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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 "South China Sea"

Who is Sengoku38?

by Sheila A. Smith

Yesterday, video of the collisions between a Chinese fishing trawler and the Japanese coast guard appeared on YouTube—sent from an account named Sengoku38. Six separate videos, for a total of 44 minutes of footage, taken apparently from the decks of Japanese coast guard vessels showed the tensions aboard as the Chinese vessel altered course twice to collide with two different Coast Guard patrol ships.

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Continental and Maritime in U.S.-India Relations

by Evan A. Feigenbaum

The Indian financial newspaper, Business Standard, has published my latest “DC Diary” column.  With President Obama landing in New Delhi this week, it seemed like a good time to ask why Washington and New Delhi remain so burdened, even imprisoned, by continental preoccupations.

To Americans, India can be a real jumble of contradictions.  It is a maritime nation—strategically situated near key chokepoints—but with a continental strategic tradition.  It is a nation of illustrious mercantile traditions but for decades walled off large swaths of its economy.

Much has changed, principally because rapid economic growth has allowed India to break from the confining shackles of South Asia.  India is again an Asian player, better integrated into the East Asian economic system.  And it has a growing capacity to influence the wider Asian balance of power.

So, here’s my question:  Given all that change, why are the U.S. and India so bogged down in (and over) continental Asia?

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Avoiding a Tempest in the South China Sea

by Joshua Kurlantzick

Two Chinese trawlers stop directly in front of the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable in South China Sea

Over the past two months, the South China Sea, which always has the potential to be a flashpoint between China and nations in Southeast Asia, has indeed become a flashpoint – between China and the United States. Yet the tensions over the sea are more than a short term problem. Resolving the competing claims in the South China Sea will be a critical test of China’s emerging power and its ability to deal with its neighbors, as well as the United States’ ability to work with Southeast Asian states to manage China’s rise.

See my new expert brief on the South China Sea here.

(Photo: Ho New/courtesy Reuters)

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China’s Rise and the Contested Commons

by Evan A. Feigenbaum

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Aly Song

Is there a more interesting place these days than the South China Sea? It’s the locus of a full-contact diplomatic spat between Washington and Beijing. It’s an arena for some nasty finger-pointing between Beijing and Hanoi. It’s an issue that may well destabilize relations between Beijing and Jakarta. And it’s the issue that somehow managed to make Asia’s most lethargic regional organization—the ASEAN Regional Forum—a bit more interesting at last month’s ministerial in Hanoi.

But here’s something else that strikes me about the South China Sea: It’s going to be an arena that tests some important assumptions about China’s rise.

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