June 09, 2023

A summery puzzle in East Asia: THAAD, missiles, and more

Amid tensions in region Beijing and Pyongyang try to put relations back on track, on the surface

This summer seems to be quite hot in East Asia – and not just because of the monsoon season. The month of July was full of events that contributed to increasing tensions in already “overheated climate” spots in the region such as the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. As a result of these events, "battle lines” emerged that see the U.S. and its traditional allies in the region - South Korea and Japan - on the one side, and China, North Korea on the other side.

Actually, these battle lines have dominated the geopolitics of East Asia since the end of the Cold War, but the collaborative mood of China after North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests this year made Washington and Seoul hope that Beijing was finally ready to embrace their cause and get rid of its North Korean ally.