Setting Sun or New Dawn: What Now for Taiwan?

Post by Gwilym Williams, Research Intern at ICSA

Tsai Ing-wen’s election as President of the Republic of China is an indication that the people of the country known to most people as Taiwan want a change of direction from their leaders. From being defeated by the incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou four years ago, Tsai has now been elected with a sizeable majority, having received 56% of the vote, with her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also taking control of the Legislative Yuan. While this clearly demonstrates a new trajectory for the island nation, it remains to be seen what the consequences of this election result and long-term effects for relations in the region will be.

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Paris Terrorist Attack: Black Swan or Perfect Storm?

On Friday, 13 November 2015, France suffered the worst terrorist attack in its modern history as Islamic State (IS) gunmen and suicide bombers simultaneously attacked the Bataclan concert hall, Stade de France football stadium, and restaurants and bars in Paris’s popular nightlife spots, leaving some 130 people dead and hundreds seriously injured.

As France, and indeed the rest of the world, seeks to make sense of this terrible event, two questions dominate the discussion, and indeed the headlines: could the attack have been prevented and what can we do to protect ourselves against future occurrences?

The answers, it seems to me, depends on whether or not one regards such events as Black Swans or Perfect Storms.

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The Great Game, still: Russia matters to the US, and its presence in Pyongyang reminds Washington just how much

Post by Matthew Conway, Research Intern

Russia and North Korea made headlines earlier this year when they declared 2015 a ‘year of friendship’. With Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict biting in Moscow, Russia is increasingly isolated from Europe and the OECD. Hermetic North Korea for its part is increasingly eschewed by China, hitherto its only ally. Given their isolation, both are seeking to diversify their international relationships for political and economic reasons.

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Remembering War’s End: The Politics of Memory in East Asia

Written by Stephen Nordin, Research Intern

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender at the end of the Second World War. In 1995, then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama made a famous speech atoning for Japan’s wartime actions, expressing remorse for ‘a mistaken national policy’ of militarism and the destruction it engendered. Known as the ‘Murayama Statement,’ it has represented Japan’s official position toward the war for nearly two decades.

However, current Prime Minister Shinzō Abe takes a different view of Japan’s wartime past. How he chooses to interpret his nation’s history will not only have immediate political implications for bilateral relations in the region, but also may hint at his broader policy agenda and how transformative his premiership will be for Japan.

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What does Syriza’s victory means for EU-Russia relations?

Written by Andrej Kokoc, Research Intern at the International Centre for Security Analysis.

The Greek legislative elections of 25th January yielded a left-wing government, with Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras emerging victorious. As well as raising the worries of a possible “Grexit” from the Eurozone and further implications for the European economy once again, this has also had an effect on EU foreign affairs, more specifically, the relationship with Russia.

Before the Greek elections, the government of Hungary – especially in the form of Prime Minister Viktor Orban – was the main pro-Russian voice within the EU. Now, there seems to be a new addition to the pro-Russian sentiment within the European Union that is likely to attempt to steer the EU away from further sanctions on Russia. Continue reading