Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Jan. 10, 2023

Top of the Agenda

Leaders of U.S., Canada, Mexico Meet 

U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are meeting in Mexico City (AP) for the North American Leaders’ Summit. Their discussions are expected to produce agreements (Reuters) on migration, semiconductors, climate change, and antidrug cooperation.
In a meeting between López Obrador and Biden yesterday, the two presidents pledged to step up cooperation (Reuters) on curbing fentanyl trafficking to the United States. Meanwhile, U.S. business leaders have voiced concern over López Obrador’s policies favoring state control in the economy. U.S.-Mexico trade increased by 19 percent (WaPo) in the first eleven months of 2022 as U.S. companies moved business away from China.

U.S. physical and economic security depends directly on robust relations with its immediate neighbors. Yet North American issues—including borders and immigration, public health, energy security, the environment and others—are generally viewed through a domestic political lens,” the Council of the Americas’ Eric Farnsworth and the Wilson Center’s Earl Anthony Wayne write for The Hill.

“The reality is that Mexico is the solution to some [U.S.] challenges,” CFR’s Shannon K. O’Neil tells the New York Times. “Trade that is closer by from Canada or Mexico is much more likely to create and protect U.S. jobs.”
Pacific Rim

China Suspends Visas for Japanese, South Korean Travelers

Beijing stopped issuing visas (SCMP) to some people from Japan and South Korea after the countries imposed entry restrictions on Chinese travelers due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Japan: The country registered the most hydrogen patents (Nikkei) in the world from 2011 to 2020, a study from the European Patent Office and the International Energy Agency found. Many countries are looking to hydrogen technology as a source of clean energy.
South and Central Asia

Myanmar Jails 112 Rohingya Trying to Leave Country

Twelve children were among the members of the Muslim minority group who were found on a boat in December and sentenced (Al Jazeera) last week, state-run media said. The adults received five-year sentences, while the children were sentenced to up to three years in a “youth training school.”

India: The government of the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand announced that two hotels in the city of Joshimath will be demolished (PTI) because their foundations are unstable. The city is slowly sinking, causing many buildings to tilt and develop large cracks.
Middle East and North Africa

Amnesty International: Unfair Trials Resulted in Algeria’s 2021 Mass Death Sentencing 

The trials of fifty-four people, who were sentenced to death over the lynching of an arson suspect in August 2021, contained evidence of procedural violations and torture, Amnesty International said.

U.S./Israel: Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer became the first minister from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government to visit Washington, Axios reported. His visit is expected to focus on initial coordination between the new government and the Biden administration.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigerian Election Officials Warn Insecurity Could Postpone Vote

The election commission said current levels of extremism, separatist violence, and crime could cause the delay or cancellation (Africanews, AFP) of the presidential vote scheduled for February. For the Africa in Transition blog, CFR’s Michelle Gavin discusses the promise and peril of Nigeria’s elections.

Rwanda: In a speech, President Paul Kagame said Rwanda will evict (VOA) thousands of Congolese refugees if his government continues to be accused of supporting rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. 

France to Unveil Pension Reform Plan

The plan would increase (France24) France’s retirement age from sixty-two to sixty-four or sixty-five. The proposal to change the retirement age has led to protests in the past. 

Europe: The European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) vowed to deepen cooperation (Politico) in a joint declaration.

This Backgrounder looks at NATO.

Peru Sees Deadliest Day of Protests Over President’s Removal

At least seventeen people were killed (The Guardian) yesterday in clashes between demonstrators and police in the southern region of Puno. Overall, nearly forty people have died in the unrest following the December impeachment of President Pedro Castillo Terrones.
This In Brief explains why Castillo was impeached.
United States

Biden Declares Emergency in California Over Winter Storms

The storms have caused at least twelve deaths (CNBC) in the past ten days, and the National Weather Service is now forecasting a “relentless parade of cyclones.”
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