Another day, another round of U.S. sanctions. This time, Washington levied them against a Chinese military unit, known as the Equipment Development Department, for purchasing Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missile defense systems. Beijing has already criticized the move, calling it a violation of international norms, and has threatened unspecified consequences if sanctions are not lifted. U.S. officials said Russia was their primary target – which makes sense, considering how hard Russia has been working to add value to its exports via its defense industry – but it’s hard to figure that the gains from the sanctions against China are purely incidental. Surely paying attention to how this episode plays out are other U.S. partners such as India, which has also agreed to buy S-400s.
Ukraine and Hungary continue to butt heads. It started with the Hungarian Consulate in Berehove, where the Hungarian government issued Hungarian passports to Ukrainian citizens. Hungary has a strategic imperative to anchor itself in Trans-Carpathia, and issuing passports helps satisfy that imperative. This comes just a few days after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban traveled to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine is naturally upset. Kiev takes it as a challenge to its territorial integrity at a time when it is already dealing with a lot of challenges to its territorial integrity. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian parliament has put forth legislation that would add to the constitution the intention to join NATO and the European Union – something Russia cannot abide.
Is there an opportunity for the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute to be settled? The answer is yes, according to a statement made by U.S. President Donald Trump to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. It’s an unexpected (and probably unrealistic) statement from the White House, which provided no details on what the opportunities in question might be. It comes just after reports that Russia’s relations with Azerbaijan – traditionally in the U.S. camp – have improved in the past few months. Notably, neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia have indicated that they expect a peaceful resolution anytime soon. In fact, they both held large military drills earlier this month simulating conflict in the disputed region.
- Robert Corker, the chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, has paid an official visit to Cuba, where he met with Cuba’s president and foreign affairs minister.
- India will use UCO Bank and IDBI Bank to purchase Iranian oil with rupees come November, according to unnamed sources from India’s oil industry.
- The People’s Bank of China called on major banks, especially state-owned ones, to more effectively provide financial services and support to private enterprises.
- Turkey announced its “Medium-Term Program,” which means to stabilize the country’s economy from 2019 to 2021. It focuses on reducing the deficit, creating more jobs and promoting the export of value-added goods.
- Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission called for a new state-owned company to develop and produce natural gas to reduce dependence on U.S. supply.
- British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. and the EU were “a long way apart” in Brexit talks after European Council President Donald Tusk rejected London’s Brexit plan during an informal EU summit in Salzburg. She challenged the EU to describe its issues with her plan in detail and offer counterproposals.