Dear Reader

Global Asia - - A LETTER FROM THE EDITORS - Chung-in Moon Ed­i­tor-in-chief David Plott Manag­ing Ed­i­tor

In the last Is­sue of Global Asia, our cover pack­age on “trump in asia” pointed to anx­i­eties about the di­rec­tion of us pol­icy in the re­gion, in par­tic­u­lar the war of words be­tween Kim Jong un in north Korea and Don­ald trump in the us, which many feared could in­ad­ver­tently lead to war. as the cur­rent is­sue was about to go to press, trump stunned the world by in­stantly ac­cept­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to meet Kim de­liv­ered on March 8 by a high-level del­e­ga­tion of south Korean of­fi­cials. that meet­ing is cur­rently set for May. as im­prob­a­ble as it seemed only a few months ago, there is now hope, how­ever cau­tious and guarded, that this could be­gin a path to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and peace on the Korean Penin­sula, po­ten­tially re­mov­ing one of north­east asia’s great­est threats to sta­bil­ity. But it is a long shot, and the path is likely to be strewn with many ob­sta­cles.

More­over, the Korean Penin­sula is only one of many po­ten­tial points of con­flict in asia. Mar­itime and ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes lit­ter the re­gion and di­vide coun­tries large and small, some fu­eled by lin­ger­ing his­tor­i­cal griev­ances: tai­wan re­mains di­vided from main­land China, with the prospect of forced re­uni­fi­ca­tion still on the ta­ble; In­dia and Pakistan, both nu­clear pow­ers, re­main mired in mu­tual dis­trust; and a ris­ing China, led by a pres­i­dent who on March 11 — in another mo­men­tous re­cent sur­prise — re­ceived con­sti­tu­tional author­ity to re­main in power in­def­i­nitely, is show­ing an in­creas­ing will­ing­ness to as­sert its grow­ing power through­out the re­gion, putting it on a path of po­ten­tial con­flict with the us in asia.

In our cover pack­age, we ex­am­ine how these mul­ti­ple se­cu­rity con­cerns un­der­pin a re­gion­wide push to mod­ern­ize mil­i­taries to pre­pare for pos­si­ble con­tin­gen­cies and lay the ground­work for an arms race in asia. un­der the guest ed­i­tor­ship of Peter hayes, a mem­ber of our ed­i­to­rial Board, we ex­am­ine what is tak­ing place around the re­gion to en­hance mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and the strate­gic ra­tio­nale of the gov­ern­ments con­cerned. to be sure, mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion can be an in­stru­ment to en­sure sta­bil­ity and avoid con­flict in a trou­bled world, but it can also be a well­spring of ten­sion and con­flict if threat per­cep­tions aris­ing from those ef­forts aren’t prop­erly man­aged.

In our Fea­tures sec­tion, we look at how co­op­er­a­tion be­tween tra­di­tional mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment lenders such as the World Bank and the asian De­vel­op­ment Bank and the newly cre­ated de­vel­op­ment banks led by China is emerg­ing and how it could pro­vide a boost to a re­gion in des­per­ate need of bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing; at ef­forts by In­done­sia, Malaysia and the Philip­pines to forge a tri­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship to re­solve com­mon se­cu­rity prob­lems; at how In­dia and the us are deep­en­ing their bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship un­der trump; how asia’s coastal cities are court­ing dis­as­ter by ig­nor­ing the need to pre­pare for ris­ing sea lev­els now, in the face of cli­mate change; and whether the rule of law in hong Kong is be­ing un­der­mined by Bei­jing, as some le­gal ob­servers in the au­tonomous re­gion ar­gue, given a num­ber of re­cent in­ci­dents.

In our In Fo­cus sec­tion, we look at the pos­si­bil­ity of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion on the Korean Penin­sula, es­pe­cially in the con­text of the diplo­matic ini­tia­tives sur­round­ing the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Fi­nally, as al­ways, we fea­ture re­views of some of the most in­trigu­ing books on asia.

sin­cerely yours,

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