Fiery rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. adds risks to Korean peninsula tensions, but should not cause panic. Outside players should maximise the potential benefit of an established pattern of de-escalation in the fall. They – and Pyongyang – should also back South Korea’s offers of dialogue.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
China and Russia's separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict.
China, traditionally averse to intervening abroad, is testing the role of peacebuilder in South Sudan, where it has unique leverage. This could portend a growing global security role, but further Chinese engagement will likely be tempered by self-interest, capacity constraints and aversion to risk.
Dangerous aerial and naval encounters are rising as China and Japan spar over disputed islands in the East China Sea. A promising reconciliation process has floundered. To prevent an accident tipping the dispute into open hostility, both sides urgently need a credible crisis management protocol to insulate any negotiations from their broader rivalry.
The race for hydrocarbon reserves in the South China Sea is aggravating conflicting territorial claims. The regional players need cooperation, yet have increasingly open confrontations at sea. For peaceful joint energy development, all parties need to stop acting unilaterally and do more to understand the others’ goals and limitations.
Prospects are bleak that the Six-Party Talks can lead to a denuclearised Korean peninsula, notably since North Korea has made nuclear weapons an integral part of its identity. The international community must open new channels of communication and interaction, give greater roles to international organisations, the private sector and civil society.
The South China Sea is the cockpit of geopolitics in East Asia, and growing tensions pose a serious threat to stability in the region. China and ASEAN must take advantage of the currently favourable environment to establish new codes of crisis management, especially at sea, to withstand any new conflicts.
[Frustration] has created space for a wider policy debate in China, between those who think China has to stand behind North Korea and those who call for abandoning it and cooperating more with the U.S.
North Korea’s regime likely sees a nuclear deterrent as essential for its survival, and probably would be willing and able to suffer through extreme hardship without budging.
Chinese analysts continue to argue that no amount of pressure, short of what might cause a collapse, will bring North Korea to denuclearize.
China is putting a lot of capital and institutional effort behind the Belt and Road. But it’s not going to reshape Asia in a few years. It will take a couple of decades to assess the impact, if China sticks with it.
A public apology for death of American tourist Otto Warmbier is the best way for North Korea to show it did not plan this tragedy, keep over-zealous public security officials in line and improve the chances of any dialogue with the outside world.
North Korea’s nuclear grandstanding and inflammatory missile tests, President Trump’s anti-Pyongyang rhetoric and U.S. missile deployments have raised tensions in North East Asia. Our Senior Advisor for the Korean Peninsula Christopher Green looks at where South Korea’s 9 May presidential election fits into these newly complex dynamics.
Cooperating on oil won't work - but fishing might.
Originally published in The National Interest
The Hague’s looming decision on a Filipino challenge to Chinese claims could reverse the region’s collision course.
Originally published in The Wall Street Journal