Patron: Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand

A Snap Election, Nuclear Threats and growing trade: Current big topics in Asia – Pacific News

By Dr Anita Perkins 

As we enter the final quarter of 2017, the geopolitical news from the Asia-Pacific region keeps coming thick and fast. Here are a few key issues to watch over the coming weeks. Japan is facing a snap election, Washington and Pyongyang continue rhetorical stand off over nuclear threats, and New Zealand advances its thinking on its role in China’s One Belt One Road policy.  In light of a new electoral term New Zealand needs to continue to reflect on how these issues impact us, and what implications they might have for our approach to international engagement.

The Japanese Election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a snap election in Japan for 22 October. In a move that has been likened to that of British Prime Minister Teresa May earlier this year, Abe seeks a mandate from his public to apply intense pressure on North Korea. This backing is sought prior to November talks with world leaders including President Donald Trump.

At debate, Abe pins election hopes on tough stance against North Korea

Trump and North Korea

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington grow as the leaders of both countries engage in increasingly worrying rhetoric. More recently President Trump has indicated somewhat indirectly that there is only one possible solution given what he perceives to be as the failure of previous policy approaches.

Trump on North Korea: ‘Only one thing will work’

Seeing the North Korean Stalemate From the Other Side

One China one road

China’s One Belt, One Road initiative has been on the table since 2013 but in recent months there has been more public discussion on current thinking for New Zealand’s role in this strategic trading network. Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the New Zealand China council emphasises that this is conversation about the management of globalisation and for New Zealand this is less about infrastructure and more about connecting up with China through including the flow of goods, services and people.

New Zealand China Council: One Belt, One Road

What does China’s Belt and Road mean for NZ?