Asia/Africa update: September 18 2018

G’mar Tov to those who are observing Yom Kippur.

ASIA

AFGHANISTAN

At least nine Afghan police officers were killed late Monday in an “insider” attack in Balkh province. As is typical in these sorts of incidents, the officer who attacked the others took their weapons and went off to join the Taliban.

MYANMAR

The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into last year’s (alleged) attempted genocide of the Rohingya by the Myanmar military. Myanmar has rejected the ICC’s claims of jurisdiction–Myanmar is not a member of the court but the ICC says it can act because Bangladesh is a member of the court and most of the refugees of last year’s attacks wound up in Bangladesh.

CHINA

With Donald Trump imposing tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods this week, Beijing’s ability to reciprocate is diminishing because, well, China just doesn’t import that much US stuff. The Chinese government imposed tariffs on another $60 billion in US goods on Tuesday but really that’s about it as far as tariffs are concerned. They could do things like “random” customs snafus related to US products but that’s small potatoes. They could cut off exports to the US or close Chinese factories making products for US companies but that would hurt the Chinese economy too. They could go the other direction and try to appease Trump by unilaterally reducing their own tariffs, but hardliners aren’t too keen on what would look like capitulation. They may simply have to wait and see if higher prices in the US eventually create enough public resentment that it forces Trump to back off.

NORTH KOREA

The New York Times has a story here that includes some nice photos of the opening day of the Moon Jae-in/Kim Jong-un summit in Pyongyang. I expect we’ll have more to say about the summit tomorrow after what I would expect to be a lot of coverage of the statement Moon and Kim have signed, but here’s the BBC’s early read on it:

The two sides have “agreed on a way to achieve denuclearisation,” Mr Moon said.

North and South Korea also plan to link up railways, allow family reunions and co-operate on health care.

The summit results were described by Mr Kim as a “leap forward” towards military peace.

“The North agreed to permanently close the Tongchang-ri missile engine test site and missile launch facility in the presence of experts from relevant nations,” Mr Moon said after the signing.

And the Guardian’s:

North Korea will shut down key missile test facilities in the presence of “international experts” and is willing to close its only known nuclear complex if the United States makes reciprocal measures, South Korean president Moon Jae-in has announced in a joint press conference with Kim Jong-un.

The two leaders also agreed during a three-day summit in Pyongyang to connect two rail lines, on the east and west side of the peninsula, across one of the most militarised borders in the world. Kim also said he would visit Seoul in the “near future”, a move that would make him the first North Korean leader to visit the capital of the South.

North and South Korea agreed that the Korean Peninsula should turn into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats”, Moon said. Any transport links would require the approval of the US-led United Nations Command, which oversees the border region.

AFRICA

LIBYA

Militias have resumed fighting each other in Tripoli. Clashes on Monday night destroyed a power distributor in southern Tripoli and knocked out electricity in the western and southern parts of the country. While the Government of National Accord in Tripoli remains the internationally recognized Libyan government, at some point the international community is going to have to come to grips with the fact that it can’t even maintain control of its own city, let alone the rest of the country.

CAMEROON

Amnesty International and other human rights groups are warning that the violence in Cameroon’s breakaway Ambazonia region is spiraling out of control:

“The situation in the anglophone regions of Cameroon is becoming increasingly desperate, with no one spared from the violence, which is spiralling out of control,” said Samira Daoud, the deputy regional director of campaigns in west and central Africa. She called for the government to act immediately to restore peace, adding: “Violence will only fuel further incidents, crimes and untold suffering.”

At the weekend, armed men attacked a school near Buea in the Southwest Region, wounding more than 20 people including children, according to the governor of the province.

Schools are central to the conflict, which erupted after security forces responded violently to protests in October 2017 calling for English be used in classrooms and courtrooms in Cameroon’s anglophone regions.

ESWATINI

Police and striking public sector workers clashed in cities and towns throughout eSwatini on Tuesday, as protests are expected to continue for much of the week. Workers want higher wages and reforms to the state pension office, which for some reason gifted King Mswati III $70,000 for his birthday back in April.

Author: DWD

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