Following the first inter-Korean summit in ten years, the announcement that President Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a promising sign. Although Pyongyang is unlikely to change its strategic course, the summit provides an opportunity for the U.S. to pair its maximum pressure with diplomacy and coordinate with Asian powers.
The President's Take
In my second monthly column to accompany CrisisWatch, our unique conflict tracker, I look at how outside actors are now openly fighting not for Syria, but over it. I also note more bad news from Venezuela, and flag our upcoming report on how the outside world and regional governments can avert disaster there. Read more …
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A nightmarish Korean peninsula war is closer than at any time in recent history. In the first of a two-part series, Crisis Group examines the interests and calculations of the states most affected or involved: North Korea, the U.S., South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.
Brinksmanship on the Korean peninsula threatens a potentially catastrophic military escalation. In this second report of a two-part series, Crisis Group lays out the steps to de-escalate the crisis and buy time for a more durable solution.
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.
Regional players need to push for a concrete, achievable agenda, with realistic expectations [ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit].
There is a risk that the U.S. and North Korea will come together with unrealistic expectations, expecting that all will be achieved in a one and done meeting.
North Korea is attempting to destabilise the [South Korea]-U.S. alliance, destabilise the international consensus on sanctions focused on the UN, and destabilise South Korean politics and society.
[China's leader Xi Jinping could build on a centralised party-state system]. Whether that is good for the world depends on whether [he] makes the right decisions.
[North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's] goal is to do enough on the inter-Korean front to get the United States and North Korea to jaw-jaw. The real strategic games have only just begun.
[South Korea's] Moon administration is already treading a fine line between engagement and what a large and vocal segment of the population regards as appeasement.
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games, together with the 70th anniversary of both North and South Korea, represents an opportunity for diplomacy to help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The Trump administration should take advantage of the Games to promote a peaceful solution to the impasse with North Korea.
Originally published in Politico
China’s president has set out an era-shaping agenda along economic, security and institutional arcs.
Originally published in South China Morning Post