Kishida’s surprise Kyiv visit bolsters Japan’s image as defender of peaceful rules-based order (March 23, 2023, Straits Times, via Asia News Network)
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping stood on opposite fences of the Ukraine-Russia war on Tuesday, their concurrent visits to rival capitals in the name of promoting peace underscoring global chasms.
Blinken heads to Asia, with China, Russia tensions soaring (February 24, 2023, AP)
The State Department announced late Thursday that Blinken would travel to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan before going to India for a meeting of the Group of 20 foreign ministers from the world’s largest industrialized and developing countries, including China and Russia.
South Korea, US, Japan stage missile defence exercise after North Korea launches (February 23, 2023, The Korea Herald, via Asia News Network)
South Korea, the United States and Japan staged a ballistic missile defense exercise on Wednesday in international waters to enhance military interoperability and readiness against escalating threats from North Korea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The five-hour trilateral drills came days after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles and one intercontinental ballistic missile, respectively, on Monday and Feb. 18.
Indonesia warns of ‘open conflict’ in Indo-Pacific (February 16, 2023, The Jakarta Post, via Asia News Network)
Indonesia has recently given countries in the Indo-Pacific a stern reminder that the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China could “very well escalate into open conflict” if not properly managed, underpinning broader concerns that things could turn from bad to worse.
US gets access to more Philippines bases (February 3, 2023, Philippine Daily Inquirer, via Asia News Network)
The Philippines has granted the United States access to more of its military bases, the defense chiefs of both countries announced on Thursday, amid concerns over China’s continued assertiveness in the South China Sea and potential invasion of Taiwan. The agreement by both countries to add four new locations “in strategic areas of the country” under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) capped the visit to Manila by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III, who arrived Tuesday night.
Maldives ruling party holds high-stakes presidential primary (January 28, 2023, Al Jazeera)
The Maldives’s governing party is set to hold a primary that is pitting incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih against his former ally and the nation’s first democratically-elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed. The closely fought election on Saturday follows a bitter campaign, with Nasheed framing the poll as a choice between autocracy and democracy, and accusing Solih of vote rigging and bribery — allegations he denies.
China Facilitates Iran-Saudi Arabia Détente (March 14, 2023, China Digital Times)
In a surprise deal facilitated by China on Friday, Iran and Saudi Arabia announced that they would resume their diplomatic relations. The deal is a breakthrough for the two Middle Eastern rivals, who will reopen their embassies for the first time in seven years and implement cooperation agreements signed two decades ago. For China, it is an opportunity to showcase a growing presence in international conflict resolution and advance its vision of a global order not led by the U.S.
Chinese Teams in Turkey: Rescue Over but Relief Will Take Years (February 17, 2023, Sixth Tone)
A group of volunteers from Zhejiang returned to China after a weeklong rescue effort in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Turkey.
Optimization: Another Word for Messy (February 2, 2023, China Media Project)
Over the past two months, the CCP leadership has sought to downplay the problems stemming from its sudden decision to dismantle rigid Covid control measures, insisting that all is going according to plan. State media have actively pushed the narrative that this has all been a skillful re-tooling of existing policies.
China Suddenly Abandoned Its Zero COVID Policy. How Did It Start In The First Place? (January 28, 2023, The Diplomat)
We tend to think China has a strict, top-down COVID-19 policy, but local variation is what really shaped the outcome, from beginning to end.