China’s ruling Communist Party is holding its twentieth Party Congress, where it has outlined its development strategy and will announce its leadership for the next five years. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Amanda Hsiao and Ivy Kwek read the signals from the early proceedings.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Central African Republic
Politics is a full-contact sport in South Korea and there is no sign of any sort of balanced politics at the moment.
China is working hard to improve its relationships with the US, but also working hard to shore up support among countries Beijing sees as important in its competition.
Beijing is still balancing between its interest in maintaining its strategic alignment with Moscow and its interest in keeping its relationship with Washington stable.
The [Chinese] leadership understands their management of this period as determinative of the pace and trajectory of China’s rise.
So far China has provided political and moral support to Moscow [for the war in Ukraine] but has refrained from providing military assistance.
[Western politicians] increasingly view a visit to Taiwan as an opportunity to signal their anti-China bona fides for domestic political reasons.
No matter what immediate tit-for-tat reactions there are to the visit, the troubling long-term implication points to the urgent need for the Biden administration and Congress to better coordinate their handling of the Taiwan issue.
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is planning a visit to Taiwan in early August. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Amanda Hsiao identifies steps the U.S. and China can take to keep frictions minimal should her trip proceed.
As their strategic rivalry grows, China and the U.S. are increasingly operating in close proximity in the Asia Pacific. An accident or misinterpreted signal could set off a wider confrontation. The danger level is low, but dialogue is needed to dial it down further.
On 9 March, South Koreans voted a conservative, Yoon Suk-yeol, into the presidency to replace the left-leaning Moon Jae-in. Yoon has taken a harder rhetorical line than his predecessor toward Pyongyang. But a dramatic shift in North Korea policy is unlikely.
Ladakh, a barren, frigid plateau facing Tibet, is one of India’s most vulnerable spots in its decades-old border dispute with China. In the winter months, as Crisis Group expert Praveen Donthi found, it is also one of the least hospitable places on earth.
Pyongyang’s string of missile tests at the turn of 2022 indicates its discontent with how diplomacy has sputtered on the Korean peninsula since the 2019 summit. Fresh overtures may fall short of bringing it back to the table, but they are worth a try.
The latest five-day plenum of North Korea’s ruling party focused on food insecurity, chief among the nation’s challenges. With the pandemic not yet tamed and other uncertainty on the international scene, Pyongyang may continue refraining from major provocations into 2022, but for how long is unclear.
North and South Korea have recently staged displays of military prowess, causing some to worry about an accelerating arms race. But both countries were playing politics. Any uptick in tensions is likely to come after the Beijing Olympics and South Korean elections in March 2022.
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