CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

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

Can China Lead?

by Elizabeth C. Economy Friday, October 5, 2012
Protesters march down a street during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen on August 19, 2012. Protesters march down a street during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen on August 19, 2012. (Keita Van / Courtesy Reuters)

Yesterday, I participated in a BBC/Carnegie Endowment debate on the U.S. presidential campaign and policy toward China with the eminent and estimable Ambassadors Chas W. Freeman, Jr. and J. Stapleton Roy, and Tsinghua University scholar Yan Xuetong.  The full debate is available here.

The discussion was wide-ranging, but what struck me most was an assertion by one of the panelists that the next U.S. president will have to deal with the fact that China has surpassed the United States as the number one power (based on the size of its economy). As a result, in his opinion, China will no longer feel the need to defer to the United States and the current arrangement of international institutions. Read more »

Why Young Democracies Fear YouTube

by Joshua Kurlantzick Friday, October 5, 2012
A man looks at YouTube at an Internet cafe in Yangon, Myanmar. A man looks at YouTube at an Internet cafe in Yangon, Myanmar (Soe Zeya/Courtesy Reuters).

In the Washington Post  yesterday, Craig Timberg and Paula Moura described the recent jailing of a top Google executive in Brazil, and explored the broader trend of so-called democracies’ attempts to restrict Internet freedom. While China’s construction of the “Great Firewall” and Iran’s internet blackouts tend to grab headlines, democracies around the word are allthewhile taking their own measures to block content. Read more »

How Japan’s Next Election Will Be Won

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith Thursday, October 4, 2012
Election officers count votes at a ballot counting center for the upper house election in Tokyo July 11, 2010. Election officers count votes at a ballot counting center for the Upper House election in Tokyo July 11, 2010 (Yuriko Nakao/Courtesy Reuters).

Charles T. McClean is a Research Associate for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Headlines in Tokyo today are focused on who will win Japan’s next election, but very little attention is paid to how that election will be won. Few are discussing the Supreme Court of Japan’s mandate for electoral reform, reform that must happen before an election can be held. Yet the contours of that reform will decide the rules of the game for the next Lower House election. Read more »

North Korea’s Next Provocation: What Will They Do and When Will It Happen?

by Scott A. Snyder Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Soldiers of North Korean navy participate in a drill against "the U.S. and South Korean regime" in an undisclosed location of North Korea. (KCNA/courtesy Reuters) Soldiers of North Korean navy participate in a drill against "the U.S. and South Korean regime" in an undisclosed location of North Korea. (KCNA/courtesy Reuters)

Recent forays by North Korean fishing vessels across the disputed Northern Limit Line and DPRK Vice Minister Park Kil-yon’s statement that a “spark” could set off nuclear war on the Korean peninsula are again raising questions about what North Korea will do next and when. Read more »

Evaluating Suu Kyi’s and Thein Sein’s Trips to the United States

by Joshua Kurlantzick Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Myanmar opposition leader Suu Kyi is presented with the Congressional Gold Medal by House Speaker Boehner in Washington. Myanmar opposition leader Suu Kyi is presented with the Congressional Gold Medal by House Speaker Boehner in Washington (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

The past two weeks have probably been the most high-profile weeks for Myanmar in the United States since the uprisings and crackdowns in Myanmar in 1988. The much-awaited visit of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi drew crowds that could be compared, in some ways, only to visits of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. And Suu Kyi, in many ways, delivered, showing flexibility on sanctions that will allow for a much greater U.S. presence in Myanmar, displaying the humor and lightness of touch at events that was concealed by years of harsh government policy toward her, and offering a level of forgiveness of her former jailers that could help show the way forward for reconciliation in a future democratic Myanmar. Read more »

China, International Law, and Cyberspace

by Adam Segal Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State, speaking at a press conference at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. (Eric Bridiers/Courtesy U.S. Mission to the UN) Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State, speaking at a press conference at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. (Eric Bridiers/Courtesy U.S. Mission to the UN)

In a speech two weeks ago, Harold Koh stated that the United States government believes that cyberattacks can amount to armed attacks and are subject to international law. “International law principles do apply in cyberspace,” said Koh. “Cyber activities that proximately result in death, injury, or significant destruction would likely be viewed as a use of force.” Self-defense, proportionality, neutrality, and distinction should all apply in cyberspace, though there remain questions and ambiguities about defining the use of force, distinguishing between military and civilian-use networks, and the continuing problem of attribution. Read more »

The Compulsory Licensing of Pharmaceuticals: Will China Follow in India’s Footsteps?

by Yanzhong Huang Monday, October 1, 2012
An official poses with packets of Sorafenib Tosylate tablets inside the head office of Natco in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad March 13, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters) An official poses with packets of Sorafenib Tosylate tablets inside the head office of Natco in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad March 13, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters)

Compulsory licensing is emerging as an additional mechanism by which developing countries can make the treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) more affordable to their populace. Under the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, compulsory licensing, which occurs when a government licenses the use of a patented innovation without the consent of the patent title holder, is a legally recognized means to overcome barriers in accessing affordable medicines. Read more »