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Asia Unbound

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Showing posts for "Regional Architecture"

Northeast Asian Security Architecture: Lessons from European History

by Scott A. Snyder
William Alberque, Cho Nam Hoon, Morimoto Satoshi, Pan Zhenqiang, and Scott Snyder participate in a panel at the conference, "Northeast Asia Peace and Security Initiative and the European Experience of CSBM," co-hosted by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Lars Erik Lundin, William Alberque, Cho Nam Hoon, Morimoto Satoshi, Pan Zhenqiang, and Scott Snyder participate in a panel at the conference, "Northeast Asia Peace and Security Initiative and the European Experience of CSBM," co-hosted by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Courtesy: Darcie Draudt).

Henry Kissinger offered a sobering observation last February in Munich when he suggested that the uptick in geopolitical rivalry between China and Japan reminded him of nineteenth century Europe. Mindful of the negative consequences of such a conflict for his own country, South Korea’s foreign minister Yun Byung-se referenced Kissinger’s observation in the opening to his own speech last week at a conference in Seoul, co-sponsored by the Asan Institute and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The conference explicitly sought lessons from Europe’s past experience with establishment of Confidence and Security Building Mechanisms (CSBMs) for Park Geun-hye’s Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI), a proposal to institutionalize a process for promoting multilateral cooperation that Park is promoting as a solution to the severe distrust in the region. Read more »

Missing in Asia: The Pivotal Person in Obama’s Pivot

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses next to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference in the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo April 24, 2014. Abe said on Thursday that he will continue to explain his visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead to gain understanding from neighbouring Asian countries. REUTERS/Larry Downing (JAPAN - Tags: POLITICS) U.S. president Barack Obama pauses next to Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference in the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on April 24, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

It is tough to get a fix on what is wrong with President Obama’s Asia pivot. On the face of it, it is the perfect policy at the perfect time: it serves America’s economic interests by pushing a high-end trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); it reinforces and expands America’s role as the dominant security player in the region; and it advances the ideals of the American political system through capacity building in countries such as Myanmar. Yet, no matter how much attention the president and his team are paying to the region—and no one can legitimately claim that the Asia Pacific is suffering from a lack of U.S. attention given the number of trips to the region by senior U.S. officials—the sum of the policy is rapidly becoming less than its parts. Read more »

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 »