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Japan: Shinzō Abe wins a new mandate

25-10-2017

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Nuclear Proliferation in North East Asia

23-03-2017

The nuclear dimension of the crisis in the Korean peninsula has been compounded since the end of the Cold war, particularly since the North Korean regime announced its withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in January 2003. The nuclear and ballistic programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have dangerously improved since the beginning of the decade and seem to have accelerated since 2014 in spite of the continuous strengthening of the international sanctions ...

The nuclear dimension of the crisis in the Korean peninsula has been compounded since the end of the Cold war, particularly since the North Korean regime announced its withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in January 2003. The nuclear and ballistic programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have dangerously improved since the beginning of the decade and seem to have accelerated since 2014 in spite of the continuous strengthening of the international sanctions regime against Pyongyang’s Weapons of Mass Destruction programmes. Accordingly, tensions have risen dramatically in the Korean peninsula. In the current context, the resumption of the six-party talks – deadlocked since the spring of 2007 - remains very hypothetical. It is clearly dependent on a change of attitude on Pyongyang’s part, something hardly predictable. Even if ‘strategic patience’ towards North Korea has been challenged for some time, it may be that there is no better alternative to this policy. Comprehensively conceived, it should be understood as a strong policy of containment of the North Korean nuclear crisis in order to make possible the return of Pyongyang to negotiations. As a subsidiary issue, it could be asked whether the EU could play a renewed role as regards to nuclear and ballistic proliferation in North East Asia.

Външен автор

Benjamin HAUTECOUVERTURE (Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique - FRS, Paris, France)

New sanctions against North Korea: The challenges of implementation and China

05-07-2016

In January 2016, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, exposing the inability of UN sanctions to prevent the reclusive regime from gradually enhancing its ballistic missile capabilities and miniaturising a nuclear warhead. Despite China's past principled reluctance to agree to UN economic sanctions against its military ally, and its selective implementation of the previous sanctions scheme, which has been widely perceived as the major cause of its ineffectiveness, in March 2016 China endorsed ...

In January 2016, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, exposing the inability of UN sanctions to prevent the reclusive regime from gradually enhancing its ballistic missile capabilities and miniaturising a nuclear warhead. Despite China's past principled reluctance to agree to UN economic sanctions against its military ally, and its selective implementation of the previous sanctions scheme, which has been widely perceived as the major cause of its ineffectiveness, in March 2016 China endorsed UN Security Council resolution 2270(2016). The latter expands significantly the scope of previous sanctions against North Korea. China's frustration at its lack of leverage over North Korea to prevent it from further escalating regional tensions, combined with the response from Japan, South Korea and the United States, has compelled it to endorse tougher sanctions against North Korea as a means of bringing it back to the negotiation table. However, China has emphasised that stiffer sanctions alone will not be a panacea for the Korean Peninsula's denuclearisation. China plays a vital role in ensuring a meaningful impact of the newly adopted sanctions, given its intense economic relations with North Korea. A consensus between China and the USA on a common approach to North Korea which accommodates their conflicting geostrategic interests would be crucial for engaging North Korea. But given the latter's staunch insistence on its status as a nuclear-armed state, prospects are grim for a resumption of the stalled Six Party Talks to replicate – under much more complex circumstances – what was achieved with Iran in 2015.

South Korea ahead of legislative elections

07-04-2016

On 13 April 2016 the 300-member National Assembly will be renewed. Following January's nuclear test by North Korea, South Korea is experiencing high tension with its neighbour, which adds to political instability, a slowing economy, rising social inequality and concerns about freedoms.

On 13 April 2016 the 300-member National Assembly will be renewed. Following January's nuclear test by North Korea, South Korea is experiencing high tension with its neighbour, which adds to political instability, a slowing economy, rising social inequality and concerns about freedoms.

North Korea: Kim Jong-un's Great Purge

14-01-2014

While the news of the execution of Jang Song-taek, the second-most highly ranked leader in North Korea’s regime, surprised many outside the country, the event is unlikely to presage dramatic changes within the country. Jang Song-taek was sentenced to death on 12 December 2013 after being arrested during a public debate of the North Korean Politburo. His purge follows a major reshuffling of the army, the reorganisation of the ruling party and the execution of Kim Jong-un’s former fiancée and a group ...

While the news of the execution of Jang Song-taek, the second-most highly ranked leader in North Korea’s regime, surprised many outside the country, the event is unlikely to presage dramatic changes within the country. Jang Song-taek was sentenced to death on 12 December 2013 after being arrested during a public debate of the North Korean Politburo. His purge follows a major reshuffling of the army, the reorganisation of the ruling party and the execution of Kim Jong-un’s former fiancée and a group of popular artists. Jang Song-taek was known to be very close to Beijing and an advocate of economic reforms inspired by Chinese models. With Jang's execution, Kim Jong-un has reasserted his leadership and sent a clear signal to his country’s closest – perhaps only – ally, China. It does not seem that the purge was intended to suppress internal opponents. The country is quiet, the armed forced have been weakened, and the execution of the only credible alternative to Kim Jong-un makes the perspective of a putsch extremely unlikely in the near future.

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