Nuclear power

An anti-war demonstrator stages a die-in as others mark the 78th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima with a march and protest at Times Square in New York, US, on 6 August 2023. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Chinese academic: Humanity could destroy itself with nuclear weapons

Commentator Zhang Tiankan explores the themes of the movie Oppenheimer, and examines how nuclear weapons may not destroy the earth, but definitely might wipe out humanity and all life.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un visit the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on 13 September 2023. (Vladimir Smirnov/Sputnik/Pool via Reuters)

South Korean academic: China must not join the North Korea-Russia alliance

South Korean academic Kang Jun-young notes that North Korea’s recent inclusion of its nuclear weapons policy into its constitution — coupled with its friendliness with Russia — is making the region nervous, and can only raise doubts among its neighbours, including China. However, he cautions against overreacting, as that would in turn escalate the situation further.
This pool image distributed by Sputnik agency shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia on 13 September 2023. (Vladimir Smirnov/Pool/AFP)

US's 'axis of evil' narrative could escalate tensions on Korean peninsula

With North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia recently, observers worry that North Korea and Russia, together with China, are drawing closer, forming a greater “axis” of nuclear threat. But academic Jin Kai sees the sense of a greater “alliance” forming as all part of the US and its allies’ “geopolitical imagination”, which could see them taking steps that escalate the situation in the Korean peninsula.
In this pool photo distributed by Sputnik agency, Russia's President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia on 13 September 2023. (Vladimir Smirnov/Pool/AFP)

Why Kim Jong-un’s first trip after the pandemic was not to China, but Russia

The solidarity between North Korea and Russia based on an “anti-imperialist” or anti-American mindset can be said to be a strategic and simple construct: “An enemy’s friend is an enemy.” 
An activist wearing a mask of Russia's President Vladimir Putin stands next to fellow activists of the IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) peace organisation posing behind a mockup of a nuclear bomb as they demonstrate for the abolition of nuclear weapons in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin on 23 June 2023. (Odd Andersen/AFP)

Will Russia act on its threat to use nuclear weapons?

Chinese academic Chu Zhaogen notes that while Russia tends to threaten the use of nuclear weapons, especially amid the current war in Ukraine, chances are that it is well aware that doing so would invite unwelcome and devastating consequences. This makes it unlikely that it will actually act on its rhetoric.
Former Japanese politician Yasuhiro Sonoda publicly drank half a cup of radioactive water that he claimed had been treated in October 2011. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

Chinese academic: Can we die from drinking Fukushima treated wastewater?

With the uproar around the Fukushima treated wastewater at a peak, Chinese academic Zhang Tiankan takes a look at historical and scientific facts that help us understand the risks and effects of drinking treated nuclear-contaminated water. Is the fear justified?
Nearly a hundred people gathered outside the headquarters of TEPCO, owner of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, to protest the planned discharge of Fukushima wastewater into the sea, 5 July 2023. (CNS)

[Big read] Doubts over Fukushima wastewater release hard to overcome

It has been 12 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami that damaged a nuclear power plant at Fukushima. As plans progress to release treated wastewater from the nuclear power plant into the sea, Lianhe Zaobao journalists Tan Jet Min and Foo Choo Wei explore the challenges in the decision, as well as the difficulties facing related industries, such as fishing.
Tanks of decontaminated tritiated water are seen within the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority is debating whether to dump into the sea water which has been decontaminated but still contains tritium. (SPH Media)

Japanese academic: A hard look at the true impact of Fukushima Daiichi water release

Amid protests by Japan's neighbours, China and South Korea, as well as by environmentalists about Japan's impending release of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japanese academic Koji Okamoto explains that the radioactive substance “tritrium” present in the treated water to be released is naturally present in the environment. In fact, the release of the treated water is of negligible impact compared to the originally present tritium or tritium being released in currently operational nuclear power plants around the world.
This picture taken on 25 April 2023 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 26 April hows soldiers and civilians offering attending a wreath-laying ceremony at the bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansudae Hill in Pyongyang to mark the 91st founding anniversary of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army (KPRA). (KCNA via KNS/AFP)

China can do more on the North Korean nuclear issue

With North Korea declaring itself a nuclear state and indicating that it would only enter negotiations in its position as one, the situation in the Korean peninsula is getting more unstable. Among the global stakeholders in the issue, China is in a position to do more. Trilateral cooperation between the US, South Korea and China is even possible if China changes its perceptions and long-held approaches.