Tuesday (June 16th): I am sorry Asia, but what’s up today?!

Name? Wang Yi

Westphalian identity? Chinese

Age? 66

Why is he in the news? Wang Yi is the main representative for Chinese foreign policy and as such, had to come out this morning and explain the escalating tensions between India and China at the Sino-Indian border; tensions ultimately resulting in three Indian casualties. (Update 21:00 CET: 20 soldiers died)

Why do we care? The two countries with the biggest populations in the world are clashing at their border. Both have huge militaries and nuclear weapons. We predicted this would happen, just not so soon…Isn’t a pandemic enough to stress about? Or what Kim Jong Un is doing in the demilitarised zone?

Why should you care? Because we care, isn’t that enough? A little more trust please. Oh, and because Xi and Wang are expecting us to do exactly what we are doing. While we and the rest of the world are preoccupied stressing about a viral trend, Xi and Wang are working on China’s place in the world. Just ask Hongkong, Vietnam, and the Philippines for further reference. 

Who else cares? Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister and initiator of the Sino-Indian Wuhan talks has been greatly concerned about good relations with China. Furthermore, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Modi’s health minister, has just taken over the chairmanship for the WHO and is therefore responsible for the Covid19 inquiry regarding China…Will Modi really advise his minister to do that; further, getting onto Xi’s nerves?

Any further comments? What drives the hope that further escalation can be avoided is the fact that neither side has released any real numbers on casualties. While reporters and diplomats have claimed that the real numbers are a lot higher on both sides, Chinese and Indian officials have been conscientiously trying to calm matters down as neither side could afford a real escalation at the moment. With these conflicts, it is important to take into account that China is not a single entity but that it is made up of 1,3 billion individuals. And these individuals have had their egos boosted a lot lately. So the chances of Chinese border officers overinterpreting party orders are high.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator