Taking Away Kim Jong-Il’s Nuclear Toys

Most of the world is now preoccupied with getting the North Korean genie back in the bottle – trying through the threat of sanctions to force Kim Jong-Il to abandon his nuclear program.  So far, Kim has resisted all attempts to rein him in.  With Japan having instituted a unilateral complete blockade of North Korea…

And Now What?

North Korea’s first underground nuclear test, conducted on 9 October in the northern mountainous section of the country, was evidently spurred by two imperatives – the need to shock Washington into accepting its demand for one-on-one talks ahead of the November congressional elections in the US and signs of rapprochement between China and Japan following…

China and Iran: New Friends

China's decision to send 1,000 soldiers to South Lebanon with the UNIFIL mission is the latest example of Beijing's increased involvement in the Middle East. The overall importance of the broader Middle East for China's geostrategy is growing. China is searching for new regional allies because it wants to pursue strategic aims such as gaining…

China’s Need for an Eternal Enemy

In what is being called a breakthrough in much of the world’s press, Shinzo Abe was received relatively warmly in Beijing in his first visit outside Japan as the country’s newly installed prime minister.  Driven together to some extent by North Korea’s stunning decision Monday to defy the world and test an atomic weapon, the…

Mass Murderer, Father of the Nation or Both?

In September, a Hong Kong magazine published a Chinese-language edition of “Mao: the Unknown Story” by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday,  the 2005 book that rewrites the history of the Great Helmsman, calling him the biggest butcher of the 20th century and holding him responsible for the death of 70 million of his own people…

Lee Kuan Yew stirs it up again

The octogenarian former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Monday may have issued a grudging but almost unprecedented personal apology for what have been perceived as intemperate remarks about the treatment of the prosperous Chinese diaspora in Malaysia and Indonesia. Lee Kuan Yew’s “apology” was hardly a climb-down. Here is the text of his bristling…

Thaksin finally bows out

Deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resigned from his Thai Rak Thai party Tuesday, effectively terminating what was the most popular party in Thai history before the military and palace joined forces to oust it in a coup two weeks ago. The billionaire politician had resisted months of calls from his opponents to step aside, but…

China and the Pilot Fish to the South

Southern China’s balmy Nanning, a city of pell-mell construction, tower cranes and heavy industry with a dash of pleasant riverside, is busy sprucing up for worldwide fame when leaders and lackeys from Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) jet in to officially commemorate 15 years of relations on 30 October. Don’t expect…

Singapore’s war on the press continues

Less than a month after Singapore shot itself in the foot with a crackdown on the press in the run up to meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on its soil, the government seems to have reloaded with lightning speed. On Thursday, the government announced that not only had it banned the…

Ex General to Lead Thailand

General Surayud Chulanont, a former army chief who is currently a member of the king’s inner circle, will likely be appointed interim prime minister by Thailand’s ruling military junta, reports said today. Junta leader General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin told reporters Friday that the official announcement will likely come this weekend pending King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s approval of…