Global SITREP for Monday, 19 June 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Monday, 19 June 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Monday, 19 June 2023

  1. FIRST UP: U.S., India team up against “big enemy” China
  • Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States in a video where he said that both countries are committed to fighting “that big enemy out there, China”.
  • Modi is scheduled to meet with President Biden and address a joint session of Congress later this week.

Why It Matters: The Biden administration will have a difficult time “thawing” relations with China while members of Congress promote the Indo-Pacific alliance against it. And while India and the U.S. struck a strategic defense cooperation deal – pledging to jointly produce munitions and develop military technology – India is a core part of BRICS and remains committed to moving off the dollar trade standard. Going beyond this week’s cheer leading, the unstated U.S.-Indian alliance is a complex and imperfect one.

  1. EURO TRIP: Chinese premier sees German cracks in G7
  • Chinese Primier Li Qiang met with German government officials to discuss closer ties.
  • G7 nations representing the top 7 developed economies – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and United States – have pledged to “de-risk” from trade with China.

Why It Matters: Chinese policymakers likely see Germany as an opportunity to blunt the impact of the G7’s “de-risking” policies, as China is Germany’s largest trade partner and Chancellor Olaf Schulz has not been willing to limit trade ties with China.

  1. BEST CASE: China supports KMT ahead of Taiwan elections
  • Song Tao, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, met with visiting members of Taiwan’s Kuomintang (KMT) political party in Xiamen, China today.
  • Song pushed for the KMT to support cross-strait student exchanges. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party has effectively banned the exchanges on national security grounds.

Why It Matters: China prefers reunification with Taiwan through KMT political success, not military operations. KMT officials have repeatedly visited mainland China for talks, and the KMT remains Taiwan’s pro-reunification political party ahead of the January 2024 presidential election. A student exchange is almost certainly aimed at developing pro-reunification sentiment among Taiwan’s youth population.

  1. HOMAGE: Blinken claims success in China meeting – really?
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up unproductive talks in Beijing after finally meeting with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi.
  • Blinken met with Wang for three hours out of his two-day visit, and 7 1/2 hours with China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

Why It Matters: Blinken didn’t share any concrete progress from the meeting. Former national security advisor H.R. McMaster was less gracious, saying that Blinken’s trip made the U.S. look weak and acquiescent, and that China wanted to make Blinken’s trip look like the U.S. was paying homage.

  1. WORLD VIEW: China shares 1.5TB of satellite imagery with BRICS
  • China’s National Space Administration announced it shared 400 satellite images with BRICS countries, totalling 1.5 terabytes, following the 2021 Cooperation on BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation agreement.
  • “BRICS cooperation has entered a new stage of cooperation in this field. China invites more emerging market countries to join the BRICS space exchange and cooperation pattern,” one Chinese official said.

Why It Matters: Advancement of BRICS space cooperation is a new front in what’s otherwise been an economic and trade alliance. While BRICS is not a military alliance, space cooperation could grow to have significant defense implications.

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S.

Mike Shelby is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. He's now the CEO of Forward Observer.

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