South East Asia

China’s Xi meets head of Taiwan’s Kuomintang

By Ben McGrath, 8 May 2015

Xi Jinping and Eric Chu met to discuss collaboration as Taiwan seeks to join international trade agreements and China’s AIIB.

Thailand’s draft constitution enshrines dictatorship

By Tom Peters, 6 May 2015

The junta’s constitution would ensure that the military and the courts maintain control of the country.

New Zealand shared intelligence with Bangladesh’s repressive agencies

By Tom Peters, 18 April 2015

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show that NZ’s spy agency, the GCSB, has supported Bangladesh’s notorious security apparatus for at least 12 years.

Japan’s ruling party wins local elections

By Ben McGrath, 17 April 2015

The near-record low turnout is another indication of broad public alienation from the political establishment and parliamentary set-up as a whole.

Burmese regime signs draft ceasefire with ethnic separatists

By John Roberts, 16 April 2015

The peace accord is part of the government’s bid to meet the demands of the US and its allies in return for a further relaxation of sanctions.

Massive fire at Chinese chemical factory

By Ben McGrath, 11 April 2015

Industrial accidents in China are a regular occurrence amid the corporate drive to boost profits at the expense of safety and health standards.

South Korea pushes for inclusion in US anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 20 March 2015

Tensions between South Korea and China could rise if the US established an anti-ballistic missile battery on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korean president calls for Japanese apology

By Ben McGrath, 6 March 2015

Compared to past speeches Park Geun-hye appeared to pull her punches on the crimes of Japanese imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s.

Japanese PM calls for constitutional change in keynote speech

By Peter Symonds, 14 February 2015

Central to Abe’s “reform” agenda is the removal of constraints on the use of the military to prosecute Japanese imperialism's strategic interests.

Hong Kong protest falls short of expectations

By Ben McGrath, 7 February 2015

The small turnout was a reflection of the political dead-end into which so-called pro-democracy leaders steered last year’s weeks-long protest movement.

ISIS kills Japanese hostage

By Ben McGrath, 26 January 2015

The apparent murder of one of the hostages held by ISIS, Haruna Yukawa, comes as Japan plans to expand its military presence in the Middle East.

Japan: Two workers killed at TEPCO nuclear plants in Fukushima

By Ben McGrath, 26 January 2015

The deaths are another reminder of the ongoing dangers at the tsunami-affected Fukushima Daiichi complex, and the official disregard for workers’ health and safety.

Indonesian president speeds up executions of prisoners

By John Roberts, 19 January 2015

Widodo’s law-and-order campaign is an appeal to the most reactionary elements in Indonesian society.

Chinese President Xi Jinping targets CCP party factions

By Ben McGrath, 14 January 2015

In the name of fighting corruption, Xi Jinping is going after political rivals in order to pursue more pro-market restructuring.

South Korea deports Korean-American woman accused of supporting the North

By Ben McGrath, 13 January 2015

President Park Geun-hye’s government has whipped up a series of “red scares.”

Evidence mounts of safety violations contributing to AirAsia plane crash

By Will Morrow, 7 January 2015

The more information that emerges about the crash, the more it becomes clear that it was not an unforeseeable tragedy.

Japan: New laws to loosen restrictions on the military

By Ben McGrath, 5 January 2015

If passed, the legislation will give the government far broader scope to go to war in the name of “collective self-defense.”

New Year’s Eve stampede in Shanghai kills 36

By Will Morrow, 5 January 2015

The government’s refusal to take basic safety precautions for the New Year celebrations created the conditions for the tragedy.

Pseudo-left USP plays double game in Sri Lankan presidential election

By Vilani Peiris, 5 January 2015

The USP claims to be running an “independent” campaign, but in reality is providing back-handed support for the pro-US opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena.

Australia to be maintenance base for controversial F-35 jet fighter

By James Cogan, 3 January 2015

The decision underlines the degree to which Australia is being integrated into US preparations for war in the Asia-Pacific region.

Wreckage of crashed AirAsia flight found in Java Sea

By Will Morrow, 31 December 2014

The three day search concluded last night with the discovery of debris and the confirmation of the deaths of 162 people on board AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

Vietnam backs Philippine case against Chinese maritime claims

By John Roberts, 30 December 2014

Hanoi rejected China’s claims in the South China Sea and called on the court to take Vietnam’s interests into consideration.

AirAsia flight lost over Java Sea

By James Cogan, 29 December 2014

No wreckage of the aircraft has been found and initial searches have been suspended due to stormy conditions.

Japanese PM flags propaganda offensive to “restore Japan’s honour”

By Peter Symonds, 13 December 2014

The ruling LDP is preparing to accelerate plans for Japan’s remilitarisation, including on the ideological front, if it retains office in tomorrow’s election.

