N KOREA/MISSILE – N Korea is thought to be preparing to launch a ballistic missile ahead of a joint naval drill by the United States and South Korea. (see diary). The Dong-A Ilbo news outlet says South Korean government sources believe that satellite pictures show ballistic missiles mounted on launchers being transported out of hangars near Pyongyang and North Pyongan province.
GERMANY/ELECTION – Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) won the election in the northern state of Lower Saxony according to an early exit poll which gave it 37% of the vote. The Christian Democrats were on 35% the Greens 8, the FDP 7.5 and Alternative for Germany 5.5. The hard-left Linke party won 4.5% and so misses the 5% threshold to enter the regional parliament.
IRAQ/KURDS – Thousands of Iraqi troops and Kurdish forces remain in a tense standoff in the disputed province of Kirkuk. Gunfire has been exchanged in the ethnically mixed town of Tuzkurmatu. Baghdad insists Kurdish forces to surrender positions in the area seized from the Islamic State in the previous three years.
YEMEN/INDEPENDENCE – Yemeni separatists will soon announce an independence referendum for southern Yemen says the former Yemeni governor of Aden Aiderous al-Zubaidi.
NATO/RUSSIA – NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned Russia against intervening in Libya as it did in Syria.
CHINA/USA – The Chinese Embassy in Washington has lodged a complaint threatening the U.S. Congress with “severe consequences” if it passes recently introduced legislation that strengthens U.S. ties with Taiwan.
Coming Up –
D Day, or Deadline Day if you prefer, for the UK and EU comes on Friday. The EU heads of government spend the day deciding if enough progress has been made to move Brexit negotiations on to the details of a trade deal. If Yes, then on we go. If NO – then back to negotiations with the increased possibility of no deal which would hurt everyone.
Before that the biggest set piece of the week begins. China opens its 19th Party Congress on Wednesday. The Congress only meets every five years as it takes a long time to prepare for a great leap forward… This year 2,300 delegates plus assistants are coming to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Congress elects new Central Committee and Politburo members and if those expected to be appointed in fact are – then President Xi Jinping will have confirmed his complete control over the government. Some China watchers say this is the most important Congress since the Cultural Revolution.
Mon – Deadline for Catalonia’s President to clarify if he has or has not declared independence from Spain. (See below)
Mon – S Korea and the USA begin a 10-day joint naval drill in waters east and west of South Korea. The exercise will include the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.
Mon– EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels. This is a chance for the EU to loudly declare opposition to President Trump’s refusal to back the Iran nuclear deal and then do it again at the Heads of Government meeting. (See below)
Tues – President Trump hosts Greek PM Alexis Tspiras. Greece remains heavily in debt to the IMF and the EU, but is showing signs of growth after years of recession.
Weds – Angela Merkel’s CDU/CDS partnership begins formal negotiations with Greens and Free Democratic Party to try and form a coalition government. It could take weeks.
Thurs – If Catalonia has declared independence – this is the deadline to reverse the decision. If not Madrid may impose direct role and call a snap general election.
Thurs – Indian religious festival of Diwali.
Friday – EU Heads of Government meeting.
Sun – Northern Italian regions of Veneto and Lombardy hold non-binding referendum on fiscal autonomy from Italy.
Sun – INTERNATIONAL HONOUR THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON DAY.