US and China discuss North Korea, East China Sea air defense zone; Thailand's economic outlook darkens; dozens killed in Yemen bombing; India continues to resist WTO deal; and more
Top of the Agenda: Biden Talks Air Zone, North Korea With Xi
U.S. vice president Joe Biden said China's new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea caused "significant" unease in the region, and stated Washington's objection to the zone in talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Wednesday, which lasted roughly five hours (Reuters). Biden, who arrived in South Korea on Thursday, also discussed North Korea with Xi and ways to create conditions for "fruitful" talks about Pyongyang's nuclear program. The appeal of the diplomatic process has been enhanced after the interim deal with Iran was reached last month in Geneva (BBC).
"Like it or not, China has set up a new 'rule of game' in the East China Sea. China will no longer allow others to unilaterally establish international rules, especially those concerning its neighbors and itself. China will not blindly obey to the rules not agreed upon by China as it now has the desire and capability to guarantee the regional security. This is a fact other countries should learn to accept. As a member of the international community, China should not be excluded from the formulation of international rules," writes Ma Jun, a research fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Science.
"Beijing would like to isolate Japan in Asia, scaring off other nations with warnings about its second world war revisionism. But such a move would end up engineering strong regional support for Japan. Even South Korea, the one country that shares Beijing's reservations of the Japanese government, has been outraged by the Chinese air zone," writes Geoff Dyer in the Financial Times.
"Japan erred last year when it bought the islands from a private landowner—nationalizing them—despite strong warnings from both China and America. Likewise, the Obama administration was wrong to say explicitly that it would back Japan in any war over the islands. Really? We're ready to fight over uninhabited rocks when we don't even take a position on their ownership? If Washington's intention was to get Beijing to back off, this was counterproductive. The move just inflamed Chinese opinion," writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times.
Thailand Instability Saps Confidence in the Economy
Thailand's economy has attracted foreign investors despite decades of large protests and coups, but the latest effort to topple the sitting government has soured the outlook on the economy as neighboring markets such as Myanmar, the Philippines, and Indonesia are currently politically stable and growing (Bloomberg).
CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick explains why Thailand's democracy is fragile in this BloombergBusinessweek article.