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Asia Unbound

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

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Friday Asia Update: Five Stories From the Week of October 14, 2016

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Police forces prepare to patrol in Maungdaw township at Rakhine state, northeast Myanmar, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer Police forces prepare to patrol in Maungdaw township at Rakhine state in northeast Myanmar on October 12, 2016. (Stringer /Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Lincoln Davidson, Gabriella Meltzer, and David O’Connor look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Violence escalates in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Three police posts in townships in the volatile Rakhine state were attacked this week, further stoking concerns about ethnic conflict and violence in the region. These incidents resulted in the death of eight attackers and nine officers. Subsequent confrontations added to the death toll, which escalated to an estimated forty people. Read more »

Four Ways to Unilaterally Sanction North Korea

by Scott A. Snyder
Trucks move across the bridge linking North Korea with the Chinese border city of Dandong in this March 3, 2016 file photo. China on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, banned imports of gold and rare earths from North Korea as well as exports to the country of jet fuel and other oil products used to make rocket fuel, a move in line with new United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang. (REUTERS/Megha Rajagopalan) Trucks move across the bridge linking North Korea with the Chinese border city of Dandong in this March 3, 2016 file photo. China on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, banned imports of gold and rare earths from North Korea as well as exports to the country of jet fuel and other oil products used to make rocket fuel, a move in line with new United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang. (REUTERS/Megha Rajagopalan)

It has been almost three weeks since North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test, but China and the United States have not yet reached agreement on the text of a new UN Security Council resolution condemning the country. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Five Stories From the Week of September 16, 2016

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
delhi-mosquito-net A boy covered with a mosquito net sleeps in a cot on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, April 18, 2016. (Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters)

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

1. Delhi battles major chikungunya outbreak. Over 1,000 people have fallen ill and at least twelve have died due to a major outbreak of chikungunya in Delhi. Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus similar to Zika and dengue, is typically not fatal, but can cause debilitating joint pain along with fever, fatigue, and nausea. Health minister J. P. Nadda has assured the Indian public that chikungunya did not cause the fatalities, but rather exacerbated deadly illnesses that were already ailing the elderly. Read more »

India, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Paris Climate Accord

by Alyssa Ayres
Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shake hands during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement ceremony ahead of the G20 Summit at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China, September 3, 2016. (How Hwee Young/Reuters) Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shake hands during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement ceremony ahead of the G20 Summit at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China, September 3, 2016. (How Hwee Young/Reuters)

The Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Hangzhou brought big news: U.S.-China ratification of the Paris climate agreement, heralded as an important sign of “climate change cooperation.” The world’s two largest carbon emitters called upon other Paris signatories to join them in bringing the global agreement into effect. India remains the third largest carbon emitter globally, although its per capita emissions are much lower than those of the United States or China, so many eyes have been watching to see what New Delhi does next. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Five Stories From the Week of August 12, 2016

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A Thai electoral worker starts counting ballots at a polling station during a constitutional referendum vote in Bangkok, Thailand August 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kerek Wongsa A Thai electoral worker starts counting ballots at a polling station during a constitutional referendum vote in Bangkok, Thailand on August 7, 2016. (Kerek Wongsa/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Lincoln Davidson, Bochen Han, Theresa Lou, and Gabriella Meltzer look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. New Thai constitution passed in referendum. In their first opportunity to vote since the 2014 military coup that toppled Yingluck Shinawatra’s democratically-elected government, the Thai people gave a resounding “yes” to the new military-drafted constitution. The results, with over 61 percent voting in favor, may not have been surprising given that the junta did its all to drown out the opposition, arresting and detaining dozens of activists and politicians in the lead-up to the vote. Experts were also quick to point out that approval did not equal widespread endorsement of the junta, as most people had never even seen a draft of the document and merely wanted a return to political normalcy. Read more »

India, Global Governance, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group

by Alyssa Ayres
Supporters of India's Congress party celebrate the approval of the U.S.-Indian nuclear energy deal in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad on September 6, 2008 (Amit Dave/Reuters). Supporters of India's Congress party celebrate the approval of the U.S.-Indian nuclear energy deal in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad on September 6, 2008 (Amit Dave/Reuters).

On the eve of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival in Washington for a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama, the New York Times published an editorial that weighed in on a subject certain to feature on the leaders’ agenda: India’s bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The Times opined that the United States should not support India’s membership bid as, “Membership would enhance India’s standing as a nuclear weapons state, but it is not merited until the country meets the group’s standards.” The editorial advised Obama to “press for India to adhere to the standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere.” It added that the 2008 U.S.-India civil-nuclear agreement had “encouraged” Pakistan to expand its nuclear weapons program. Read more »

Anti-Nuclear Sentiment and Japan’s Energy Choices

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited's Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility is pictured in Rokkasho village, Aomori prefecture, Japan, December 4, 2015 (Kentaro Hamada/REUTERS). Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited's Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility is pictured in Rokkasho village, Aomori prefecture, Japan, December 4, 2015 (Kentaro Hamada/REUTERS).

Daniel P. Aldrich is professor of political science and public policy and co-director of Northeastern University’s Security and Resilience Studies Program. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Five Stories From the Week of April 1, 2016

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Kolkata-collapse Firefighters and rescue workers search for victims at the site of an under-construction overpass after it collapsed in Kolkata, India, March 31, 2016. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

Ashlyn Anderson, Rachel Brown, Lincoln Davidson, Gabriella Meltzer, Gabriel Walker, and Pei-Yu Wei look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Anger, grief, and questions linger over debris of collapsed overpass in Kolkata. The collapse of the a major overpass under construction in Kolkata, India, has left officials and citizens scrambling for answers. Located in a densely populated market area, more than one hundred people were crushed by falling debris, and at least twenty-five deaths have been confirmed. Read more »

Podcast: How a U.S. Company Took On a Chinese SOE and Won

by Elizabeth C. Economy
China-wind-energy-turbine Employees climb up an electricity pylon next to a windmill to carry on a routine inspection at a wind power plant in Mingguang, Anhui province, July 8, 2013. (China Daily/Reuters)

In another break from my podcast series on new books, I interview Patrick Jenevein, CEO of Tang Energy. Patrick relays in fascinating detail the high points—and some of the low ones as well—of his twenty years of experience doing business in China until everything exploded in 2014–2015. The story of breached contracts and bullying behavior will not be new for many familiar with the perils of doing business in China. But how Patrick managed to take on the behemoth state-owned enterprise Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and win his case adds a fresh and uncommon twist. Patrick’s story may not be a book—but it could be. Read more »

Bilateral Mishap: A View From Nepal

by Guest blogger for Alyssa Ayres
A notice is displayed outside of a restaurant in Nepal as the fuel crisis continues in October 2015 (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters). A notice is displayed outside of a restaurant in Nepal as the fuel crisis continues in October 2015 (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters).

Sujeev Shakya is the author of Unleashing Nepal and chairs the Nepal Economic Forum. www.sujeevshakya.com 

India has a lot to do to rebuild its relationship with Nepal.

Nepali Prime Minister K. P. Oli visits India this week with a jumbo delegation at a time when Nepal-India ties have plunged to their lowest point in recent history. India had just shored up its image in Nepal with two successful visits of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August and November of 2014, followed by unprecedented support in the relief and rescue efforts after the April 2015 earthquake. But the warmth chilled by September 2015, with the announcement of a new constitution in Nepal and an “informal” blockade on trucks heading across India’s border with Nepal. Read more »