Thai junta maintains firm grip on power

By Tom Peters, 13 December 2014

Thailand’s military dictatorship, tacitly supported by Washington, is continuing to crack down on opposition and cement its hold on power.

Solomon Islands: Former target of Australian regime-change operation re-elected prime minister

By Patrick Kelly, 11 December 2014

Manasseh Sogavare is returning to office seven years after he was removed from power through a lawless dirty tricks campaign.

Malaysian government retains draconian Sedition Act

By John Roberts, 6 December 2014

While the government will use the Act against its political opponents, it is also part of the police-state measures that will be used against the working class.

Hong Kong protests swell after talks called off

By Peter Symonds, 11 October 2014

Protest leaders threaten to escalate their actions unless the government responds to their demand for full and open elections in 2017.

Hong Kong protests ebb

By Peter Symonds, 4 October 2014

Protesters came under attack from thugs who took advantage of growing public frustration over the disruption to daily life.

Hong Kong chief executive seeks to defuse protests

By Peter Symonds, 3 October 2014

In his effort to end the protests, Leung had the support of sections of the official opposition that are just as fearful as Beijing of spiralling social unrest.

India strengthens strategic ties with Vietnam

By John Roberts, 26 September 2014

The Indian and Vietnamese presidents issued a joint statement on the need for security in the South China Sea that was clearly aimed against China.

Chinese president visits Sri Lanka to strengthen strategic ties

By Deepal Jayasekera, 20 September 2014

President Xi’s South Asian tour is an attempt to counter aggressive moves by the US and Japan to line up countries in the region behind the US “pivot” against China.

Australia-India uranium deal strengthens economic and strategic ties

By Peter Symonds, 6 September 2014

The uranium pact removes an obstacle to closer military relations between Australia and India as part of broader US efforts to forge an anti-China bloc.

Tokyo holds talks with North Korea over Japanese abductees

By Ben McGrath, 29 August 2014

Japan’s moves have provoked concerns in Washington that Tokyo’s diplomacy will cut across US strategy in North East Asia.

South Korean auto unions hold token strikes

By Ben McGrath, 26 August 2014

Employees of South Korea’s two largest auto manufacturers walked off the job last Friday for four hours.

Thai coup leader installed as prime minister

By Tom Peters, 23 August 2014

The installation of General Prayuth indicates that the junta is entrenching itself and intends to rule directly, rather than through a quasi-civilian government.

US condemns China over close aerial encounter

By Peter Symonds, 23 August 2014

The Chinese intercept of a US spy plane took place 200 kilometres from Hainan Island, home to sensitive Chinese air and naval bases.

Philippine Supreme Court controversy: A revealing glimpse into Washington’s machinations

By Joseph Santolan, 22 August 2014

The entire Jardeleza affair reveals the colonial-level control which Washington exercises over Philippine politics, over Manila’s legal case against China in particular.

US war drive in Asia continues apace

By Peter Symonds, 16 August 2014

Even as the US engages in provocations against Russia and in the Middle East, the Obama administration is proceeding with its “pivot to Asia” against China.

Court in Cambodia convicts two former Khmer Rouge leaders

By John Roberts, 16 August 2014

The court proceedings were designed to cover up the crimes of the major powers, above all the US, in Indo-China.

Signs of serious problems in Chinese and Japanese economies

By Nick Beams, 15 August 2014

The sharp slowdown in credit expansion in China and the contraction in Japan will impact on the world economy.

US stokes South China Sea tensions at ASEAN summit

By Peter Symonds, 11 August 2014

The US proposals were not designed to ease tensions in the region, but rather were aimed at painting China as the aggressor.

Japan’s defence white paper targets China

By Peter Symonds, 9 August 2014

The Abe government is exploiting the “China threat” to press ahead with plans for Japanese remilitarisation.

Influential Washington think tank pushes US war drive in the South China Sea

By Joseph Santolan, 2 August 2014

The worsening tensions in the South China Sea have been fueled at every turn by Washington, with the CSIS think tank playing a leading role.

Indonesian election conflict continues, but financial markets set agenda

By John Roberts, 18 July 2014

Regardless of which candidate is declared the winner next week, the global markets are dictating sweeping restructuring and austerity measures.

Indonesian presidential election produces disputed result

By John Roberts, 11 July 2014

With both Widodo and Prabowo claiming victory, weeks of political uncertainty, court challenges and social unrest could lie ahead.

Three Philippine Senators arraigned on corruption charges

By Dante Pastrana, 5 July 2014

President Benigno Aquino III’s anti-corruption campaign is in reality a drive to crush opposition in any section of government to his sharp turn toward US imperialism.

Sri Lankan minister confirms Australia’s handover of Tamil refugees

By Mike Head, 4 July 2014

The forced transfer of asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan navy is an attack on basic democratic rights, as well as a blatant violation of international law.

