What we’re watching: June 19 to June 25, 2017

♦ The inaugural meeting of an extraordinary consultative arrangement between the United States and China agreed to when Presidents Trump and Xi met in April. On Wednesday, the US secretaries of State and Defense will meet with Chinese State Councillor Yang Hiechi and the chief of the PLA Joint Staff Gen. Fang Fenghui in Washington for the first session of the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue on international security issues. North Korea is expected to be at the top of the agenda.
♦ In Brussels, the UK’s Brexit Minister David Davis and the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Bernier will begin discussions on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Davis says the negotiations are starting “in a positive and constructive tone”. Prime Minister May wants a clean break with the EU, but the option of a “softer Brexit” seems to be gaining favour in public opinion, among business leaders, and within the Conservative Cabinet. Her own political fortunes have suffered from her struggles to fashion a working majority in Parliament and a recent poll showing Labour now ahead.
♦ The Canadian Army this week completes the deployment of its task force to Latvia. The force is part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) under Operation Reassurance. The Canadians are the lead nation for one of four multi-national battlegroups whose purpose is to deter Russian aggression against NATO’s Eastern flank. The 450 members of the 1st Mechanized Brigade Group based in Edmonton, along with their LAV6 carriers, have set up in Camp Adazi some 70 kilometers from Riga.

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