Here are 10 predictions we’ve made for Asia in 2013. What do you think the big stories out of Asia are going to be this year? Please share your predictions for the year with us in the comments section below.
9. The blood bath in Syria will continue for some time, with world leaders dragging their feet on a peace agreement until the death toll becomes too much to bare and public opinion demands a negotiated end to the war.
7. Japan will experience continued economic downturn in 2013, abated by an aging population, low birth rate, and lagging electronics and auto industries, both of which seem unable to compete with the likes of companies like Samsung, Apple, Kia and Hyundai.
6. The South Korean economy will likely grow, although not as quickly as expected, and with the very real possibility of problems if the global economy takes a turn for the worse or domestic debt gets too out of hand.
5. Despite Kim Jong-un’s seemingly new take on inter-Korean relations, the North’s leadership will continue its usual bait and switch game with the world – quietly behaving when they get what they want, and throwing tantrums like spoiled children when they don’t. Unfortunately for those of us in the region, this baby has in its possession nuclear weapons, and they are likely to test one out the next time they have one of their ‘tantrums’. Look out for another nuke test in 2013.
4. Speaking of North Korea, don’t look for much improvement in inter-Korean relations next year. Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s incoming president, is exactly who North Korea was hoping would not win the election. Park holds a similar ideological view to Korea’s current president, Lee Myung-bak, a man who has done little in his tenure as president to improve relations with the North.
3. More political strife will come out of Thailand in the coming year. Thailand’s highly revered king, Bhumibol Adulyadej is in poor health and hasn’t been seen much at all in public in recent years. Add to this mix of instability the unresolved political conflict between the ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ shirts and you have a tinder box of a situation that is likely to get worse before it gets better.
2. Hun Sen’s dominance of every aspect of Cambodian political life is set to continue in 2013. There will be parliamentary elections this year in Cambodia, but with key opposition leader Sam Rainsy banished from Cambodia on trumped-up charges, it is doubtful that opposition parties can do much to stave off a landslide win from Hun’s Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party.
1. PSY’s follow-up single to his record shattering ‘Gangnam Style’ will be a resounding failure and his fifteen minutes of fame will finally be over, once and for all.
Image from here.