US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unprecedented four trips to North Korea in 2018. His mission for the fourth trip was quite clear — to sustain the momentum of the peace process started from the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.
The China-Japan Maritime and Airspace Liaison Mechanism, activated on June 8, 2018, is a crisis management mechanism established by the defense departments of both countries to prevent friction or conflict in their frontline forces of the sea and air.
An unfavorable outcome in the mid-term elections for Trump will likely be leveraged by the Kim regime to extract a maximum number of concessions from the US and stakeholders to pursue economic development and retain his strategic nuclear deterrent.
North Korea’s economy suffered a negative growth of 3.5 percent in 2017, its worst setback in a decade. The disagreement with the US over its denuclearization process could delay the lifting of sanctions, while China-US competition in the Korean Peninsula may add additional uncertainty.
Both are daughters of former heads of state, and their political pedigrees befitted their status in history. The conspicuous resemblance of South Korea’s Park Geun-hye (2013-2017) and the Philippines’ Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001-2009) is eerily apparent.
With cooling regional temperatures in East Asian affairs and politics, some wonder if the defense budgets in the region will also cool down correspondingly. The Trump-Kim summit in Singapore set the way for the possibility of lasting peace in East Asia.
Since early 2016 when Tsai Ing-wen became president and her party, the Democratic Progressive Party, took control of the legislature, Taiwan’s defense spending has been below par. It has also been lower than Tsai promised.
The President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in, was in New Delhi for his first state visit to India from July 8-11, 2018, as part of his wider Asia-Pacific trip under the umbrella of Moon administration’s New Southern Policy.
By reframing the issue, the perceived threat to the DPRK’s ideological and psychological security may be reduced. A common discursive ground may then be found to engage the DPRK without a breakdown in dialogue on denuclearization, peace and the normalization of relations.
In May 2018, China and Japan agreed to start operating a maritime and air liaison mechanism, aiming to avert accidental clashes and avoid military misunderstanding and misjudgment in the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.