On 3 September, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear weapons test, afterward declaring the device had been a thermonuclear variant. Preliminary estimates from seismic monitoring put the test (called Kim-6) at a yield of more than 100-120 kilotons. This is at least 10 times as powerful as tests conducted between 2006 and 2016, which adds to the credibility of claims that a hydrogen device was used.
The first meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as leaders of their respective countries took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on 7 July. The course and reported outcome of the meeting show that the Trump administration faces difficulty in establishing even limited cooperation with Russia, mainly because of internal pressure in the U.S. Russia cannot count on achieving its most important goal—the abolition of sanctions.
The G20 Summit in Hamburg on 7-8 July showed the divisions between the U.S. and the other members on such important issues as climate protection and international trade. It also confirmed the enlargement of the G20 agenda, which besides traditional economic topics embraces such issues as fighting terrorism and migration.
Trump used the opportunity of his visit to Poland (6 July) to give his most important foreign policy address since taking office—and the first one outside of the United States. The speech helped dissipate some doubts surrounding the substance of U.S. foreign policy. Still, the country’s policymaking process is marked by internal tensions.
A special meeting of NATO heads of state and government on 25 May was the first opportunity for discussion as a group with new U.S. President Donald Trump. The meeting did not dispel concerns about the U.S. commitment to Europe but confirmed the new administration’s priority is to push the European Allies into sharing more of the financial burden.
South Korea’s centre-left candidate from the Democratic Party, Moon Jae-in, won the presidential elections on 9 May, ending a political crisis that had lasted several months and culminated in the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Moon proposes greater openness to North Korea, firmness in relations with the U.S., and better ties with China.
Emmanuel Macron won the race for the French presidency on Sunday, collecting 66.06% of the popular vote. Macron’s rival, the leader of the far-right National Front (FN), Marine Le Pen, picked up 33.94% of the vote. The turnout exceeded 74%.
On May 2, German chancellor Angela Merkel will be paying a working visit to the Russian town of Sochi. It is the first such visit to Russia by the head of the German federal government since 2013.
On 28–29 April, Pope Francis paid a visit to Egypt, the most populous Arab country. The visit is significant for the Christian-Muslim dialogue.
According to the latest polls, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left candidate of the party Unsubmissive France (La France insoumise), has a chance of reaching the second round of the elections, where he would face either far-right candidate Marine Le Pen or more centrist Emmanuel Macron. Mélenchon recorded the largest increase in support in the period, from 12% to 18% in one month.
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