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Showing posts for "U.S. Foreign Policy"

Pence Returns Home: Southeast Asia Overshadowed

by Joshua Kurlantzick
pence-australia U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) meets with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia, on April 22, 2017. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

Vice President Mike Pence, after a brief but relatively successful trip in Asia, rushed back to Washington ahead of schedule this week; the U.S. administration plans to tackle a very important set of domestic priorities including tax reform and keeping the federal government open. Pence reduced his time in Honolulu at the end of his trip. More important, as Reuters notes, portions of his trip in Indonesia and Australia were overshadowed by the increasingly tense environment in Northeast Asia, which now includes the reported chance of another North Korean missile or nuclear test Tuesday. Read more »

A Menu of Imperfect Strategic Options for South Korea

by Scott A. Snyder
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se (R) talks with Wu Dawei (L), China's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, during their meeting in Seoul, South Korea April 10, 2017. (Reuters/Jung Yeon-Je/Pool)

This post was coauthored with Sungtae (Jacky) Park, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations. This post originally appeared on East Asia Forum, is an abridged adaptation of the authors’ CFR discussion paper, The Korean Pivot: Seoul’s Strategic Choices and Rising Rivalries in Northeast Asia, and highlights some of the main themes of Snyder’s upcoming book, South Korea At the Crossroads: Autonomy and Alliance in an Era of Rival Powers. Read more »

The Trump Administration and H-1B Visas (So Far)

by Alyssa Ayres
Then-U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks as (2nd L to R) PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook and Oracle CEO Safra Catz look on during a meeting with technology leaders at Trump Tower in New York U.S., December 14, 2016. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

During his campaign, President Donald J. Trump made a number of comments about the H-1B visa program—the visa for highly-skilled workers. At different moments he was against the program, then in favor of tightening it up. In the early days of his administration, a rumored executive order concerning the H-1B program circulated, causing some alarm among different interest groups, but it has not been issued yet. Read more »

Some Reasons for New Tensions Over Cambodia’s Debt

by Joshua Kurlantzick
hun-sen-debt Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen smiles as he arrive at the National Assembly of Cambodia during a plenary session, in central Phnom Penh, on February 20, 2017. (Samrang Pring/Reuters)

In recent months, the issue of Cambodia’s Indochina War-era debt to the United States, for which the U.S. government still demands repayment, has resurfaced once again. A recent lengthy New York Times article outlines the current situation, which has also been covered by Southeast Asian media. The Cambodian government is asking Washington to forgive a loan made to the Lon Nol government to buy essential items, at a time when U.S. bombing and the growing civil war in Cambodia had driven large numbers of refugees into Phnom Penh. Read more »

A Note to President Trump: What NOT to Do in Mar-a-Lago

by Elizabeth C. Economy
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach is seen from West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., as Trump prepared to return to Washington after a weekend at the estate, March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo President Donald J. Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach is seen from West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at Mar-a-Lago on April 6 and April 7, 2017. (Reuters/Joe Skipper)

There are many people who have ideas about what should happen at the Xi-Trump summit. Almost as important, however, is what should not happen. Here are my suggestions for the top five things President Donald J. Trump should NOT do at his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago. Read more »

Podcast: What to Expect When Trump Meets Xi

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A Chinese magazine poster showing U.S. President Donald Trump is displayed at a newsstand in Shanghai, China March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song A Chinese magazine poster showing U.S. President Donald Trump is displayed at a newsstand in Shanghai, China on March 21, 2017. U.S. and Chinese citizens are anticipating a summit between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping this week. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Two days from now, U.S. President Donald J. Trump will welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for a historic summit between two of the world’s most powerful leaders. On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, former Deputy National Security Adviser to the Vice President Ely Ratner cuts through the flurry of anticipation surrounding the summit and analyzes the key issues at stake. Ratner, who now serves as the CFR Maurice R. Greenberg senior fellow in China studies, argues that even before Xi’s plane touches down, the meeting is already off to a bad strategic start. Read more »

Not the Right Time for a U.S.-China Summit

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before their meeting at at the Great Hall of the People on March 19, 2017 in Beijing, China. (Reuters/Lintao Zhang/Pool)

Hochang Song is a former member of South Korea’s national assembly and is a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping are expected to hold their first summit in early April. Among many other items, the international community will be watching to see if the summit might produce a solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis. But the current political situation in the United States, China, and the Korean Peninsula dims such expectations. Northeast Asia is currently in unprecedented turmoil and transformation. Although Korea is the biggest issue on the agenda, it is not the right time for a U.S.-China summit. Read more »

What Happens to Congressional Southeast Asia Policy Under a New U.S. Administration?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
congress-southeast asia U.S. Democratic Leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (front C) and Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang (3rd R) pose for a photo with other U.S. representatives and officials after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on March 31, 2015. (Kham/Reuters)

Unlike many regions of the world, where U.S. foreign policy has in recent decades been dominated by the executive branch, since the end of the Cold War Congress has played a major role in policy toward much of Southeast Asia. In mainland Southeast Asia, in fact, Congress has often been the dominant foreign policy actor, in part because successive U.S. administrations—throughout the 1990s and 2000s—placed a relatively low priority on mainland Southeast Asia. Read more »

Podcast: The End of the Asian Century?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Soldiers shout slogans as they march past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang October 10, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj Soldiers shout slogans as they march past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Observers frequently characterize Asia as “emerging”, “ascendant”, or headed for an “inexorable rise”. But what if demographic, economic, and security trends are instead propelling the continent in a different direction? On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Michael Auslin, resident scholar and director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, lays out the provocative arguments at the heart of his new book The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region. He suggests that while Asian countries have previously reaped demographic dividends from their large youth populations, governments now confront new challenges. Read more »

Expanding South Korea’s Security Role in the Asia-Pacific Region

by Scott A. Snyder
South Korean Navy patrol combat corvettes stage an anti-submarine exercise off the western coast of Taean on May 27, 2010. North Korea said on Thursday it was ripping up military agreements signed with the South in a step seen as a prelude to shutting down a joint factory park, just as Seoul staged anti-submarine drills in tense border waters. (Reuters/Kim Jae-hwan)

This post was coauthored with Sungtae (Jacky) Park, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

South Korea has become a nation with a global presence, but Seoul has yet to exercise its influence in Southeast Asia. In a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) discussion paper, Expanding South Korea’s Security Role in the Asia-Pacific Region, Patrick M. Cronin, senior advisor and senior director of the Asia-Pacific security program at the Center for a New American Security, and Seongwon Lee, deputy director for the international cooperation division of the unification policy office at the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea, argue that South Korea should play a larger role in the region, particularly with regard to dealing with a rising China and coping with rising maritime tensions. Read more »