Post by Hannah Goozee, Research Intern at ICSA
On 1st April, a new era began for Myanmar. On that day, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), under the presidency of newly inaugurated Htin Kyaw, took power in a country which has only known democracy for 14 of its 1,000 year recorded history. Not only does the country face domestic challenges including rampant internal conflict, corruption and poverty, but Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD will have to navigate the country’s complex relationship with China.
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.
PRIDE, or PyRoprocess-Integrated inactive DEmonstration facility, (as a typically forced example of an industrial acronym) is a nuclear reprocessing pilot facility in South Korea. It is not a secret facility: Yukiya Amano, the Director General of the IAEA has visited the facility in person and the safeguards for the facility are being developed with IAEA cooperation.
Yukiya Amano Inspecting a hot box inside the PRIDE facility in 2013.
On November 8th, Myanmar is heading to the polls in what is largely pitched as the most free and fair elections of their recent history. In a climate of military political dominance, severe human rights abuses and historically insular foreign policies, analysts across the world will be paying close attention to the forthcoming election season. The exclusion of dozens of candidates from the final election candidate list represents the latest in an ongoing series of events suggestive of the endemic struggle for democracy.
Since the 1962 coup d’état, Myanmar has been under the political dominance of the army elites, who stand accused of gross abuses of human rights, religious intolerance and media suppression. Their suppressive rule is symbolized by the house arrest of the leader of the opposition, Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has led the fight for democracy. A general election in 2011 resulted in the dissolution of the military junta and the election of a nominally civilian government, headed by the former military commander, Thein Sein.
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.