Trump-Kim summit, Brexit votes, Mobile World Congress
The FT's Vanessa Kortekaas highlights the key stories to watch this week, including the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, another round of Brexit votes in the UK and the Mobile World Congress.
Produced and edited by Vanessa Kortekaas. Text by Henry Mance, Tim Bradshaw and Simon Greaves. Filmed by Petros Gioumpasis. Still images by Reuters.
Here are some of the top stories we're watching this week. US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are due to meet for their second summit. UK members of parliament are set for another round of Brexit votes. And Barcelona prepares to host Mobile World Congress.
We'll start with the US-North Korea summit which is due to take place in Vietnam on Wednesday and Thursday. It will be the second meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula. Their historic summit in Singapore last June produced a vague agreement.
But the US says North Korea has yet to take firm steps to give up its nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, North Korea wants the US to ease up on sanctions to reward it for freezing nuclear and missile testing and for the partial dismantling of some of its nuclear facilities. It also wants a formal end to the Korean war and security guarantees. Here's Gideon Rachman with more on what to expect from the summit.
One of the things that makes the other international players uneasy about the Korean-US standoff is that they're reliant on the actions of two very volatile leaders, President Donald Trump and President Kim Jong Un of North Korea. They're both unpredictable and the chemistry between the two of them is slightly strange and hard to predict. And everybody remembers that in the first year of the Trump administration, the two countries, both nuclear armed, were close to war.
The fear is that because there haven't really been concrete steps towards denuclearisation since the first Trump-Kim summit that there's a possibility that things could actually go backwards and that you could go back into a period of high tension. On the other hand, the two leaders both seem very committed to the idea that they're both peace makers and making progress. So, I would expect that even if there isn't concrete steps towards denuclearisation, which would seem very hard, that they will attempt. They'll do their utmost to come out of the summit with some sort of positive statement that can at least look like progress, and that will probably be enough to reassure the other big players around the region.
Now in the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May is set for another round of Brexit votes on Wednesday. Mrs May has been in talks with Brussels to change the UK-EU withdrawal agreement to ease concerns about the backstop, which is the insurance mechanism to avoid a hard Irish border. She promised MPs that if she didn't win parliamentary support for a revised agreement by Tuesday, she would place an amendable motion before MPs on Wednesday.
The Labour MP Yvette Cooper is expected to launch an effort to extend the Brexit talks if the government has not agreed a deal by mid-March. But the prime minister has insisted Britain will leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal. Here's Henry Mance on the pressure Mrs May is faced with in the coming week.
She's trying to convince employees to back her approach to Brexit. Now, assuming she hasn't got her revised deal through the House of Commons by Tuesday, she's then committed on Wednesday to having a series of votes. MPs can lay down amendments, and she's tended to lose the votes where she's forced MPs to choose a side.
Now, one option is that MPs come back and they try and force an extension to Article 50 if the government still hasn't got a deal by the middle of March. That failed a couple of weeks ago...a similar attempt. But this time, we're so close to Brexit. We're within 1,000 hours of the scheduled exit day that some MPs might be prepared to back it.
Another possibility is an amendment around a second referendum. However, the sort of supporters of that cause have so far wanted to hold back to the last possible minute, and it's possible they delay again before really launching their big cross-party push for a second referendum. So as always with Brexit, don't be surprised if some of the real crunch points are actually pushed off into the future.
And finally, tens of thousands of tech and telecoms executives are due to descend on Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress this week. The annual conference has been the venue for many flagship phone launches in recent years from Nokia's revived Retro 3310 brick phone to last year's Samsung Galaxy S9. This year, it's expected that much discussion will centre around the declining mobile market and whether innovations like folding phones can help revive consumer interest.
But the main focus will be the underlying telecoms networks themselves. As long awaited fifth generation 5G networks finally come online, industry executives and regulators will be debating not only what 5G will be used for but which companies can be trusted to build it. Here's our reporter Tim Bradshaw.
This year Mobile World Congress will be absolutely dominated by discussions of 5G. There has been intense discussion in the run up to Barcelona's event this year about Huawei and potential national security risks of deploying the Chinese company's hardware in 5G networks in the US and Europe. And that will be a big topic of discussion again this week.
But just as important as that is what is going to be used on these 5G networks once they start to be rolled out later this year. And so as well as all the kind of smartphone launches that we've come to expect at Mobile World Congress. There will also be much more discussion of things like self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality headsets that will really take advantage of the new capabilities of these 5G networks.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London.