On July 23, 2019, Russian warplanes intruded into South Korean airspace. They were accompanied by two Chinese bombers. The outstanding questions are whether the incidents represented a China-Russia challenge to US primacy, and whether an alliance is on the cards.
The general strike called by Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill netizens on August 5, 2019 wreaked havoc in the city. The general strike reflected both the strengths and weaknesses of the anti-extradition movement and offered some clues on how to resolve the impasse.
There are some thorny issues facing the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, namely the sales of weapon systems by the US, the calls for independence by DPP hardliners, the tendency of Beijing to “contain” Taiwan, and the need to exercise wisdom in running Hong Kong.
China released a white paper titled China’s National Defense in the New Era and named Taiwan separatists and their activities as the “gravest immediate threat” to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the “biggest barrier” to the peaceful reunification of the country.
Recently, Japan imposed protectionist measures as a retaliation against South Korean court rulings. Japan’s new trade protectionism measures seemed to threaten South Korea’s chip making industry and this had evoked strong reactions.
A proposed extradition law that is supposed to address the legal loopholes allowing fugitives to hide in Hong Kong boomeranged and triggered the worst political crisis in the city since the 1997 handover.
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu won decisively in the Taiwan Kuomintang presidential primary, with a strong possibility of claiming the presidency for KMT in the 2020 elections. His win may also be redefining Taiwan politics.
The visit by a senior Japanese official to Colombo, Sir Lanka marks the gradual expansion of new security cooperation in the increasingly important Indian Ocean region. This engagement is expected to gain greater momentum this year.
After the 2018 local elections, popular support for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was consistently the lowest among the presidential candidates. Recently, however, many polls have shown a surprising turn: Tsai’s popularity has significantly risen to the leading position.
A shooting incident dramatically affected the presidential election outcome in 2004, enabling Chen Shui-bian to be re-elected by a slim margin. The DPP believed that it had to do with the attempted assassination on Chen, while the KMT argued that Chen staged everything.