See More on Facebook

Analysis, Opinion

Editorial round-up from around the region

A round-up of the most important and relevant editorials from ANN partners.


Written by

Updated: +00

It has been an interesting two weeks in Asia, one that might shape the future of the continent for the foreseeable future. We take a look at several editorials from our partners to offer a perspective on these events.

Japan 

Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe visited US President Donald Trump in Florida over the past week to push his country’s trade agenda and to seek reassurances about Trump’s planned negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Abe has been experiencing a drop in poll numbers back home and was looking towards the meeting to shore up his sagging prospects.

An editorial in the Yomiuri Shimbun had this to say on trade:

The problem is that the two countries differ in their expectations about where the trade talks under the new framework should be directed.

Abe encouraged the United States to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, saying the TPP is “best for both Japan and the United States.”

Trump emphasized his intention to not return to the TPP unless it is renegotiated under terms very advantageous to the United States, saying, “I would much prefer a bilateral deal.”

The reason why the United States is sticking to bilateral negotiations must be that it thinks it will be easier to obtain results, such as increased imports of specific items and restraints on exports by its trading partners.

Korea 

Korea (both of them) have been making all the headlines recently, though this time for the right reasons. Both sides have taken steps to de-escalate tensions on the peninsula, starting with a rapprochement at the winter Olympics.  Since then high-level meetings have been conducted by diplomats from both countries with South Korea sending a team to meet Kim Jong-un in the north. A summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim will take place later this week.

The north has prefaced the talks by saying it will halt its nuclear and missile tests. An editorial in the Korean Herald takes a closer look:

True, it is a good sign that the North took what should be one of the first steps toward denuclearization on its own ahead of the summit talks with Moon and Trump.

The latest development, however, should not give unguarded optimism. Most of all, neither Kim nor the party meeting report touched on denuclearization, which should include verification and dismantlement of existing nuclear stockpiles and related facilities.

Moreover, Kim made it clear that one reason he was putting a moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests was because his country has already completed the capability to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile and to develop delivery and strike means.

India and Pakistan 

More conflict in Kashmir as India and Pakistan again clash. An editorial in the Statesman questions the futility of it all:

For even the most gung-ho military and political leaders will privately admit that despite boasts of breaking the back of militancy, not even stray rays of light are discernible at the end of the tunnel.

The aim of this comment is not to apportion blame or point accusing fingers ~ for the separatist leaders and the sponsors/mentors of violence, many operating from the western side of the Line of Control, are as much responsible for gunfire/stone-pelting doing the talking, as are the security forces for discarding drills, operating procedures etc. However both the democratic leadership and the people at large have to ask themselves if this level of bloodletting is acceptable.

Thailand

Elections are likely delayed again. This is at least the fifth time the junta has pushed back on its election promises, falling back on the argument that it was following its vague, poorly-defined roadmap. What is not being reported as much as the first days after the coup is the systematic degrading of rights and due process under the military government.

An editorial in the Nation newspaper takes a look at the junta’s silence on its rights abuse:

What must be made clear at the outset is that many of the laws enacted by the junta-led government are unjust because they limit civil rights. The United States took note that many junta decrees enacted following the 2014 coup to restrain warring ideologues remained in effect in 2017, long after hostilities had ended.

Order No 3/2015, for example, replaced martial law in March of that year but gave the government sweeping powers to curb “acts deemed harmful to national peace and stability”.

The junta defines “national peace and stability” as it wishes. It’s a catchall phrase used to justify the detention of citizens even when there is no legal merit for doing so.

Philippines 

The drug war continues in the Philippines. Many had hope that new police chief Oscar Albayalde would temper the situation. However, a day after he was sworn in, 14 suspected drug smugglers were killed for ‘resisting arrest.’More of the same or just a carryover from the old administration? It remains to be seen.

An editorial in the Daily Inquirer takes a look:

Would the much-admired Albayalde chart a different path? Would he stand up for vigorous law enforcement that, at the same time, respects and upholds the basic constitutional rights of Filipino citizens?

