Europe - East Asia

While Europe has long been an important economic power in the Asia Pacific, its political profile until recently has been rather weak. In recent months, however, Europe has taken important steps to strengthen its political involvement in the region, notably on the Korean Peninsula. This more active stance reflects progress in efforts to make European foreign policies more coherent and effective through a strengthening of the European Union’s “Common Foreign and Security Policy,” including the appointment of a high representative for foreign relations. Europe’s increasing influence in the Asia Pacific can also be felt economically, as Europe’s negotiations with Beijing over China’s WTO membership have made clear. Still, in keeping with its peculiar characteristics as a “composite” international actor and its rather modest self-defined role in the Asia Pacific, Europe’s political influence in the region remains that of an important subsidiary player, rather than of a great power. On the whole, Europe’s modest but gradually growing involvement has been constructive and welcome.

Daily Digest

Asia Times: Wuhan declares ‘state of war’ against virus

What Wuhan, China’s “state of war” declaration on the coronavirus means and what it changes.

NK News: Why South Korean tourists might not want to follow Moon up Mount Kumgang

Why Moon Jae-in might be alone, among both South and North Koreans, in his eagerness to resume Mt. Kumgang tourism.

New York Times: U.N. Court’s Order on Rohingya Is Cheered, but Will Myanmar Comply?

A look into whether Myanmar will comply with the “unusually strong” ruling against it by the International Court of Justice.

South China Morning Post – China coronavirus: first fatality reported outside Hubei province as man dies in Hebei, while eight cities now on lockdown

A report on the deadly new turn China’s coronavirus outbreak has taken, with its first reported fatality outside of Hubei province

BBC – Myanmar Rohingya: World court orders prevention of genocide

A report on the International Court of Justice unanimous vote on a resolution ordering Myanmar to prevent genocide.

Japan Times: Don’t repeat the lost decade of climate action

An editorial arguing that Japan, as the world’s fifth-largest emitter, must take a leading role in the fight against climate change.

Japan Times: In an uncertain East Asia, Japan’s security choices face balancing act between U.S. and neighbors

An explanation of the security debate facing Japan as the US-China rivalry grows in intensity.

Korea Joongang Daily: Seoul to send destroyer to Hormuz Strait

Why Seoul is sending a destroyer to the Strait of Hormuz “independent” of the US buildup there.

South China Morning Post – China coronavirus: death toll almost doubles in one day as Hong Kong reports its first two cases

The latest updates on China’s coronavirus outbreak and the latest locations affected.

Focus Taiwan: Tsai could consider meeting with Xi on equal basis

An announcement from Taiwan’s president that she would consider meeting Xi Jinping on an “equal” basis.