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

Frontier Myanmar – ‘Our revolution is starting’: Urban guerrillas prepare to step up killings, bombings

Small, independent groups are waging guerrilla warfare on the streets in an effort to undermine the military regime but the rising violence has some Yangon residents worried.

Focus Taiwan – Taiwan to administer vaccines donated from Japan starting Saturday

Taiwan will be able to start administering the 1.24 million shots of AstraZeneca vaccine it received last week from Japan beginning Saturday.

South China Morning Post – US urged to abide by one-China principle in top diplomats’ phone call

China urged the US to abide by the one-China principle and maintain the stability of the Taiwan Strait during a phone conversation between the two countries’ top diplomats.

Asia Times – China’s anti-sanctions law puts Hong Kong on edge

Commentators are buzzing about the potential impact the law’s implementation in the special administrative region would have on its financial and business hub status.

Nikkei Asia — China wants to control Indo-Pacific, Defense Secretary Austin says

China is set on controlling the Indo-Pacific, and without a direct line of communication between leaders in Washington and Beijing, a small incident can spark a crisis, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers.

Korea JoongAng — Wang Yi warns Seoul not to take sides in Sino-U.S. rivalry

Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said he hopes relations between Washington and Beijing will develop in a “stable manner” in a phone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who warned against taking sides in the “confrontational” policies pursued by the United States.

Japan Times — Top Japanese health adviser warns of another state of emergency in August

As Japan nears the planned end of its third state of emergency, infectious disease experts from the ministry of health warn that a fourth declaration in Tokyo could be right around the corner.

The Diplomat – Malaysia Aims to Speed Up COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign

With cases soaring, Malaysia hopes to quicken the pace of vaccinations and head off further deaths from the virus.

The Japan Times – Japan and Australia stress importance of ‘peace and stability’ in Taiwan Strait for first time

Japan and Australia affirmed Wednesday the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait while agreeing to deepen bilateral security cooperation amid China’s rising assertiveness in regional waters.

The Korea Herald – Three leaders, three calculations

Speculation is growing about a possible trilateral meeting between South Korea, the US, and Japan at the upcoming G7 summit in the UK later this week.