Korea

People visit a traditional Spring Festival flower market in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, on 20 January 2023. (AFP)

China and the world renew economic ties post-pandemic

As economic activities pick up in China after the country lifted its strict Covid-19 control measures, foreign businesses are raring to return to the world’s second-largest economy. However, they remain hesitant due to the long time away and geopolitical considerations. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong finds out if China can easily rebuild its economic ties with foreign businesses and the outside world.
A South Korean soldier wearing personal protective equipment guides a group of Chinese tourists for Covid-19 tests upon their arrival at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, 4 January 2023. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

China-South Korea relations challenged amid tit-for-tat travel controls

Since last month, China and South Korea have been engaged in a tussle of tit for tat when it comes to Covid-19 travel controls. From visa suspensions to “yellow tags” on Chinese travellers entering South Korea, it remains to be seen whether the current back and forth will affect months of China’s diplomatic efforts with South Korea, especially since Yoon Suk-yeol took office.
South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol arrives for the G20 Leaders' Summit in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on 15 November 2022. (Mast Irham/AFP)

South Korea's new Indo-Pacific strategy: Seeking the best of both worlds

South Korea’s new Indo-Pacific strategy underscores the country’s ambitions to be a “global pivotal state”. Seoul seeks to effect a careful balance: inclining towards the US-led grouping advocating a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, while at the same time engaging China.
Cambodia's Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Lim Jock Hoi pose for pictures before a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia, 27 October 2022. (Galih Pradipta/Pool via Reuters)

George Yeo: ASEAN’s advantage in an emerging multipolar world

Delivering the keynote address of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Regional Outlook Forum 2023, Singapore’s former Foreign Minister George Yeo spoke about the ways that ASEAN’s weakness is also a strength in the transition to a multipolar world.
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.
An aerial view shows Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)'s multi-purpose destroyer Izumo (DDH-183) leading the fleet during the International Fleet Review to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the JMSDF, at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan, 6 November 2022. (Kyodo/via Reuters)

Japan's move towards acquisition of strike capabilities could benefit Southeast Asia

Japan is considering the deployment of non-nuclear counter-strike capabilities in the face of growing threats from North Korea and China. Japanese academic Yoichiro Sato believes that for Southeast Asian countries, this might be a win-win situation in terms of maintaining the region’s non-nuclear stance, yet retaining the option of bringing US-Japanese allied capabilities to bear in contingencies.
Pedestrians cross a road in front of the Bank of Korea headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on 12 October 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

Is South Korea’s economy in trouble?

Often referred to as the world’s economic “canary in the coal mine”, South Korea has seen its economy tumble over the past year, impacted by external factors such as US interest rate hikes and signs of recession in key trade partners. The accumulation of domestic factors — currency crisis, tumbling stock market and rising inflation — is also hitting the South Korean economy hard. However, this industrial powerhouse has the domestic means to climb out of the doldrums.
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?
A vintage doll is pictured near a damaged kindergarten following recent Russian shelling in the city of Slovyansk, Ukraine, as Russia's attack in Ukraine continues, on 2 September 2022 (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

In the China-US-Russia confrontation, it is military power that counts in the end

The Russia-Ukraine war has turned into a stage for the US and Russian militaries to flex their muscles, and so too in the case of the Taiwan Strait for the People’s Liberation Army and the US military. Against this backdrop, says political commentator Jin Jian Guo, the arms race in East Asia is quickening its pace, with Japan seeking to revise its constitution, Taiwan aiming to raise military spending next year, and North Korea holding firm to its nuclear programme. How will these developments affect geopolitics and security in the region?