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.
U.S., North Korea: The U.S. and South Korea have made efforts to moderate expectations ahead of the June 12 U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore. South Korea’s president reminded the public that the talks are only the start of a long demilitarization process. The White House said that talks were progressing quickly and that President Donald Trump would leave the evening of June 12. What are the realistic possibilities here?
Azerbaijan, Armenia: Azerbaijani troops said they “liberated” a village and surrounding territory from Armenian occupation in the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan. An Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman disputed the claims, saying Azerbaijani nationals visited the area at Armenia’s invitation. Azerbaijan also said it controls the road from Armenia to the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. We’ve said in the past that we do not anticipate a war. It’s time to check our assumptions.
Belarus: While Belarus and Russia try to work out a dairy dispute, two other countries, Iran and China, are reaching out to Russia’s neighbor. Belarus and China signed a visa-free agreement on June 10, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Belarus will be strong if China is strong. Lukashenko also reciprocated interest out of Tehran in expanding and strengthening Iranian-Belarusian economic ties. Belarus is vital to Russia’s defense. Let’s check the state of Belarus’ trade and economic ties with China and Iran. Are either offering Belarus an alternative to Russian investment and energy supplies?
Vietnam: Protests broke out in Vietnam over the long-term leasing to China of special economic zones. In response, Hanoi decided to postpone the relevant legislation until at least October. Anti-China protests in Vietnam are unusual but not unprecedented. Let’s gather information on the size and organization of the protests. This will help us assess the threat they pose to political stability.
Ukraine: Following a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, Ukraine’s defense minister said the U.S. is ready to deliver a second tranche of financial assistance to improve Ukraine’s defenses. Meanwhile, Canada is reportedly preparing to send military equipment to Ukraine, while the United Kingdom will support Ukraine’s budding risk management system. This comes amid reports that Ukraine is losing control of Odessa. We need more details on what the U.S., Canada and U.K. are doing to help Ukraine. Let’s also find out more about what’s happening in Odessa.
Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova: The heads of parliament in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova signed a declaration establishing inter-parliamentary cooperation to fight their common aggressor, Russia. The agreement came as part of a regional security conference that also addressed the countries’ growing cooperation with the European Union and NATO. All three countries have separatist regions occupied by Russia. Who sponsored the regional security summit? This may help indicate whether the West was involved. Has there been any response from Russia or the countries’ respective separatist regions?
Austria, Turkey: Tensions have quickly mounted between Austria and Turkey after the Austrian government closed seven mosques and expelled up to 60 Turkish-funded imams. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey will respond and called on Germany to keep Austria in check. What options does Turkey have to respond?