Asia

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with supporters during the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra march in the Samba District on January 22. Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

By the time he had walked 400 kilometers in the wet and humid Indian monsoon season, the soles of Vaibhav Walia’s feet were covered in giant blisters. His colleague, Lhingkim Haokip, had been diagnosed with a minor fracture in her leg. Walking alongside them, I experienced something I’d never previously heard of — blisters developing inside my blisters. Every step was beyond agony.

All of us kept walking. We had a long way to go.

Walia, 36, Haokip, 48 and I are members of India’s oldest political party, the Indian National Congress. Along with tens of thousands of party cadre, we were part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India March), a marathon trek on foot across the length of India, with a route totaling over 4,000 kilometers.…  Seguir leyendo »

China is expanding its nuclear arsenal, from a few hundred weapons to roughly 1,000 by 2030. It may have 1,550 warheads or more by the mid-2030s—the limit agreed to by Russia and America in a deal originally signed between them in 2010. This Chinese buildup is changing geopolitics. The American-Russian bipolar nuclear system, which has dominated the nuclear balance for over half a century, is evolving into a less stable tripolar system that risks undermining long-standing pillars of deterrence and triggering a nuclear arms race.

All this comes as America prepares to modernise its ageing “triad” of nuclear-weapons delivery systems (land-based and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers).…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. vessels conduct a passing honors ceremony with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Pacific Ocean in 2021. (Haydn N. Smith/U.S. Navy/AP)

Most world leaders, including President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, agree that the defense of Taiwan is crucial for regional security. But most options for improving deterrence will take too long. Building Taiwan’s self-defense, developing more U.S. firepower in the region, creating the economic resilience to make severe sanctions feasible: None of these will come to fruition before 2030.

Japan could change the game now. Allied forces, responding immediately and en masse, have a chance of thwarting a Chinese invasion, according to a recent report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies. But, in meetings with high-level officials in Tokyo last month, I sensed a mismatch between talk and walk.…  Seguir leyendo »

Después de los cañonazos de Ucrania vendrán los de Taiwán. De hecho, estamos de lleno en ese periodo que los libros de historia titulan "antecedentes" para explicar quién disparó el primer tiro en una guerra.

Tranquilos, lo leeremos con relativa erudición en la Wikipedia del futuro.

El próximo gran conflicto mundial, oficializado cuando China lance sus garras sobre la acorazada isla, tendrá una magnitud bélica aún desconocida. Pero ya sabemos que participarán multitud de actores. Desde el invasor pekinés y sus palmeros habituales hasta Estados Unidos y sus aliados.

Y en este grupo hay uno que suele pasar desapercibido, oculto detrás de la unión de americanos, australianos, europeos y japoneses, y que se ha revelado como pieza fundamental: Corea del Sur.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Cómo sería una política japonesa de disuasión?

La respuesta de Japón a la invasión rusa de Ucrania, y a la «alianza estratégica» anunciada por Rusia y China poco antes de eso, ha sido notablemente decidida. La propuesta del gobierno de duplicar el presupuesto de defensa del país en los próximos cinco años es una muestra de realismo político y de determinación práctica. La pregunta clave ahora es cómo usar ese dinero.

En los documentos que describen las nuevas estrategias de seguridad nacional y de defensa nacional, Japón reconoce el hecho de que para poder defenderse y ayudar a mantener la paz en la región, debe seguir trabajando con sus aliados (en particular Estados Unidos, con el que tiene un tratado de seguridad desde 1951).…  Seguir leyendo »

A makeshift hospital for Covid-19 patients in China in 2020. EPA, via Shutterstock

I caught Covid for the first time in early December.

I panicked when I saw the two lines on my rapid antigen test indicating a positive result. China’s government was still clinging to its “zero Covid” approach of using mass lockdowns and testing in a vain attempt to stop the virus from spreading. Would the dreaded health workers in their head-to-toe protective white suits, who seemed to have taken over the country, come to drag me away to a grim quarantine facility?

Millions of Chinese had been living in fear of that knock on the door. So I hid in my Beijing apartment.…  Seguir leyendo »

Implicaciones económicas y geopolíticas del parón demográfico en China

Tema

Se analizan las implicaciones de la evolución demográfica de China sobre su economía y su nivel de protagonismo dentro de la escena internacional.

Resumen

La población de China se está contrayendo antes de lo previsto y va a derivar en un hundimiento demográfico sin precedentes. Este proceso va a constreñir muy sensiblemente tanto el crecimiento de la economía china como sus posibilidades de desafiar la hegemonía estadounidense.

