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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 "Regional Architecture"

William J. Parker III: Meng Xiangqing’s Chinese Dream Eludes Reality

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Chinese missile destroyers navigate during the fleet's review of the China-Russia joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea on April 26, 2012 (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters). Chinese missile destroyers navigate during the fleet's review of the China-Russia joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea on April 26, 2012 (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters).

William J. Parker III is a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Meng Xiangqing got one thing right in his October 8 China Daily article entitled, “Chinese Dream includes strong PLA”: President Xi Jinping has focused his nation towards building “a strong military that is ‘absolutely loyal’ to the Communist Party of China, [that] will abide by discipline and be ready to ensure victory in any war.” Unfortunately, many other points of his article miss the boat. One certainty is that America and her friends and allies must continue to prepare to counter the Chinese capabilities while redoubling efforts to understand the PRC’s intentions. Read more »

Erickson and Strange: Spring Training for the Big Leagues

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) frigate Yi Yang transits the Gulf of Aden prior to conducting a bilateral counter-piracy exercise with the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill in the Gulf of Aden on September 17, 2012. (Aaron Chase, U.S. Navy/Courtesy Reuters) The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Navy) frigate Yi Yang transits the Gulf of Aden prior to conducting a bilateral antipiracy exercise with the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill in the Gulf of Aden on September 17, 2012. (Aaron Chase, U.S. Navy/Courtesy Reuters)

I am delighted to introduce the first of a four-part blog series that will be running through December on the PLA Navy by Andrew Erickson, an associate professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College, and Austin Strange, a researcher for the College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. Throughout the series, they will be tackling issues associated with the Chinese navy’s antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and their impact on China’s naval development, power projection, and international influence.    —Elizabeth Economy Read more »

Japan’s Upper House Election

by Sheila A. Smith
(L-R) Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima, People's Life Party leader Ichiro Ozawa, New Komeito's Party Leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, Democratic Party of Japan leader Banri Kaieda, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Japan Restoration Party co-leader Toru Hashimoto, Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe, Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii, and Green Wind party leader Kuniko Tanioka pose for photos before their debate session ahead of the July 21 Upper house election in Tokyo July 3, 2013. (Toru Hanai/courtesy Reuters) (L-R) Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima, People's Life Party leader Ichiro Ozawa, New Komeito's Party Leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, Democratic Party of Japan leader Banri Kaieda, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Japan Restoration Party co-leader Toru Hashimoto, Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe, Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii, and Green Wind party leader Kuniko Tanioka pose for photos before their debate session ahead of the July 21 Upper house election in Tokyo July 3, 2013. (Toru Hanai/courtesy Reuters)

Last week, campaigning began for this year’s parliamentary election on July 21.  433 candidates have registered to contend for the 121 open slots in Japan’s 242-seat Upper House.  The ruling coalition needs sixty-three seats to gain a majority.  If they can get seventy-two seats, the Liberal Democrats, Prime Minister Abe’s party, could gain a commanding majority on their own, propelling them back into a position of single party dominance in both of Japan’s houses of parliament. Read more »

Will Piekos: China’s Port in Gwadar—Another Pearl Encircling India?

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A view of Pakistan's deep-sea port of Gwadar on the Arabian sea in the southwestern province of Baluchistan on February 6, 2007. A view of Pakistan's deep-sea port of Gwadar on the Arabian sea in the southwestern province of Baluchistan on February 6, 2007. (Qadir Baloch/Courtesy Reuters)

Will Piekos is a Research Associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

There is a lot of speculation as to China’s intentions surrounding the acquisition of Pakistan’s Gwadar port by China Overseas Port Holdings. China bought the rights to develop Gwadar from the Port of Singapore Authority, and the purchase ostensibly will give China access to a deep sea port on the western side of India. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: U.S. Policy in Northeast Asia

by Sheila A. Smith
U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit plenary session in Phnom Penh alongside then Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit plenary session in Phnom Penh alongside then Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao November 20, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama,

As you consider America’s foreign policy challenges, I would urge you to pay particular attention to Northeast Asia. I believe U.S. policy will be tested in this part of Asia, and that our maritime commitments in particular will require clear and committed action. There are leadership transitions there too that deserve some of your personal engagement in building trust.

