Wednesday 13 Oct 2021 | 12:37 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 13 Oct 2021 | 12:37 | SYDNEY

Northeast Asia hot spots: One cooling, one not


Malcolm Cook

8 May 2009 16:08

Security worries in East Asia have long been fixed on cross-Strait tensions between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, and Pyongyang's brinkmanship on the Korean peninsula. It seems North Korea is now taking over, even if only temporarily, from cross-Strait tensions as the #1 worry and the #1 issue testing US relations with Japan, China and South Korea.

Alas, efforts to bring North Korea to its senses and in from its self-imposed isolation have not been going well over the last few weeks. North Korea has disobeyed a UN Resolution, snubbed its nose at the new Obama Administration and Beijing among many others, lost a Security Council vote 15-0, stomped off and threatened more nuclear tests, rubbished the Six-Party Talks process, and detained a South Korean worker at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Kaesong is one of the celebrated attempts to create shared economic interests between the two Koreas. Alas, it has also given North Korea yet another point of leverage and political embarrassment over South Korea. 

Cross-Strait relations continue to grow closer economically and diplomatically. After a slow start, cross-Strait flights are doing well and the two sides recently agreed to add significant more capacity. Four days later, China lifted its long-standing and effective opposition to Taiwan being invited to the UN-affiliated World Health Assembly as an observer.