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SnapshotsApr 15, 2021 | 17:52 GMT
An F-35 military aircraft participates in a NATO training exercise in the Netherlands.
UAE and Saudi Policy Changes Pave the Way for U.S. Arms Sales
The U.S. decision to authorize the first stage of the most advanced arms sale yet to the United Arab Emirates indicates Washington may be less willing to pressure its Arab Gulf allies, as both Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia pivot to less confrontational foreign and domestic policies. The White House could, however, revert to a more hard-line position again if these governments deviate from U.S. regional goals. On April 13, a U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States would proceed with a controversial $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates after an initial review of the sale. The spokesman said the sale would likely see delivery in 2025 or later, and that reviews of Emirati human rights and usage of weapons would continue, along with consultations with Emirati officials. The sale, which was approved by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump in January 2020, includes
AssessmentsApr 14, 2021 | 19:16 GMT
Iran and China’s foreign ministers (right to left) sign a partnership agreement in Tehran on March 27, 2021.
Iran Will Pursue Its New China Partnership With Caution
Iran’s strategic partnership with China will lead to increased security and economic cooperation, but Tehran will avoid fully siding with Beijing for fear of becoming too dependent on a single partner and alienating itself from the West. The March 27 signing of their 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is reflective of the mutual interest between Tehran and Beijing, including collaboration on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as on energy and defense matters. But Iran loathes becoming strategically dependent on any power and will seek to balance its partnership with China with improving ties to Western countries, to ensure Tehran remains as a “neither East, nor West, Islamic Republic,” as Supreme Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini put it. 
SITUATION REPORTApr 9, 2021 | 20:12 GMT
South Korea: Prime Minister to Visit Iran for First Time Since 1977
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun will visit Iran next week, where he is expected to discuss releasing an estimated $7-10 billion in detained Iranian funds to be used for humanitarian purposes, Yonhap reported April 9. Chung will be the first South Korean prime minister to visit Iran since 1977.
Quarterly ForecastsMar 29, 2021 | 00:00 GMT
2021 Second-Quarter Forecast
COVID-19 will again dominate in the second quarter of 2021. With new viral variants and staggered or stalled vaccine rollouts, the global economic rebound will be uneven around the world.
SnapshotsMar 25, 2021 | 20:28 GMT
TV screens show the launch of North Korean missiles on March 25, 2021, in Seoul, South Korea.
What to Make of North Korea’s First Missile Tests Under Biden
North Korea’s first ballistic missile test since U.S. President Joe Biden took office suggests that Pyongyang will seek to advance the development of key weapons systems without jeopardizing the prospect for long-term U.S. outreach or unifying the international community around a harder-line stance against the regime. On March 25, South Korean officials confirmed that North Korea had tested two devices, likely short-range ballistic missiles, early that morning from the eastern town of Hamju. The devices were both launched around 450 kilometers (280 miles) eastward into the Sea of Japan at an altitude of roughly 60 kilometers (37 miles). If confirmed to be a short-range system, such a test does not represent an escalation from those that North Korea conducted during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s term. The testing of ballistic missiles also technically violates U.N. resolutions but does not violate promises made during the Trump administration to refrain from intercontinental
SITUATION REPORTMar 19, 2021 | 21:36 GMT
U.S., China: Top Officials Trade Jabs During Contentious Meeting in Alaska
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Alaska on March 19 for what was a contentious first in-person meeting between the administrations of U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the South China Morning Post reported March 19.
ReflectionsMar 19, 2021 | 19:02 GMT
U.S. and Chinese officials face each other during talks in Anchorage, Alaska, on March 18, 2021.
Amid Ongoing Talks in Alaska, a Look Back at U.S.-China Relations
Stratfor has been tracking the evolution of U.S.-China relations for more than two decades. As we wait for the final outcome of this round of talks, and the evolution of relations moving forward, it is valuable to assess the geopolitical framework within which both countries are operating, identifying risks and opportunities, and setting priorities and policies.  
SITUATION REPORTMar 19, 2021 | 18:17 GMT
Hong Kong: Pro-Beijing Media Outlet Accuses Protest Coalition of Illegal Operations
The pro-Beijing media outlet Ta Kung Pao published an article March 19 accusing the key Hong Kong protest group, Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), of operating illegally for 19 years due to its alleged failure to officially register as an entity or society under Hong Kong laws, the Hong Kong Free Press has reported. 
GuidanceMar 17, 2021 | 21:54 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in South Korea on March 17, 2021.
What to Watch for During the U.S.-China Meeting in Alaska
The first face-to-face meeting between officials from the new U.S. administration and China is unlikely to lead to any breakthroughs; rather it is intended to set the strategic tenor of relations from the U.S. side. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will host Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Yang Jiechi in Alaska March 18-19 for the first face-to-face talks between the administrations of Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. Expectations are low, at least in regards to any early easing of trade or security frictions. The White House will instead use the meeting to reset Beijing’s expectations while laying out the contours of its evolving policy toward China, which so far appears to be a fairly hard-line stance.
SnapshotsMar 17, 2021 | 20:46 GMT
A picture of the Hong Kong skyline taken in June 2019.
Biden’s First Hong Kong Sanctions Maintains Trump’s Approach
Despite China’s ongoing efforts to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy, new U.S. sanctions indicate that Washington will continue to avoid broader measures against the city’s financial sector or access to U.S. dollars for fear of dramatically escalating tensions with China and damaging U.S. economic interests in Hong Kong. Financial institutions in the city, however, will find themselves increasingly at risk of facing secondary sanctions. On March 16, the U.S. State Department updated its sanctions list under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, adding 24 individuals involved in either the drafting or enforcement of the city’s controversial national security law. But even after China’s recent passing of sweeping Hong Kong electoral reforms, the latest U.S. sanctions linked to mainland encroachment on the city remain carefully calibrated to a limited set of individuals. 
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