Tons of bioplastics + South Korea and the US presence + Xi in textbooks
The oceans are full of plastic. Images of empty bottles, brightly colored bags, white plastic forks, half-rotten diapers and masks washing up on shores are probably familiar to most. And on land, the "tide" is rising as well: Plastic packaging strewn everywhere blemishes the beauty of the cities and landscapes. And since most plastic packaging is white, this is called "white pollution".
China has a massive problem with this – and now wants to counteract it with bioplastics. Newly planned production capacities for polylactic acid even exceed the current global production volume, as our author Christiane Kühl reports. Ambitions are high, but the probability of success is modest: the benefits of bioplastics without industrial composting are limited. And the People's Republic still lacks the necessary facilities for this.
In our second analysis in today's issue, we take a look at South Korea's relationship with the USA. Plans by the US to house Afghan refugees in Asian military bases weren't too well received in Seoul. This is fuelling the debate in South Korea about how much US presence the country is still willing to tolerate, writes Frank Sieren. A debate that is not inconvenient for China. Seoul is also beginning to look more and more towards Beijing due to the situation with North Korea.