Saturday, 25 Mar 2023

Your Tuesday Briefing: South Korea’s Olive Branch to Japan

South Korea and Japan ease dispute

South Korea announced that it would set up a fund to pay victims of forced Japanese labor during World War II. It’s a sign of strengthening ties between America’s most steadfast Asian allies as the threat from China and North Korea grows.

The fund is the most notable action taken by either country to try and resolve a festering historical dispute, one of several that date back to Japan’s colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. South Korea will now stop demanding that Japanese companies compensate the victims, which some view as a concession.

The promise of increased cooperation is a boon to the U.S., which is trying to shore up regional alliances as China grows stronger. President Biden celebrated the deal as “a groundbreaking new chapter of cooperation and partnership.”

And the fund is part of a broader easement. As the regional threats mount, President Yoon Suk Yeol has made improving relationships with Tokyo a top diplomatic goal. He has expanded joint military drills with Japan and the U.S. and asked his people to see Japan as a “cooperative partner” rather than a “militarist aggressor.”

Korea’s reaction: Opposition leaders called it a “capitulation.” Of the 15 victims awarded pay by South Korea’s Supreme Court, only four have expressed support. “I am not going to accept money even if I have to starve,” a 94-year-old said.

Background: Korea’s Supreme Court has stipulated that Japanese companies must pay the compensation, despite Japan’s insistence that the question was settled under a 1965 treaty.

Ukraine doubles down in Bakhmut

Despite Russia’s near-encirclement of the eastern city, Ukraine’s top generals want to strengthen their defense of Bakhmut. Their announcement comes amid growing speculation about a possible Ukrainian withdrawal.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who called the city “our fortress” a month ago, said that the situation in Bakhmut was a particular focus. Ukraine’s most senior military commander signaled that Ukraine’s fight there should continue, according to Zelensky’s office.

The State of the War

The fight over Bakhmut had seemed in recent days to be reaching a climax. Some Ukrainian officials started preparing the public for the possibility of a retreat, but Ukrainian assault brigades went on the attack and appeared to push back Russian forces this weekend.

Analysis: Bakhmut itself has little strategic value, but it has taken on heightened symbolic importance for both sides. The battle has created a defining moment — a marathon contest to see which army can break the other.

Russia’s strategy: Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, visited the occupied southern city of Mariupol amid growing tensions with the Wagner mercenary group. Wagner’s founder also urged Russia’s military to send reinforcements and ammunition so his fighters wouldn’t get cut off in Bakhmut.

Other updates: 

In a rare admission, Ukraine said one of its drones had destroyed an unmanned watch tower in Russia.

Estonian voters have elected a government that has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest backers.

Will the U.S. deal with TikTok?

The Biden administration is increasingly pushing Congress to give it more legal power to deal with the Chinese-owned video app and other technology that could expose Americans’ sensitive data to China. As security concerns mount, TikTok has become a battleground in a technological cold war between the countries.

My colleague David McCabe spoke to five people with knowledge of the matter. Two told him that the White House is weighing whether to support legislation being developed by a Democratic senator that would give the U.S. government more ability to police apps like TikTok. The draft bill would offer an alternative to legislation that bans the app.

The growing focus on Congress is a shift in strategy. Since taking office, the Biden administration has privately negotiated with TikTok on a deal that would allow the app to operate in the U.S. But the talks have not resulted in an agreement, and calling more aggressively on Congress to act could shift the focus away from the stalled talks.

Other bans: The White House told federal agencies last month that they had 30 days to delete TikTok from government devices. More than two dozen states have banned the app from government devices, as have Canada and the executive arm of the E.U. India banned the platform in mid-2020.

What’s next: TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Zi Chew, is scheduled to testify before a House committee later this month.


Around the World

Experts are working to restore Notre Dame’s unique sound as they rebuild the fire-torn cathedral. You can experience its acoustics in our interactive story. (Use headphones!)

Residents said that Myanmar’s soldiers killed at least 17 villagers in a rampage, The Associated Press reports.

Israel’s military reservists are speaking out against the government’s efforts to overhaul the judiciary, an expression of anger that military leaders fear could affect operational readiness.

Other Big Stories

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” has now won all the top prizes from Hollywood’s major guilds. The four other films that have done so went on to win the best picture Oscar.

Toblerone will drop an image of a famous Swiss mountain from its packaging as it moves some production out of Switzerland.

A Morning Read

Some of Toronto’s best restaurants are in aging, low-slung strip malls. Run by immigrants, many offer nostalgic dishes from places like Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Others, like an Indonesian-Lebanese restaurant, fuse new flavors that reflect waves of immigration.

But many strip malls — some of the only places that first-generation restaurateurs could afford — have been replaced by high-end condominiums. One food writer described their disappearance as a “loss of culture.”


Asian Americans, shifting right

In the past two U.S. national elections — 2020 and 2022 — the Asian American vote, while still favoring Democrats, has moved right. A dramatic shift also occurred in New York City between 2018 and 2022, where Asian voters span many ethnicities and ideologies. A few explanations: 

Outreach. Republicans increased their presence in Asian neighborhoods where voters felt overlooked by Democrats, and focused on local issues.

Class divide. The Democratic Party increasingly reflects the views of college-educated professionals. Many Asian voters are working class.

Education. Asian voters have fought Democratic proposals to change admissions policies at top public high schools. And progressives supported extended school closures, which were harder for working-class parents. 

Crime. Republicans’ tough-on-crime stance has attracted voters after increased anti-Asian violence. “Being Asian, I felt I had a bigger target on my back,” said a lifelong Democrat, who voted for a Republican in the governor’s race.

For more, check out our explanation in The Morning.


What to Cook

If you’re celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim, make these savory onion and poppy seed hamantaschen. 

What to Read

“War Diary” is an intimate chronicle of the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

What to Watch

Give yourself chills with one of these thrillers.


Take a 60-second breathing test and try these three simple breath work exercises.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Inside informant (four letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia

P.S. Spelling Bee featured in an unusual marriage proposal. (She said yes!)

“The Daily” is on the fallout of a train derailment in Ohio.

We’d like your feedback! Please email thoughts and suggestions to [email protected].

Source: Read Full Article

Related Posts