The Week That Was: Global News in Review

Foreign Policy Brief #80 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | June 21, 2023
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US – China talks

Late last week US Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a visit to China in an effort by both Beijing and Washington to normalize relations after a particularly tense year. Blinken was originally scheduled to visit China in February, but his trip was canceled after the US shot down what was determined by officials to be a “Chinese spy balloon” over US territory and domestic military sites. This visit marks the first time since 2018 that a senior US official makes a visit to China. The main focus of Bliken’s trip has been re-establishing communication and attempting to ensure the differences between the two countries does not devolve into armed conflict. After a meeting with Chinese President Xi on Monday, Blinken said that the US had achieved its limited objectives and was satisfied with the progress made. Additionally, president Xi was reported to have said he was pleased with the outcome of Blinken meeting with himself and with top Chinese diplomats. Thus the diplomatic visit, though short, ended in a positive light between the two world powers, a good first step in today’s increasingly polarized and militarized international area.

Boat carrying migrants sinks off the coast of Greece and UN report on displacement

At least 79 people have died with many more missing after a fishing boat carrying refugees and migrants sank off the southern coast of Greece last week. Rescuers saved 104 passengers made up of citizens of multiple countries, including Egyptians, Syrians, Pakistanis, Afghans and Palestinians. The boat which was bound for Italy is believed to have sailed from eastern Libya before capsizing off the coast of Greece. Last year, nearly 3,800 people died on migration routes from the Middle East and North Africa attempting to reach Europe, the highest number recorded there since 2017. The number of displaced people around the globe has reached a record high of 110 million according to  a new report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Wars, climate change, collapsing and deteriorating conditions in multiple countries all contribute to the growing global number of refugees. Of the total refugees in need of international protection, about half of them came from just three countries, Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan. 

Civil war in Sudan

Last week the intense war waged between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) hit the two month mark. The fighting between the army and the RSF has forced more than 2.2 million people to flee from their homes and caused an acute humanitarian crisis. The conflict has concerned many international players, including Russia, the United States and regional powers, all of whom are vying for influence in Sudan. Saudi Arabia and the US brokered pre-negotiation talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah between the warring sides, urging the combatants to agree to a lasting ceasefire. In a slow start to negotiations the two sides agreed to the start of a 72-hour ceasefire beginning on Sunday.

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