Nuclear power

A US flag flutters in the wind near the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum on 10 September 2021 in the US. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP)

With AUKUS, Southeast Asia may become a more intense battleground

Yogesh Joshi points out that the new AUKUS shows an American recognition of the military threat from China, which is assessed to have the world's largest navy. Such anxiety has the US sharing its most prized military technology of nuclear propulsion with Australia, something it has never done with any country except the UK. With the US determined to maintain primacy in the Indo-Pacific, will there be a greater chance of inadvertent escalation of tensions? Will the Southeast Asian region suffer the brunt of heightened risks?
A police barricade is seen in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg)

AUKUS: Aggravating tensions and dividing the world

Australia, the US and the UK recently launched the enhanced trilateral security partnership “AUKUS”. American academic Zhu Zhiqun believes that AUKUS is divisive and serves the interests of the US military-industrial complex. It has also raised the stakes in China’s threat perceptions, given the unspoken target of the grouping. And now that Australia has picked a side, how will power dynamics play out in the Indo-Pacific region? Will China also seek alliances to strengthen itself?
A visitor takes a photograph in front of an electronic American flag in the Times Square neighborhood of New York, US, on 4 September 2021. (Amir Hamja/Bloomberg)

Chinese academic: China will pay the price for underestimating the US

The US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was ugly and messy, but certainly not anywhere catastrophic enough to say that this marks the end of US hegemony. China should not underestimate the US’s strength. In fact, while the US flexes its muscles in conventional warfare and pledges a “no first use” nuclear stance, China should beef up its nuclear deterrence quotient for greater insurance against the US.
In this file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with US President Joe Biden prior to the US-Russia summit at the Villa La Grange, in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 June 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

The real reset of US-Russia relations has begun?

While international opinion has largely been negative about the outcomes of the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva, Xiang Lanxin remains positive, saying that the US nursed Russia’s psychological wound by referring to the two countries as “two great powers” and paved the way for the US and Russia to work together against the China threat.
An aerial view of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and its two units in Guangdong, China. (Wikimedia)

Guangdong nuclear power plant incident: Making a mountain out of a molehill?

Following news that the French co-owner of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong had written to the US Department of Energy regarding an “imminent radiological threat”, and disclaimers by state-owned majority owner China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) that the assertions are false, Chinese social media has been in an uproar and accused Western media of stoking fires. While admitting that “about five” of the uranium fuel rods inside the power plant have been damaged, Chinese authorities maintained that there has been no radiation leak. Zaobao's China Desk puts together the ins and outs of the story.
Protestors hold slogans as they take part in a rally against the Japanese government's decision to release treated water from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean, outside of the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, on 13 April 2021. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP)

Fukushima wastewater: Why China is protesting while the US gives the nod

Japan’s neighbours, China the most vociferous among them, have protested against Japan’s decision to dump contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean in two years’ time. On the other hand, Western countries have been accused of making minimal noise on account that it’s Japan. Is this another case of geopolitics politicising the situation? Would the world have reacted differently if it were China doing the dumping?
People walk in Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, New York, US, 14 February 2021. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Has the US walked into China's trap?

Han Dongping calls out the weaknesses in US foreign policy, explaining that its foreign policy missteps have contributed to the deep-seated issues it faces today. If having to learn from the past is not enough, it is as if the US has walked into China’s trap, getting mired in interventions while China watches and waits as the US slowly exhausts its power. If nothing changes, the impact on the US and the rest of the world could be catastrophic. 
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?