Eastern Asia

US threatens more sanctions, military build-up against North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 22 March 2017

As the US secretary of state declared last week, all options, including military action against Pyongyang, are under consideration.

Trump, Tillerson press China for action against North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 20 March 2017

Despite his muted public remarks in Beijing, the US secretary of state had already made clear that “all options,” including military ones, were on the table to deal with Pyongyang.

US secretary of state ramps up pressure on China over North Korea

By Mike Head, 17 March 2017

Rex Tillerson’s trip highlights the Trump administration’s focus on using North Korean missile and nuclear programs as a pretext for targeting China.

US sends drones, assassination squad to South Korea

By Peter Symonds, 14 March 2017

The military build-up by the Trump administration takes place as the White House considers launching strikes on North Korean nuclear and military sites.

Is the US preparing for war against North Korea?

By Peter Symonds, 13 March 2017

Amid a shrill media campaign inflating the threat posed by North Korea, the Trump administration is considering “all options” against Pyongyang.

US rejects talks over North Korea, declaring “all options on table”

By Peter Symonds, 9 March 2017

China’s foreign minister warned that the US and North Korea are like “accelerating trains” on a collision course “with neither side willing to give way.”

As US deploys anti-missile system, China warns of nuclear arms race

By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2017

Using North Korean missile tests as a pretext, the US has begun deploying its THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea.

North Korea tests missiles amid huge US-South Korean war games

By Peter Symonds, 7 March 2017

The Trump administration is considering all options, including military ones, to prevent North Korea from building a nuclear-tipped ICBM able to reach the US mainland.

China lowers economic growth target

By Nick Beams, 6 March 2017

The Chinese government has cut its target in an attempt to address growing problems in the country’s financial system.

Court hears final arguments in South Korean president’s trial

By Ben McGrath, 6 March 2017

Park’s impeachment is a sign of the struggle within the political establishment over how to balance between the US and China amid sharpening tensions between the two powers.

South Korea demonises North Korea over Malaysian murder

By Peter Symonds, 1 March 2017

The South Korean government is exploiting the killing of Kim Jong-nam to demand North Korea’s suspension from the UN and criminal charges against its leadership.

Did VX kill Kim Jong-nam?

By our reporter, 1 March 2017

The claim by Malaysian authorities that Kim Jong-nam was killed by the potent nerve agent VX raises many unanswered questions.

US officials accuse China of building missile bases in South China Sea

By Mike Head, 23 February 2017

Media reports have declared the latest claims to be “an early test of US President Donald Trump.”

US-backed UN statement condemns North Korean missile test

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2017

The UN warned of “further significant steps” if Pyongyang did not halt its testing and called on UN members “to redouble their efforts” to implement existing sanctions.

US drumbeat for action against North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 14 February 2017

North Korea’s missile test took place amid mounting tensions between the US and China, North Korea’s ally, over trade, monetary policy, Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South China and East China seas.

Japanese and US leaders condemn North Korean missile test

By Peter Symonds, 13 February 2017

Trump’s flat-footed performance at the press conference only heightens the danger that he will embark on a reckless course of action against North Korea.

Trump’s lavish welcome for Japan’s prime minister

By Peter Symonds, 11 February 2017

Despite Trump’s gushing praise for Abe, a question mark remains over the US-Japan alliance and the threat of punitive US trade measures continues.

US defence secretary backs Japan, threatens war against China over disputed islets

By Peter Symonds, 6 February 2017

Mattis’s remarks were precisely what Tokyo wanted to hear: a US commitment to wage war against China in the event of a conflict over the Senkakus.

Senior Chinese military official warns of rising danger of war

By Peter Symonds, 31 January 2017

The remarks reflect growing concerns in the Chinese regime over the bellicose remarks of Trump and his advisers toward Beijing.

Former US ambassador advocates American military bases on Taiwan

By Peter Symonds, 19 January 2017

Bolton is among those militarist layers who regard conflict with China as inevitable.

