an effort to concretize the process of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula after the Trump summit - The first Kim in Singapore in June 2018. However, after two days of meeting on February 26 and 27, the two leaders failed to reach a specific agreement and the plan to sign a joint statement after the meeting was cancelled. This is due to disagreements between the two sides over the lifting of US sanctions in exchange for dismantling North Korea's nuclear facilities.
(US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met for a summit in Hanoi in February). (Photo: Reuters)
Although no agreement was reached, the personal relationship between the two leaders of the US and North Korea has helped the relationship between the two countries and the situation on the Korean peninsula be less hot than the situation on the brink of war a year earlier. . They also reunited in a historic meeting in the village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone on the inter-Korean border. Trump crossed the concrete border into North Korea, becoming the first sitting US president to set foot on North Korean soil. But towards the end of the year, the process of nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea fell into a deadlock when meetings between officials of the two sides did not come to any concrete results. Pyongyang has resumed missile and weapons tests that had been halted earlier, and wars of words between the two countries have heated up again.
In parallel with negotiations with the US, North Korea has strengthened relations with countries in the region. In 2019, Kim Jong-un visited China for the fourth time in January, visited Russia for the first time in April, and had a summit with President Vladimir Putin. Analysts say that with their long standing position and role, China and Russia have always had an influence on North Korea's foreign policy and partly influenced Pyongyang's views in nuclear negotiations with the US.
2. US promotes Indo-Pacific strategy
In November 2017, at the APEC summit in Da Nang, US President Donald Trump launched the "free and open Indo-Pacific" strategy, which is said to strengthen Washington's position. in a key geostrategic area and prevent a strong rise of China. The Trump administration's strategy is being carried out across multiple fronts, from the economy, to politics, to technology, to defence, and to security. On the one hand, the strategy aims to strengthen America's leadership role in the region, on the other hand, to contain countries that challenge America's position, especially China. The Indo-Pacific strategy clearly shows that the US cannot sit idly by as China strengthens its soft power around the world through its "Belt and Road" initiative.
(The aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (left), USS Ronald Reagan and other US warships move in the East Sea). (Photo: US Navy)
Exactly two years after the birth of the free and open Indo-Pacific vision, in November 2019, the US released a report on the implementation of this strategy: “The US government has taken many steps. to realize President Trump's priorities for the region. Since Mr. Trump took office, the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have provided more than 4.5 billion foreign aid to the region. During the first three years of the Trump administration, the US increased aid to the region by 25% compared to the first three years of the previous administration, indicating a significant shift of resources towards the Indo-Pacific. That's not counting the hundreds of billions of dollars in development finance, investments by American companies and other sources."
The promotion of a free and open South China Sea is a central part of the Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy to counter Beijing's unilateral claims to most of this strategic sea. Since 2017, the US Navy has increased patrols to protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, regularly dispatching ships close to artificial islands that Beijing has built illegally, increasing exercises with other countries. allies in the region, promoting cooperation under the "quad" mechanism with Japan, India and Australia. The US also increased public criticism of China's expansionist actions at multilateral forums such as at the Shangri-La Dialogue, regional summits, etc.
3.US-China Trade War
The US-China trade war is part of a multi-front US "war" to counter China's influence around the globe. The trade war between the world's two largest economies has been continuously pushed to new levels of tension in 2019 after the US government triggered the "war" in March 2018. So far, the US has imposed additional tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods, while Beijing retaliated with tariffs on $185 billion worth of American goods.
(Photo illustration of the US-China trade war). (Photo: FT)
The US announced the measures to impose tariffs on China to prevent what it sees as unfair trade practices, theft of intellectual property, technology and trade secrets. On the technology front, in January, the US announced a total of 23 criminal charges against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada last December according to a report from the US Department of Commerce. American proposal. Washington also listed another Chinese technology company - ZTE - as a threat to US national security, restricting these companies from doing business with Chinese technology firms. Concerned about the risk of stolen technologies and espionage, the US also tightened Chinese funding for universities and research facilities in the US.
The trade war has had a significant impact on the Chinese economy. The country's economic growth in the second quarter of 2019 was only 6.2%, the lowest level in at least 27 years. A series of foreign companies have moved operations out of China to avoid the strong impact of the trade war.
4.The impeachment inquiry into President Trump
The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump began in September after information about a controversial phone call between him and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky was leaked in which he was accused of pressuring the government. The Ukrainian government is investigating the father and son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to gain political advantage before the 2020 election. The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives on December 18 voted to pass two articles of impeachment. President Donald Trump's crimes include: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump is the third president in US history to be impeached, after the late Andrew Johnson and former President Bill Clinton.
(Donald Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached.) (Image: Reuters)
The House is expected to submit articles of impeachment against Mr Trump to the Senate for consideration before his trial begins. If two-thirds of the 100 members of the Senate support the articles of impeachment, Mr. Trump will be removed from the presidency. However, this scenario is considered unlikely given Mr. Trump's Republican party currently controls the Senate.
5. Disagreements in US-NATO relations
In the exact year NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, the military alliance faces the most stressful period in its history as rifts and divisions pervade within the bloc, notably disagreements over the cost of closing the alliance. contributions and conflicts between Turkey and member countries. When US President Donald Trump called NATO "obsolete" and expressed skepticism about the purpose of the bloc, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was falling into a state of "brain death" due to lack of cooperation between Europe and the US. . The conflict was most evident during the summit in Britain on the occasion of his 70th birthday, when the US leader canceled a press conference and returned home early after a video showed world leaders laughing at him. spread on the internet.
