Eastern Asia

North Korean official defects as US pressure on Pyongyang intensifies

By Ben McGrath, 23 August 2016

Massive job cuts planned in South Korean shipbuilding industry

By Ben McGrath, 22 August 2016

Workers are bearing the brunt of the industry’s financial instability, while the trade unions work to prevent a unified struggle.

Japan prepares to expand military role abroad

By Ben McGrath, 17 August 2016

So-called humanitarian missions, as in South Sudan, are being exploited to further Tokyo’s remilitarization agenda.

Chinese-South Korean tensions rise over THAAD anti-missile deployment

By Ben McGrath, 15 August 2016

South Korea is lining up more explicitly with Washington and its war drive in the region, using North Korea’s nuclear tests as a pretext.

Chinese power plant explosion kills 21

By John Braddock, 15 August 2016

The incident at a coal-fired plant is the most recent of the industrial disasters that kill and maim thousands of workers and residents in China each year.

Japan exploits violence in South Sudan to dispatch military

By Ben McGrath, 16 July 2016

While portrayed as a rescue mission, the deployment of additional Japanese troops to Africa marks an expansion of Japan’s role on the continent.

Right-wing ruling coalition wins Japan’s upper house election

By Ben McGrath, 13 July 2016

The LDP’s victory gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the necessary numbers to revise the Japanese constitution in line with his push for re-militarization.

Opposition party in South Korea hit by corruption probe

By Ben McGrath, 12 July 2016

The investigation into the People’s Party is a politically-motivated attack by President Park Geun-hye’s administration.

US and South Korea agree on THAAD anti-missile system

By Ben McGrath, 11 July 2016

The installation will likely inflame tensions while continuing to stoke an arms race in East Asia.

Chinese Walmart workers engage in wildcat strikes

By Linda Tenenbaum, 8 July 2016

The strike has spread rapidly, with Walmart workers determined to reach out to their national and international co-workers.

Uncertainty in Japan following Brexit vote

By Ben McGrath, 4 July 2016

Japanese vice foreign minister Sugiyama held high-level talks in Washington, London and Brussels, stressing the need for political, economic and security coordination.

Russian president seeks closer economic and strategic ties in Beijing

By Peter Symonds, 28 June 2016

The two countries are being driven closer together by fears of the growing danger of war posed by the United States.

Taiwanese airline cabin crews strike

By Ben McGrath, 27 June 2016

The walk-out highlights the growing anger more broadly throughout the Taiwanese working class.

Opposition grows to US military bases on Okinawa

By Ben McGrath, 20 June 2016

While local politicians attempt to keep the protests limited in scale and scope, the widespread anger is bound up with opposition to Japanese remilitarization.

Abe sets date for Japan’s upper house election

By Ben McGrath, 18 June 2016

The Abe government’s push for remilitarization is driving political tensions in Japan.

Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

Washington and Beijing draw battle lines over South China Sea

By James Cogan, 6 June 2016

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter threatened that China “could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”

China debt levels reach record high

By Nick Beams, 26 April 2016

China’s debt levels have risen rapidly since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, with some analysts warning that the country may experience a “Lehman” disaster.

US threatens harsh sanctions if North Korea conducts nuclear test

By Peter Symonds, 21 April 2016

The intensifying US pressure is not primarily directed at Pyongyang, but against Beijing, as part of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia.”

Earthquakes in Japan kill 42 people, injure 1,000

By Peter Symonds, 18 April 2016

The response of the Japanese government has been a military one—despatching some 20,000 troops as part of rescue and relief operations.

South Korea’s Democrats narrowly defeat ruling conservatives in national election

By Ben McGrath, 15 April 2016

The Minjoo Party of Korea’s victory is not an endorsement of their policies but a sign of frustration with deteriorating economic conditions.

Panama Papers highlight nexus between wealth and power in China

By Peter Symonds, 7 April 2016

Family members of current and former Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, have set up offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands.

Pakistan’s military expands its power in wake of Lahore terror attack

By Sampath Perera, 1 April 2016

Pakistan’s military has seized on last Sunday’s terrorist atrocity to implement plans for an “antiterrorism” offensive and to strengthen its authority over the civilian government.

Japan’s security laws: Another milestone in the drive to world war

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2016

The implementation of the military legislation is a major step in the revival of Japanese militarism, encouraged by Washington as part of its war preparations against China.

Chinese government’s phony anti-poverty plan

By John Ward, 25 March 2016

The announcement at the National People’s Congress of a 43 percent increase in poverty alleviation funds is to deflect attention from growing social inequality.

South Korea imposes extra sanctions on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 15 March 2016

The South Korean sanctions go further than the recent UN resolution in strangling the North Korean economy and exacerbating Pyongyang’s political crisis.