Japan and Australia strengthen ties ahead of Trump’s inauguration

By Peter Symonds, 17 January 2017

In pursuing aggressive “America First” trade measures, Trump threatens the economic interests not only of China but also of close allies such as Australia and Japan.

Trump again threatens to tear up One China policy

By Peter Symonds, 16 January 2017

China rejected Trump’s remarks declaring that the “One China” principle was the political foundation of China-US relations and was “non-negotiable.”

China and Russia to counter US anti-missile systems in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 14 January 2017

While nominally directed against North Korea, the THAAD deployment in South Korea is part of the US military buildup in Asia for war against China and Russia.

Taiwanese president meets senior Republicans, fuelling US-China tensions

By Peter Symonds, 12 January 2017

To underline Beijing’s concerns about closer US ties with Taiwan, the Chinese navy sailed its aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the Taiwan Strait.

Public anger in China as smog crisis continues

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 January 2017

The government fears that the air pollution disaster will become a focal point for broader discontent.

US defence secretary threatens to shoot down any North Korean missile

By Peter Symonds, 11 January 2017

Trump’s propensity for recklessness and militarism will only heighten the danger of conflict on the Korean Peninsula, one of the world’s most dangerous flash points.

Impeachment trial of South Korean president begins

By Ben McGrath, 5 January 2017

Key witnesses in the proceedings have been called to testify Thursday and next Tuesday, with a decision likely this or next month.

Trump’s provocative tweets over North Korean missile threat

By Peter Symonds, 5 January 2017

Trump’s tweets are a further indication that he intends to put North Korea high on his foreign policy agenda as another means of exerting pressure on China.

China reproaches Trump over Taiwan stance

By Peter Symonds, 13 December 2016

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman warned that US-China cooperation was “out of the question” if Trump interfered with the One China policy.

Trump threatens to overturn One China policy

By Peter Symonds, 12 December 2016

By placing a question mark over US-China relations, Trump is recklessly compounding rising uncertainty in Asia and around the world, as well as the threat of war.

South Korean opposition sets presidential impeachment vote for Friday

By Ben McGrath, 5 December 2016

The largest protests in South Korean history took place over the weekend after a scheduled vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye was delayed.

Trump’s talk with Taiwanese president heightens US tensions with China

By Peter Symonds, 5 December 2016

The phone conversation—the first between US and Taiwanese leaders since 1979—undermines decades of protocols based on Washington’s acceptance of the “One China” policy.

A new round of UN and US sanctions on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 3 December 2016

The punitive sanctions will not only raise tensions with North Korea, but also with China, which is its strategic ally and largest trading partner.

Suu Kyi defends military crackdown on Burma's Rohingya Muslims

By John Roberts, 2 December 2016

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is mired in anti-Rohingya chauvinism and opposed to the granting of citizenship rights to the Muslim minority.

South Korean president offers to resign

By Ben McGrath, 1 December 2016

President Park has lost support from nearly all sections of the political establishment, with even close supporters in her own party calling on her to step down.

US officials press Trump to tackle North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2016

Former military chief Admiral Mike Mullen warned that the Korean peninsula was “more likely than anyplace else in the world to potentially create an explosive outcome.”

Deepening social crisis underpins South Korean protests

By Ben McGrath, 29 November 2016

The hostility to Park is being fuelled not only by allegations of corruption but more broadly by her government's attack on working and living conditions.

Nearly two million people demand South Korean president’s removal

By Ben McGrath, 28 November 2016

With a vote on President Park’s impeachment looming, last weekend’s protests are a sign of growing social and political discontent.

Chinese fears about Trump and the South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 28 November 2016

A Chinese think tank director warned that “strategic rivalry between China and the US is likely to continue over the South China Sea.”

Construction scaffolding collapses, killing 74 at Chinese power plant

By Richard Phillips, 26 November 2016

The disaster was the tragic outcome of company demands for “hard work” speed-ups and cuts to basic safety procedures.

