Korea

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?
A clown interacts with people at a main shopping area in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 6 December 2020. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

China has entered the 'gilded cage' of RCEP and is considering the CPTPP. What's next?

With the recent signing of the RCEP and China’s comment that it will “favourably consider” joining the CPTPP, are prospects looking up for greater domestic reform and regional economic integration across the board, and will dreams of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific have a higher chance of eventually taking shape? Japan-based academic Zhang Yun looks at the potential outlook.
People watch a television news programme reporting on the US presidential election showing images of US President-elect Joe Biden (right) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, at a railway station in Seoul on 9 November 2020. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

South Korea and America’s Indo-Pacific strategy: Yes, but not quite

Like many ASEAN member states, South Korea has sought to avoid choosing sides between China and the US. It has adopted an uneasy equidistance between the two great powers and their respective Indo-Pacific Strategy and Belt and Road Initiative power plays.
A screen grab taken from Vietnam Host Broadcaster's 15 November 2020 live video shows China's Premier Li Keqiang (L) clapping as Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan (R) holds up the agreement during the signing ceremony for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact at the ASEAN summit that is being held online in Hanoi. (Handout/Vietnam host broadcaster/AFP)

RCEP affirms ASEAN’s irreplaceable East Asian centrality

The signing of the 15-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is significant, and not only due to the fact that the trade deal will cover a third of the world’s population and GDP. The RCEP also affirms the power of the East Asia concept and ASEAN’s centrality within it.
ASEAN leaders are seen on a screen as they attend the 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit as part of the 37th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, 15 November 2020. (Kham/REUTERS)

Why China is rejoicing over the RCEP

With the signing of the RCEP yesterday, the largest economic community in the world is very much in the making. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan examines what the RCEP means for China and the world, not least the US, which is not a member of the RCEP.
In a photo taken on 18 October 2020 people wearing face masks walk on a street in the Hongdae district of Seoul. (Ed Jones/AFP)

South Korea can do more in Southeast Asia

South Korea’s economy was one of the best-performing economies this year. Its GDP grew 1.9% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter. ISEAS academic Victor Teo observes that with its considerable soft power and economic weight, South Korea is well-positioned to become a more important power for Southeast Asia and ASEAN.
People walk in the tourist area surrounding Houhai Lake during Chinese National Day holidays in Beijing, China, 2 October 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The China story is not just about politics, Confucius and mooncakes

For China to spread its culture abroad successfully, the China story needs to be modernised, says Wu Guo. Ancient Chinese history and literature may be too daunting, while mooncakes and fan dances may be too superficial. People want to know what the Chinese man on the street thinks about, and what his culture of today is. Contemporary cultural products such as idol dramas and pop groups may do the trick, but so would down-to-earth insight into the lives of Chinese people. Often, just a peek into the everyday is enough to know we’re all not so different after all.
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.
Yoshihide Suga gestures as he is elected as new head of the ruling party at the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) leadership election paving the way for him to replace Shinzō Abe, in Tokyo, 14 September 2020. (Kyodo via REUTERS)

Japan's foreign policy under Yoshihide Suga: Countering chaos with pragmatism

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has been confirmed as Japan’s incoming prime minister, following a vote in parliament today. What would his foreign policy priorities be as prime minister?