Korean Peninsula

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 27 November 2022 shows North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (centre right) and his daughter (centre left) posing with soldiers who contributed to the test-firing of the new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), at an unknown location in North Korea. (KCNA via KNS/AFP)

Can China avert North Korea's seventh nuclear test?

With North Korea’s seventh testing of a nuclear weapon looking imminent, Chinese academic Jin Kai notes that the ROK’s hardened stance and the US’s inconsistent policies are not helping to calm rising tensions in the Korean peninsula. And while it is perceived to hold sway over North Korea, China’s influence over its neighbour may be overrated in truth.
A man walks past a television report showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, on 6 October 2022. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

What to make of Kim Jong-un's missile launch spree

The spate of missile launches by North Korea over the past month has shown Kim Jong-un’s unrelenting strategic thinking to hold nuclear weapons and keep growing nuclear power at all costs. With spillover effects on the US, South Korea and Japan, the security situation in the Korean peninsula is spiralling downward amid mutual aggravation. How will the region respond to the increasing nuclear threat?
In April 1943, the Koreans in China held a rally in Chongqing. The photo shows a Korean revolutionary giving a rousing speech while standing in front of a slogan that says “Up with an independent great Korea”. The meeting included a resolution to ask for other countries to support an independent Korea.

[Photo story] How Korea and China fought together against Japanese colonial control

The Korean independence movement actually began soon after the Russo-Japanese war, when Korea and China fought together against Japanese colonial control. For some 30 years, Korean activists carried out resistance movements against the ruling Japanese government, until the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was established with Kim Gu as one of its most important leaders. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives a glimpse into the period.
South Korea's president-elect Yoon Seok-youl speaks during a news conference at his transition team office, in Seoul, South Korea, 20 March 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/Pool via Reuters)

South Korea’s new president needs to avoid predecessor’s mistakes and reframe foreign policy priorities

South Korean academic Kang Jun-young notes that the incoming Yoon Seok-youl administration in South Korea will have to rectify several diplomatic missteps of the previous administration, including by restoring ties with Japan and adjusting its policies towards China and the US, while dealing with the nuclear issue with North Korea. Will Yoon’s administration be able to juggle all this while maintaining its national dignity and not giving in to external pressure?
South Korea's new president-elect Yoon Seok-youl (centre) of the main opposition People Power Party gestures to his supporters as he is congratulated outside the party headquarters in Seoul on 10 March 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

Will South Korea's new president take an anti-China stance?

South Korea’s conservative president-elect Yoon Seok-youl may have taken a pro-US, anti-China stance during the presidential campaign, but history shows that progressive and conservative presidents alike have had to implement a well-balanced foreign policy once in office. Given that China is South Korea’s biggest trading partner and a key player in the stability of the Korean peninsula, it would be of national interest to maintain friendly relations with China without leaning too far towards either the US or China. Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun discusses Yoon's likely preoccupations going into the presidency.
People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on 25 January 2022, after North Korea fired two suspected cruise missiles according to the South's military. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

The world needs to pay attention to renewed Korean peninsula confrontation

With its latest “final test-fire” of a hypersonic missile, the DPRK has shown that its nuclear capabilities have increased significantly since the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi in 2019. In fact, US-DPRK relations have regressed to pre-Pyeongchang Winter Olympics levels with the US imposing new sanctions. It may seem like just another trough in the instability of the Korean Peninsula, but if the world looks away, the situation may just reach boiling point before anyone realises it.
In a photo taken on 8 February 2021, a Korean People's Army (KPA) soldier walks past a poster displayed on a street in Pyongyang marking the 73rd anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army. (Kim Won Jin/AFP)

Japanese academic: Will Northeast Asia work with Biden on North Korea?

A survey in Japan shows that Japanese foreign policy decision-makers are most concerned with “US-North Korea denuclearisation negotiations and North Korea’s status as a nuclear power” in Northeast Asia. The Biden administration is likely to work with its allies to tackle the issue, but it is enmeshed in a web of complex geopolitical relationships. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima considers the deliberations of the key players involved.
In a photo taken on 20 November 2020, divisions of returning elite party members attend a meeting to pledge loyalty before the portraits of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, upon their arrival at Kumsusan palace in Pyongyang, following their deployment to rural provinces to aid in recovery efforts amid damage caused by a September typhoon. (Kim Won Jin/AFP)

To lead the world, Biden's US will need China's help with North Korea

Hong Kong-based commentator Zheng Hao notes that the Trump administration’s high-profiled meetings with North Korea established communication at the very least, even if long-term peace in the Korean peninsula is still out of reach. Will the Biden administration be able to do any better, with China’s help?
In 1951, the volunteer army surrounded and attacked the US army's 1st and 7th infantry divisions. As it was barely one year since the CCP established the PRC, it did not yet have its own defence weapons industry. The troops were using mainly Soviet-made weapons, arms left behind by the Japanese, and US weapons seized from the KMT army. The volunteers in the photo are using Czech-made ZB-26 light machine guns, which were relatively rare among the volunteers due to the lack of matching bullets.

[Photo story] The Korean War: The first large-scale war between China and the US

China and the US fought their first major war against each other during the Korean War. China's ill-equipped volunteer troops suffered huge losses, sacrificing eight lives for every one lost on the US side. Nonetheless, China showed great determination and resilience during the war. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao delves deep into the images and facts of the Korean War, and reflects on how it has shaped modern international geopolitics.