Análisis

A mediados de enero, la Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas de China anunció que la población del país había descendido en 2022 en casi un millón de personas respecto al año anterior. Esta es la segunda vez en la historia de la República Popular China (RPC) que desciende la población del país.…  Seguir leyendo »

A researcher from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras works on Jan. 4 inside a laboratory in Chennai, India. (Idrees Mohammed/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Can India create a higher education system worthy of its aspirations as a full-fledged knowledge economy?

That’s still to be determined. But India is on the verge of taking a major, long-awaited first step in the right direction: With the recent release of draft rules by the country’s higher education regulator — the University Grants Commission — India is moving closer to allowing high-quality foreign universities to set up campuses to help meet the country’s growing appetite for advanced education.

Crucially, under the rules, which will have to be approved by Parliament, foreign universities would get the freedom to decide their own curriculums, fix fees and hire faculty at terms of their choosing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese and Russian ships conducting joint naval drills off the coast of Guangdong Province, China, September 2016. Reuters

In December 2022, Japan released its first national security strategy in nearly ten years. The document committed Tokyo to strengthening the U.S.-Japanese alliance “in all areas”. And Japan is not alone. Over the last half decade, almost all U.S. allies across the Indo-Pacific have deepened their partnerships with Washington and formed new networks with one another.

At first blush, this might seem puzzling. Chinese President Xi Jinping has voiced his desire for the United States to withdraw from the Indo-Pacific, and his government has upheld China’s long tradition of expressing hostility toward Washington’s alliances, which form the foundation of the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las mujeres en edad reproductiva en Corea del Sur tienen menos bebés que cualquier otro país del mundo. JeongMee Yoon para The New York Times

Después de llevar más de un año intentando persuadir a las mujeres surcoreanas de tener hijos, Chung Hyun-back dice que hay una razón que destaca de su fracaso: “Nuestra cultura patriarcal”. Chung, a quien el gobierno anterior encomendó la tarea de revertir la caída en picada de la tasa de natalidad del país, sabe de primera mano lo duro que es ser mujer en Corea del Sur. Ella, en lugar de casarse y tener hijos, optó por su carrera profesional. Como Chung, millones de mujeres jóvenes han rechazado colectivamente la maternidad con la llamada “huelga de natalidad”.

En 2022, una encuesta reveló que hay más mujeres que hombres —el 65 por ciento frente al 48 por ciento— que no quieren tener hijos.…  Seguir leyendo »

China, el imperio de la mentira

El año nuevo, denominado del conejo, coincide con un vuelco histórico en la epopeya china: la población está disminuyendo e India es ahora el país más poblado del mundo. Se esperaba este cambio demográfico, pero está ocurriendo más deprisa de lo previsto. La absurda política del Partido Comunista Chino es la causa. Desde que tomó el poder en 1949, el Partido ha querido controlarlo todo, incluida la vida íntima de las parejas. Esto en sí mismo es indignante, pero, lo que es aún peor, el Partido ha ido cambiando de opinión sobre el tema, aplicando sus sucesivos caprichos por medio de la coacción.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Queremos ser respetados”. Con estas palabras abroncó a Putin su homólogo tayiko, Emomalí Rahmon, el pasado mes de octubre durante la cumbre Rusia-Asia Central.

“No queremos vuestro dinero —continuó—, queremos que nos respetéis como nos merecemos. Albergamos vuestras bases militares, hacemos todo lo que nos pedís, tratamos de ser lo que queráis que seamos, socios estratégicos. ¡Pero nunca se nos trata como socios estratégicos!”.

Sorprendentes por su inusual claridad, estas palabras podrían reflejar el inicio de un cambio de paradigma que puede redefiniría los equilibrios de poder en la región. Desde la caída de la Unión Soviética, Rusia ha venido actuando como garante de la seguridad y estabilidad de los países de Asia central (Kazajistán, Kirguistán, Tayikistán, Turkmenistán y Uzbekistán) y parte del Cáucaso.…  Seguir leyendo »

El legado de Abe: la nueva postura japonesa de seguridad

El entusiasmo con el que Japón comenzó a rearmarse sorprendió a sus aliados y socios internacionales. El mes pasado, el primer ministro japonés Fumio Kishida dio a conocer planes detallados para duplicar el gasto en defensa durante los próximos cinco años, lo que no deja dudas sobre la determinación del país para expandir sus capacidades militares y disuadir a China de su ambición expansionista.

