October 17, 2017        Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your weekly digest of foreign policy commentary:

Reading Time: 2 min read

Champa Patel argues for a comprehensive peace process in Myanmar. Image credit – pzurek / depositphotos



Root Causes of Rohingya Crisis Must Not be Ignored by Champa Patel, Head of Asia Programme, Chatham House

There is a need for a comprehensive peace process, which recognises the ethnic and religious diversity within Myanmar.

  • Champa Patel explains the need for a comprehensive peace process in Myanmar by highlighting inadequacies in the responses of neighbouring countries to the Rohingya crisis.
    • Individual states like China and India have responded to the crisis only to maintain their immediate economic and security interests.
    • Although Myanmar is an ASEAN country, fellow ASEAN member states have responded only bilaterally to the Rohingya crisis.
      • ASEAN’s policy of non-interference has hindered its ability to collectively respond to the Rohingya crisis.
    • As a first step to addressing this limitation, ASEAN could consider how negotiation and mediation may potentially address such crises with regional implications.



To Deter North Korea, Japan and South Korea Should Go Nuclear by Bilahari Kausikan, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore

A six-way balance […] — among the U.S., China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea — will eventually be established in Northeast Asia.

  • Bilahari Kausikan argues that a multi-party nuclear ‘balance’ in Northeast Asia is the most viable way of diffusing the North Korean nuclear crisis.
    • The unilateral ability of the United States to deter North Korean aggression against Japan and South Korea will gradually wane.
    • A six-country balance of power involving a nuclear Japan and a nuclear South Korea should stabilise Northeast Asia.
      • Despite its rogue conduct, North Korea is a rational actor that seeks self-preservation. This would make it amenable to respecting the new balance of power.
    • A six-way balance could, however, prompt Taiwan to seek nuclear capabilities.
      • The US would therefore need to assure China that it will not support a nuclear-armed Taiwan.

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