China: Thousands of coal miners protest over unpaid wages

By Peter Symonds, 14 March 2016

The protests are a sign of the acute social tensions building up as the economy slows and the government prepares to axe millions of jobs.

As Chinese exports plunge

IMF issues new warning on global economy

By Nick Beams, 10 March 2016

The sharp fall in Chinese exports reflects a decline in global trade that has been expressed as well in US trade data.

Five years after Japan’s nuclear disaster, TEPCO executives charged

By Ben McGrath, 10 March 2016

As it seeks to reopen the country’s nuclear plants, the government is opposing even the limited charges of negligence in connection with the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

US-South Korean militaries rehearse pre-emptive strikes on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2016

This year’s joint war games are based on a new operational plan that includes pre-emptive attacks on North Korean missile and nuclear sites and “decapitation” raids to kill its leaders.

US, China agree to new UN sanctions on North Korea

By Ben McGrath, 1 March 2016

The draft resolution contains measures reportedly the strictest in 20 years and will further heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the region.

South Korea whips up fears over North Korea’s nuclear program

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2016

Seoul’s denunciations of Pyongyang come before massive war games with the US, designed to simulate a takeover of the entire Korean Peninsula.

US blocked talks with North Korea before nuclear test

By Peter Symonds, 23 February 2016

For seven years, the Obama administration has stymied any resumption of the six-party negotiations to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Economic problems mount in Japan and China

By Nick Beams, 17 February 2016

The latest statistics from the world’s second and third largest economies underscore the worsening world downturn.

US military boosts anti-missile systems in South Korea

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2016

Far from being a defensive move, the restructuring of US forces in South Korea is bound up with more aggressive war plans, agreed last year between Washington and Seoul.

Japanese PM pushes to remove constitutional constraints on military

By Ben McGrath, 15 February 2016

Far from backtracking from last year’s unconstitutional military laws, Abe is pressing forward with long-held plans for wholesale constitutional revision.

US prepares harsh new sanctions on North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 12 February 2016

Washington and its allies are escalating a dangerous confrontation with Pyongyang following its recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

Japanese bond rate goes negative as bank shares tumble

By Nick Beams, 10 February 2016

All eyes in global financial markets will be on Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen as she delivers testimony to the US Congress Wednesday.

North Korean satellite launch heightens US-China tensions

By Peter Symonds, 8 February 2016

Washington immediately seized on the launch to intensify pressure on Beijing for tougher sanctions on Pyongyang and accelerate the US military build-up in Asia.

The Ezubao scam: A sign of deeper problems in China’s financial system

By Peter Symonds, 5 February 2016

Ezubao was part of the largely unregulated peer-to-peer online finance industry that has drawn in millions of small investors with the offer of high returns.

South Korea joins US-Japan intelligence link

By Ben McGrath, 1 February 2016

Seoul’s decision will further integrate South Korea into Washington’s plans for an anti-ballistic missile system aimed against China.

China announcing 400,000 steelworker job cuts

By Samuel Davidson, 1 February 2016

The steelworkers will lose their jobs, in line with plans to slash crude steel production capacity by between 100 million and 150 million tons.

US secretary of state demands China act against North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 28 January 2016

Kerry threatened to expand the US military presence in Asia unless Beijing took tough measures in response to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test.

US think tank outlines master plan for war with China

By Peter Symonds, 26 January 2016

The CSIS report represents the voice of the vast American military establishment, which regards China as the chief threat to untrammelled US strategic dominance in Asia.

CSIS report: A blueprint for US war with China

By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2016

The study is a master plan for an accelerating arms race in Asia in preparation for a conflict that would draw in the entire region and the world.

US flies B-52 strategic bomber close to Korean border

By Peter Symonds, 11 January 2016

Washington has seized on the latest North Korean nuclear test to accelerate its military build-up in the region against China as part of the US “pivot to Asia.”

US, South Korea discuss deploying “strategic weapons”

By Ben McGrath, 8 January 2016

The stationing of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula would be a major escalation of the US military build-up in Asia, directed primarily against China, not North Korea.

Chinese industrial zone engulfed by waste landslide

By Peter Symonds, 22 December 2015

Rescuers are struggling to find those missing after a tidal wave of mud and waste toppled buildings and inundated an area of Shenzhen.

Split looms in South Korea’s opposition party

By Ben McGrath, 21 December 2015

Ahn Cheol-soo’s departure from the NPAD indicates the party is in disarray amid falling approval ratings after years of anti-working class policies while in power.

Australia, Japan “strongly support” US, amid rising tensions with China

By Peter Symonds, 19 December 2015

As Japanese and Australian leaders met in Tokyo, an American paper reported a US military intrusion into Chinese-claimed air space in the South China Sea.

