Enter the Rabbit -- Assessing the New Year

The new lunar year of the rabbit begins in parts of Asia this week, and “I think it’ll be a year of many contrasts and mixed signals,” says Asia Society Global Council Co-Chair Simon Tay. “Look at South Korea last year. They hosted the G20 – the first time in Asia. They are a really sizeable economy and one of the most interesting new economies. They’re creative. And yet, at the end of last year what we were hearing about South Korea was very old news – the ancient grudge with North Korea. Some old missiles, not even new-fangled nuclear weapons, have destabilized the whole situation on the Korean peninsula. And, this is the kind of example of the old and the new that Asians need to worry about.

“We’ve got to move beyond this sort of post-Cold War truce into a much deeper sense of peace and cooperation. And it’s not just about the Korean peninsula: Look at China’s relations with Japan, China’s relations with India – there are really a lot of tension points that need to be worked on in the coming year.”

Simon is based in Singapore and the author of “Asia Alone: The Dangerous Post-Crisis Divide from America.” To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or pr@asiasociety.org.