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Biden & Xi Cool Things Down | GZERO World

Biden & Xi cool tensions at G-20

This week at the G-20 in Bali, the first in-person meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping as presidents of the US and China went ... rather well, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

There was tension on Taiwan and the US-China economic rivalry. But the two leaders agreed to cool things down.

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Damages from the hits in Przewodów, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Missiles in Poland, Chinese anger at zero-COVID

Who fired those missiles into Poland?

Explosions apparently caused by rockets or missiles killed two people Tuesday in the Polish town of Przewodów, several miles from the Ukrainian border. The incident occurred amid a barrage of Russian missile attacks on critical infrastructure across Ukraine. Poland went on heightened military readiness as some Polish officials suggested the projectiles might be Russian. An investigation is underway.

But the plot thickened early Wednesday when US President Joe Biden said at an emergency meeting on the subject in Bali, where he’s attending the G-20, that preliminary info suggests it’s “unlikely” the weapons were fired "from Russia." This raises the prospect that malfunctioning Ukrainian air defenses could have been responsible, or that the missiles could have been fired from nearby Belarus, which has supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, says it has nothing to do with the incident at all.

The big questions are: Was it in fact a Russian missile or not? If so, is there any evidence the attack was deliberate, as some Ukrainian officials have friskily suggested, or merely a mistake in the fog of war?

The implications are huge — Poland is a NATO member, so any deliberate attack by Russia would raise the prospect of invoking the alliance’s Article 5 collective defense mechanism, in which all members go on a war footing to respond. That, of course, could set in motion an escalation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

In the meantime, an Article 4 response is possible: a much mellower undertaking in which the alliance convenes a formal discussion on the incident but doesn’t take military action.

But a big question remains: Even if this incident was a Ukrainian own goal or a Russian mistake, what would NATO’s response be if Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to tweak the alliance with a bite along the Polish border?

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Biden & Xi Meet in Bali | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Biden and Xi meet in Bali

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: The G-20 of course is in full swing in Bali, Indonesia, and the first face-to-face meeting that Biden has had with Xi Jinping as president. And we shouldn't underestimate this. It's quite unusual. I mean, really unheard of, unprecedented that the two most important leaders on the global stage would have not met in person for two years. And that is indeed the case for Xi Jinping and President Biden. And it's particularly important because these are two leaders that know each other quite well and for a long time. When Biden was vice president, he had a lot of face time in many different venues with then-Vice President Xi, and they got along quite well. They actually like each other, they respect each other. I wouldn't go so far as to say they have a strong relationship of trust, but they enjoy each other's company.

And that's something that you get from Biden when you talk to him. You get the sense that he actually finds that Xi is someone he can deal with. And Biden's perspective on the world is informed by this "great man theory" of international diplomacy, that if you spend enough time with another human being, usually you can improve the relationship. And certainly, I think a big part of this meeting, a three-hour meeting that these two leaders just had on the sidelines of the G-20 is going to make a difference in slowing the escalation and the deterioration of the relationship between these two countries.

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Kevin Rudd: Nobody Wanted Putin At the G-20 Anyway | Asia Society | GZERO Media

Kevin Rudd: Nobody wanted Putin at the G-20 anyway

Australia’s former PM says nobody at the G-20 – neither the host, Indonesia, nor Russia’s friends, China and India – wanted President Vladimir Putin to attend the summit.

By bowing out, Putin can’t detract from the main focus, which Rudd – president of the Asia Society – says is finding a way to stabilize the US-China relationship.

When Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping meet in Bali on Monday before the summit, Rudd says to watch for how the discussion formulates “guard rails” to stabilizing relations, which have been in “free fall” for three years.

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Italian PM Giorgia Meloni during a press conference in Rome.