Court case begins in Japan over Okinawa base relocation

By Ben McGrath, 10 December 2015

Extensive protests have taken place against the construction of a new US military base in Okinawa.

South Korean workers and farmers denounce Park government

By Ben McGrath, 8 December 2015

Saturday’s protestors criticized laws that will increase the casualization of the workforce and demanded President Park’s resignation.

US, South Korean leaders hold summit

By Ben McGrath, 21 October 2015

The US is seeking to apply pressure to South Korea to pursue an agenda more in line with Washington’s “pivot to Asia” against China.

Abe reshuffles Japanese cabinet to try to boost economy

By Ben McGrath, 12 October 2015

After forcing through unpopular military legislation, Prime Minister Abe is seeking to press ahead with new pro-market restructuring and austerity measures.

US Pacific Fleet commander threatens China over South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 7 October 2015

The US military is preparing to send warships and aircraft within the 12-mile territorial limit around Chinese-administration islets, deliberately risking an armed clash.

South Korean government pushes casualization of workforce

By Ben McGrath, 1 October 2015

With the aid of the trade unions, the government is proposing laws to allow companies to more easily fire workers, while slashing wages.

Hyundai autoworkers in South Korea strike for better wages

By Ben McGrath, 29 September 2015

Auto manufacturers like Hyundai and GM Korea are demanding wage cuts and speedups as well as the casualization of the workforce.

Japanese government pushes military bills through upper house

By Ben McGrath, 21 September 2015

Despite widespread protests, the Abe government has now passed laws that will allow the Japanese military to engage in US-led wars abroad.

Japan’s credit rating cut as economy contracts

By Ben McGrath, 18 September 2015

The S&P move is a signal to Japan that the financial markets demand further measures to shift the economic burden onto the backs of the working class.

Chinese slowdown impacts Asian economies

By Peter Symonds, 8 September 2015

The downturn in the Chinese economy is reverberating around the world, nowhere more so than in Asia.

Abe accelerates the remilitarisation of Japan

By Peter Symonds, 2 September 2015

The latest defence budget increase, to fund the purchase of sophisticated new hardware and the expansion of bases, will push Japanese military spending to record levels.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

24 January 2015

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Bank of Japan’s shock stimulus further destabilizes global economy

By Nick Beams, 3 November 2014

The Japanese central bank’s surprise announcement of new monetary stimulus measures has led to accusations that it is trying to export deflation and warnings of a currency war.

South Korean government voices concern over Japanese “collective self-defense”

By Ben McGrath, 12 July 2014

While the militarization of Japan is currently targeted at China, it is alarming Seoul, a key ally of the United States.

Widespread disaffection in South Korean regional elections

By Ben McGrath, 6 June 2014

Despite falling support for President Park following the Sewol ferry disaster, opposition party failed to make significant advances.

Fire in South Korean nursing home kills 21

By Ben McGrath, 29 May 2014

The nursing home lacked basic fire safety measures and was badly understaffed.

Japanese PM embraces “collective self-defence”

By Peter Symonds, 17 May 2014

Abe is seeking to remove constitutional restraints on Japan’s full involvement in future US wars of aggression.

US military basing deal sets legal framework for neocolonial rule in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 3 May 2014

The agreement allows the US military to base its forces throughout the Philippines at will, immune from oversight under Philippine law.

Obama affirms US backing for Japan in any conflict with China

By Peter Symonds, 24 April 2014

Obama’s unequivocal support for Japan will only further fuel tensions with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Hundreds still missing after South Korean ferry sinks

By John Watanabe, 17 April 2014

A ferry that sank on Wednesday carrying some 470 people could turn out to be South Korea’s worst shipping accident in decades.

South Korean doctors walk out over medical privatization

By Ben McGrath, 20 March 2014

Medical residents and doctors struck for 24 hours over regulations introduced that allow hospitals to run profit-seeking subsidiaries.

Concerns mount over Chinese growth and financial stability

By Nick Beams, 17 March 2014

Is the Chinese financial system heading for a “Lehman moment”—the equivalent of the US investment bank failure that triggered the 2008 global financial crisis?

Japanese government seeks to whitewash crimes against “comfort women”

By Ben McGrath, 13 March 2014

The Abe government has suggested it will revise the 1993 apology for the women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s.

GM’s job destruction and the South Korean pseudo-left

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2014

In conditions of growing distrust and anger among workers, All Together is playing a filthy role as apologist and defender of the KCTU, KMWU and other trade unions.

GM axes more auto jobs in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 20 February 2014

GM Korea plans to slash 1,100 jobs from its Gunsan factory, part of an overall assault on auto workers in Korea and internationally.

Toyota registers record profit through ruthless restructuring

By John Watanabe, 14 February 2014

The restructuring of Toyota’s operations, within Japan and internationally, is aimed at driving down wages and increasing exploitation.

Chinese navy conducts exercises in east Indian Ocean

By Peter Symonds, 14 February 2014

Australian reportage of the event makes clear that the Chinese naval presence was regarded as an unwelcome intrusion.

Tokyo election reveals widespread political alienation

By Peter Symonds, 11 February 2014

The turnout was just 46.1 percent, down from 62.6 percent in 2012, and the third lowest figure ever.

Philippine President Aquino compares China to Nazi Germany

By Joseph Santolan, 6 February 2014

The Philippine president denounced China’s role in the South China Sea as akin to Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia.

Trust bailout highlights massive growth of China’s “shadow banking”

By Oliver Campbell, 6 February 2014

The bailout of a Chinese trust fund could be the prelude to a financial crisis that would have international ramifications.

Japan: New political alignment emerges in Tokyo election

By John Watanabe, 31 January 2014

The election is being held amid growing public opposition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government.

US-South Korean war games threaten to inflame Korean Peninsula

By Peter Symonds, 18 January 2014

South Korea warned of “merciless retaliation” in the event of a North Korean “military provocation.”

Asia: The 21st century tinderbox for war

By Peter Symonds, 11 January 2014

As the world marks 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, the danger of another global catastrophe erupting in Asia has become increasingly acute.

Biden-Xi meeting fails to resolve East China Sea crisis

By John Chan and Peter Symonds, 5 December 2013

High tensions over the Chinese air defence identification zone in the East China Sea continue after yesterday’s meeting between the US vice-president and Chinese president produced no agreement.

US sends B-52s to China’s air defence zone

By John Chan, 27 November 2013

Far from being a “routine” flight, the B-52 mission was a risky challenge to China that threatened to trigger a military clash.

Japan: Fuel removal begins at stricken nuclear plant

By John Watanabe, 26 November 2013

TEPCO has started the hazardous task of transferring nuclear fuel rods from the unstable reactor 4 building at its Fukushima Daiichi plant.

China releases sweeping market reform blueprint

By John Chan, 23 November 2013

Global financial markets have responded with enthusiasm to the 60-point agenda that will open up lucrative business opportunities.

Japan’s new state secrecy law

By John Watanabe, 16 November 2013

The bill will expand the range of secret government information, paving the way for closer involvement in the US military build-up against China.

Chinese Communist Party plenum to unveil “free market” blueprint

By John Chan, 8 November 2013

Beijing is desperately seeking to lift economic growth, presently 7.5 percent a year, by boosting foreign investment.

China and Japan hold rival military exercises

By John Chan, 6 November 2013

Massive exercises, staged not far from the disputed Diaoyu/Senkakus islands, have become the focal point for a war of words between Tokyo and Beijing.

Japanese PM foreshadows tougher action over disputed islets

By Peter Symonds, 29 October 2013

Abe’s stance on the Senkaku islands is part of a broader strategy to reassert Japanese imperialism’s interests throughout the region.

Chinese court rejects Bo Xilai’s appeal

By Peter Symonds, 28 October 2013

The trial of the CCP Politburo member was bound up with sharp differences within the state bureaucracy over economic policy.

Air incident escalates Japan/China tensions over disputed islands

By Peter Symonds, 15 December 2012

Both countries have exploited the issue to stir up nationalism to divert attention from a worsening economic and social crisis at home.

Global tensions overshadow Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit

By John Chan, 14 December 2012

The push by China and Russia for greater Eurasian economic integration is coming into direct conflict with US interests.

Chinese leadership tries to revamp its corrupt image

By John Chan, 12 December 2012

The campaign seeks to dampen widespread public hostility to the regime’s endemic corruption and prepare the ground for a pro-market offensive.

Japanese election mired in nationalism and militarism

By Peter Symonds, 8 December 2012

The rightward shift in Japanese politics is a warning of the dangers facing the working class as a consequence of the worsening breakdown of global capitalism.

South China Sea disputes flare up

By Peter Symonds, 5 December 2012

The Philippines and Vietnam have condemned new Chinese regulations to permit the boarding of foreign ships in what Beijing regards as its territorial waters.

Japan: At least nine dead in tunnel collapse

By Oliver Campbell, 4 December 2012

Questions have been raised about the tunnel operator’s safety inspections.

New Japanese party formed to capitalise on anti-nuclear sentiment

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2012

The establishment of the Japan Future Party is another sign of deepening political crisis in the lead up to the December 16 election.

Chinese journalist arrested for reporting homeless children’s deaths

By Oliver Campbell, 28 November 2012

Li Yuanlong’s arrest is a warning that the new Communist Party leadership will be ruthless in suppressing political dissent.

Twenty years since Deng Xiaoping’s “Southern tour”—Part 2

By John Chan, 27 November 2012

On his 1992 tour, Deng made no secret of his embrace of capitalism.