As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, opened in 2015, could bring needed jobs and investment to Pakistan. But many projects also risk widening social divides and heightening political tensions along the route. With Beijing’s support, Islamabad should seek the public’s input to ensure equity in economic gains.
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.
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.
U.S.-China relations have deteriorated to their worst point since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing.
[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.
[Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] sees there is a strategic opportunity of Donald Trump having taken America in a different direction and seeing that void, that has led him to ramp up that policy further.
China is implementing the sanctions [on North Korea] with unprecedented rigor and determination. But does that mean everything is being followed through completely? Not necessarily.
China sees sanctions as punishment for bad behaviour rather than an effective means of achieving disarmament [of North Korea].
[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.
Michael Kovrig’s detention is unjust and inhumane. It should not have lasted one hour, let alone one year.
Originally published in The Washington Post
Pakistan’s central government is all-in on CPEC. But at key points, local communities are resisting.
Originally published in The Diplomat
Facing uncertain times in U.S. policy and a pivot to diplomacy from North Korea, leaders of China, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo on 9 May to downplay historical grievances and show their support for denuclearisation, trade and better relations. But underlying disputes could still resurface.
Japan and China should use a new maritime and aerial communication mechanism to manage disputes with professionalism, dialogue and diplomacy.
Originally published in South China Morning Post
Originally published in Asia Times