Let me suggest three areas where I think significant policy attention is warranted. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: Top Priorities for U.S. Policy Toward China and Asia

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

President Obama,

You and your foreign policy team have steered the United States on a constructive course in Asia over the past few years. There is thus no need for a policy overhaul. However, the dynamics of the region—from exploding trade and investment to rapidly rising security tensions and emerging flashpoints—leave no room for complacency. Read more »

A New Opportunity for China-South Korea Relations Under Park Geun-hye and Xi Jinping?

by Scott A. Snyder
China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang shakes hands with South Korea's conservative President-elect Park during their meeting at her office in Seoul. (Kim Hong-ji/courtesy Reuters) China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang shakes hands with South Korea's conservative President-elect Park during their meeting at her office in Seoul. (Kim Hong-ji/courtesy Reuters)

Following an early ambassadorial visit and a courtesy call on President-elect Park Geun-hye from China’s special envoy Vice Minister Zhang Zhijun, Park has decided to reciprocate by sending her first special envoys to Beijing during the transition. The exchange illustrates a mutual recognition that Sino-South Korean relations had deteriorated under Lee Myung-Bak and Hu Jintao and that Park and Xi have a chance to start out on the right foot this time. (See-Won Byun and I review the respective South Korean and Chinese leadership transitions over the last four months in detail here alongside parallel assessments of inter-Korean relations and U.S.-ROK relations by Aidan Foster-Carter and Victor Cha and Ellen Kim.) Read more »

Two U.S. Policymakers Take on U.S.-China Policy

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus inspects a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Chinese PLA Navy Headquarters in Beijing on November 27, 2012. U.S. Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus inspects a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Chinese PLA Navy Headquarters in Beijing on November 27, 2012. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Dan Blumenthal and Phillip Swagel’s new book on U.S.-China relations, An Awkward Embrace, is its lack of nuance. The authors—both of whom have served in the U.S. government and now share an affiliation with the American Enterprise Institute—clearly define U.S. interests with regard to China and address directly the opportunities (great) and challenges (greater) that China presents to those interests. They are equally no-nonsense in their prescriptions for U.S. policy, which they see as necessarily proceeding on two separate economic and security tracks (given the relative greater opportunity for successful cooperation on the economic than on the security front). Most important, Blumenthal and Swagel accomplish what many analysts attempt and most fail—to provide a road-map for U.S. policymakers in managing the relationship with China. Read more »

China’s Not-So-Beautiful Neighborhood

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. (Fred Prouser/Courtesy Reuters)

It is time for China and the rest of Asia to wave good-bye to Mr. Rogers. The Asia Pacific is no longer a beautiful neighborhood. Instead, it has become a battleground for demarcating property lines, grandiose plans for home expansion, and a general lack of good manners. And the situation is only likely to get more contentious with the arrival of Xi Jinping and the new Chinese Politburo Standing Committee to the neighborhood. Read more »

The U.S. Pivot to Asia: Much More Than a Military Rebalance

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he poses for a photo with (L-R) Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the 21st ASEAN and East Asia summits in Phnom Penh on November 19, 2012. U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he poses for a photo with (L-R) Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the 21st ASEAN and East Asia summits in Phnom Penh on November 19, 2012. (Damir Sagolf/Courtesy Reuters)

Dr. Paula Briscoe is National Intelligence Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

President Obama’s trip to Southeast Asia this week brings into sharp relief the challenges facing the administration: how to retain influence in the region and honor commitments to allies without provoking China or furthering suspicions of encirclement.

In numerous remarks and public statements President Obama’s cabinet have been on message stressing the need for balance. On November 15, the day before the president departed on his five-day trip, the National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon, reiterated the importance that the United States places on getting this balance right: “The United States is a Pacific power whose interests are inextricably linked with Asia’s economic, security, and political order. America’s success in the twenty-first century is tied to the success of Asia.” Read more »