NIAS Global Politics Brief

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NIAS Global Politics Brief
East Asia in 2021: New era of hegemonic competition

  Prakash Panneerselvam

The emerging regional military-security trends in East Asia in 2021 call for greater concern. Despite the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown, China leadership is determined to go forward with the military exercise in the Taiwan Straits has created huge tension in the region. The South China Sea and the East China Sea also witnessed an increasing number of activities of the People Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-Navy), on the Himalayan borders PLA military stand-off with Indian troops in the Galwan Valley as China and India failed to reach an agreement on the border issues. Chinese military build-up in the region poses a serious security threat to neighbouring countries than any other activity in the region. Strategics experts have cautioned China that the militaristic approach to resolve the Taiwan issues and various other issues in the Indo-pacific will lead to potential military conflict in the region. This ascribes to rising tension between the US-China bilateral relationship, Japan and South Korea is also keen to expand their defence cooperation with the US and other like-minded countries in the Indo-pacific to balance the Chinese military threat in the region. On the other hand, the two major economies of East Asia – Japan and South Korea relationship is undergoing profound changes due to domestic politics over historical issues, which has emerged into major economic and trade issues.

As the two countries are facing a major domestic crisis due to economic slowdown the strain in the bilateral relationship is causing major damage to the US alliance system in East Asia. Given the dynamic situation in East Asia the article will look into some of the major development and trends in 2021.

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