Weekly Rewind: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Colombo Consensus 2.0, and North Korea at Age 70

Gantry cranes and shipping containers are seen beside a vessel at the cargo terminal area of Tokyo port on October 6, 2015. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed a deal to create the world's largest free trade area October 6 as the start of a 'new century' for Asia, and expressed hope China might one day join the historic accord. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

Welcome to Asia Society’s Weekly Rewind, featuring some of the best Asia-related content you may have missed. This week:



North Korea at 70
The Guardian

North Korea has declared this upcoming Saturday a national public holiday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers’ party, which has governed the state without opposition since its inception. Leading up to the anniversary, The Guardian is publishing a three-day series exploring various aspects of life inside the country.

To Be or Not to Be: The Great Firewall of Thailand
Adam Ramsey | Al Jazeera America

Thailand’s government is considering “consolidating all [Internet] gateways into one central government-controlled point.” Known as “The Great Firewall of Thailand,” the proposal would make it easier for the government to monitor the flow of information. In the meantime, advocacy groups and other voices of opposition have emerged.

Colombo Consensus 2.0
Dániel Balázs and Patrick Mendis | Foreign Policy

Under new President Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka’s government has shifted its foreign policy, renewing its relations with India and the United States while drifting away from China’s sphere of influence.

Meet Mira Rai
Sarah Barker | Slate

Sarah Barker profiles the rise of Mira Rai, one of the world’s best mountain trail runners and Nepal’s first female sports star.



Photographing Japan, Through Shadows of the Past
Maurice Berger | New York Times

The first American survey of photographer Ishiuchi Miyako highlights her depiction of the “fortitude … of postwar Japan.”

Climate Crisis in Bangladesh
Probal Rashid | The Diplomat

Photographer Probal Rashid documents the challenges facing Bangladesh, one of the countries in the world most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

A Journey to the Jianggendiru Glacier - In Pictures
Gilles Sabrié and Eric Hilaire | The Guardian

Geologist, explorer, and environmental activist Yang Yong’s expedition to the source of the Yangtze River traces the effects of climate change on the Tibetan plateau. 


Overheard This Week

“When more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment.”

—United States President Barack Obama’s statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) following the announcement of a final agreement earlier this week. [New York Times]


By the Numbers

$28.1 trillion — The combined GDP of all nations under the TPP deal announced this week [Fortune]

$698 billion — The total value of U.S. exports to TPP countries in 2013 [Fortune]

12 — The number of member countries in the TPP [Quartz]

16 — The number of members in the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), a free trade agreement being negotiated by China [Quartz]


Each week, Asia Blog will feature highlights from Asia-focused feature writing, photography, and multimedia. Do you have recommendations? Please email a link and any related details to blog@asiasociety.org (we regret that we won’t be able to respond directly to each inquiry).

Opinions expressed on highlighted articles are solely those of the author(s), not of the Asia Society.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Tim Lau
Tim Lau is a Content Producer at Asia Society. He is a New Jersey native and has also lived in Greater Chicago and Washington, DC.