The Ides of March for a Chinese Politburo member

Public scandals involving Chinese Communist Party Politburo members are rare at any time, and so the recent forced replacement of Bo Xilai — party secretary of Chongqing Municipality and a contender for the top leadership within the new Politburo to be chosen at the 18th Party Congress in October this year — during the normally uneventful, over-scripted and highly formal National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing this week has raised eyebrows throughout China and all around the world. Does such a high profile ouster suggest China is gearing up for a tumultuous leadership transition in the run up to the Party Congress? The recent history of scandals involving top leaders in China suggests not. Continue Reading

A carrot-and-stick approach to North Korea

The recently announced agreement that came from a bilateral meeting in Beijing between the United States and North Korea should be greeted with cautious optimism. It could be the start of a positive relationship between the two countries and help to resolve some of the serious issues that have plagued their relationship and caused serious tensions, not only between these two countries but also in the Asian-Pacific region. Continue Reading