[in] focus

Whither SA and Central African Republic?

Over the week-end the Prime Minister of Central African Republic, Nicolas Tiangaye, who was actually the premier for several months in the deposed government of Francois Bozize, visited President Zuma in Pretoria to affirm that relations between the two governments have normalized. Zuma indicated in the press briefing thereafter that his country's foreign policy towards CAR had not changed, suggesting that it is the rebel government that had changed tack. This article explores this and the rest of issues connected to it.

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North Korea and the real danger in a nuclear war

North Korea’s recent threats to attack Guam, a United States territory in the Western Pacific Ocean, using nuclear weapons can be regarded as a bluff; however, it should be considered with some concern. Pyongyang’s outburst comes after the recent sanctions imposed by the United Nations following its third nuclear weapon test on 12 February 2013.

For a number of years since the end of the Cold War, Pyongyang’s nuclear programme became a major bone of contention in international affairs and a challenge to the US hegemony in Southeast Asia. In 2006 and 2009, Pyongyang’s rocket tests were unsuccessful, yet this changed in December 2012 with a successful launch of a rocket.

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Decentralised South-South cooperation: A complementary vehicle for state-building in post-conflict societies in Africa?

In recent times, there have been renewed efforts by major developing countries to stimulate South-South cooperation, an effort which has resulted in improved political, economic, and socio-cultural relations among the countries of the so-called Global South. The new wave of South-South cooperation, which, to a large extent, has been spurred by the improved economic prospects of middle-income developing countries and is best captured in, but not limited to, cooperation frameworks like BRICS, IBSA, BASIC or CIVETS, is touted to play an influential role in determining future international processes. More importantly, it comes with a wealth of immediate opportunities for the countries of the South in their efforts to surmount intractable development challenges. In the case of Africa, deepening South-South cooperation, if sufficiently leveraged, could become a catalyst for successful post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts, particularly with regard to the often intricate task of rebuilding state capacity.

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South China Sea dispute:China continues to reject multilateral dialogue

China’s attitude towards a territorial sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea has proved to be problematic in South East Asia. For decades now, the territorial dispute in the Spratly/Nasha islands, known to be rich in natural resources, continue to undermine peace and security in region.

The underlining cause of the tension is that, China claim historical territorial sovereignty on the disputed islands and waters, which clashes with a number of states such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Taiwan. These states too claim legal sovereign rights over the disputed islands.

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All about the Money? South Africa and International Development Cooperation

South Africans are feeling the pinch as the knock-on effects of the international financial crisis filter down and the costs of everything goes up; everything from petrol, to electricity and food, with the added cost of e-tolls looming large. As we head towards the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in March, discussions will resume on the establishment of a BRICS development bank, a representation of the growing economic power of these emerging countries and the success of South-South cooperation. Given our own domestic context, this discussion will be increasingly hard for South Africans to swallow, especially when it comes to questions of where the money will come from and who will benefit.

In just under a decade South Africa has become increasingly active in providing international development cooperation. Research reports indicate that R278 million was spent in support of presidential election in the DRC (2006), R4million was spent to fund South Africa’s participation in the AU observer mission in Sudan (2010), R24millon was spent in funding Cuban Doctors in Sierra Leone, and R300million was spent in supporting economic recovery in Zimbabwe. Even in the recent attacks in the city of Timbuktu, Mali (January 2013), evidence of the reach of South Africa’s funding was highlighted in the unfortunate torching of a library, which was built to house ancient manuscripts.

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