China-Vietnam talks fail to end tensions over oil rig

By Ben McGrath, 24 June 2014

As part of its “pivot to Asia,” the US has deliberately stoked territorial disputes between China and its neighbours, including Vietnam.

Dilapidated, overcrowded public schools in the Philippines

By Dante Pastrana, 20 June 2014

An estimated 21 million students are crammed, in shifts, into buildings that are falling apart, lacking facilities, chairs, textbooks or even chalk.

Washington drives escalating tensions in South China Sea

By Joseph Santolan, 13 June 2014

As part of its “pivot to Asia”, the US is pressing Vietnam and the Philippines to challenge China in the South China Sea.

Thai junta holds talks with Chinese military, investors

By Tom Peters, 13 June 2014

The Thai delegation to Beijing will be closely watched by Washington, which considers Thailand a key ally in its “pivot to Asia” against China.

Thai opposition forms overseas anti-coup organisation

By Ben McGrath, 7 June 2014

The UDD leaders fear unleashing any mass movement against the junta, as began to develop in 2010.

Global electronics giant NXP sacks union officials in the Philippines

By Dante Pastrana, 5 June 2014

The Maoist KMU, which specialises in militant-sounding demagogy, has called no strike action by NXP workers.

Thai junta puts off elections for at least 15 months

By Ben McGrath, 3 June 2014

The military has deployed thousands of troops in Bangkok to crackdown on continuing small scale anti-coup protests.

Indonesian presidential election campaign gets underway

By John Roberts, 3 June 2014

The two presidential candidates are backed by competing factions of the Jakarta military/business establishment formed during the Suharto dictatorship.

US defense secretary menaces China at Singapore forum

By Peter Symonds, 2 June 2014

Hagel’s speech was an open and unequivocal statement that the US intends to maintain its undisputed dominance in Asia.

Pentagon pressures South Korea to join anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 2 June 2014

The incorporation of South Korea into the existing US “missile defence” with Japan would further inflame regional tensions.

Six months after Typhoon Haiyan

Woman and six children killed in fire in tent city in Philippines

By Dante Pastrana, 2 June 2014

The tragedy of the Ocenar family is emblematic of the social devastation that has been inflicted on millions of Filipinos in the wake of the typhoon.

Thai military tightens its grip on power

By Tom Peters, 30 May 2014

The junta has mobilised thousands of soldiers against anti-coup protests and continues to arrest opponents.

South Korean opposition alliance prepares for regional elections

By Ben McGrath, 28 May 2014

The Democrat Party is using a merger with Ahn Cheol-soo’s political group to cover up its right-wing, pro-business agenda and avoid another humiliating election defeat.

Thai king endorses military coup

By Tom Peters, 27 May 2014

King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed last week’s coup, declaring that it was necessary to restore “order.”

Thai military dispenses with caretaker government

By Tom Peters, 23 May 2014

Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha formally seized power yesterday, suspended the constitution and detained members of the elected government.

Russian president forges stronger ties in China

By Peter Symonds, 23 May 2014

It is precisely Washington’s confrontation strategy in Asia as in Eastern Europe that is driving China and Russia into a closer relationship.

Thai army declares martial law

By Tom Peters, 20 May 2014

The military has intervened as part of a protracted campaign to oust the elected government.

Anti-Chinese protests erupt in Vietnam’s industrial zones

By Peter Symonds, 16 May 2014

The protests follow Hanoi’s xenophobic campaign against a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Thailand’s judicial coup

By Peter Symonds, 10 May 2014

What is taking place in Thailand is the sharpest expression of the turn to anti-democratic forms of rule throughout the region.

Thailand: Ex-PM faces impeachment on bogus “negligence” charge

By Tom Peters, 9 May 2014

The National Anti-Corruption Commission ruling is another blow in the opposition campaign to oust the elected Pheu Thai government.

Thai court removes PM and nine cabinet ministers

By Tom Peters, 8 May 2014

In an anti-democratic ruling, the Constitutional Court yesterday removed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on trumped-up charges.

Tensions flare between China and Vietnam in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 8 May 2014

The positioning of a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters has been the immediate trigger for a confrontation between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels.

Thai PM in court on trumped-up charges

By Tom Peters, 7 May 2014

The Constitutional Court could rule as early as today to convict Yingluck Shinawatra and bring down her government.

Air search called off for missing Malaysia Airlines plane

By Tom Peters, 2 May 2014

The air search has been replaced with an undersea survey in the southern Indian Ocean that is likely to take months.

As Obama visits Manila: US signs agreement for basing forces in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 29 April 2014

Washington is moving to base US forces in the Philippines as a key step in its drive to militarily encircle China, as part of its ‘pivot’ to Asia.

