CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

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

What We Need to Hear From the Candidates on China

by Elizabeth C. Economy Friday, October 19, 2012
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listens to U.S. President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, on October 16, 2012. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listens to U.S. President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, on October 16, 2012. (Jim Young / Courtesy Reuters)

A few weeks back I explored the quality of the China debate in the Presidential campaign and found it sadly lacking. The campaigns have targeted China as a critical issue, but not in a way that elevates the discourse. China-bashing television ads and debate over whose pension fund has Chinese companies in its portfolio are not going to help the American people understand who would better manage U.S.-China relations and China’s rise. As a result, I raised a number of potential issues I thought might help answer this question. Read more »

On Cybersecurity, India Begins to Embrace the Private Sector

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal Thursday, October 18, 2012
India's National Security Advisor, Shri Shivshankar Menon, delivering the keynote address at the release of the report of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on “Engagement with Private Sector on Cyber Security”, in New Delhi on October 15, 2012. (Courtesy Government of India) India's National Security Advisor, Shri Shivshankar Menon, delivering the keynote address at the release of the report of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on “Engagement with Private Sector on Cyber Security”, in New Delhi on October 15, 2012. (Courtesy Government of India)

Cherian Samuel is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in Delhi, India.

Monday, October 15 saw the release of the Government of India’s Recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Cyber Security. The Joint Working Group was created in July 2012 and included representatives from various ministries as well as the private sector, namely the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, The National Association of Software and Services Companies, the Data Security Council of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The entire exercise was coordinated by the National Security Council Secretariat. Read more »

South Korean Public Opinion and the U.S.-ROK Alliance

by Scott A. Snyder Wednesday, October 17, 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)

The Korea Economic Institute of America co-hosted an event with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Asan Institute for Policy Studies yesterday at which I presented my analysis of Chicago Council results of its biennial poll of American public attitudes toward South Korea. The Asan Institute’s Dr. Kim Ji-yoon gave a parallel presentation of South Korean attitudes toward the alliance based on results from a survey of Korean respondents completed last week. Both presentations are available here, but I also want to share my takeaways from Dr. Kim’s data and its implications for the U.S.-ROK alliance going forward. Read more »

The Underground Railroad from North Korea to Freedom

by Scott A. Snyder Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Kim Han-mi watches her mother being dragged by Chinese policemen when her family attempted to enter into the Japanese Consulate in order to seek asylum in Shenyang. (Kyodo/courtesy Reuters) Kim Han-mi watches her mother being dragged by Chinese policemen when her family attempted to enter into the Japanese Consulate in order to seek asylum in Shenyang. (Kyodo/courtesy Reuters)

Former deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal Melanie Kirkpatrick has written a compelling book describing the tortuous path North Koreans must undertake across China to freedom in South Korea and other countries in the West. The book captures the multiple paths that desperate North Koreans have taken upon their departure from North Korea through China and other countries to safety in South Korea and the West. It champions the sacrifices of a range of dedicated individuals outside North Korea who have risked their lives to assist North Koreans in their road to freedom and to provide information back to North Korea about the outside world. And it savages the policies of governments including China, the United States, and South Korea’s progressive administrations for turning a blind eye to the suffering of North Koreans who are victims of an uncompromising totalitarian political system. Read more »

The Death of King Sihanouk

by Joshua Kurlantzick Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Mourners gather to pay respects to the late former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh October 16, 2012. Mourners gather to pay respects to the late former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh October 16, 2012 (Samrang Pring/Courtesy Reuters).

Of the major figures from the Indochina Wars of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, there are now very few left. Vo Nguyen Giap, military commander for the People’s Army of Vietnam, is still alive, though over one hundred years old. Some of the wartime leaders from Laos remain alive. A few mid-level figures from the American side are still around, though the senior army and civilian leaders are all gone.

On Monday, Beijing time, the biggest figure still alive from that period, former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, passed away. Read more »

Southern Philippines Deal a Lesson for Southern Thailand?

by Joshua Kurlantzick Wednesday, October 10, 2012
People leave the scene after a car bomb exploded in southern Thailand's Sai Buri district. People leave the scene after a car bomb exploded in southern Thailand's Sai Buri district (Surapan Boonthanom/Courtesy Reuters).

In the wake of the Philippines government announcing last weekend that Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had agreed upon a peace plan after fifteen years of negotiations and forty years of war, many Thai news outlets are wondering whether Manila could teach Bangkok a lesson in how to deal with the southern Thailand insurgency. The Nation today, in an editorial titled “A Lesson for Thailand from the Philippines,” offers that the Philippine agreement has many key points for Thai policymakers to learn from, a mantra echoed by several other Thai media outlets. Yet there are key differences between southern Thailand and southern Philippines that, at this point, will make it hard to apply many of Manila’s lessons to Thailand: Read more »

Huawei, Cybersecurity, and U.S. Foreign Policy

by Adam Segal Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Reps. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger hold a news conference on Huawei and ZTE in Washington House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) (L) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) hold a news conference to release a report on "national security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE" on Capitol Hill in Washington October 8, 2012. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

Most of the attention generated by the report by Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Select Committee on Intelligence (HSCI) has focused on the issues of trade, trust, and Huawei’s and ZTE’s future access to the U.S. market. The report, however, should also be seen as another step in the effort to construct a coherent foreign policy response to cyber espionage.

The domestic agenda has revolved around three debates: the government’s role in setting security standards for the private sector; how the government and private sector should share threat information; and the respective roles of DHS and NSA in defending the private sector. Read more »

Times are Changing in Northeast Asian Waters

by Sheila A. Smith Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda shakes hands with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Kyoto Japan's prime minister Yoshihiko Noda shakes hands with South Korean president Lee Myung-bak in Kyoto, Japan December 18, 2011 (Kyodo/Courtesy Reuters).

A few weeks ago, the blow up between Tokyo and Beijing over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands captured out attention. But a little less conspicuous is the new era of Japan-South Korean tensions in the seas of Northeast Asia. The eruption of tensions between Tokyo and Seoul resulted after South Korean president Lee Myung-bak visited islands at the center of a territorial dispute between the two U.S. allies.

News reports in Tokyo and Seoul last week revealed that on September 21 the South Korean air force sent F-15K fighter jets to respond to a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) helicopter that had entered the South Korean air defense zone without notification. Read more »

South Korea’s New Missile Guidelines and North Korea’s Response

by Scott A. Snyder Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Models of a North Korean Scud-B missile and South Korean missiles are displayed at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul. (Lee Jae-won/courtesy Reuters) Models of a North Korean Scud-B missile and South Korean missiles are displayed at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul. (Lee Jae-won/courtesy Reuters)

The DPRK (North Korea) National Defense Commission responded with predictable bravado (“DPRK NDC Reiterates Its Stand to Fight It Out against U.S. and S. Korean Regime”) to Sunday’s announcement by the government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) that it had secured U.S. agreement to amend a 2001 accord that would allow the ROK to develop ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 800 kilometers and payloads of up to 500 kilograms. This amendment extends the current ROK missile range limit of 300 kilometers as a deterrence measure against the North’s own steady development of nuclear and missile capabilities. South Korea will pursue development of these capabilities over the next five years with a target date for deployment of 2017. Read more »

Philippines Signs Framework Deal With Muslim Rebels

by Joshua Kurlantzick Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Philippine president Benigno Aquino shakes hands with presidential adviser on the peace process, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, after his speech on national television at the Malacanang palace in Manila October 7, 2012. Philippine president Benigno Aquino shakes hands with presidential adviser on the peace process, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, after his speech on national television at the Malacanang palace in Manila October 7, 2012 (Cheryl Ravelo/Courtesy Reuters).

On Sunday in Asia, the Philippine government reportedly signed a preliminary peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), according to the Associated Press and other services in Manila. If this deal is successful, it would end an insurgency that has raged in the south for decades, and which at times has seemed impossible to shut down —the rebels and various Philippine governments have been negotiating over a potential ceasefire and peace deal for more than fifteen years. Read more »