This past week has brought on some significant global geo-political conflicts. But sometimes, these headlines are a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of thing. Here, we break down the most important conflicts of the moment; the feud between India and China, and North and South Korea.
India-China: Two sides are blaming each other
What is going on over there? China and India have accused each other of provoking fighting in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a Himalayan border.
It is the first deadly clash between the two sides in the border area, in the disputed Kashmir region, in at least 45 years.
The fighting occurred in the area of the strategically important Galwan Valley, which lies between China’s Tibet and India’s Ladakh.
India and China have a history of overlapping territorial claims along the more than 3,440km Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating the two sides since 1962. The LAC is poorly demarcated; rivers, lakes and snowcaps means the line can shift rather easily, resulting in stand-offs between the two sides.
However, both sides have vowed not to use guns or explosives.
What brought the confrontations on? It’s basically all about strategic self interests and goals. Both sides are blaming each other.
India has built a new road in what experts say is the most vulnerable area along the LAC in Ladakh. India’s decision to ramp up infrastructure seems to have irritated Beijing. Originally, China was the country building infrastructure, but now India is ramping up its efforts.
A significant expansion of India and an investment into infrastructure through these lines could threaten China’s goals in central Asia.
Analysts are saying that a full scale, armed face-off is unlikely, as both countries are dealing with significant issues back home, namely the economic impact of the pandemic.
North & South Korea are locked in conflict
You definitely don’t want to crash land in the middle of this conflict.
Tensions have been rising between the two countries, and yesterday, North Korea’s blow up of the inter-Korean liaison office near the country’s border with South Korea just kicked it up a notch.
The North Korean capital of Pyongyang has also rejected a South Korean offer to send a special envoy for urgent talks and reiterated plans for its military to re-enter border areas that were disarmed after the 2018 inter-Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement.
About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea. The state department urged North Korea “to refrain from further counterproductive actions” and said it “fully supports” Seoul’s effort to maintain peace.
Pyongyang’s decision to blow up the facility was the latest in a series of threats from the Kim regime. The increased hostility followed complaints by Kim Yo Jong, Kim’s sister over moves by defector and human rights groups to send anti-Kim material into North Korea.
Just last week, North Korea cut its most important communication channels with South Korea’s military, diplomats and the presidential office. This prompted Seoul to send in anti-Kim materials in hopes of establishing contact and improving relations.
Of course, Trump is involved somehow.
Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang over the nuclear weapons programme have stalled.
Many North Korea analysts believe Pyongyang’s seemingly sudden hostilities are a direct result of wanting sanctions relief.
“North Korea has started a provocation cycle with stages of escalation. It is unlikely to jump immediately to a long-range missile launch as that would prompt additional sanctions from the United States,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a North Korea expert at Ewha University in Seoul, to the Financial Times.
The hostile rhetoric leading up to the detonation also sent a “clear signal that North Korea wants to punish South Korea for it siding with the US on sanctions.