La nueva visión estratégica japonesa representa la culminación de un cambio a largo plazo que comenzó con el predecesor de Kishida, Shinzō Abe, asesinado en julio del año pasado. Durante el gobierno de Abe —desde que regresó al poder en diciembre de 2012 hasta que renunció en septiembre de 2020— Japón modernizó su doctrina militar y aumentó significativamente el gasto para la defensa.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in June 2019. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Russia has a lot more people, a larger economy and a more powerful military than Ukraine. By all rights, it should have crushed Ukraine at the start of the war. That this didn’t happen — and that the war is now heading into its second year with Kyiv in a good position to regain more lost ground — can be explained in no small part by the reality that Ukraine has many allies and Russia does not.

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy estimates that the United States and Europe have pledged roughly $100 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Women of reproductive age in South Korea are having fewer babies than any other country in the world. JeongMee Yoon for The New York Times

After trying for over a year to persuade more South Korean women to have babies, Chung Hyun-back says one reason stands out for her failure: “Our patriarchal culture”. Ms. Chung, who was tasked by the previous government with reversing the country’s plummeting birthrate, knows firsthand how tough it is to be a woman in South Korea. She chose her career over nuptials and children. Like her, millions of young women have been collectively spurning motherhood in a so-called birth strike.

A 2022 survey found that more women than men — 65 percent versus 48 percent — don’t want children. They’re doubling down by avoiding matrimony (and its conventional pressures) altogether.…  Seguir leyendo »

India's government said it has blocked videos and tweets sharing links to a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in 2002 sectarian riots. (Arun Chandrabose/AFP/Getty Images)

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology filed a draft amendment last week to a recent media law that could have sweeping consequences for free expression in the world’s largest democracy. According to the proposed language, any information marked as “fake” by the fact-checking division of India’s Press Information Bureau will need to be taken down by “online intermediaries”, a category that would include social media companies.

This latest move potentially casts a pall over journalism in the country. Two industry associations — the Editors Guild of India and Digipub, a group of news sites in India — have published strong statements arguing that the amendment could give arbitrary and discretionary power to the Indian government.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers assemble cookstove parts at a manufacturing plant in Nashik, India, in November. Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE

Asia is hurtling toward a tectonic power shift headlined by ever more rapid changes in population growth. The West, especially the United States, better be prepared.

A dramatic demographic shift is underway after China’s population shrank in 2022 for the first time in six decades. Meanwhile, India, with its continued population growth, is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by UN estimates as soon as April.

The latest statistics show that China is increasingly coming face-to-face with its one-child policy, which officially ended in 2016 after more than three decades. The policy introduced a number of challenges; perhaps the most paramount is the 4-2-1 problem, where one working individual, by virtue of being an only child, ends up having to support four grandparents and two parents — a huge drain on the working population.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia, November 2022. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

For all the talk of how we have entered a new global era, the last year bears a striking resemblance to 2008. That year, Russia invaded its neighbor, Georgia. Tensions with Iran and North Korea were perennially high. And the world faced severe global economic challenges.

One notable difference, however, is the state of Chinese-U.S. relations. At that time, self-interested cooperation was possible even amid political and ideological differences, clashing security interests, and divergent views about the global economy, including China’s currency valuation and its industrial subsidies. As Treasury secretary, I worked with Chinese leaders during the 2008 financial crisis to forestall contagion, mitigate the worst effects of the crisis, and restore macroeconomic stability.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese soldiers in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, January 2023. Ann Wang / Reuters

Since the Ukraine war began, a growing number of U.S. officials have stressed the urgency of deterring Chinese military action against Taiwan. President Xi Jinping’s comments in October reinforced this view when he declared that China was prepared to take “all measures necessary” against foreign “interference” on the island and that “the wheels of history are rolling on toward China’s reunification” with it. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Beijing may intend to seize Taiwan on a “much faster timeline” than previously thought.

Despite this assessment, the United States has not devoted sufficient attention to the current approach to deterrence—and whether it is adequate to meet an accelerated threat.…  Seguir leyendo »

New Delhi Is Not Done With the Kremlin Yet

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, many of the world’s major democracies lined up to condemn Russian aggression and rally to Ukraine’s defense. India did not. It abstained on key votes at the United Nations and refused to denounce its longtime partner. The backlash that ensued was striking; numerous governments expressed frustration with India for its reluctance to condemn the indefensible.

Some observers have suggested that, as a result, India may be changing course; they see signs that it may finally be considering breaking with Russia. In September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “today’s era is not of war”—remarks that seemed to admonish the Russian president and which U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »