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Daily Brief: Xi Asserts China's Global Leadership Role


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. October 18, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Xi Asserts China's Global Leadership Role At a party congress in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a sweeping vision to transform the country by 2050 (Bloomberg) in a Wednesday speech that touched on economic, environmental, and foreign policy, as well as cracking down on domestic corruption. Xi told the gathering that China has entered a new era in which it should "take center stage in the world" (BBC) as he laid out goals for the next three decades that include transforming the People's Liberation Army into one of the globe's top militaries. The delegates at the congress, which marks the start of Xi's second term, will deliberate for a week before announcing new party leadership (FT). ANALYSIS "The speech signaled that Xi would prioritize extending the influence of the Communist Party in China over the next five years, raising questions over his commitment to implementing tough reforms and expanding the role of the market," Ting Shi writes for Bloomberg. "The question now is whether the new leadership can find the right balance in allowing the market to play the 'decisive' role, while the state still plays a leading but redefined role," Yukon Huang said in an interview with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center. "On his numerous foreign tours, Mr. Xi presents himself as an apostle of peace and friendship, a voice of reason in a confused and troubled world. Mr. Trump's failings have made this much easier," writes the Economist. This CFR Backgrounder discusses what's at stake at the Nineteenth Party Congress. PACIFIC RIM U.S. Declassifies Files on Indonesian Massacres Some thirty thousand pages of documents declassified by the United States (BBC) show detailed recordings of mass killings of suspected communists during the 1960s by Indonesia's military and militias. The release is the largest by the U.S. National Declassification Center (VOA), created under former President Barack Obama to promote transparency.   SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA McCain to Block Trump Nominees Over Afghan War Plan John McCain, chair of the U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee, has vowed to block U.S. President Donald J. Trump's nominees for several defense posts until the administration details its Afghan war strategy (AP). The senator said it is unclear how Trump's proposed troop increase would lead to a turnaround in the conflict. Foreign Affairs asked experts whether it is time for a major U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan. TAJIKISTAN: Tajik authorities have created a registry with hundreds of LGBT persons (RFE/RL), according to federal prosecutors. The purpose of the list is ostensibly to protect the persecuted minority and control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Iraq Declares Kirkuk Mission Complete Iraqi troops and allied militias have taken the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk (Al Jazeera) and parts of Nineveh and Diyala provinces, declaring that security is restored. The operation came three weeks after an independence referendum in the region that was opposed by Baghdad (BBC). CFR's Max Boot discusses how Washington should respond to the conflict in Iraqi Kurdistan. QATAR: Qatar's finance minister said its sovereign wealth fund has returned $20 billion onshore (FT) to buffer against a regional boycott of the Gulf nation. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Kenyan Election Official Flees to U.S. A top electoral commission official has resigned ahead of a presidential election rerun (BBC) set for next week, saying the commission is under political "siege." The official said she does not feel safe enough to return home and cited the July murder of another official. SOMALIA: Somali officials say the hometown of the man suspected of carrying out an attack (Guardian) last week in Mogadishu that left more than three hundred people dead was the site of an August U.S. special forces raid that killed ten civilians. EUROPE Greece's Prime Minister Visits White House U.S. President Trump said during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that the United States supports "responsible debt relief" (FT) for Greece as it recovers from its economic crisis. Tsipras called the meeting "very productive." SWITZERLAND: A Swiss mas has been charged with espionage in Germany for spying on German authorities who used leaked data (DW) to crack down on citizens using Swiss accounts to avoid taxes. The Swiss government has admitted its Federal Intelligence Service investigated the stolen data. AMERICAS Brazil's Batista Brothers Face Insider Trading Charges Brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista, owners of the Brazilian meatpacking firm JBS, will face insider trading charges for allegedly selling JBS shares (BBC) before revealing their involvement in a massive bribery scheme, which led the company's stock price to plummet in May. CANADA: Canada's foreign minister said some proposals to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been "troubling" and "unconventional." A fourth round of talks on revising the trade deal (VOA) concluded on Tuesday. This CFR Backgrounder asks how much the U.S. trade deficit matters. UNITED STATES Hawaii Federal Judge Blocks New Travel Ban A federal judge in Hawaii on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration's third version of a travel ban (WSJ) that targets citizens of eight countries. The judge said the order makes improper judgements about the risks associated with certain travelers based on their nationalities. Billionaire George Soros has given $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations, one of the largest-ever transfers of wealth from a private donor (NYT) to a single foundation. The organization promotes democracy and human rights in more than a hundred countries.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: October 18, 2017 at 10:01PM