North Korea

US President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Pennsylvania on 22 September 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

There is no grave crisis in the US; China must not read the US wrongly

Wei Da says to avoid making erroneous judgements in taking certain actions, both the US and China need to calmly evaluate and recalibrate their strategic assessments of each other. If cool heads are kept, events such as the upcoming presidential election are not to be feared but welcomed as a harbinger of change.
In 1951, the volunteer army surrounded and attacked the US army's elite 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.
People walk past a giant screen showing a news footage of Chinese President Xi Jinping wearing a face mask, at a shopping area in Beijing, 31 July 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

Xi Jinping's possible visit to South Korea sparks speculations

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Japan in March was postponed, but next on his list of possible destinations for an official visit might be South Korea. Following Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit in December 2019, Politburo member Yang Jiechi visited South Korea in late August, possibly paving the way for a visit by Xi. What does that mean for China's relations with South Korea and with Japan as tensions between China and the US continue to escalate?
Fishermen pull in their fishing nets as the sun rises over the Mekong river in Phnom Penh on 9 June 2020. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Major powers react to rising Chinese influence in Mekong

In recent years, the Mekong subregion has seen a renewed engagement of external powers, particularly the US, Japan, and South Korea, mainly due to the China factor. This re-enmeshment signifies an intense power competition in Southeast Asia, in light of China’s increasing economic and political clout. Thai academic Pongphisoot Busbarat cautions that Southeast Asian states need to send a clear signal to external powers that increasing cooperation with them does not equate to choosing sides.
A South Korean soldier stands at a checkpoint on the Tongil bridge, the road leading to North Korea's Kaesong joint industrial complex, in the border city of Paju on 24 June 2020. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

When giants fight, even the wisest Southeast Asian leaders are left helpless

Hawaii-based academic Denny Roy notes the growing tension between North and South Korea, as well as US relations with China and the rest of the world, and explores how these might affect the situation in Southeast Asia.
A massive poster of Deng Xiaoping is seen in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China to commemorate Deng's Southern Tour of 1992, 17 January 2012. (SPH)

What can Deng Xiaoping teach us about diplomacy today?

In Wei Da’s view, diplomacy is not rocket science. Diplomacy is conducted to smooth the creases and pave the way for countries to promote peace and cooperation. The devil is in the details on how countries seek to achieve that. In China’s case, Deng Xiaoping had laid out the broad strokes of an overarching strategy more than 30 years ago. While China finds itself in a much more challenging environment today, many of his approaches are still very relevant.
A health worker takes the temperature of a woman amid concerns over the Covid-19 coronavirus, at an entrance of the Pyongchon District People's Hospital in Pyongyang, 1 April 2020. (Kim Won Jin/AFP)

Chinese academic: Can North Korea’s healthcare system survive the pandemic?

For a long time, North Korea has maintained that it has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, despite some reports suggesting otherwise. Whatever the truth of the matter, a closer look at how North Korea’s medical system is structured and run will give us an idea of its capacity to withstand crises such as epidemic outbreaks. Chinese academic Shang Yongmei delves into the details.
Commuters wearing face masks ride a tramcar in Pyongyang on February 26, 2020. (Kim Won-Jin/AFP)

North Korea demonstrating superiority of regime through epidemic control

Lockdown state, zero Chinese tourists, zero infected case... Keio University’s Atsuhito Isozaki notes that for health and political reasons, North Korea is treating the possible outbreak of Covid-19 as a matter of “national survival”. In the immediate, however, rising prices brought on by disruptions in supply are a key threat.