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Watch List: June 6, 2018

Regulating the Mekong, disarming an island, flying through Greece

  • Last updated: June 6
  • Total word count: 309 words

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.

Southeast Asia: A report from the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, claims that China can regulate the flow of the Mekong River by withholding as much as 27 percent of the river’s flow. This gives Beijing a lot of leverage over food production in Southeast Asian countries, many of which it is already butting heads with over territorial claims in the South China Sea. Find out how accurate the report is.

Turkey, Greece: Turkey flew F-16s in Greek airspace for 20 minutes on June 5. The move is a response to an ongoing diplomatic dispute regarding Turkish soldiers who allegedly fled to Greece to escape prosecution after participating in the 2016 coup attempt. How rare is this? What is the chance of escalation?

North Korea, Turkey, South Africa: Turkey and South Africa are providing oil products to North Korea, according to a report from NK News. The numbers are small, and the report itself admits that the figures may just be a product of misreporting, but still, let’s consider why Turkey and South Africa would do this in the first place.

South China Sea: China is reportedly withdrawing missile launchers from Woody Island, one of the most developed and militarized islands in the South China Sea. The reports may or may not be true, and in any case, the withdrawal may or may not be permanent. But suppose for a moment they are true. What would China get in return for disarming, and from whom?