North Korea, South China Sea, and India developments - SupChina

North Korea, South China Sea, and India developments

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Every week for the past few months, international attention has been shifting between three military hot spots on China’s northeastern, southern, and southwestern frontiers. Today brings significant updates on all three fronts:

  1. Reuters reports that Britain and Australia have joined the United States in urging “China to do more on North Korea threat.” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in particular pushed back on China’s dismissal of what it calls the “China responsibility theory,” insisting that China “has much more leverage over North Korea than it claims.” Meanwhile, China has initiated a “three-day live-fire drill” for its navy in the Yellow Sea, off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula, according to the South China Morning Post.
  2. In the South China Sea, Britain is also reportedly set to join the U.S. in challenging China as foreign secretary “Boris Johnson has committed the UK’s two brand-new aircraft carriers to freedom of navigation exercises” in the waters off southeastern Asian, the Guardian reports. However, the blustery foreign secretary then confused reporters by saying in a Q&A, “We haven’t yet quite decided to do that…but they are coming.”
  3. Border tensions between India and China (with Bhutan caught in between), now in their second month, have carried over into the cultural realm, as the New York Times reports (paywall) that both Asian powers have requested the UN recognize parts — or, in India’s case, all — of the sowa rigpa Tibetan medicinal tradition as part of their unique cultural heritage.

To learn more about the border dispute between China, Bhutan, and India, see this excellent illustrated explainer (paywall) from the New York Times. The Times also has an interesting look (paywall) at the cultural aspect of China’s power play in the South China Sea.

Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.