One month after conducting a nuclear test, North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket on February 7th from its Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Pyongyang claimed the launch was a peaceful earth observation satellite, but the United States, South Korea, and other powers quickly condemned it as a provocative and destabilizing ballistic missile test in violation of UN resolutions. U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice called on the “international community to stand together and demonstrate to North Korea that its reckless actions must have serious consequences.” China, however, remains unwilling to back stronger sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and prefers a return to the negotiation table. In this Policy Alert, we explore the reactions of South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, India, and Brazil to the launch and their proposals to resolve nuclear weapons and missile challenges on the Korean Peninsula.
President Park Geun-hye strongly criticized the missile launch as an “intolerable provocation,” positing the North’s missile program is “all about maintaining the regime” in Pyongyang. Park’s deputy chief of national security, Cho Tae-yong, pledged “the government will continue to put necessary pressure on North Korea so that North Korea has no other choice but to change.” South Korean intelligence agencies reportedly have evidence North Korea plans another nuclear test in the near future. (more…)Continue Reading →
On January 16, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen defeated the incumbent Kuomintang Party (KMT) to become the first female president of Taiwan. The DPP also won a majority in the Legislative Yuan and vowed to start a “new era” in Taiwan with an improved economy and a relationship with China based on “dignity and reciprocity.” The United States congratulated Tsai on her victory and expressed its desire for continued peace and stability in the cross-straits. China – who pined for a KMT victory – and other powers responded to the news with a mix of cautious optimism and diplomatic tightrope walking. In this Policy Alert, we look at reactions in Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, and India on what the election holds for the region.
While not entirely a surprise, the landslide victory for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) transformed the balance of political power on the island. It has also forced the Kuomintang Party to do some soul searching when it votes in March for a new leader after its 2016 candidate and former chairman, Eric Chu, resigned. Furthermore, the new DPP majority promised new legislation to strip the KMT of its multi-million assets through party finance and property reforms, which may make it more difficult for the KMT to mount an electoral comeback.
Taiwanese policymakers remained cautious in the handling of post-election cross-strait relations. (more…)Continue Reading →
On January 6, North Korea announced it conducted its forth nuclear test, claiming the successful explosion of a hydrogen bomb. As experts work to verify the claim, the international community unanimously condemned Pyongyang with the UN Security Council planning to impose further sanctions on the Kim Jung-un regime for taking an action South Korea called an “unpardonable provocation.” In a display of strength and support for allies in the region, the United States flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over Seoul, which prompted North Korea to vow further tests. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from South Korea, China, Japan, India, Russia, and Brazil on the latest North Korean nuclear test.
As expected, South Korean President Park Geun-hye denounced the test as a “serious threat” to national security and warned “our military is at a state of full readiness, and if North Korea wages provocation, there will be firm punishment.” Along with resuming broadcasts of propaganda messages across the north-south border, South Korea urged the international community to work together on sanctions to inflict “bone-numbing pain” on its northern neighbor, specifically calling on China to prove Beijing is serious about improving ties with Seoul.
Newspapers in South Korea focused on how the country and the international community should response to this latest development by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). (more…)Continue Reading →
On December 12, leaders from more than 190 countries reached a consensus on how to combat climate change after two weeks of intense negotiations and years of diplomatic wrangling. The Paris Agreement will succeed the expiring Kyoto protocol and seeks to keep the average global temperature from rising above two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels through reductions in greenhouse emissions, changes in energy policies, shifts in agriculture and livestock production, and other far reaching measures. Countries outlined their plans to reach these targets and pledged to share funding and technology to poorer states needing to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This Policy Alert is a companion to Policy Alert #114 and illustrates the reactions on the final deal within India and China, two rising powers central to the negotiations and future success or failure of the accord.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the outcome in Paris where “every nation rose to the challenge, working towards a solution” that “has no winners or losers” save for the preservation of “climate justice” and “a greener future.” While many analysts worried India could play a “spoiler” in the negotiations due to its developing economy’s reliance on coal, New Delhi ultimately agreed to the final deal. (more…)
COP21, a UN climate change conference, opened last week in Paris, a city that experienced horrific terrorist attacks just weeks before. In his opening address, French President Francois Hollande noted “I can’t separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming. These are two big global challenges we have to face up to.” World leaders from about 150 countries are expected to reach a new greenhouse gas reduction framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2020. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on the climate change meeting.
China and the United States – the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases – laid the ground work for the Paris talks with joint commitments this past year to address climate change. President Xi Jinping was the first Chinese head of state to attend a climate summit when he outlined his country’s plans to see a peak in carbon emissions by 2030 and for its emissions intensity of GDP to decline by 60 to 65 percent. Likewise, China has promised increases in energy efficiency and a shift toward to natural gas, hydropower, wind, and solar energy. (more…)Continue Reading →
The terrorist attacks in Paris by the Islamic State (IS) last Friday killed at least 129 people, leaving France and the world in great horror and sorrow. French President Francois Hollande responded by calling the attacks “an act of war” and pleading to wage a “merciless” fight against terrorism. U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the terrorist act an “attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.” In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on the Paris terrorist attacks.
Chinese officials unanimously condemned the attacks and extended their condolences to France. (more…)Continue Reading →
Earlier this month, twelve Pacific Rim countries, including the United States and Japan, reached a final agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest regional trade pact in history with its member states accounting for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The pact also constitutes a cornerstone of President Obama’s “rebalance” toward Asia. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and India on the trade deal.
Chinese commentary urged the government to push forward with the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) while downplaying the potential impact of the TPP for China. (more…)Continue Reading →
History means a lot in East Asian international politics. Past histories that are related to ongoing issues are reinterpreted, revised and debated among countries. The most prominent topic in the region involves the controversies between Japan and countries that were colonized or occupied by the Japanese Empire. Regarding this issue, China and South Korea are on the same boat. In 2014, for example, China built a memorial for An Jung Gun, a Korean independence activist who assassinated Ito Hirobumi, then Prime Minister of the Empire of Japan, in Harbin at Korean President Park Geun-hye’s request.
As two neighboring countries, however, China and Korea also have their own history issues. In the 2000s, the Sino-Korean relationship was soured by the history debates over an ancient kingdom in Northeast Asia, Goguryeo. In the Northeast Project, a Chinese government-sponsored research project that was launched in 2002, a group of Chinese historians revised the ancient history of the northeast regions of contemporary China. One notable revision was the inclusion of Goguryeo in Chinese history. Goguryeo was an ancient kingdom which occupied the Northern regions of the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria between B.C. 37 and A.D. 668. Before this revision, the kingdom was generally regarded as a part of ancient Korean history. However, the project rejected this conventional wisdom and defined the kingdom as a local Chinese ethnic regime. Moreover, the Chinese government registered the remains of Goguryeo as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2004, and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official website deleted the Goguryeo entry from its pages on Korean history in the same year. (more…)Continue Reading →
Russian airstrikes in Syria since September 30, portrayed by the Kremlin as an attack against the Islamic State (IS), have been met with widespread criticism. The United States has accused Russiaof targeting U.S.-backed rebel groups against the Assad regime and refused to cooperate with Moscow. European foreign ministers have called on Russia to end its attacks. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from Russia, China, India, and Japan on Russian intervention in the Syrian conflict.
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