Eastern Asia

Another Phase in Japan’s Relations with Europe; But with Which?


Japan is increasingly marking its presence at the table of the Great Game as a significant participant. To be more precise, Japan is returning to the pool of leading world players in which it was in the first half of the last century and which it left in 1945 due to certain circumstances. Roughly the same process can be observed in the positioning…

Coronavirus has Reached North Korea


Alas, this has happened and the author begins a series of articles on what the situation looks like at the moment, as well as on the likely causes and consequences of this fact. The chronology of events so far is roughly as follows: no cases of coronavirus infection have been officially reported in the country since the pandemic began. In July 2020, authorities reported…

“Invisible” Launches and a Possible Nuclear Test: a Point of No Return is One Step Closer


There is a steady flow of allegations from South Korean and Western experts that the DPRK may conduct a new nuclear test in the very near future. On April 28, 2022, speaking at a forum on “North Korea’s Army in the First Half of 2022”, Lee Sang-min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, said North Korea is likely to conduct…

Economic Influence as the Basis for China’s Dominance in Southeast Asia


As is well-known, the total length of the state border of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on land is 22,457 km. Of this length, 4,360 km is the border with Mongolia, 4,179 km is the border with Russia and 2,659 km is the border with India, making the three countries leaders in terms of the length of their land border with China…

What Would an Amendment of the “Anti-War” Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution Mean?


The NEO tracks more or less regularly any significant developments in the evolution of Japanese defense policy, construed broadly. That is, attention is drawn to the long-standing debate on (possible) changes to the existing legal framework, the remarkable trends in military buildup itself, and the highly practical nature…

Yoon Suk-yeol Takes Office


On May 10, 2022, the inauguration ceremony for the new president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, took place in front of the National Assembly building in Seoul.  The slogan of the ceremony was “Again Republic of Korea: A New Country for the People.” Some 40,000 people watched the event, including 24,000 members of the public. Traditionally, the new president’s inauguration…

Lee Jae-myung and Ahn Cheol-soo Enter the Fray


On June 1, 2022, in addition to the local government elections, there will be a by-election for parliament: when an MP leaves to join the government, his or her seat is vacated and must be filled. Although the mandates are few and will not change the overall balance of power (recall that the opposition to President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol controls 172 of the 300 mandates), two political…

Korean Parallels to the Ukrainian Crisis


Periodically, the audience asks the author what he thinks about the current situation. While the author is not an expert on Ukraine, he nevertheless sees a number of curious parallels between the current developments and the events of Korean history, which he would like to remind readers of. The first parallel concerns the Korean War, which is very often…

Park Sang-hak is Making a Mess Again


The time is coming for conservatives, and far-right NGOs are stepping up. They include the Fighters for a Free North Korea (FFNK), led by someone like Park Sang-hak, who stands out from the ranks of career defectors because he isn’t so much telling scary tales as he is actively fighting the regime, not shying away from smuggling and terrorism. His biography is very diverting…

Tensions between South Korea and Japan Hit US Plans


On April 22, 2022, the Japanese Foreign Ministry called the Southern Kuril Islands, ceded to Russia as a result of World War II, “illegally occupied” for the first time since 2003. This wording, which has not been used for 19 years, has put the final nail in the coffin of the current phase of Russian-Japanese peace negotiations, leaving them without result. At first glance…

Military Parade in Pyongyang on April 25, 2022


Although Kim Il-sung’s 110th birthday on April 15, 2022 was spared from military demonstrations, the expected parade (the twelfth during Kim Jong-un’s presidency) was held ten days later. On April 25, the country celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, the predecessor of today’s KPA. While the existence…

Yoon Suk-yeol’s Government: the First Scandals


So, the elected president of Republic of Korea has formed a government, but its confirmation has to go through the parliament, which is controlled by the democrats. And, of course, there were “questions” about the nominees. And while in some cases they were relevant, in others they resemble the Russian proverb that you can get to the bottom of a telegraph pole if you want…

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