CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Philippines"

A New Twist on Chinese Foreign Policy: Beijing Mixing Business with Politics?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Filipinos chant anti-China slogans as they march towards the Chinese consulate in Manila's Makati financial district on May 11, 2012. Filipinos chant anti-China slogans as they march towards the Chinese consulate in Manila's Makati financial district on May 11, 2012 (Erik de Castro / Courtesy Reuters).

One of the cardinal rules of Chinese diplomacy is that China doesn’t mix business with politics. The precept fits in nicely with the primacy that China places on sovereignty, respecting the right of a country—or at least the leaders of the moment—to determine how things ought to work. And, of course, it also provides Beijing with the opportunity to rationalize its lack of enthusiasm for tough foreign policy action in places such as Iran, Syria, Sudan, or Zimbabwe as a matter of principle. Read more »

China-Philippines Hacking War: A Missed Opportunity for Beijing?

by Adam Segal
A handout photo of two Chinese surveillance ships which sailed between a Philippines warship and eight Chinese fishing boats to prevent the arrest of any fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal, in the South China Sea, about 124 nautical miles off the main island of Luzon on April 10, 2012. A handout photo of two Chinese surveillance ships which sailed between a Philippines warship and eight Chinese fishing boats to prevent the arrest of any fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal, in the South China Sea, about 124 nautical miles off the main island of Luzon on April 10, 2012. (Handout / Courtesy of Reuters)

China continues to raise the heat in its dispute with the Philippines over the sovereignty of Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island. On Monday, He Jia, an anchor on China’s state-run CCTV, mistakenly declared that “China has unquestionable sovereignty over the Philippines” rather than just over the disputed island. On Tuesday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying warned a Philippine diplomat that China was fully prepared to do anything to respond to escalationDeep-water drilling has begun near islands in the South China Sea and Chinese travel agencies have reportedly suspended tours to the Philippines. Chinese netizens are fully in support of the claims, and have in many instances criticized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for not taking more assertive action. Read more »

Wikileaks and Southeast Asia

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange smiles as he arrives for his extradition hearing at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in east London.

Founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange smiles as he arrives for his extradition hearing at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in east London (Toby Melville/Courtesy Reuters).

The recent releases of new batches of Wikileaks cables, many of which reveal the names of protected sources for American diplomats, has roiled diplomatic relations nearly everywhere in the world, and certainly made potential informants more scared of talking to U.S. diplomats. But the cache of cables available about Southeast Asia is among the largest, if not the largest, of any embassy. And recent weeks have seen the release of cables with major news stories, including:

  • A cable interviewing Singaporean Straits Times editors and reporters who claim that the government applies significant pressure on them to take a rosy view of its policies. Some of the finest Straits Times’ reporters, frustrated by what they perceive as government pressure, try to remain in overseas bureaus, where they are much freer (and put out fine work) or simply leave the Straits Times entirely.

Read more »

Asia’s Examples for the Middle East

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sanaa

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sanaa University February 28, 2011. (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters)

In the midst of the unrest in the Middle East, many Arabs, and outside observers, are looking for models for the region’s transitions. One place to look is Asia’s democratic revolutions of the past two decades, from South Korea to Indonesia to the Philippines, the original home of “People Power.” Unfortunately, after the initial euphoria, many of these revolutions have gone sour; today, twenty-five years after overthrowing Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines is technically a democracy, but it’s a weak, corrupt, and oligarchic one.

I have a new CFR expert brief expanding on this topic. It is available here.

Read more »