Xinhua News Agnecy chronicles of the Top 10 world news events of 2018 .
US Trade Tariffs Harm Multilateralism
On March 8, the United States announced tariff hikes on steel and aluminum imports from many of its trading partners, followed by steep additional tariffs later in the year against Chinese imports.
The protectionist moves sparked a spiral of extensive trade disputes, which undermined global free trade and rules-based multilateralism, provoking sharp criticism and countermeasures by other countries.
China Opens Up Further To World
On April 10, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced, at the Boao Forum for Asia, measures that would allow China to open up further, and in November he attended the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
In December, addressing the conference in Beijing marking the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, Xi urged sustained efforts to open up further and push for a community with a shared future for mankind.
The repeated message of China's further opening-up injected strong energy into international efforts to build an open global economy. It was consistent with Xi's calls for efforts to build an open regional economy at the Nov. 17-18 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting, and to stay committed to openness, cooperation and trade multilateralism at the Nov. 30-Dec.1 Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina.
Korean Peninsula Situation Improves, But Challenges Remain
On April 27, Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), crossed the military demarcation line in Panmunjom to attend a historic summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Situation on the peninsula has taken a turn for the better this year, as Kim paid three visits to China and had three North-South summits.
On June 12, the first ever Pyongyang-Washington summit took place, with Kim meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore and reaching consensus on the peninsula's denuclearization and peace regime. The peninsula saw a detente under international efforts, with confrontation turning into dialogue. Meanwhile, differences over sanctions and how to denuclearize, among other issues, remain challenges to the peace process.
Mideast Geopolitical Hotspots Flare Up Again
On May 14, the United States moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, provoking fierce protests from the Palestinians and widespread international condemnation, and worsening regional tensions.
In October, the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul caused global concern and affected relations between major stakeholders. In late December, Washington said it would withdraw its troops from Syria, where fighting continued despite an easing of tensions.
Geopolitical "games" were fueled in the Middle East turbulence, involving major rivals from within and outside the region and increasing the risk of further destabilizing the Gulf.
China's Major-Country Diplomacy Creates New Landscape
On July 19, Chinese President Xi Jinping left for the Middle East and Africa in his first overseas visit of 2018. "Xiplomacy" featured four foreign tours and four major home-court events as part of China's diplomatic efforts this year.
Among the results were China-Russia ties remaining at a high level, the China-Europe bond strengthened, and the situation in China's neighborhood improved. Moreover, South-South cooperation has increased with more than 50 countries and international organizations signing a memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road Initiative cooperation with China. "Xiplomacy" has helped China achieve win-win cooperation with the rest of the world and play a larger role.
Indonesian Quake-Tsunami Causes Heavy Casualties
On Sept. 28, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province and triggered a tsunami, causing the heaviest casualties in the year's natural disasters worldwide, with 2,073 people killed, some 680 missing and presumed dead, and 10,700 injured.
In December, a tsunami that hit the coastlines of western Java island and south Sumatra caused 431 deaths. International humanitarian aid poured into Indonesia, helping with rescue operations, relief work and rebuilding the affected areas.
Latin America's Political Map Features Elections
On Oct. 28, Brazil's presidential runoff produced President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who will join the new Latin American leaders elected this year in the countries of Costa Rica, Cuba, Paraguay, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico.
The updated political map in Latin America is expected to aggravate the challenges facing regional integration, with left-right conflicts potentially impeding policy-making.
Brexit Woes Amid Uncertainties
On Nov. 13, Britain arrived at a draft Brexit agreement with the European Union (EU), and on Nov. 25, the EU leaders officially approved the deal amid iterated opposition in Britain.
In mid-December, the British parliament vote on the Brexit deal was delayed, and Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote within her own party one day after her efforts to seek to re-negotiate with Brussels failed.
Brexit-related arguments were laden with rivalries either between London and Brussels or between British political groupings. Uncertainties remain as the Brexit deadline of March 29 draws near.
"Yellow Vests" Movement in France Exposes Deep-Seated Problems
On the weekends from Nov. 17, French demonstrators wearing yellow vests usually worn by drivers took to the streets to protest rising fuel prices that have resulted from the government's tax hikes.
Protests in Paris and other cities became violent with robberies and arson attacks staged by extremists and rogues, leading to the arrest of thousands. French President Emmanuel Macron announced social measures to appease the public. The chaos has harmed the French economy badly and spread to other countries including Belgium, indicating deep-seated problems such as economic and social gaps in Europe.
Chinese, U.S. Leaders Meet, Reach Key Consensus
On Dec. 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump met in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the G20 summit, and reached important consensus. In directing efforts to solve the problems that may affect ties, they agreed to jointly promote a China-U.S. relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability, and promote exchanges and cooperation in various fields to achieve more results.
On trade issues, the two sides reached a principled consensus, including halting additional tariffs, making efforts toward returning to talks to settle disputes. This has created positive expectations for the global economy and trade.