For the first time, Colombia’s civil society has been invited to contribute to peace negotiations between the government and the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), with the discussion focused on the root cause of the country’s war: land reform. Hosted by the United Nations and the National University of Colombia, the Forum for Integral Agrarian Development was held in Bogota from Dec. 17 to 19. Not only did the forum place land reform at the center of peace negotiations, at least for the moment, it also has the potential to give the peace process legitimacy in the eyes […]

The Arctic is melting faster than anyone predicted. The World Meteorological Organization announced that ice melt in the Arctic reached a new record in 2012 when an area of ice larger than the continental United States vanished between the months of March and September. The seasonal thaw contributed to a new record in regional shipping as well, with more vessels than ever hauling cargo between Europe and Asia across the top of the world. And international energy companies spent record time searching for oil and gas beneath the frigid waters. But in spite of these trends, the Arctic probably won’t […]

After a year of intense diplomatic brinkmanship over the management of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, Cambodia passed the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to the tiny kingdom of Brunei on Jan. 1. Recent years have witnessed a dramatic escalation in territorial disputes between China, on one hand, and a number of Southeast Asian nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam on the other. However, the past year in particular marked a major deterioration in regional relations, due in no small part to the failure of ASEAN, under Cambodia’s watch, to adopt a […]

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TAIPEI — Relations with Taiwan might not be high on the list of priorities for incoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, given the dismal state of the Japanese economy. However, continued tensions with Beijing could make Taipei a valuable partner for Tokyo. Yet it’s uncertain whether Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s Kuomintang (KMT) government will be receptive to potential opportunities to improve relations with Japan. After his election, Abe was quick in promising to mend ties with mainland China. Tokyo-Beijing relations are the worst they have been in decades due to the dispute over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which were nationalized […]