A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
President Joe Biden heads to California on Tuesday (November 14) as he prepares to host a meeting of APEC leaders, though for many the real focus of the trip will be his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday (November 15). The encounter, which has been preceded by a series of high-level contacts in recent months, will be their first since they met on the margins on the G20 summit in Indonesia last November, though officials are downplaying expectations of major developments amid strained relations between the superpowers. While much remains unknown about the format of the summit and whether a press conference might follow, Xi is expected to deliver a speech later on Wednesday at an event hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council.
The main APEC meeting then begins on Thursday (November 16) before a leaders’ retreat on Friday (November 17), when Biden is expected to hold a press conference. Meanwhile, several leaders in town for the summit – including Biden and Xi – will join X’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai to address the APEC CEO summit taking place Wednesday and Thursday.
Back in DC, attention will be focused on averting a shutdown from Saturday (November 18) if no agreement can be reached to extend funding before it expires at the end of Friday (November 17). The looming deadline poses a major challenge for Mike Johnson, who only became House Speaker when his predecessor Kevin McCarthy was ousted after he relied on Democratic votes to extend federal funding beyond September. Earlier this week, Johnson presented a series of proposals to his conference, including a so-called ‘laddered‘ continuing resolution that has puzzled some in DC and in any case looks to be a non-starter in the Senate.
It’s understood that House Republicans would rather any short-term CR last until January, giving them more time to pass the 12 annual appropriation bills. But over in the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is teeing up a short-term CR through mid-December which may end up forcing Johnson into the same predicament that McCarthy faced, namely of funding the government with the backing of Democrats or provoking a shutdown. Given what happened to McCarthy, Johnson may be more inclined to cause a shutdown than risk his job. If, as reports suggest, Johnson is planning a vote on his own CR on Tuesday (November 14) then we may get some clarity soon if Johnson sticks to the 72-hour rule to give members of his party time to consider legislation before voting on it.
After crossing paths with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Delhi today, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be in South Korea at the start of next week, meeting with his counterpart Shin Won-sik on Monday (November 13) before they co-host the inaugural ROK-UN Command Member States Defense Ministerial Meeting on Tuesday (November 14), with the threat posed by North Korea likely high on the agenda at both meetings.
Austin then heads to Indonesia, where on Thursday (November 16) he participates in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus meeting. The somewhat obscure gathering is notable since both China and Russia figure among the non-ASEAN nations typically in attendance, setting up the possibility of bilateral discussions on the margins of the gathering – though it remains unclear who, if anyone, China plans to send after it finally confirmed in October that defense minister Li Shangfu had been sacked after he vanished from public view some two months earlier.
Friday (November 17) marks the start of the annual Middle East-focused IISS Manama Dialogue, this year opening with a keynote from Bahrain’s Crown Prince Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The conflict in Gaza and heightened regional tensions are set to dominate this year’s gathering, and significant interest is expected in a session on Saturday (November 18) on the US Commitment to the Middle East, likely featuring an intervention from a senior Biden administration official, possibly even Austin himself.
Sunday (November 19) sees the runoff in Argentina’s presidential election between economy minister Sergio Massa and firebrand libertarian lawmaker Javier Milei. Milei, who has described himself as an anarcho-capitalist, shocked many when he won the open primary in the summer but garnered fewer votes than Massa in the first round last month. Milei is now backed by his former rival Patricia Bullrich, who placed third in October, as well as by her former boss Mauricio Macri, though it remains unclear whether their endorsements will reassure voters nervous about his extreme economic policies, or whether it will tarnish his ‘outsider’ brand. Much may hinge on the candidates’ performances in the final debate ahead of the vote, scheduled for this Sunday (November 12).