After almost eight years as Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo retired. This morning the national Diet (Japan’s parliament) nominated Suga Yoshihide as his successor. Since Abe announced his intention to resign on 28 August, the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) has gone through three frantic weeks to find an agreement on the succession.
Amid the Philippines’ war on Covid-19, the spotlight points back to the tiny island of Sulu with the recent violent incidents that occurred in the province.
There is no compelling reason why the 21st century should become “China’s century.” It could however be defined by the “China question”, as large parts of the 19th and the 20th centuries were defined by “the German question” (and to some extent also by the Japanese one); we also know their outcome. Hopefully the China question can avoid their tragic fate, but if it does the center of the conflict will be in Asia, and it will involve both China and the United States.
Thailand is undergoing the sixth episode of mass protests that have evolved from the long-standing struggle between pro- and anti-establishment supporters since 2005. The main difference between the current uprising and previous demonstrations is the younger generation taking the lead in resisting what they deem as authoritarian persistence.
Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned. Officially because of reasons related to his health but unofficially and in reality there is probably much more than meets the eye. Abe’s involvement in various scandals and his recently rapidly plummeting public approval rates might indeed have played a role why Abe decided to throw in the towel. Or: the reason why he was urged by his fellow Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) members to call it quits to contain further damage to the party. Who knows.
As the world’s economic and political centre of gravity moves increasingly towards East and South Asia, we can expect a number of countries in these regions to devote more attention to the Middle East. The relations between East and South Asia and the Middle East have significantly expanded as a result of the global rise of Asian economic powers, particularly China, India, Japan and South Korea.
Mongolia held its 8th regular parliamentary election on June 24, 2020. The country sits in an authoritarian neighborhood and is the second country to hold parliamentary elections amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the latest World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects” publication, Covid-19 pandemic will have a negative impact on East Asia causing a -1,2% GDP’s reduction in 2020, that is the region’s first recession since 1998’s Asian financial crisis, while China is expected to slow to 1% this year. Among the various consequences that may materialise, the report highlights the disruption of the global and regional value chains.
The standoff between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a disputed border between the two nuclear-armed powers, has been going on for a while. It has been a main story in South Asia, since at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed, while Beijing is yet to say anything on casualties, however it was reported that five PLA soldiers died as well. This has been the worst stand-off between the two regional powers in over 45 years.
China is having a good crisis. The spread of Covid-19 in China – if one believes the statistics and declarations of the Chinese government – is under control, while many Western countries (and the U.S. in particular) are confronted with a rising number of infections and the prospects of new and prolonged partial or total lockdowns.