(US President Donald Trump and European leaders at the NATO summit in Britain in early December.) (Photo: AFP)
Relations between Turkey and other NATO members are also a source of tension within the bloc. When Turkey launched its "Peace Spring" operation against the Kurdish-controlled area of northeastern Syria, several member states expressed opposition due to concerns that the operation increased the risk of destabilize the region. Turkey is also deeply at odds with the United States over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which has strained relations between the two sides like never before in many years.
6. Russia continues to be isolated, promoting its Look East policy
Relations between Russia and the West have not fundamentally improved over the past year, and are even more tense and complicated than ever. Civil and military cooperation between Russia and NATO has remained frozen since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and supported the pro-independence faction in eastern Ukraine. To “prepare the Russian threat,” NATO has strengthened its deterrence and defense posture in the east, deploying more than 4,000 troops in Poland and the bordering Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Russia. Lithuania, in parallel with the installation of missile defense systems in Romania and Poland. Also in 2019, the US and Russia both withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, raising concerns around the world about a potential arms race between the two countries. By the end of the year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's first visit to the United States since 2017 and the first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on the situation in eastern Ukraine will be attended by the end of the year. by the leaders of Germany and France, has raised hopes for the prospect of thawing in relations between Russia and the West.
(Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the summit in the city of Vladivostok, Russia on April 25) (Photo: Tass)
In the context of continued isolation from the West, Russia has promoted its Look East policy, paying particular attention to relations with China, India, and ASEAN through forums in which Russia plays a leading or key role. such as the group of leading emerging economies in the world (BRICS), the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In the Asia-Pacific region, Russia's reach has been increasingly expanded with the proliferation of trade deals, arms deals and military exercises. In 2019, Russian President Putin welcomed the leaders of North Korea and the Philippines for the first time to visit. Analysts say that, although Russia's Look East policy is not new, in the context of frozen Russia-West relations, Moscow will certainly pivot to the West more and more strongly.
7. ISIS leader killed
In a live address from the White House on October 27, President Donald Trump confirmed that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US attack on his lair. in northwestern Syria. Baghdadi's death gives US officials a sigh of relief after a years-long manhunt for one of the world's most wanted terrorists, who claims to be the leader of the Islamic State. In Iraq and Syria since 2014. This is also considered a major victory for the US in the war on terror since al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
(President Trump and senior officials watch the raid that killed the leader of the Islamic State (IS) (Photo: White House)
Along with the death of Baghdadi, the US-led international military coalition against IS also achieved breakthrough results in clearing the militants from large areas of territory in Syria that the group once controlled. control. In March, the US announced that US-backed militias had cleared IS from its last stronghold in Syria. However, experts say that the death of the IS leader and the eradication of this group in Syria, and before that in Iraq, does not mean that the fight against IS is over. This terrorist organization is still a great threat to the world and the specter of IS still haunts many countries.
8. US almost attacked Iran
Tensions between the US and Iran in 2019 almost escalated into a military conflict, when President Donald Trump revealed that he himself canceled an order to strike targets in Iran just 10 minutes before firing, after a drone An American drone worth about $200 million was shot down by an Iranian air defense missile near the Strait of Hormuz.
(An oil tanker was attacked in the Gulf of Oman in June.) (Image: ISNA/AP)
Since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic, relations between the two countries have steadily escalated. Washington has accused Tehran of attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and attacking two oil refineries in Saudi Arabia. In response, Washington sent more troops and equipment such as aircraft carriers and modern F-22 fighter jets to the region to deter Iran, while Tehran responded by enriching uranium again, developing new nuclear weapons. new weapon. Analysts say that US-Iran relations are at a very sensitive stage, and just a move that is considered provocative on any side can cause tensions to flare up into a military confrontation in one of the countries. hottest region in the world.
9. Latin America in turmoil
The Latin American region has witnessed many ups and downs in 2019, from the political crises in Venezuela and Bolivia, the wave of anti-government protests in Peru or the terrible wildfire disaster in Brazil.
(Former Bolivian President Evo Morales sleeps on the dirt floor at a makeshift shelter before going to Mexico for asylum.) (Photo: Evo Morales/Twitter)
Venezuela has fallen into a political crisis, with the status of one country, two governments, when National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, next to incumbent President Nicolas Maduro. Guaido is recognized by the United States and several countries in Europe and the region, while Russia and China only recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. The Maduro government and the opposition have been pushing for a reconciliation process that has so far been unsuccessful.
In Bolivia, unrest has flared since President Evo Morales was elected to a fourth term on October 20. In the wake of accusations of serious election fraud, a wave of violent protests broke out across Bolivia, forcing President Morales to resign after 14 years in power. Just three weeks after being re-elected, Mr. Morales had to flee to Mexico for political asylum amid threats to the life and safety of the former leader. Jeanine Anez, Vice President of the Senate of Bolivia, declared herself interim President after Morale resigned.
10. The wave of protests in Hong Kong
Protests in Hong Kong broke out in June, starting to protest against a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong to extradite suspects to places where it has not signed an extradition treaty, including China. continent. Protesters fear that the bill undermines the "one country, two systems" principle enjoyed by this special administrative region and that it will affect their rights. Although the bill was permanently dropped, the street protests continued and expanded to a wave of protests in favor of freedoms and against the police.
(Hong Kong people joined the protest.)(Photo: SCMP)
Tensions in Hong Kong only temporarily subsided after district council elections, in which the opposition won an overwhelming victory. The result is seen as a clear message from voters to give a voice to the government, which is backed by Beijing, after protests against the government have lasted for the past six months. After the election, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said her government respects the election results and is committed to listening to the voice of the people.