North Korea’s fifth nuclear test was not a surprise. On multiple occasions over the past six months, senior officials have openly disclosed plans for additional testing. Pyongyang has made good on its threat. The pressing task for the outside world is to move toward far greater candor and cooperation in assessing North Korea’s weapons capabilities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Almost a decade after the global financial crisis rattled national economies, many in the world feel their respective countries’ economies remain weak.The survey reveals a bleak picture in parts of Europe, with more than eight-in-ten in Greece, France and Spain describing their country’s economic situation as bad. This gloom is not shared by all in the European Union, however – most Swedes, Germans and Dutch say their economy is doing well. And in China, India and Australia, views are mostly positive. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
China’s vision for global order and skill at managing global economic affairs will be on display at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou. Other nations attending may expect answers on pressing concerns, from war in the Middle East and the refugee crisis to territorial disputes in the nearby South and East China Seas. “As the host country, China has engineered impeccable rhetoric and goals that are hard to disagree with, if somewhat distant and abstract,” explains author François Godement. “In other words, the message is to move away from immediate issues and crises, set long-term and somewhat indeterminate goals, separate economics from politics, and achieve convergence at the G20.” He describes China’s steps to influence global institutions, which include avoiding conflict and crises to achieve long-term goals while ensuring its reputation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Congress has at times expressed concern regarding ballistic missile and nuclear programs in Iran, North Korea, and Syria. This report focuses primarily on unclassified and declassified U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) assessments over the past two decades. These assessments indicate that there is no evidence that Iran and North Korea have engaged in nuclear-related trade or cooperation with each other, although ballistic missile technology cooperation between the two is significant and meaningful, and Syria has received ballistic missiles and related technology from North Korea and Iran and also engaged in nuclear technology cooperation with North Korea.
Overall, global military spending decreased in 2014 from the previous year, reports the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United States spends more than other countries on defense, yet struggles against the skillful use of hybrid tactics by China and Russia, explains Richard Weitz. Weitz explains that “both authoritarian states have applied various military, paramilitary, legal, economic and information tools in the western Pacific and Eurasia to expand their regional influence, divide potential opponents and otherwise seize the strategic initiative.” The West must analyze the various hybrid tactics and develop rapid responses that include technology and counter media-messaging. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
In 2007, China took the lead as the world’s largest CO2 emitter. Air pollution in China is estimated to contribute to about 1.6 million deaths per year, roughly 17 percent of all deaths in China. Over the last decade, China has adopted measures to lower the energy and carbon intensity of its economy, partly in response to worsening local air pollution from energy generation. At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Paris in late 2015, China committed to furthering its efforts by affirming its previously announced goal to cause its emissions to peak around 2030 and to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by the same year. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
At COP21, the world leaders confronted overwhelming scientific evidence that catastrophe is inevitable if countries continue to rely on fossil fuels. Global awareness runs high about the increasing economic and security threats of volatile weather patterns, including food and water shortages, infrastructure damage and rising insurance costs, as well as mass displacement of communities. China, poor and underdeveloped only a few decades, once opposed target-setting on emissions. The Chinese government now strives to lead on developing and financing renewable sources of energy and endorses a cap-and-trade program. [Note: contains copyrighted material].