Key Global Events to Watch in June

At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.

 JUNE 1: Chinese Tariffs on US Goods Kick In

After the United States placed additional duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, the Chinese government retaliated by placing tariffs on a further $60 billion worth of US goods. Those tariffs are set to kick in on June 1. This move coincides with the recent announcement that China would halt purchases of US soybeans. The stock market and global economy have been in turmoil as the trade dispute between the two countries shows no signs of ending and threats are escalating.

JUNE 1–2: Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore 

The Shangri-La Dialogue, the premier defense summit in Asia hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), begins today and continues through June 2. The dialogue convenes prominent defense and security officials from countries across Asia and the world. Among the speakers will the Acting Secretary of Defense of the US, Patrick Shanahan, who is scheduled to give a prominent speech on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. General Wei Fenghe, Minister of National Defense of China, is also scheduled to give a speech on China’s place in the Asia-Pacific region.

JUNE 3–5: President Trump’s Visit to the United Kingdom

From June 3–5, US President Donald Trump will be on an official state visit to the United Kingdom. The president and First Lady Melania Trump will meet with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and enjoy a banquet at Buckingham Palace, among other meetings. President Trump is expected to show support for a successor to UK Prime Minister Theresa May who is stronger on Brexit, after calling Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson his “friends.” He is also likely to tell Prime Minister May that her successor should ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei from building 5G networks in the UK.

JUNE 9: Presidential Election, Kazakhstan

After the resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s president for almost thirty years, the country’s interim president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called for a snap election to be held on June 9. Tokayev is in a good position to win the presidency, as the only other strong contender, Dariga Nazarbayeva, has no plans to run. The newly-elected president will have less powers than Nazarbayev did, after constitutional reform in 2017 gave the parliament and cabinet more say in government decisions and planning. Nazarbayev himself has retained sufficient authority to block any executive decisions that counter his will.

JUNE 13–14: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, Kyrgyzstan

The 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit will be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from June 13–14. SCO members include China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The summit will be the first time that the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will meet after the two countries exchanged air strikes in February. On the agenda are an array of economic and security issues that impact all members, and improving ties and partnerships.

JUNE 16: Presidential and Parliament Election, Guatemala

Guatemala will hold elections for parliament and the presidency on June 16. A second round for the presidency will be held on August 11 if no candidate wins a majority. This election comes at a precarious time for the country, after the current president, Jimmy Morales, attempted to shut down the United Nations-supported International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in early January. One of the top contenders for the presidency, Zury Rios, was recently barred from running by the Constitutional Court because she is related to notorious dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. Another candidate, Thelma Aldana, has also been barred due to corruption charges against her, which her supporters say are trumped up by her rivals because of her anti-corruption work.

JUNE 18–19: European Development Days 2019, Brussels

This year’s European Development Days (EDD) will be held in Brussels on June 18 and 19. Sponsored by the European Commission, it is the leading forum on development in Europe and has been held since 2006. The focus of the EDD is to convene the development community to share ideas and experiences in order to inspire partnerships and innovative solutions. This year’s EDD overarching theme will be on addressing inequalities.

JUNE 20–21: European Council Summit, Brussels

European Union leaders, after the recent elections for parliament, will meet for the European Council summit on June 20 and 21. The purpose of the meeting is to decide on appointments for the next institutional cycle and to determine the EU’s strategic agenda from 2019–2024. Also on the agenda is climate change, in preparation for the UN Climate Action Summit in September.  

JUNE 22: Presidential Election, Mauritania

On June 22, Mauritanians will go to the polls to elect a successor to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is stepping down after his second term. The country’s Constitutional Council approved six provisional candidates recently, among whom are Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ahmed of the ruling party, the National Rally for Reform and Development candidate Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, rights activist Biram Dah Abeid, and opposition coalition candidate Mohamed Ould Mouloud.

JUNE 25–26: “Peace to Prosperity” Conference, Bahrain

The “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop will be held in Bahrain in cooperation with the US on June 25 and 26, and is aimed at encouraging investment in Gaza and the West Bank. Despite calls for an Arab boycott by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to participate in the conference. Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner is set to unveil the first part of US President Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan during the gathering.

JUNE 26–28: 49th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, Colombia

The Organization of American States (OAS) will hold its 49th General Assembly in Medellin, Colombia from June 26 to 28. The meeting comes at a time when many of the OAS member states are experiencing internal discontent including Venezuela, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Last week, the OAS permanent council approved a resolution that called on President Daniel Ortega to release all political prisoners by June 18, after a US citizen who was arrested last year was killed in a shooting in prison.

JUNE 28–29: G20 Summit, Japan 

The twentieth Group of 20 (G20) Summit—formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”—will be held in Osaka, Japan on June 28 and 29. Although Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to meet during the summit, both have downplayed the chances of a breakthrough on a trade deal. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump also agreed to meet to discuss trade and Turkey’s decision to purchase a Russian missile defense system.

JUNE TBD: Evidence of Iran Attack on Oil Tankers Presented to UN Security Council

As early as next week, US National Security Advisory John Bolton could present evidence of Iran’s involvement in the attack on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. He made the comments during a briefing with reporters in London, a week ahead of President Trump’s visit to the UK. Bolton has previously said that Iran was responsible but did not offer any evidence to support his claim, which has prompted suspicion about the strength of US intelligence.

JUNE TBD: Visit of Japanese Prime Minister to Iran

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reportedly considering a trip to Tehran as early as mid-June, according to NHK television in Japan. Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Japan. The Iranian Foreign Ministry, however, said that Tehran does not see “a prospect for negotiations.” A spokesperson also said that Prime Minister Abe’s trip could be a “turning point” and would “wait and see” before deciding on negotiations.