A woman walks past a TV screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump giving his maiden address at the U.N. General Assembly, Tokyo, Japan,  Sept. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Eugene Hoshiko).

During the past few weeks, the standoff between North Korea and the United States has cooled a bit. Pyongyang has not tested more ballistic missiles or nuclear devices, and U.S. President Donald Trump has not launched more insulting tweets at North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. That is good, but the crisis is no closer to resolution than it was months or years ago; there is not even a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It remains the world’s most dangerous threat. It is hard to see a path to resolution at this point. In a recent […]

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in New Delhi, India, Oct. 25, 2017 (AP photo Manish Swarup).

Five months after Donald Trump became U.S. president, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to Washington, hoping to redirect Trump’s attention to the Indian subcontinent. He wanted to remind Trump, who had appeared rather enthralled with China’s leader, of Washington’s pledge to have a deeper relationship with New Delhi, not with India’s rivals or enemies. Since then, though, Trump has praised Pakistan, India’s primary foe, and is now preparing to undertake a major foreign trip, with visits to five Asian countries, including China—but not India. So the job has fallen to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to soothe India’s worries […]

West Papua pro-independence supporters shout slogans during a rally, Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 15, 2017 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).

In late September, an exiled political dissident and pro-independence leader from the Indonesian territory commonly known as West Papua submitted a petition to the United Nations calling, in part, for a vote on West Papua’s independence from Indonesia. The petition was reportedly signed by a large majority of native Papuan people before it was smuggled out of the territory. But the U.N. refused to accept it, in the latest setback for an independence movement that goes back decades. In an email interview, Greg Earl, a columnist for the Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter and a member of Australia’s ASEAN Council, discusses […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves during a press event to introduce the new members of the Chinese Politburo in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Oct. 25, 2017 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The Chinese Communist Party’s congress, the once-every-five-year gathering that draws to a close today, brings to mind the old Danish proverb, sometimes misattributed to the New York Yankee hall of famer Yogi Berra: It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. This year’s congress, which comes at the end of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first five-year term in office, was being watched closely for signs of whether his second term would conform to the practice of other recent Chinese leaders and be his last. Since Deng Xiaoping’s exit from power in 1989, the party’s collective leadership has used the […]

Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya celebrates after being elected, Kathmandu, May 28, 2017 (Sipa via AP Images).

In mid-September, Nepal closed the chapter on its first local elections in two decades, as the third phase of voting for municipal bodies took place in restive southern Nepal. The vote was free from the violence that marred the adoption of the country’s new constitution two years ago, when scores of people were killed in protests. Nepal is now preparing for general elections to be held Nov. 26, despite ongoing disputes over changes to the constitution and the longstanding marginalization of southern Nepal’s ethnic Madhesi population. In an email interview, George Varughese, the Asia Foundation’s representative to Nepal, discusses the […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, toasts with Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, during an official visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 21, 2016 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Changing realities in the Americas are forcing Japan to re-evaluate its brand in the region. Seeking to preserve and expand its longstanding economic connections from Argentina to Mexico, Japan is taking active steps to raise its profile in the shadow of China’s continuing push into Latin America and growing uncertainty about the role of the United States under the Trump administration. As the newly protectionist trade talk coming out of Washington threatens economic pillars like NAFTA, there are surprising consequences for Tokyo. Traditionally, Japan has taken a low-key approach to Latin American issues, content to build its relations quietly and […]

Filipino students burn a caricature depicting President Rodrigo Duterte during a protest in front of the gates of the Malacanang presidential compound, Manila, Philippines, Oct. 19, 2017 (AP photo by Aaron Favila).

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is approaching the third calendar year of his bombastic term in office, but for all his tough-guy language, his policies on several critical issues remain muddled and contradictory. Duterte’s blunt, aggressive rhetoric—often veering into profane rants, including one last week against the European Union—has played well at home, keeping his popularity high. A September poll by Pulse Asia showed that about 75 percent of Filipinos have trust in Duterte, despite the notable gap between his talk and his actions in three key areas. Duterte was elected in part on promises to fight economic and political elites […]

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit, Hangzhou, China, Sept. 4, 2016 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

With talks to renegotiate NAFTA deadlocked this week over the hard-line positions of the Trump administration, Mexico was again left pondering the fate of its biggest trade relationship. Negotiations over the trade deal will now extend into next year, heightening both the economic uncertainty and Mexico’s desire to branch out, as countries like China look to expand their stake in the Mexican economy. In an email interview, Carin Zissis, editor-in-chief of AS/COA Online, the website of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, discusses the evolving nature of Mexico’s ties with China, how a change in NAFTA could affect them, and […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Party of Hope leader Yuriko Koike and other leaders of Japan’s major political parties pose for photographers, Tokyo, Oct. 8, 2017 (AP photo by Koji Sasahara).

