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

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Ukraine’s Lessons for Asia

by Alyssa Ayres
A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009 (Courtesy Reuters/Adnan Abidi). A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009 (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters).

This post is one of a three-part Asia Unbound series on the implications for Asia of the crisis in Ukraine. See related posts from my colleagues Elizabeth Economy and Sheila Smith.

The most significant international crisis in recent years—Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine—has left global and western institutions scrambling to respond. What lessons do these events offer thus far for Asia? Read more »

Parker and Rutherford: Countering China’s Rise Through a U.S.-Russia Coalition

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama are pictured on a video screen installed in the press centre of the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg on September 5, 2013. (Grigory Dukor/Courtesy Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama are pictured on a video screen installed in the press centre of the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg on September 5, 2013. (Grigory Dukor/Courtesy Reuters)

William J. Parker III, PhD, is a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Alanna C. Rutherford, JD, is a partner at a New York law firm and a CFR Term Member.

Let’s face it; the United States and Russia are not exactly best of friends right now as President Putin continues to challenge the super power moniker the United States currently enjoys.[i] But isn’t it ironic that following a fifty-year cold war with the former Soviet Union, the United States and Russia find themselves in a situation where their collective best option to counter the rising power of China may be each other? Read more »

Will Piekos: China’s Inroads into Central Asia

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
(R-L) Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev, China's President Xi Jinping, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov pose for a picture before a session of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek on September 13, 2013 (Mikhail Klimentyev/Courtesy Reuters). (R-L) Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev, China's President Xi Jinping, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov pose for a picture before a session of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek on September 13, 2013 (Mikhail Klimentyev/Courtesy Reuters).

Will Piekos is a research associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a lengthy trip to Central Asia this past weekend that ended in a meeting of the six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek, Krgyzstan. On paper at least, the trip was a significant success for Beijing. Xi signed multiple economic and energy agreements with the former Soviet satellite states and showed regional security leadership through the SCO. The trip even included some attempts at soft power projection—Xi announced 30,000 government scholarships to students of SCO member states. With the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan, Central Asia is an area full of potential for Chinese investment and diplomacy. Read more »

Dagny Dukach: The Wary Partnership Between China and Russia

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) exchanges documents with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 22, 2013. Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) exchanges documents with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 22, 2013. (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters)

Dagny Dukach is an intern for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sino-Russian cooperation has grown considerably over the past few months, with the most notable example of this being China and Russia’s joint naval exercise in July. Against the backdrop of Obama’s pivot to Asia and rhetoric from Russian and Chinese leaders extolling their renewed cooperative spirit, some Western observers have suggested that improved relations between the two powers threaten U.S. interests. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of July 12, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (L) delivers remarks with China's Vice Premier Wang Yang at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Treasury Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (L) delivers remarks with China's Vice Premier Wang Yang at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Treasury Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

Sharone Tobias and Will Piekos look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Cybersecurity the main focus of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Treasury Security Jack Lew, Chinese top diplomat Yang Jiechi, and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang met in Washington for the fifth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue this week. The dialogue focused on a number of issues, including how to deal with North Korea, Asian maritime disputes, and economic issues; the two sides made headway on investment and climate change agreements, though (unsurprisingly) there were no breakthroughs on cybersecurity, a main focus of the talks. Read more »

Who’s in Charge?

by Sheila A. Smith
A Chinese vessel pointed a type of radar normally used to help guide missiles at a Japanese navy ship near disputed East China Sea islets, prompting the Japanese government to lodge a protest with China On January 30, a Chinese naval frigate pointed a type of radar normally used to help guide missiles at Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Yudachi (pictured above) near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Stock photo February 5, 2013 (MSDF/Courtesy Reuters).

This week yet another ratcheting up of tensions between Japanese and Chinese forces in the East China Sea drew our attention. Alongside the incremental escalation of danger inherent in these interactions is the dueling narratives about what is actually happening on the ground—or, more accurately, on the water and in the air. The confusing stories coming out of Northeast Asian capitals only complicate an already worrisome  situation, one that could easily result in a local commander behaving badly or miscalculating. Read more »

Don’t Bet on the BRICs

by Joshua Kurlantzick
(L-R) India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, China's President Hu Jintao, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma attend a joint news conference at the BRICS Leaders Meeting in Sanya, Hainan province April 14, 2011.

(L-R) India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, China's President Hu Jintao, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma attend a joint news conference at the BRICS Leaders Meeting in Sanya, Hainan province April 14, 2011 (How Hwee Young/Courtesy Reuters).

In the midst of the Eurozone crisis and the G20 summit, many commentators are hailing this moment as a key sign of America’s decline and the rise of emerging powers – principally China but also India, Brazil and others. In the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek I argue that this optimism over the BRICS’ ability to aid the world economy is, for now, wildly overrated.

You can read the article in its entirety here.

Read more »