Saturday 24 Oct 2020 | 23:55 | SYDNEY
Saturday 24 Oct 2020 | 23:55 | SYDNEY

Things I have changed my mind about this year


Rory Medcalf


23 December 2009 14:40

I have abandoned much of my earlier hope that China can be persuaded to apply much more pressure on North Korea to renounce the nuclear weapons path. Arguments like those made by Zhu Feng – despite their excellent, interests-based logic — appear to be on the losing side in the internal Chinese debate over what to do about the errant little brother.

Unfortunately, without an end to North Korea's WMD ambitions, North Asia's nuclear tangle will remain thorny, wicked and an obstacle to global nuclear disarmament.

Still on the subject of bad news, I began the year will a few lingering hopes about the ability of India and China to get proactive in establishing a modus vivendi for security cooperation, including in the Indian Ocean region. But security relations between these two rising giants – never good — have soured badly this year. Read, for instance, this blast in China's state media. Beijing seems keen to keep border differences simmering, not least because it worries that a particular monastery in territory claimed by India might have the right to identify the next Dalai Lama. 

So much for hopes, quietly cultivated by both Beijing and New Delhi just five or six years ago, that the border issue was on its way to being settled. 

I still think China and India are pragmatic enough to keep their focus on economic development, and to prevent any bilateral military tensions from leading to war. After all, their behaviour in Copenhagen shows they will not let old rivalry stand in the way of collusion for mutual benefit. Which I guess leaves much of the rest of the world wondering whether they would rather see trust or mistrust between the rising powers of the Asian century...

Happy New Year.

Photo by Flickr user AgentAkit, used under a Creative Commons license.