When he recently called for snap elections to be held on Oct. 22, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe likely viewed his rising approval ratings in recent opinion polls as creating opportune conditions for him to consolidate power. Despite what appeared to be a serious challenge from his one-time colleague Yuriko Koike, who now heads an opposition party but has decided not to run herself, any threat from the opposition to Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party has since dimmed. In an email interview, J. Berkshire Miller, a senior visiting fellow with the Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo and […]

Female protesters flash the No. 1 sign as part of the “One Billion Rising” global movement to end violence against women and children, Manila, Philippines, Feb. 15, 2016 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

Most studies of violence and conflict usually focus on political motivations. But the ubiquity of gender-based violence in many if not most societies has now pushed this social issue into the analysis of patterns and trends in violence more broadly. Political and social scientists who study conflict often focus on disputes over land, resources and political power as determinants of where violence occurs and persists. Gender-based violence in conflict situations has largely been seen as a byproduct of war. The United Nations has increasingly given attention to crimes against women as war crimes, creating a special representative for sexual violence […]

Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman greets U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, New Delhi, India, Sept. 26, 2017 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

When U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his new strategy for the Afghan war in August, he called on India to become more involved in Afghanistan’s security. Secretary of Defense James Mattis followed up with a visit to India in September to discuss deepening economic and defense ties, raising the possibility of a greater partnership between Washington and New Delhi. In an email interview, Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security, explains why closer cooperation between the U.S. and India has failed to fully materialize despite obvious advantages, and what the Trump administration can do to overcome […]

Supporters of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama shout slogans during a rally after a court sentenced him to two years in prison, Jakarta, May 9, 2017 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, and associate editor, Omar H. Rahman, discuss the Trump administration’s move to decertify the Iran nuclear deal and what it means for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. For the Report, Emirza Adi Syailendra talks with Peter Dörrie about why 19 years after the fall of Suharto, Indonesia’s democracy remains tenuous and its institutions weak. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines, as well as what you’ve seen on WPR, please think about supporting our work by subscribing. We’re currently offering a 25 […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang toast during a reception on the eve of the National Day holiday, Beijing, Sept. 30, 2017 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

When China’s top officials convene in Beijing next week for the Communist Party’s 19th Congress, President Xi Jinping could further consolidate his growing political power and advance his agenda. Xi has already dismissed two high-ranking generals, in his latest maneuver to reform the People’s Liberation Army and assert more authority over its ranks. In an email interview, Timothy R. Heath, a senior international defense research analyst at the RAND Corporation specializing in China, explains what further steps Xi will likely make at the Party Congress, what they mean for reform in the Chinese military, and if Xi could face any […]

Demonstrators hold placards as they participate in a protest condemning the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, New Delhi, India, Sept. 7, 2017 (AP photo by Altaf Qadri).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. The murders of two journalists in India in September were just the latest sign of the growing threat to press freedom in the country. In addition to outright attacks on their lives, Indian journalists face mounting pressure to not report on sensitive topics like extremism or on stories that are critical of the government and major businesses. In an email interview, Steven Butler, the Asia Program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, discusses the troubling history of violence […]

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, his wife, Iriana, and Vice President Jusuf Kalla applaud during a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the country’s independence, Jakarta, Aug. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

The stakes of the election for governor of Jakarta earlier this year were, in the eyes of nearly all observers, much larger than that particular office. After all, it was only five years ago that Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, used his victory in the same race to transform himself from a well-regarded but somewhat obscure mayor into a powerful national figure. With that precedent in mind, the candidates and their backers saw the election—a two-round affair held in February and April—as an opportunity to position themselves for general elections in 2019. The incumbent, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja […]

Members of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a political movement for Arab Muslims inside Israel, protest Myanmar’s treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority, Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 11, 2017 (AP photo by Oded Balilty).

YANGON, Myanmar—As Israel’s High Court weighs a ban on weapons sales to Myanmar, where the United Nations’ top human rights official has denounced a military campaign as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” Israel’s Defense Ministry—no stranger to isolation—is unrepentant. In the latest outburst of violence in Myanmar’s volatile Rakhine state, the military’s blistering crackdown in response to attacks in August from Rohingya insurgents has triggered an unprecedented exodus. More than 500,000 Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority, have fled into Bangladesh. International condemnation has been swift, with rights groups exerting pressure on Western nations to cut military-to-military engagement. The United […]

South Korea’s unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, center, cheers with North Korean refugees and their family members during Chuseok, the Korean version of Thanksgiving Day, Paju, South Korea, Oct. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

Since the initial division of the Korean Peninsula at the end of World War II, there has been a distant hope in diplomatic circles, as well as among many Koreans, that the split might one day be undone. American officials have supported Korean reunification for years, and even China, which benefits from the buffer North Korea provides between its border and the U.S.-allied South, has quietly favored the idea at times of heightened tensions. In preparation for a possible reunion, South Korea funds a Ministry of Unification that studies strategies for bringing the two states closer—and last month financed an […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 241 2 Last