The first US embassy is dedicated in Jerusalem

US Ambassador David Friedman opened the ceremony with the American anthem and a video message of congratulations from President Donald Trump declaring that every nation has the right to choose its capital, including Israel, and pledging friendship. Continue reading

Iran will quit nuclear deal, restart enrichment, ramp up military tension

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Exclusive: Tehran will challenge the US by restarting nuclear fuel enrichment and ramp up its military confrontation with Israel. The Iranian leadership reached these decisions on Thursday, May 10, after Israeli warplanes smashed its military assets in the Damascus area that morning, DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence sources report. These steps follow the strategic plans Tehran had drawn up for the eventuality of the US quitting the 2015 nuclear pact. In the coming weeks, therefore, Tehran will choose its moment to abandon the nuclear deal and restart high level uranium enrichment, in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that this action would meet with “very severe consequences.” In light of Iran’s strategy, the US, after quitting the nuclear deal, Thursday asked the nuclear watchdog IAEA to continue inspections of the Iranian nuclear program. Washington intends to keep independent monitors accessing Iran’s nuclear activities for as long as they are permitted. Continue reading

China Warns Trump “We Will Outlast You” As US “Significantly Escalates” Trade War

Beijing sent the first messaging salvo ahead of the Steven Mnuchin-led delegation to China (which will engage in trade talks over May 3-4) overnight when the PBOC fixed the yuan sharply lower than many expected. The signal was clear: push us hard enough, and we may just launch another devaluation. Or worse.

A little while later, Beijing did its best attempt at managing expectations, when it said that it’s “unrealistic” to expect to solve all issues between the U.S. and China at a single meeting, given the economic sizes of the two countries and their complex economic and trade relationship, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says at daily briefing.

While Hua tried his best to pay the diplomatic “good cop”, saying it was in the mutual interest of both countries to solve trade issues through consultation, just a few hours later, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi was the bad cop, who warned that whereas China would welcome a successful outcome from upcoming trade talks with the United States, it  is “fully prepared for all outcomes and will not negotiate on core interests.”

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U.S. Hints at China Truce as World Warns of Trade-War Threat

Mnuchin speaks during a briefing at the IMF spring meetings April 21. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

 

  • Treasury’s Mnuchin considers China trip amid trade dispute
  • China’s Commerce Ministry confirms U.S. has requested visit

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he’s considering a trip to China amid a trade dispute with Beijing that finance chiefs warn could derail the global economic upswing.

Mnuchin said he’s “cautiously optimistic” of reaching an agreement with China that bridges their differences over trade. Continue reading

US Threatens To Cut Off China From SWIFT If It Violates North Korea Sanctions

While this sounds like a step that needed to be taken, and it is, it’s too little too late. China (and Russia) have created an alternative to SWIFT. Thus, cutting China off only means it will switch to its own and abandon the U.S. Dollar system — with Russia likely to join. In effect, it will end up hurting the United States more than the intended target(s).

Over the last decade China and Russia have feverishly worked around America’s global influence. Russia and China no longer need GPS, as they have their own indigenous satellite navigation systems — Europe, too. You’ll only do their militaries a favor if you cut that off. Control over the internet has been ceded by America, so there’s also no method or means of punishment there. The IMF has been undermined by the AIIB, so it’s also hard to do anything there as well.

America’s choices are limited and not as effective as they used to be. The joke may be on the U.S. should push come to shove. The alternatives set up only mean America will likely isolate itself should it choose punitive measures.

 

In an unexpectedly strong diplomatic escalation, one day after China agreed to vote alongside the US (and Russia) during Monday’s United National Security Council vote in passing the watered down North Korea sanctions, the US warned that if China were to violate or fail to comply with the newly imposed sanctions against Kim’s regime, it could cut off Beijing’s access to both the US financial system as well as the “international dollar system.”

Speaking at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference on Tuesday, Steven Mnuchin said that China had agreed to “historic” North Korean sanctions during Monday’s United Nations vote. “We worked very closely with the U.N.  I’m very pleased with the resolution that was just passed.  This is some of the strongest items.  We now have more tools in our toolbox, and we will continue to use them and put additional sanctions on North Korea until they stop this behavior.”

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Moody’s: U.S. can forget about Triple-A rating if it violates debt ceiling

The Treasury is running out of time and money. [Moody’s]

 

The U.S. will lose its Triple-A rating if it violates the debt ceiling, even if it quickly acts to meet its obligations, a rating agency said Tuesday.

The U.S. is facing a looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling, and there’s concern that despite the insistence of figures including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Paul Ryan, it won’t get lifted in time. The Treasury has estimated it will reach the debt limit by Sept. 29. Continue reading