Japanese quakes highlight danger of new catastrophe

By Mike Head, 26 November 2016

The tremors point to the lack of remedial, planning and precautionary measures taken by successive Japanese governments since the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Election of Donald Trump foreshadows trade war in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 25 November 2016

Trump has not only sunk the Trans Pacific Partnership but called into question the entire basis of the post-World War II order in the Asia Pacific.

South Korean opposition parties call for President Park’s impeachment

By Ben McGrath, 23 November 2016

Another mass protest in Seoul on Saturday involving hundreds of thousands of people has continued to put pressure on Park to resign.

Trump’s win provokes nervousness and bravado in Beijing

By Mike Head, 16 November 2016

While the Beijing regime is clearly anxious to reach an accommodation with Trump, it is preparing for an historic collision.

One million protestors in Seoul demand Korean president resign

By Ben McGrath, 15 November 2016

The pressure on President Park to step down is growing after the South Korean capital’s largest protest in 30 years.

Trump victory triggers uncertainty in Tokyo

By Mike Head, 14 November 2016

The initial conciliatory remarks between Trump and Abe cannot hide the heightened tensions between the two imperialist powers.

Beijing bars two Hong Kong legislators from taking their seats

By Peter Symonds, 8 November 2016

The Chinese regime fears that advocacy of independence for Hong Kong will fuel separatist movements in other parts of the country including Tibet and Xinjiang.

Mass protests call on Korean president to resign

By Ben McGrath, 7 November 2016

Park’s approval rating has fallen to 5 percent, the lowest of any South Korean president, as a result of the corruption scandal involving her personal confidante, Choi Soon-sil.

South Korea’s president in crisis over corruption scandals

By Ben McGrath, 2 November 2016

Intense conflicts in ruling circles are behind accusations that President Park Gen-hye and her confidantes were involved in illegal activity.

Mine explosion in China kills 15 workers

By Peter Symonds, 1 November 2016

The mine disaster in southwest China took place as President Xi exhorted a conference of safety inspectors to improve safety standards and reduce industrial deaths.

China: CCP plenum on tightening party discipline signals inner crisis

By Peter Symonds, 27 October 2016

The Chinese regime confronts a slowing economy, mounting social and class tensions and Washington’s aggressive “pivot to Asia” aimed at undermining and subordinating China.

Chinese soldiers protest over benefits in central Beijing

By our reporter, 14 October 2016

The Chinese Communist Party regime is clearly concerned that such protests could trigger wider unrest within the military, and more broadly with society.

US defence secretary announces “third phase” of military build-up against China

By Peter Symonds, 4 October 2016

Ashton Carter made clear that the US would sharpen its “military edge” in the Asia Pacific so as to remain the most powerful military in the region.”

Workers’ strikes spreading throughout South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 29 September 2016

The South Korean working class is fighting against government-led attempts to cut wages in public and private businesses.

Japan scrambles fighter to intercept Chinese military aircraft

By Peter Symonds, 26 September 2016

While the Chinese planes were outside Japanese air space, the incident highlights the sharp tensions in North East Asia amid the ongoing US military build-up in the region.

Japan to conduct South China Sea patrols with US

By Peter Symonds, 19 September 2016

Japan has no claims in the South China Sea but, like the US, is exploiting the territorial disputes to further its own interests in South East Asia.

American B-1 bombers send menacing warning to North Korea

By our reporter, 14 September 2016

The fly-past at South Korea’s Osan Air Base was also designed to send a message to Beijing to ramp up pressure on North Korea.

US and allies threaten North Korea with sanctions and military attack

By Peter Symonds, 12 September 2016

Another round of punitive measures over Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test will exacerbate tensions on the Korean Peninsula and heighten the danger of war.

North Korea carries out fifth nuclear test

By Ben McGrath and Peter Symonds, 10 September 2016

The test comes amid escalating geo-political tensions in Asia as the US seeks to reassert its dominance, heightening the danger of war.