Perhaps it’s too early to tell, but the shock and awe of his early days in office do not serve to inspire much confidence. An EJK-weary nation desperately hopes that he will prove such fears wrong.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Opinion

10 US senators criticise Suu Kyi for representing military’s interest

Suu Kyi is in the Hague defending Myanmar from genocide accusations. Ten US Senators have severely criticized Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for representing the military’s interest before the International Court of Justice and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the US Congress,” said a letter to Suu Kyi issued on December 9. The Senators said a defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural and democratic Burma that she claims to champion. They said when Buddhist nationalism is on the rise in


By Daily Star
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Opinion

India, China step up the wooing but Rajapaksa in no hurry to align Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will try to balance the competing interests of China, India in the region. The conversation in regional capitals after the emphatic win of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan elections last month centres around a central question: Will he manage to pull a Sheikh Hasina on India and China? The reference, of course, is to the Bangladesh Prime Minister who many believe has managed to successfully push her country’s interests by balancing the competing strategic ambitions of China and India in South Asia. And Rajapaksa knows a thing or two about protecting what he believes are his country’s core interests. After all, he braved the Western world’s intense criticism – and India’s acute discomfort given its large domestic Tamil population – of the means adopted by him as Defence Minister in his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s


By Ishan Joshi
December 12, 2019

Analysis, Opinion

Nepal moves up in Human Development Index but still lags behind in South Asia

Nepal’s human development index of 0,579 indicates that people are living longer, are more educated and have greater incomes, according to the Human Development Report. Despite global progress in tackling poverty, hunger and disease, a ‘new generation of inequalities’ indicates that many societies are not working as they should and Nepal is not an exception, according to a new human development report released on Tuesday. The old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the new generation of inequalities is based on technology, education and the climate, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report. “Previously, we talked about wealth as a major driver for inequality. Now, countries like Nepal are in another inequality trap and that concerns


By The Kathmandu Post
December 12, 2019

Analysis, Opinion

Aung San Suu Kyi denies genocidal intent on Rohingya

She urges world court to let Myanmar justice system work. Denying that Myanmar had genocidal intent in its treatment of the Rohingya people, its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday (Dec 11) urged the International Court of Justice in The Hague to let her country’s justice system run its course. “Can there be genocidal intent on the part of a state that actively investigates, prosecutes and punishes soldiers and officers who are accused of wrongdoing?” she asked at the world court, while presenting her opening statement on the second day of public hearings related to Gambia’s lawsuit alleging that Myanmar had breached the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Carefully avoiding the word “Rohingya”, Ms Suu Kyi said Gambia has given “an incomplete and misleading factual picture”. She referred in her half-


By The Straits Times
December 12, 2019

Analysis, Opinion

Arguments strong enough to convince judges: expert

Myanmar at The Hague for genocide. The arguments presented by the Gambia’s lawyers at the top UN court yesterday were extremely strong and should convince the judges to issue “provisional measures” against Myanmar to stop genocide against the Rohingyas, said a legal expert. If the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issues such an order, Myanmar will be under real pressure as it is a binding one, said the expert. “It was truly convincing the way the lawyers, who are very reputed in their fields, presented their arguments at the top UN court in the Hague,” Ahmed Ziauddin, a genocide researcher based in Brussels, told this correspondent yesterday. “They made it very clear that provisional measures were urgent to protect the Rohingyas, and such measures won’t affect Myanmar as a state.” The ICJ is not a criminal court that can issue an arrest order against any individual. But


By Daily Star
December 11, 2019

Analysis, Opinion

Is polarisation driven by Hyper Information Disorder Syndrome?

In a study of Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Poland, Turkey and the US, writes ANDREW SHENG, scientists attribute populism to the rise of decisive leaders who push nationalism, demonise opponents and stir up issues that further divide societies. BANGKOK – Mass protests seem to be breaking out all over the place, from Hong Kong to Santiago, Tehran, Bolivia, Catalonia, Ecuador, France and Iraq to Lebanon.  The root causes of these protests have many local reasons, but there are common themes, such as inequality, corruption, incompetent governments, rural-urban migration, demography, anger, social media and demand for change. But underlying all these protests is the growing polarization of societies, increasingly manifested in viol


By Asia News Network
December 9, 2019