The players on the board; a brief look to the political landscape of Asia

The Player is the most important thing in chess he controls all the pieces and decides which move will take place.


Political leaders are the representing persons of states, regions, countries or a pact. In the Netherlands it is quite a common thing to complain about the leader of your country. I would like to bear in mind before I start writing this blog that leaders no matter what you think of them either good, neutral or bad that they represent all citizens that have elected him or her (if it’s done on this democratic process of course). So it is actually a representation of what you might have voted. Still the most persons chose him or he might have had some excellent connections that gave him the spot, with of course keeping in mind the win-win situation.

Political leaders are driven by their vision to improve the country, themselves or the interests of others, we should at least not forget that in fact the political leader is in most cases a puppet of the society and the nation, the people and all other stakeholders that are involved. So before putting a target on someone’s back be aware that there is a lot at stake for a person besides your own interests.

Thein Sein - Myanmar

Thein Sein – Myanmar

Thein Sein – Myanmar
Probably Thein Sein wouldn’t be the first name you think of when it comes to Asian leaders. However, he is becoming an important man on the road towards democracy. He is a former general from the Burmese army. He made the pledge at the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 2012. He stated that his country was on the path from which it could not backtrack. Also the visit by Obama in November 2012 was a notable fact in the change Myanmar is going through. The Burmese Leader was invited by Obama to visit Washington half a year later on May 2013 being the first Burmese Leader since 46 year to visit the United States.

Thein Sein took office on March 2011, after being elected by the people after twenty years without elections. Since he has taken office he has led a process of reform in Myanmar. Under his administration hundreds of political prisoners have been freed, he stopped the building of the controversial Myotsine Dam that was fully supported by China giving a clear signal to the world.

Myanmar is still in the process of reforms and new elections are coming up for 2015, it will be interesting if Thein Sein will manage to stay the leader of his country or that Aung San Suu Kyi or even an outsider will take over his position. The question will remain as well if he loses if this will be accepted by him and the Military. Thein Sein is leading his country with great international interest, he is increasing the international ties with other countries like; China, India, the United States and many more. 2

Shinzo Abe - Japan

Shinzo Abe – Japan

Shinzo Abe – Japan
Japanese Prime Minister got elected in 2012 as president of his country Japan. He served the country before in 2006 but resigned in 2007 due to his physical conditions, he was the youngest President of the country and first to be born after the second world war. In 2012 he returned and since then he is President of Japan, Shinzo Abe is affiliated to the Liberal Democratic Party. Shinzo comes from a political family his father was a former minister and his grandfather was Prime Minister of Japan, he got arrested after world war II but was never charged on his suspicious deeds.

Shinzo is the leader of Japan one of the countries that can be seen as big power in the Asian regions it has a good cooperation with the United States. Besides this the country is also a producer of many goods; vehicles, machinery and electronic equipment is a big export product for the wealthy country. Shinzo has thus fare faced some problems over the East Chinese sea dispute with China, the future has to show us how things will resolve. 3

Park Geun Hye - South Korea

Park Geun Hye – South Korea


Park Geun-Hye
The first female leader of South Korea is Park Geun-hye, this is a remarkable fact among a country with the highest level of gender inequality in the developed world. Park is the daughter of a former president, she was sworn in on the twenty-fifth of February 2013 a day after North Korea’s this nuclear test. During her inauguration speech, she promised the country to focus on national security and revitalising the economy of South Korea.

She offered North Korea a step-by-step approach to build trust between the two arch-enemies. But she also showed another face to the world by immediately stating that she would not tolerate any action that threatened the national security of South Korea, this was followed by months of tensions between the North and the South with as an effect the first closure of the Inter-Korean Kaesong industrial zone.

Park was at the age of 22 already involved in politics, becoming South Korea’s first lady when her mother was assassinated in 1974, whilst her father was at that time president. For five years miss Park had to receive the spouses of foreign heads of state at the blue house or better known as South Korea’s Presidential residence. Her Father seized his power in a military coup in 1961 and was assassinated in 1979. Some say that the association with her father and her experience as first lady helped her overcome prejudices among male voters. 5

Xi Jinping - China

Xi Jinping – China


Xi Jinping – China
The president of the most populous country in the world is Xi Jinping who took office in 2013. Xi took up his post as a president in the second planned, orderly transition since the Communist revolution in 1949. Xi has crafted in contradiction to his predecessor Hu Jintao a more relaxed and sometimes bluff political style. He complained about officials speeches being too much focussed with party propaganda, he finally demanded for more plain speaking.

Xi is the son of former vice premier Xi Zhongxun making him one of the privileged sons and daughters of China’s incumbent or retired leaders. Xi grew up among the party elite and watched his father gain power before the 1966 cultural revolution. Before his rise to power Xi spent years in poverty on the countryside before going to university. Xi later acquired a degree in Marxist theory. 7

Narendra Modi - India

Narendra Modi – India


Narendra Modi – India
In one of my first blogs I already talked about the interesting candidate Narendra Modi. As expected he got chosen to become the prime minister of his country. Before he became prime minister of the country he spend 4609 days in office as Chief Minister of Gujarat reforming the complete state into an economic wealthy state that is a symbol for India’s prosperity. Modi is an ideological driven builder who has great plans for India under the motto; “It’s part of my bigger purpose, helping India evolve.”

I will not analyse all leaders that are part of the political landscape I forget interresting names like Kim Jong-Un (North Korea), Tony Tan Keng Yam (Singapore) & general Prayuth Chan-ocha (Thailand). What makes them interresting is that they respresent in someway the people of their country either if their chosen or not, it is always good to look to their background. How have they come to power and also what are they capable of?

Presidents or prime ministers of countries can have an enormous influence on the well being of their country, they mostly decide which pieces will move and which pieces won’t. It is hard to tell what they exaclty want due to the fact that their are always things striving for other things at the backgrounds and multiple facettes going on. In my next blog the end game, all piece will flow together towards a devastating end.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *