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Asia Unbound

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

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Showing posts for "China"

Don’t Buy China’s Peace Plan for North Korea

by Ely Ratner
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the 3rd Meeting of Activists of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in the Movement for Winning the Title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 4, 2016. (Reuters/KCNA)

In a matter of weeks, all of China’s fears have come to a head on the Korean Peninsula. At an airport in Malaysia in mid-February, the exiled half-brother of North Korea’s ruler was assassinated with a nerve agent, reminding the world that the Hermit Kingdom is run by a paranoid and violent regime. Closer to home, North Korea conducted two rounds of ballistic missile tests in stark violation of UN Security Council resolutions. In response, the United States, South Korea, and Japan all vowed to tighten military ties and step up pressure on Pyongyang, underscored by the initial deployment, much to China’s dismay, of a new U.S. missile defense system in South Korea. Read more »

Park’s Impeachment, Myanmar Exodus, ZTE Fine, and More

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Pro-Park-protest A supporter of impeached President Park Geun-hye lies in front of a barricade of riot police during a protest after Park’s impeachment was accepted, near the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, March 10, 2017. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Larry Hong, Gabriella Meltzer, and Gabriel Walker look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Park Geun-hye impeached. South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled unanimously on Friday to uphold a parliamentary vote that impeached Park Geun-hye in December, decisively ousting her from office and igniting violence from pro- and anti-Park demonstrators that led to at least two deaths in Seoul. Park’s abbreviated term, serving four years of a five-year term, has been marked by controversy and criticism of her apparent aloof and autocratic governing manner. Read more »

Trump’s Attack on H-1B Visas: A Boon for Asia?

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
China's Premier Li Keqiang waves as he leaves an office of software services company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Mumbai May 21, 2013. Li is in India on a three-day state visit. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash (INDIA - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) China's Premier Li Keqiang waves as he leaves an office of software services company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Mumbai, India on May 21, 2013. New opportunities for collaboration between India and China in the IT and outsourcing sectors may be emerging. (Vivek Prakash/Reuters)

Rachel Brown is a research associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This is the third part of a series on migration trends in India and China.

India’s outsourcing and IT sectors are on edge. The combination of recent congressional proposals to alter the H-1B visa program, President Donald J. Trump’s vitriolic statements, and his draft executive order on visa reform looms large for heavily visa-reliant companies.  Read more »

Expanding South Korea’s Security Role in the Asia-Pacific Region

by Scott A. Snyder
South Korean Navy patrol combat corvettes stage an anti-submarine exercise off the western coast of Taean on May 27, 2010. North Korea said on Thursday it was ripping up military agreements signed with the South in a step seen as a prelude to shutting down a joint factory park, just as Seoul staged anti-submarine drills in tense border waters. (Reuters/Kim Jae-hwan)

This post was coauthored with Sungtae (Jacky) Park, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

South Korea has become a nation with a global presence, but Seoul has yet to exercise its influence in Southeast Asia. In a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) discussion paper, Expanding South Korea’s Security Role in the Asia-Pacific Region, Patrick M. Cronin, senior advisor and senior director of the Asia-Pacific security program at the Center for a New American Security, and Seongwon Lee, deputy director for the international cooperation division of the unification policy office at the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea, argue that South Korea should play a larger role in the region, particularly with regard to dealing with a rising China and coping with rising maritime tensions. Read more »

Podcast: The Future of China’s Civil Society

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Jack-Ma-climate-conference Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma delivers his speech during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 5, 2015. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Andreas Fulda charts the shifting dynamics that are transforming how Chinese NGOs and their foreign partners operate. Fulda, assistant professor at the University of Nottingham and editor of Civil Society Contributions to Policy Innovation in the PR China, argues that because of increasing domestic pressures—such as that from China’s new foreign NGO management law—international actors face a challenging dilemma: ride out the political waves or pull out of China completely? Read more »

Malaysia’s Front Office Role in Enabling North Korean WMD Procurement

by Scott A. Snyder
North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol (C), who was expelled from Malaysia, is escorted as he arrives at Kuala Lumpur international airport in Sepang, Malaysia March 6, 2017. (Reuters/Lai Seng Sin)

North Korea continues to evade UN sanctions designed to prevent its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development by embedding its agents and intermediaries within the international trading system, according to the latest assessment of the UN Panel of Experts set up to monitor North Korean compliance with international sanctions. Read more »

Samsung Scandal, Islamic State and China, Philippine HIV, and More

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Samsung Group chief Lee Jae-yong arrives at the office of the independent counsel team in Seoul, South Korea, February 22, 2017. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Larry Hong, and Gabriel Walker look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Samsung heir indicted on corruption charges. Lee Jae-yong, the de facto head of Samsung Group, was formally indicted on Tuesday on bribery and embezzlement charges. Lee’s indictment was the culmination of a ninety-day special prosecutor investigation of an intensifying corruption scandal that has already brought about President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. Lee was arrested on February 17 but was not formally indicted until February 28 on charges that include allegedly paying roughly $38 million (43 billion won) to Choi Soon-sil, Park’s close confidante and corruption scandal linchpin, and two nonprofit foundations Choi controlled. Read more »

Will Australia Join South China Sea FONOPs? Don’t Count on It

by Guest Blogger for Joshua Kurlantzick
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur patrols in the Philippine Sea in this August 15, 2013 file photo. The destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of an island claimed by China and two other states in the South China Sea on January 30, 2016 to counter efforts to limit freedom of navigation, the Pentagon said. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur patrols in the Philippine Sea in 2013. This destroyer sailed within twelve nautical miles of an island claimed by China and two other states in the South China Sea during a freedom of navigation operation on January 30, 2016. (U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/Reuters)

Professor James Laurenceson is Deputy Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology Sydney.

News last month that a U.S. Navy carrier strike group had moved into the South China Sea raised expectations that under President Donald J. Trump the United States might dramatically step up freedom of navigation patrols (FONOPs) in the South China Sea. Read more »

South Korea’s Strategic Choices: Separating the Forest from the Trees

by Scott A. Snyder
Protesters gather and occupy major streets in the city center for a rally against South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, South Korea December 3, 2016. (Reuters/Chung Sung-Jun/Pool)

This post was coauthored with Sungtae (Jacky) Park, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

South Korea is in turmoil, with President Park Geun-hye having been suspended from office by the South Korean national assembly after being implicated as an accomplice in the criminal investigation of her close friend, Choi Soon-sil. Consequently, the South Korean conservatives have lost popularity among the public, and the center-left Minjoo Party’s Moon Jae-in has emerged as the front-runner in South Korea’s looming presidential election, which must be held within sixty days if Park’s impeachment is upheld at the South Korean constitutional court. Read more »

India’s Space Program, Kim Jong-nam’s Assassination, Jakarta’s Elections, and More

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
People watch as India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) carrying 104 satellites in a single mission lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer People watch as India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) carrying 104 satellites in a single mission lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India on February 15, 2017. (Stringer/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Larry Hong, Gabriella Meltzer, and Gabriel Walker look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. India’s space program shoots for the stars. This Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit from a single rocket. The feat, which shattered the previous Russian record of thirty-seven satellites in one launch, cemented India as a “serious player” in the private-sector space market. Read more »