Separatist candidates win seats in Hong Kong election

By Peter Symonds, 8 September 2016

The new “localist” parties represent layers of the Hong Kong ruling elite who regard Beijing’s dominance as an impediment to their business interests.

North Korea tests submarine-launched missile

By Peter Symonds, 25 August 2016

The primary responsibility for escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula lies with the US and its military build-up throughout Asia aimed against China.

US-South Korean war games inflame Asian tensions

By Peter Symonds, 23 August 2016

While nominally aimed against North Korea, the exercises consolidate Washington’s military alliance with Seoul as it makes preparations for conflict with China.

North Korean official defects as US pressure on Pyongyang intensifies

By Ben McGrath, 23 August 2016

Massive job cuts planned in South Korean shipbuilding industry

By Ben McGrath, 22 August 2016

Workers are bearing the brunt of the industry’s financial instability, while the trade unions work to prevent a unified struggle.

Japan prepares to expand military role abroad

By Ben McGrath, 17 August 2016

So-called humanitarian missions, as in South Sudan, are being exploited to further Tokyo’s remilitarization agenda.

Chinese-South Korean tensions rise over THAAD anti-missile deployment

By Ben McGrath, 15 August 2016

South Korea is lining up more explicitly with Washington and its war drive in the region, using North Korea’s nuclear tests as a pretext.

Chinese power plant explosion kills 21

By John Braddock, 15 August 2016

The incident at a coal-fired plant is the most recent of the industrial disasters that kill and maim thousands of workers and residents in China each year.

Japan exploits violence in South Sudan to dispatch military

By Ben McGrath, 16 July 2016

While portrayed as a rescue mission, the deployment of additional Japanese troops to Africa marks an expansion of Japan’s role on the continent.

Right-wing ruling coalition wins Japan’s upper house election

By Ben McGrath, 13 July 2016

The LDP’s victory gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the necessary numbers to revise the Japanese constitution in line with his push for re-militarization.

Opposition party in South Korea hit by corruption probe

By Ben McGrath, 12 July 2016

The investigation into the People’s Party is a politically-motivated attack by President Park Geun-hye’s administration.

US and South Korea agree on THAAD anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 11 July 2016

The installation will likely inflame tensions while continuing to stoke an arms race in East Asia.

Chinese Walmart workers engage in wildcat strikes

By Linda Tenenbaum, 8 July 2016

The strike has spread rapidly, with Walmart workers determined to reach out to their national and international co-workers.

Uncertainty in Japan following Brexit vote

By Ben McGrath, 4 July 2016

Japanese vice foreign minister Sugiyama held high-level talks in Washington, London and Brussels, stressing the need for political, economic and security coordination.

Russian president seeks closer economic and strategic ties in Beijing

By Peter Symonds, 28 June 2016

The two countries are being driven closer together by fears of the growing danger of war posed by the United States.

Taiwanese airline cabin crews strike

By Ben McGrath, 27 June 2016

The walk-out highlights the growing anger more broadly throughout the Taiwanese working class.

Opposition grows to US military bases on Okinawa

By Ben McGrath, 20 June 2016

While local politicians attempt to keep the protests limited in scale and scope, the widespread anger is bound up with opposition to Japanese remilitarization.

Abe sets date for Japan’s upper house election

By Ben McGrath, 18 June 2016

The Abe government’s push for remilitarization is driving political tensions in Japan.

Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

Washington and Beijing draw battle lines over South China Sea

By James Cogan, 6 June 2016

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter threatened that China “could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”

China debt levels reach record high

By Nick Beams, 26 April 2016

China’s debt levels have risen rapidly since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, with some analysts warning that the country may experience a “Lehman” disaster.

US threatens harsh sanctions if North Korea conducts nuclear test

By Peter Symonds, 21 April 2016

The intensifying US pressure is not primarily directed at Pyongyang, but against Beijing, as part of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia.”

