Korea

China’s General Wei Fenghe and his delegates arrive at Dutch Pavilion at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, for a meeting with his counterparts from the US. (SPH Media)

Shangri-La Dialogue 2022: A tougher diplomatic battle for China?

Given the tough stand of Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe at the previous Shangri-La Dialogue in 2019, and the current tense relations between China and the US, this week’s Shangri-La Dialogue is set to offer some sparks. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong examines some points of contention and what previous rhetoric suggests.
US President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a joint news conference after their bilateral meeting at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, 23 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The US is winning at building relationships with China's neighbours

Academic Zhu Ying notes that the war in Ukraine has brought the US, Japan and South Korea closer together on issues such as Taiwan and the nuclear threat from North Korea, thus strengthening the US’s strategy of working with alliances. In exchange for the US’s support in forms such as a nuclear umbrella, Japan and South Korea will align with the US in its competition with China.
Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida welcomes US President Joe Biden at the entrance hall of the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in Tokyo, Japan, 24 May 2022. (Zhang Xiaoyu/Pool via Reuters)

Biden’s Asia tour: US deepening its commitments to counter China

US President Joe Biden's recent visit to Asia was made with China in mind, as he met with Quad partners South Korea, Japan, Australia and India, and launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). At the very least, says Japanese academic Ryo Sahashi, the visit signals that the US is keen on setting the rules in the region and keeping a firm security presence especially vis-à-vis the Taiwan Strait.
Police stand guard near the parliament building in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 17 May 2022. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Families that rule: Thoughts about Asia's political landscape

The political environment in Asia has been marked with upheavals and instability. While each country has their own system of democratic elections in the modern sense, they appear to share a number of common themes that resembles the backward political practices of 19th century Europe. Academic Chen Liujun assesses the regional developments.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol looks on as US President Joe Biden delivers remarks in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, 20 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

South Korea's pivot to the US will impact ASEAN

New South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has a tough balancing act to pull off in his foreign policy as South Korea remains wary of greater US-China rivalry and China’s rise. The Yoon administration will likely continue to deepen its economic relations with ASEAN, and place more emphasis on security cooperation and a greater alignment with the US's values-based diplomacy.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets troops who have taken part in the military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), 29 April 2022. (KCNA via Reuters)

Can South Korea’s Yoon and China’s Xi denuclearise North Korea?

North Korea conducted an unprecedented seven missile tests in January and continues to test boundaries as it isolates itself from the world amid the Ukraine war. Yoon Suk-yeol, who becomes South Korea’s president on 10 May, has every reason to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping on denuclearising North Korea. But will joint efforts be a casualty of tectonic shifts in the global landscape?
This photo taken on 13 April 2022 shows a worker producing industrial robots at a factory in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. (AFP)

Why China has too many graduates and not enough skilled workers

Despite a record number of graduates entering the job market this year, China is seeing a shortage of skilled tradesmen, especially for the manufacturing industry. Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui believes that the main reason for the talent demand gap is China’s education system, which is driven by remnants of the backward ideology of the ancient feudal society.
South Korea's president-elect Yoon Seok-youl speaks during a news conference at his transition team office, in Seoul, South Korea, 20 March 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/Pool via Reuters)

South Korea’s new president needs to avoid predecessor’s mistakes and reframe foreign policy priorities

South Korean academic Kang Jun-young notes that the incoming Yoon Seok-youl administration in South Korea will have to rectify several diplomatic missteps of the previous administration, including by restoring ties with Japan and adjusting its policies towards China and the US, while dealing with the nuclear issue with North Korea. Will Yoon’s administration be able to juggle all this while maintaining its national dignity and not giving in to external pressure?
South Korea's new president-elect Yoon Seok-youl (centre) of the main opposition People Power Party gestures to his supporters as he is congratulated outside the party headquarters in Seoul on 10 March 2022. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

Will South Korea's new president take an anti-China stance?

South Korea’s conservative president-elect Yoon Seok-youl may have taken a pro-US, anti-China stance during the presidential campaign, but history shows that progressive and conservative presidents alike have had to implement a well-balanced foreign policy once in office. Given that China is South Korea’s biggest trading partner and a key player in the stability of the Korean peninsula, it would be of national interest to maintain friendly relations with China without leaning too far towards either the US or China. Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun discusses Yoon's likely preoccupations going into the presidency.