LaPresse / Roberto Monaldo/Sipa via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: Meloni’s migrant moves, a cartel for rainforests, Haiti’s hope for fuel

Meloni draws a line on migrants

Since becoming Italy’s prime minister two weeks ago, Giorgia Meloni has pushed back against media attempts to portray her as a far-right nationalist euro-skeptic troublemaker. Aware that Italy needs cash from the EU, she’s presented her government as ready to negotiate with Brussels on outstanding issues in good faith. She’s made clear her support for Ukraine and NATO. Yet, she does stand ready to strike a harder line on migration policy as asylum-seekers continue to arrive by boat. (Italy has already received 85,000 migrants from across the Mediterranean this year.) On Sunday, two rescue ships that made port in Sicily were told that children and people with medical problems were allowed off the ships, but able-bodied men were not considered “vulnerable” and must remain on board. The ships were then ordered to leave, but their captains refused to budge. Rights groups and Italian opposition politicians say Italy’s decision violates EU law and the Geneva Convention. Meloni knows that many Italians expect a harder line on asylum policy and that greenlighting the entry of all migrants encourages more people to take the risky journey across the Med. This standoff is just the beginning of the Meloni government’s battle with EU officials and aid groups over an issue that provokes strong emotions on both sides.

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North Korean soldiers on a vehicle carrying rockets during a military parade in Pyongyang.

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

What We’re Watching: Russia buys North Korean arms, EU tilts at windfalls, Indonesians take to the streets

Russia scrambles for weapons

Newly declassified US intelligence claims that Russia is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea. If true, this is yet more evidence that a Russian military leadership expecting a quick victory in Ukraine following its Feb. 24 invasion has badly miscalculated both Russia’s capabilities and the intensity and effectiveness of Ukrainian military resistance. The weaponry North Korea is providing is not the high-tech, precision-guided munitions that US and European export controls are designed to prevent Russia from producing. These are basic weapons that Russia appears unable to produce in needed quantities. US intelligence also suggests that a significant number of drones Russia has been forced to purchase from Iran have proven defective. These revelations underscore two important problems for Russia. First, Western sanctions are badly disrupting Russian supply lines, making it impossible for the Russian arms industry to produce the weapons that Russia would need to win the war in Ukraine. Second, while China remains happy to buy Russian oil, it has so far proven unwilling to defy US warnings not to violate weapons and parts sanctions against Moscow.

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Johnson attends a news conference during a NATO summit in Madrid.

REUTERS/Yves Herman

What We're Watching: Bombshell UK news, China-Philippines ties, Chilean constitution draft, G20 meeting

Britain’s bombshell resignations

The hits keep coming for the scandal-plagued administration of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. On Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, both of them heavyweights in the Conservative Party, quit Johnson's government. The trigger came in the wake of MP Chris Pincher’s resignation last week. Pincher stepped down amid new allegations of sexual misconduct. But the party controversy has erupted over the PM’s decision to appoint Pincher as deputy chief whip in the first place. He denied being aware of earlier sexual misconduct allegations against Pincher. Those stemmed from Johnson’s tenure as foreign secretary, when Pincher served under him. The PM was forced to acknowledge this week that he had been briefed on the matter. On Tuesday, Johnson admitted that appointing Pincher had been a mistake. Johnson survived an embarrassing vote of no confidence on June 6 following revelations that he participated in social gatherings that violated COVID lockdown rules and failed to come clean with parliament. But the Pincher scandal and these bombshell resignations now have Johnson’s political career on life support.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a press conference at a metro station in Kyiv.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

What We're Watching: Zelensky meets top US officials, Indonesia hoards palm oil

US officials visit Kyiv

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky spent Sunday waiting for a visit from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the highest-level American delegation to visit Kyiv since the Russian invasion began. Zelensky reportedly told the senior US officials that Ukraine needs more powerful weapons to resist the Russians. After the meeting, Blinken announced that the US would reopen its embassy in Ukraine (in the western city of Lviv) and pledged more military funding to Ukraine in addition to the $800 million in military support Biden announced on Thursday, which included heavy artillery, ammunition, and tactical drones. But Kyiv is also asking for long-range air defense systems and fighter jets. The Americans have rebuffed similar earlier requests and blocked NATO allies like Poland from supplying Soviet-era warplanes to avoid risking a direct military confrontation with Russia. Meanwhile, Ukraine is trying to set up humanitarian routes for escape from the besieged port city of Mariupol, where an estimated 100,000 people remain stuck with little food, water, or heat.

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