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Watch List: Jan. 8, 2018

Washington not ready for talks with Pyongyang, Venezuela cuts food prices, NATO and Russia to hold meeting

|January 8, 2018

The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance.

Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues.

  • North Korea: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Jan. 7 that North Korea must stop conducting missile tests before the United States will negotiate with Pyongyang. How should we interpret this statement? Her comments came days before North Korea and South Korea are scheduled to hold talks. The U.S. Navy also announced on Jan. 7 that the USS Carl Vinson is en route to the Western Pacific and that the USS Wasp will soon arrive at the Sasebo naval base in Japan.
  • Venezuela: Venezuela’s government ordered shops to cut food prices following recent shortages, resulting in long lines at supermarkets. It also ordered the issuance of the first 100 million petros, an oil-backed national cryptocurrency. How does this cryptocurrency work, and what does Venezuela hope to achieve? How bad is the economic situation? Will social unrest increase over the coming weeks?
  • Russia: According to BuzzFeed, which cited unnamed sources, NATO and Russia will hold a meeting in Azerbaijan between Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO’s supreme allied commander of Europe, and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces. Is this report true and, if so, what can we expect from the meeting? Will it change anything?
  • China, Iran: China has frozen the bank accounts of several Iranian companies, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency. Is this report accurate? If so, why did China make this move? Why now?

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