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Asia Unbound

CFR fellows and other experts assess the latest issues emerging in Asia today.

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Photographers take photographs of a giant inflatable ball bearing the logo of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Incheon, South Korea, November 1, 2017. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

The Winter Olympics and the Paradox of South Korea’s Global Reach and Its Regional Constraint

The war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in recent months has virtually drowned out the voice of South Korea, which has an existential stake in the avoidance of full-blown conflict on the Korean peninsula. But the opening inter-Korean peace talks in advance of South Korea’s hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month have provided South Korean President Moon Jae In with a rare opportunity. Read More

January 16, 2018

Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia’s Press Freedoms Collapse: 2018 Could Be Worse for Southeast Asian Democracy Than 2017

As I noted late last year, 2017 was a disastrous year for democracy in Southeast Asia. Democratic rights and freedoms already have been in decline in Southeast Asia for more than a decade, but 2017 was perhaps the worst year for the region in that decade. Cambodia’s semi-democratic system collapsed last year, the Philippines’ rule of law deteriorated, Myanmar witnessed ethnic cleansing, Thailand remained ruled by a military junta, and Indonesia faced rising populism and Islamism.

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January 16, 2018

China
How Beijing Addresses Its Air Pollution Problem

Back in 2013, China experienced its worst smog outbreak since 1961. At some point in January, the Air Quality Index (AQI) readings in Beijing were far beyond the levels health officials deemed extremely dangerous.

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January 9, 2018

Southeast Asia
Buddhist Nationalism and the Rakhine Crisis: A Review

There is plenty of blame to go around for the current humanitarian crisis in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the worst in East Asia. Both the United Nations’ human rights chief and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have now affirmed that Myanmar’s security forces are engaged in ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State, attempting to wipe out the Muslim, ethnic Rohingya group.

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