What we’re watching: June 11 to June 17, 2018

♦ The fall-out from the G-7 summit in Charlevoix. Despite what were reportedly vigorous discussions over the US imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium, leaders approved a lengthy final communique which finessed the tariff issue, acknowledged differences over climate change and energy, and endorsed common positions on a wide assortment of other matters. But in a closing press conference, Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated Canada’s objections to the US action on steel and aluminium — after President Trump had departed for Singapore and using language the President found offensive. Trump responded by withdrawing US approval of the G-7 final communique and escalating his war of words with Trudeau.
♦ It is Trump’s summit with Kim Yong-un in Singapore which will deservedly command most world attention during the week. The United States and South Korea have received assurances from Pyongyang (and, it is reasonable to assume, from China) that North Korea has agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program and will sign to that effect in Singapore. It is hugely consequential that Kim is prepared to make the pledge directly to the president of the United States, but it will take early steps to dismantle facilities in order to convince a still skeptical world.
♦ In London, the House of Commons takes up a battery of amendments which the House of Lords has proposed to the government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. These relate to some very broad issues such as the terms for future UK access to the European economic area and the future applicability of certain EU laws and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Conservative government, already weakened by having lost its majority in Parliament, finds itself divided between those who want the UK to negotiate the closest possible future relations with the EU and those adamant for a clean break.


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