Troubling Clashes Emerge in Asia

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    Two clashes in Asia show signs of growing instability in the world’s most populous continent. Pre-existing tensions between the rival powers, China and India, as well as between North Korea and South Korea have been inflamed with harsh rhetoric and intimidation.

    Along the rocky terrain of the Galwan Valley between China’s Tibet and India’s Ladakh, a fight broke out between Chinese and Indian soldiers on Monday. The first lethal clash between the two nations in at least 45 years. According to the Indian media, the hand-to-hand combat led to seventeen Indian troops being critically injured and a death toll of 20. Though the Chinese media said nothing about injuries or deaths, the Indian news agency ANI claimed on Tuesday that 43 Chinese soldiers had died.

    Both countries blamed one another for the conflict while expressing a desire to maintain peace.

    On Tuesday, North Korea accused South Korea of behaving like a “mongrel dog” bent on confrontation. To emphasize their point, they blew up a joint liaison building on the border with South Korea. Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of the country’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, stepped forward to claim that diplomatic relations had failed because South Korean President Moon Jae-in had “put his neck into the noose of pro-US flunkyism.”  

    Pyongyang threatened to bring troops to the border because Seoul had failed to prevent defector groups from flying anti-Kim pamphlets across the border into North Korea. This aggression will almost certainly inflame tensions with the US.