Earthquakes in Japan kill 42 people, injure 1,000

By Peter Symonds, 18 April 2016

The response of the Japanese government has been a military one—despatching some 20,000 troops as part of rescue and relief operations.

South Korea’s Democrats narrowly defeat ruling conservatives in national election

By Ben McGrath, 15 April 2016

The Minjoo Party of Korea’s victory is not an endorsement of their policies but a sign of frustration with deteriorating economic conditions.

Panama Papers highlight nexus between wealth and power in China

By Peter Symonds, 7 April 2016

Family members of current and former Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, have set up offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands.

Pakistan’s military expands its power in wake of Lahore terror attack

By Sampath Perera, 1 April 2016

Pakistan’s military has seized on last Sunday’s terrorist atrocity to implement plans for an “antiterrorism” offensive and to strengthen its authority over the civilian government.

Japan’s security laws: Another milestone in the drive to world war

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2016

The implementation of the military legislation is a major step in the revival of Japanese militarism, encouraged by Washington as part of its war preparations against China.

Chinese government’s phony anti-poverty plan

By John Ward, 25 March 2016

The announcement at the National People’s Congress of a 43 percent increase in poverty alleviation funds is to deflect attention from growing social inequality.

South Korea imposes extra sanctions on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 15 March 2016

The South Korean sanctions go further than the recent UN resolution in strangling the North Korean economy and exacerbating Pyongyang’s political crisis.

China: Thousands of coal miners protest over unpaid wages

By Peter Symonds, 14 March 2016

The protests are a sign of the acute social tensions building up as the economy slows and the government prepares to axe millions of jobs.

As Chinese exports plunge

IMF issues new warning on global economy

By Nick Beams, 10 March 2016

The sharp fall in Chinese exports reflects a decline in global trade that has been expressed as well in US trade data.

Five years after Japan’s nuclear disaster, TEPCO executives charged

By Ben McGrath, 10 March 2016

As it seeks to reopen the country’s nuclear plants, the government is opposing even the limited charges of negligence in connection with the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

US-South Korean militaries rehearse pre-emptive strikes on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2016

This year’s joint war games are based on a new operational plan that includes pre-emptive attacks on North Korean missile and nuclear sites and “decapitation” raids to kill its leaders.

US, China agree to new UN sanctions on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 1 March 2016

The draft resolution contains measures reportedly the strictest in 20 years and will further heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the region.

South Korea whips up fears over North Korea’s nuclear program

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2016

Seoul’s denunciations of Pyongyang come before massive war games with the US, designed to simulate a takeover of the entire Korean Peninsula.

US blocked talks with North Korea before nuclear test

By Peter Symonds, 23 February 2016

For seven years, the Obama administration has stymied any resumption of the six-party negotiations to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Economic problems mount in Japan and China

By Nick Beams, 17 February 2016

The latest statistics from the world’s second and third largest economies underscore the worsening world downturn.

US military boosts anti-missile systems in South Korea

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2016

Far from being a defensive move, the restructuring of US forces in South Korea is bound up with more aggressive war plans, agreed last year between Washington and Seoul.

Japanese PM pushes to remove constitutional constraints on military

By Ben McGrath, 15 February 2016

Far from backtracking from last year’s unconstitutional military laws, Abe is pressing forward with long-held plans for wholesale constitutional revision.

US prepares harsh new sanctions on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 12 February 2016

Washington and its allies are escalating a dangerous confrontation with Pyongyang following its recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

Japanese bond rate goes negative as bank shares tumble

By Nick Beams, 10 February 2016

All eyes in global financial markets will be on Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen as she delivers testimony to the US Congress Wednesday.

North Korean satellite launch heightens US-China tensions

By Peter Symonds, 8 February 2016

Washington immediately seized on the launch to intensify pressure on Beijing for tougher sanctions on Pyongyang and accelerate the US military build-up in Asia.