Asia Minute: Regional Impact of Iranian Tensions

Jan 9, 2020

While the conflict between the United States and Iran seems to have cooled in the last couple of days, tensions remain. And that is continuing to affect U.S. allies in the Asia Pacific.

The government of the Philippines has ordered all of its citizens to leave Iraq and Iran.

Government figures show about 7,000 Filipinos are living in Iraq — working as domestic helpers, nurses, and in the construction industry. More than a thousand work in Iran.

Reuters reports that Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has sent a special envoy to Tehran and Baghdad to assure safe passage for all Filipinos in case of a rapid evacuation.

Japan’s Prime Minister has cancelled plans for a trip to the Middle East that had been scheduled to get underway this weekend. Shinzo Abe had been planning to visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman to discuss a coming regional mission of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Japanese officials say that mission is still going ahead early next month.

South Korean officials are facing increased pressure to take part in a U.S. led multinational coalition in the Strait of Hormuz. U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris told Korean broadcaster KBS Tuesday “I hope that Korea will send forces out there.”

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says no decision has yet been reached.

The Korea Herald says more than 70% of South Korea’s crude oil imports are shipped through the Strait of Hormuz.