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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
July 11, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: U.S.-China Talks Stumble on Cyber Issues

Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters  

Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters

U.S. vice president Joe Biden opened annual high-level economic and strategic talks with China on Wednesday, calling on the two powers to build greater trust, but also urging China to abstain from "outright theft" of intellectual property and proprietary business information through hacking (SCMP). The Chinese countered by raising recent revelations about U.S. digital surveillance, highlighting the difficulty Washington will have making progress on hacking, which has in recent months become a central issue in U.S.-China relations (NYT). Officials agreed to build on past cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (WaPo), with plans for emissions-cutting measures due in October. Washington also urged the Chinese to expedite economic reforms.


"Unlike the Soviet Union, China does not dream of fomenting a global revolution. Though nominally communist, its ruling party has no real ideology besides a determination to remain in charge. So the tension between the world's biggest powers is less dangerous today than it was a generation ago," writes the Economist.

"[China is] determined to move away from the quantity dimension of growth to a new focus on the quality of economic development. This is not only about a downshift in GDP growth: it is also a critical shift toward the long dormant Chinese consumer, opening up one of the largest consumer markets in the world to anemically growing Western countries," writes Stephen S. Roach for Foreign Policy.

"Simplistic ideas of demanding that the Chinese curtail the full array of their obnoxious and offensive [cyber] behavior will raise the temperature but will also fall far short of producing constructive outcomes, especially given that the U.S. government would not itself accept many of the restrictions on conduct that many feel we should require of Beijing," writes Kenneth G. Lieberthal of the Brookings Institution.



China and Russia Hold Joint Naval Exercises

The Chinese and Russian navies are participating in joint exercises in the Sea of Japan (SCMP), demonstrating a nascent alliance among one-time rivals that, experts say, is a challenge to U.S. hegemony.

In this op-ed, CFR President Emeritus Leslie Gelb and Dimitri Simes analyze Russian-Chinese cooperation.



Pakistani President's Chief Security Officer Assassinated

A top security aide to Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari was killed in Karachi (NYT) on Wednesday in an apparent suicide bombing. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban temporarily shut down its Doha office (al-Jazeera), recently opened to negotiate a peace deal, citing U.S. and Afghan "broken promises," a Pakistan-based spokesman said.



Egypt Orders Arrest of Brotherhood Leaders

Egyptian prosecutors issued arrest warrants (Ahram) Wednesday for the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohamed Badei, and nine other Islamist leaders, accusing them of inciting the violence that left fifty-one Brotherhood supporters dead Monday at Republican Guard headquarters. Prosecutors ordered another two hundred to jail pending investigations.

SYRIA: Fighting continues unabated in Syria (LAT), cutting off civilians from food and aid in parts of Aleppo, Homs, and the Damascus suburbs despite the start of the holy month of Ramadan on Wednesday.



China Pledges $1.1 Billion Loan for Nigerian Infrastructure

China pledged a $1.1 billion low-interest loan to Nigeria (BBC) on Wednesday as Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing. Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, will update infrastructure with the funds.

ZIMBABWE: The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission denied the Carter Center, led by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, accreditation to observe elections (AllAfrica) to be held at the end of the month.

In this installment of Ask CFR Experts, John Campbell discusses the prospects of a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.



Russia Posthumously Convicts Magnitsky for Tax Evasion

Late Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was found guilty of tax evasion (FT) on Thursday. Magnitsky's client, U.S.-born William Browder, was also convicted in absentia; he launched an anticorruption campaign after accusing Russian officials of malfeasance in Magnitsky's detention-center death.

CZECH REPUBLIC: President Milos Zeman appointed a caretaker government (AFP) led by leftist economist Jiri Rusnok on Wednesday. The cabinet must win a vote of confidence within thirty days in the parliament, where the center-right coalition, recently ousted amid the country's longest recession, commands a slight majority.



House Republicans Oppose Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The House Republican caucus overwhelmingly rejected the overhaul of immigration laws (AP) favored by both President Obama and a bipartisan Senate coalition. The Senate bill would give undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship while strengthening border security.

In this CFR report, Bryan Roberts, Senior Fellow Edward Alden, and John Whitley argue that better data is needed on the role of law enforcement in deterring illegal border crossings.

LATIN AMERICA: U.S. allies Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile demanded answers from the United States on allegations of spying (BBC) raised by recent NSA leaks.



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