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Will the demise of a tyrant cause stability or uncertainty in Asia?

Kim Jong-Il died at the age of 69 on 17th December; an autopsy confirmed that he had suffered from a fatal heart attack. The “Dear Leader” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine and it was also believed that he had suffered from diabetes and heart disease.   It was also reported that he had suffered from a stroke in 2009.

The news of his death was announced on North Korean state television on the 19th December.  It was also announced that Kim Jong-Il’s third son, Kim Jong Un, will take over as his father’s successor.

The sudden death of such a powerful leader has had an impact around the world and there are many different opinions about the effects of his demise.  Many people think the death of an oppressive dictator, who reportedly had an appalling human rights record and a nuclear arsenal at his command, will cause stability within the country and throughout the region and rest of the world.  However the fact is that his death has caused extreme uncertainty regarding North Korea.  Kim Jong Un is due to take over as Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).  However, there is a possibility of a power struggle and a large amount of uncertainty about how Kim Jong Un will act as leader if he does in fact become leader. READ THE REST OF THE ENTRY

Capture of US drone further damages US-Iran relations.

Earlier this month, an unmanned reconnaissance plane which reportedly belonged to the US crash landed in Iran.  On Thursday the Iranian press released video and photographic evidence of the fact that they had captured a foreign drone and were claiming that it was sent to Iran by the US to spy on Iran and gather secret information.  This was later confirmed by the US who admitted that they had lost a drone and that this was the drone that belonged to them.

The US say that the drone went down due to a mechanical malfunction and was not shot down by Iranian forces, however this claim is denied by the Iranian forces who say that they brought it down.  General Ami Ali Hajizadeh who is chief of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division says that “it was downed through a joint operation by the Guards and Iran’s regular army,” and that it was attacked by an electronic ambush which caused minimal damage. READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Why is America starting to flex its muscles in the Asia Pacific region?

With the economic crisis in Europe and the winding down of the western presence in Iraq and Afghanistan the US government have moved their focus onto the Asia Pacific region. The USA recently hosted the annual Asia-Pacific economic forum which was held in Hawaii, which is Barack Obama’s birth place and the main US territory in the region.

Barack Obama also made a trip last week to Indonesia and Australia where he met a number of politicians and diplomats and also delivered several speeches in which he outlined his ideas for future US involvement in the region.  Obama announced on his tour of the region that he would send 250 Marines to North Australia and promised to increase this number in the near future.  Surely this military strategy would strengthen the already large American military power in the region; it would also send a message to other military powers in the region, such as China and North Korea.  China have questioned the move and many believe that it is a move which is counter to Chinese influence in the region.  China and the US are definitely  two of the largest powers in the region and an increase of US activity in the region is bound to worry the Chinese. READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Dreaming up a New Enemy

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen is escorted by Chinese Gen. Chen Bingde, Chief of the Peoples Liberation Army's General Staff
Adm. Mike Mullen is escorted by Chinese Gen. Chen Bingde.

With another Remembrance Sunday come and gone, there’s hardly a more appropriate time to be evaluating the global balance of power, and the prospects for peace.

As ever, there’s plenty to keep the diplomats up at night: North Korea’s belligerence; brutally typical wars on the African continent, the Middle Eastern powder-keg – now more volatile than ever as Iran postures and outraged populations rise up. Read the rest of this entry

When the Dalai Lama came for Tea

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As China and America became more and more intertwined economically, what seems apparent is this relationship is far from an easy one. The tensions are all too prominent when it comes to the differing views of these nations on issues such as Tibet and Taiwan. The meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama is the latest strain on the mutually dependent relationship of the USA and China. Click here to keep reading

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