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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Seeking Applicants: 2013–2014 International Affairs Fellowship in South Korea, sponsored by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies

by Scott A. Snyder Friday, July 13, 2012
Secretary of State Clinton speaks during U.S.-Korea ministerial dialogue meetings with Defense Secretary Panetta, South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim, and South Korea's Minister of National Defense Kim in Washington. (Jose Luis Magaua/courtesy Reuters) Secretary of State Clinton speaks during U.S.-Korea ministerial dialogue meetings with Defense Secretary Panetta, South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim, and South Korea's Minister of National Defense Kim in Washington. (Jose Luis Magaua/courtesy Reuters)

Are you interested in spending time and working on research in Seoul, South Korea? Do you have an interest in U.S.-South Korea relations? Do you know someone who is? If so, consider CFR’s 2013-2014 International Affairs Fellowship in South Korea (IAF-SK), sponsored by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.  Read more »

“Winner Take All”—A China Story?

by Elizabeth C. Economy Thursday, July 12, 2012
A Chinese contractor walks at the site of the Nairobi-Thika highway project, under construction near Kenya's capital Nairobi, on September 23, 2011. A Chinese contractor walks at the site of the Nairobi-Thika highway project, under construction near Kenya's capital Nairobi, on September 23, 2011. (Thomas Mukoya / Courtesy Reuters)

It was with a mix of trepidation and anticipation that I read Dambisa Moyo’s newly-released book, Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What it Means for the World: trepidation because my colleague Michael Levi and I are currently finishing a book on China’s resource quest; and anticipation because it is actually fun to read a book on a topic on which you are writing … as long, of course, as it doesn’t say exactly what you planned to say. Read more »

Time for China to Abandon Its Population Control Policy

by Yanzhong Huang Thursday, July 12, 2012
A young Chinese surrogate mother in the maternity ward of Guangzhou's Taihe Hospital, where she said she was forced into an abortion by the city's family planning officials, on April 30, 2009. A young Chinese surrogate mother in the maternity ward of Guangzhou's Taihe Hospital, where she said she was forced into an abortion by the city's family planning officials, on April 30, 2009. (Reuters Staff / Courtesy Reuters)

Last week, the government of the Philippines announced plans to allocate nearly $12 million towards contraceptive supplies for community clinics. Yesterday, the London Summit on Family Planning brought together government leaders, representatives from international agencies and civil society organizations, and private donors as part of a campaign to improve access to birth control in the world’s poorest countries. In China, the story was dramatically different. Last Thursday, fifteen prominent Chinese legal and demographic scholars issued an open letter calling for the end of restrictions on people’s birth rights. The action was prompted by news reports that local government officials in northwest China forced a seven-month pregnant woman, Feng Jianmei, to undergo an abortion. Read more »

Hillary Clinton Goes to Laos

by Joshua Kurlantzick Wednesday, July 11, 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Clinton talks to a disabled boy at the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise visitor center in Vientiane. U.S. Secretary of State Clinton talks to a disabled boy at the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise visitor center in Vientiane (Phoonsab Thevongsa/Courtesy Reuters).

Vientiane, capital of Laos, is one of the quietest cities I have ever been to, though it has more of a nightlife these days than it did when I first started going, in 1999, and the whole town seemed to shut down at around 6 p.m., save a few open-air bars by the Mekong River where people could go and have snacks of grilled chicken and sticky rice and tall bottles of Beer Lao on ice. Still, the visit this week of Hillary Clinton was one of the biggest events for the Lao capital in years, equivalent to ASEAN meetings and the Southeast Asia Games. Read more »

U.S. Rebalancing and Japan-South Korea Defense Cooperation

by Scott A. Snyder Monday, July 9, 2012
7.9.12_U.S Rebalancing

Since Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Washington in October 2011 there has been an air of self-congratulation surrounding the U.S.-ROK alliance relationship.  President Obama  shared publicly that Lee Myung-bak is one of his closest colleagues among world leaders and referred to the U.S.-ROK alliance as a lynchpin for Asia-Pacific security.  The alliance has reached new heights with KORUS ratification and close coordination in response to North Korean provocations.  South Korea has also emerged as a trusted contributor to international security in cooperation with the United States. Read more »

New Indonesian Law Constrains Gas Exports

by Joshua Kurlantzick Thursday, July 5, 2012
Indonesia's President Yudhoyono waits to give his keynote address during the opening of the 11th IISS Asia Security Summit. Kurlantzick discusses Yudhoyono’s recent attempts to reduce Indonesia’s openness to investment, and focus on domestic concerns. Indonesia's President Yudhoyono waits to give his keynote address during the opening of the 11th IISS Asia Security Summit. Kurlantzick discusses Yudhoyono’s recent attempts to reduce Indonesia’s openness to investment, and focus on domestic concerns (Tim Chong/Courtesy Reuters).

Over at Asia Sentinel, today there is a succinct overview of the announcement, made on July 4, that the Indonesian government may stop the signing of any new deals to export natural gas. According to Asia Sentinel, the director general of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry announced that the administration may use this moratorium to shift natural gas deliveries to more domestic users, such as a range of Indonesian industries. But Asia Sentinel reports that Indonesia also has vast reserves of natural gas, and that to utilize more of it for domestic uses would require sizable changes in its gas delivery infrastructure. Indonesia does have a strong domestic economy, and local companies certainly are going to see demands for gas grow, but this announcement comes as part of a trend. Read more »

The Other China

by Elizabeth C. Economy Thursday, July 5, 2012
A Chinese labourer waits for a job at the Chaotianmen Port along the Yangtze River in downtown Chongqing on December 3, 2000. A Chinese labourer waits for a job at the Chaotianmen Port along the Yangtze River in downtown Chongqing on December 3, 2000. (Guang Niu/Courtesy Reuters)

It appears that 2012—like every year in recent history—will yield a bumper crop of new China books. In the past few weeks, three have come across my desk—Dambisa Moyo’s Winner Take All,  Zhou Xun’s The Great Famine in China, and The End of the Chinese Dream by Gerard Lemos.

Given the number of books on China that are out there already, it is probably reasonable to ask whether we need any more. The first book I picked up—The End of the Chinese Dream—suggests that the answer is “yes”. Read more »