The danger of war in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 26 April 2014

Obama is touring American allies in Asia, stoking up flashpoints, consolidating the US military encirclement of China and preparing for a new Pacific war.

Nepal: Sherpa strike following fatal Mt Everest avalanche

By Will Morrow, 25 April 2014

The tragic deaths in an avalanche last Friday have highlighted the dangerous and exploitative conditions in which Sherpa work as mountain guides.

Thailand’s political crisis continues

By Tom Peters, 25 April 2014

The opposition Democrat Party refused to attend talks to schedule a fresh election, amid ongoing efforts to overthrow the government.

US defence secretary’s provocative tour of Asia

By Peter Symonds, 12 April 2014

Hagel’s trip has been an emphatic declaration that the US will not back away from its “pivot to Asia” against China, even as its confrontation with Russia over Ukraine intensifies.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

12 April 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US assistant secretary of state visits Thailand amid push to overthrow government

By Tom Peters, 10 April 2014

Russel indicated that the US does not oppose the opposition’s anti-democratic campaign to oust the Yingluck government.

Possible black box signals detected in search for Malaysia Airlines plane

By Tom Peters, 9 April 2014

The source of the signals detected in the Indian Ocean over the weekend has not been confirmed.

Court ruling escalates campaign to oust Thai government

By Tom Peters, 5 April 2014

After annulling the February election, the Constitutional Court is considering a petition to dismiss the prime minister.

Growing danger of Chinese credit collapse

By Nick Beams, 4 April 2014

China experienced an expansion of credit unprecedented in world economic history—equivalent to the size of the entire US banking system.

One year after Rana Plaza collapse

Bangladesh garment workers still face dangerous conditions

By Sarath Kumara, 4 April 2014

A limited investigation shows that many garment factories are structurally unsound and lack basic fire protections.

Manila files legal case against Beijing’s South China Sea claim

By Joseph Santolan, 3 April 2014

The real author of this latest provocation is not Beijing or Manila, but Washington.

Malaysian government deepens crackdown on opposition

By John Roberts, 29 March 2014

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and other leading figures face jail and fines on trumped-up charges.

The growing danger of dictatorship in Thailand

By Tom Peters, 29 March 2014

The Constitutional Court’s decision to annul last month’s election is a warning that the ruling classes throughout the region are dispensing with their democratic façade.

Malaysian PM: Missing plane crashed in southern Indian Ocean

By Tom Peters, 25 March 2014

Malaysian authorities say analysis of satellite data shows the plane crashed, with no survivors, but no wreckage has been recovered.

Political crisis deepens as Thai court annuls election

By Tom Peters, 24 March 2014

The Constitutional Court’s blatantly anti-democratic ruling heightens the danger of a judicial coup.

Search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane enters third week

By Tom Peters, 22 March 2014

Strategic rivalries and state secrecy continue to mar the search for MH370.

Provocative remarks by US Pacific fleet commander fuel disputes with China

By Nick Beams, 21 March 2014

A senior US admiral invokes the Crimea crisis to accuse China of expansionism.

Lack of international cooperation mars search for Malaysia Airlines plane

By Tom Peters, 20 March 2014

All the countries involved, including the US, India and Australia, are extremely reluctant to share information that could reveal their military capabilities.

Chinese real estate developer on brink of collapse

By Nick Beams, 20 March 2014

Concerns about the property market point to wider problems in China’s economy and financial system.

Malaysian PM declares missing aircraft deliberately diverted

By Peter Symonds, 17 March 2014

More than a week after MH370 disappeared, the questions surrounding its fate are only multiplying.

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 may have veered off course

By Peter Symonds, 15 March 2014

Search operations are now focussed on areas of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of kilometres to the west of MH370’s last known position.

Thai government faces threat of judicial coup

By Tom Peters, 15 March 2014

The Constitution Court vetoed a government spending bill and announced it will consider a petition to annul the February 2 election.

Conflicting accounts of vanished Malaysia Airline Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 13 March 2014

The lack of clarity is compounded by the competing interests at stake—including those of Malaysia Airlines, Boeing and the various governments involved.

Iron ore price slump points to mounting Chinese economic problems

By Nick Beams, 12 March 2014

A sharp drop in the price of iron ore this week cast a shadow over global financial markets amid concerns about the state of the Chinese economy.

Searches fail to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 11 March 2014

All the sightings of debris and oil slicks have been discounted as having no connection to the vanished aircraft.

Malaysian court overturns acquittal of opposition leader Anwar

By John Roberts, 11 March 2014

The sodomy conviction follows clear support from Washington for Prime Minister Najib’s government.

Many questions unanswered about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

By Peter Symonds, 10 March 2014

The lack of information has led to speculation about the aircraft’s sudden disappearance, including catastrophic mechanical failure, freak weather conditions and hijacking.