Environmental activists in Ecuador.

The Ecuador-China Free Trade Agreement has often been portrayed as a milestone for China in Latin America, but recent developments have thrown the fate of the deal into doubt. The sudden uncertainty has implications that extend beyond Ecuador’s borders, affecting the broader landscape of China’s relations across Latin America.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Colombian President Gustavo Petro.

China’s expanding economic footprint in Latin America over the past 25 years has driven economic growth and shifted the geopolitical narrative across the region. But that engagement is now shifting as priorities change in China, Latin America and the U.S., at a time when Chinese growth is slowing and U.S.-China tensions are rising.

Though North Korea’s nuclearization efforts have faded from the headlines, the country has continued to improve its capabilities and can now plausibly reach any location in the continental United States with a nuclear weapon. In the absence of a deal to curb its nuclear and missile programs, North Korea’s arsenal will only grow more lethal.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron.

France and India have for decades developed a strong partnership grounded in strategic affinities and a shared preference for a multipolar international order. Though the U.S. has tended to be rather suspicious of this relationship, it should reconsider its view, as it actually serves Washington’s broader interests.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has abandoned the country’s long-standing policy of seeking peaceful unification with the South. This substantial change in Pyongyang’s inter-Korean policy should not be regarded as mere bluster or rhetoric. It marks a significant and dangerous shift in North Korea’s posture toward the South.

Elderly people in China.

There are many negative consequences of China’s accelerated population decline. But while China’s demographic crisis looks like that of other neighboring countries, it is coming at a lower level of economic development, and the problems it poses are exacerbated by some of the unique characteristics of China’s political system.

Taiwanese Vice President and President-elect Lai Ching-te.

Given Taiwan’s pivotal position as a flashpoint in global security, most of the coverage of its recent presidential and legislative elections viewed them through the lens of its relations with China. The relationship matters to be sure, but the campaign was also driven by domestic concerns that didn’t make the international headlines.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Since the start of the war in Gaza, China has adopted a position that is surprisingly critical of Israel. What’s driving the shift? One overlooked factor is the relative collapse of the major pillar underpinning Sino-Israeli ties since even before they formally established diplomatic relations: trade in technology.

Chinese President Xi Jinping.

After a year of important gatherings for the Chinese Communist Party, starting with the 20th Party Congress in October 2022 that named Xi Jinping to an unprecedented third term as general secretary, 2023 ended not with a bang, but with a whimper: The “third plenum,” often used to announce important reforms, didn’t take place.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet.

Since taking office last summer, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet has shown some signs that he understands the country’s need for economic growth. But his moves on the economic front will mean little if Hun Manet remains as authoritarian as his father, longtime ruler Hun Sen, whose political system he inherited upon succeeding him.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s position was already seen as tenuous before a slush fund scandal embroiled his ruling Liberal Democratic Party last month. It says a lot about the state of Japanese politics that Kishida remains the most viable option to lead the government until the LDP holds a leadership election in September.