Recent Clashes Underscore Need For Obama Administration To Pivot To Asia

The Obama administration may want to restart the “pivot” to Asia after North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Monday. The incident began when North Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells, many of which landed south of the inter-Korean maritime border and South Korea responded by returning fire across the Northern Limit Line. This is the first time in recent history that the North has conducted a live-fire drill in all seven West Sea border regions.

The incident elicited expressions of concern from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, who urged all sides to “maintain calm, exercise restraint and refrain from acts going against peace and stability on the peninsula.”

“The current situation on the peninsula is quite vulnerable, and safeguarding peace and stability conforms with the common interests of all relevant parties. China is concerned about the developments of the case,” he told reporters.

While China has concerns about the Koreas, the Phillippines have called for the United Nations to intervene in its territorial disputes with China.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario filed a plea with a UN arbitration tribunal asking them to declare as illegitimate China’s claims.

”It is about defending what is legitimately ours. It is about securing our children’s future. It is about guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations,” he told a news conference.

Reuters reports that China has responded with accusations that Manila is simply trying “to conceal their plot to illegally occupy Chinese territory and create trouble in the South China Sea.”

Elections Cannot Change Reality That Turkey Is No Longer International Player
While he may have achieved success at the ballot box, the reality is that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now governing a nation which has lost its role as an international player, writes Elmira Bayraslimarch in The New York Times.

“Mr. Erdogan’s decade-plus grip on power has been weakened by anti-government protests, corruption allegations, and an ugly confrontation with the powerful and admired Muslim religious leader Fethullah Gulen. In a desperate effort to prevent any further hemorrhaging of his power, Mr. Erdogan has abandoned the ambitious foreign policy that was the basis for Turkey’s regional resurgence in recent years and has resorted to attacking his enemies. The prime minister is now so fixated on his own political survival that he recently attempted, in vain, to shut down Twitter across the country, Bayraslimarch contends.

 

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