What We're Watching: Trump and AMLO's rendezvous, and Uighurs seek justice at the ICC
AMLO and Trump: an unlikely duo – When Mexico's populist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, shakes hands with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday to celebrate the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal, it will mark AMLO's first foreign trip since he assumed office nearly two years ago. In the run up to the meeting, both Trump and AMLO have boasted of warm personal ties, but the friendship is… an unlikely one. Recall when AMLO was elected in 2018, most analysts predicted that he would clash with Trump over immigration and trade (AMLO had long advocated for Mexicans' right to work in the United States, while Trump infamously referred to Mexican migrants as "criminals" and vowed to abolish NAFTA, the free trade agreement that was a boon for Mexico's economy.) But in endearing himself to Trump, AMLO may have calculated that, from Mexico's standpoint, a revised trade deal is better than no trade deal at all, and has thus been willing to appease the US president on issues like immigration. (As part of an agreement with the Trump administration, for example, AMLO deployed the National Guard to stop Central Americans trying to reach the US via Mexican territory.) Moreover, in flying to Washington now AMLO might also be keen to distract attention from his own poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen Mexico's death toll surpass 30,000 in recent days, now one of the highest in the world.
Uighurs seek justice at the ICC – Activists from two exiled Uighur groups have filed a petition with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try Chinese officials for genocide and crimes against humanity. The complaint targets 30 members of China's Communist Party, including President Xi Jinping, for their involvement in the detainment of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang province. More than one million Uighurs are believed to have been locked up since 2017 as part of what Beijing describes as a benign "deradicalization campaign," but which is widely believed to be a network of internment camps where minorities are held indefinitely without trial. (A chilling AP report recently revealed that the Chinese government has used a draconian scheme to cut Uighur birth rates, which included the use of forced sterilization.) The 80-page filing now under consideration by the ICC accuses Beijing of illegally repatriating and incarcerating thousands of Uighurs from Cambodia and Tajikistan. Any rulings by the court, however, are unlikely to move Beijing. China – like the United States – is not a party to the statute that created the ICC, meaning it is under no obligation to cooperate with its findings.