CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

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

The Indian Economy Has Not Overtaken the UK (But It Will, Soon)

by Alyssa Ayres Thursday, December 22, 2016
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) smiles next to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, November 7, 2016. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) smiles next to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, November 7, 2016. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Is the Indian economy now bigger than that of the United Kingdom (UK)? Despite what you may have read, the answer to that, right now, is no.

Over the past few days, the Indian press has been brimming with articles proudly proclaiming this new “fact.” The Times of India, the Indian Express and the Economic Times, among others, have hailed the milestone of India overtaking its former colonial ruler for the first time in 150 years. India’s minister of state for home affairs tweeted the story as fact. Read more »

Podcast: In China, What’s New and What’s Old?

by Elizabeth C. Economy Thursday, December 22, 2016
confucius-umbrellas Students holding umbrellas walk past a statue of Confucius after the morning session on the second day of the National College Entrance Exams in Wuhan, Hubei province, on June 8, 2009. (Stringer/Reuters)

According to Jeffrey Wasserstrom, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, and editor of the recently published Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, China is a place that lends itself to misconceptions. With shifting borders, crisscrossing cultural traditions, and a winding history of more than 5,000 years, it is easy for outside observers to oversimplify the country’s ongoing evolution. Read more »

Putin’s Japan Visit

by Sheila A. Smith Monday, December 19, 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe review an honor guard before their working lunch at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, December 16, 2016 (REUTERS/Frank Robichon). Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe review an honor guard before their working lunch at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, December 16, 2016 (REUTERS/Frank Robichon).

Late last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Japan, stopping first in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s home in Yamaguchi Prefecture and then moving up to Tokyo. It was a visit that had been long in the planning, but delayed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. But Putin did not bring much with him, arguing instead that it was the United States that had derailed the Abe-Putin diplomatic momentum. Read more »

Tillerson and the South China Sea, Cashless in India, and More

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy Friday, December 16, 2016
rex-tillerson-cnooc Rex Tillerson (R), chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil shakes hands with China National Offshore Oil Corp. Chairman Fu Chengyu during the 19th World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, Spain, on July 1, 2008. (Susana Vera/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Gabriella Meltzer, and Gabriel Walker look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Rex Tillerson’s South China Sea ties. While Tillerson’s relationship with Russia has attracted the lion’s share of attention after his recent nomination as secretary of state by President-Elect Trump, Tillerson’s ties to disputes in the South China Sea have garnered much less attention. Read more »

Is Rakhine State Home to a Growing Insurgency?

by Joshua Kurlantzick Friday, December 16, 2016
rakhine-rohingya The ruins of a market which was set on fire are seen at a Rohingya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state, Myanmar on October 27, 2016. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

Rakhine State, where violence has been escalating for two months after Rohingya militants allegedly attacked a border guard post on October 9, is spiraling into chaos. As I noted in a recent post, the government of Aung San Suu Kyi seems unable, or unwilling to control security forces operating in northern Rakhine State, where they have been numerous reports of reprisal killings, beatings, and house-burnings against Rohingya in the weeks since October 9. The Myanmar government reportedly has made parts of northern Rakhine State off-limits to journalists and aid groups, making it hard to assess the true state of damage there. Read more »

Duterte and the Incoming U.S. Administration

by Guest Blogger for Joshua Kurlantzick Thursday, December 15, 2016
duterte-3 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a visit at Camp Servillano S. Aquino in San Miguel, Tarlac, Philippines on December 11, 2016. (Czar Dancel/Reuters)

Richard Javad Heydarian is an assistant professor in political science at De La Salle University in Manila, and, most recently, the author of Asia’s New Battlefield: The U.S., China, and the Struggle for Western Pacific.

In the past few months, the Philippine-U.S. alliance has suffered an unprecedented setback. Diplomatic exchanges have been rife with tensions, while military cooperation has been downgraded, although it is unclear whether it has been formally downgraded. Read more »

Podcast: A Chinese Perspective on the U.S. Election

by Elizabeth C. Economy Thursday, December 15, 2016
chinese-consulate-election-watch Chinese visitors look at a screen showing live results of the U.S. presidential election at an event held at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, on November 9, 2016. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

It has been a busy few weeks for foreign policy analysts in Beijing as they struggle to determine how China should best approach relations with the incoming U.S. president. On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Chen Dingding, professor of international relations at Jinan University and the founding director of the newly established Intellisia Institute, offers his advice on how Chinese leaders should approach a Trump administration. Read more »

What Trump Means for China

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy Wednesday, December 14, 2016
trump-china-thank-you-rally U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at a “Thank You USA” tour rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on December 9, 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Oriana Skylar Mastro is a 2016–2017 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where her research focuses on Chinese military and security policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, war termination, and coercive diplomacy.

President-Elect Trump’s transition has been a roller coaster ride this week in the realm of U.S. China policy. Read more »

Reading Between the Tweets: Trump, Taiwan, and China

by Elizabeth C. Economy Tuesday, December 13, 2016
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at the USA Thank You Tour event at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at the USA Thank You Tour event at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on December 8, 2016. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

As the Trump-Taiwan-China saga continues to unfold, I thought it might be useful to look at the sequence of events and report on how Chinese scholars are looking at President-Elect Trump’s first foreign policy musings and how we in the United States might understand his statements and actions to date. Here is a brief rundown: Read more »

Park Geun-hye Nears Her Downfall

by Scott A. Snyder Saturday, December 10, 2016
Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun presides over a plenary session to vote on the impeachment bill of South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, December 9, 2016. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun presides over a plenary session to vote on the impeachment bill of South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, December 9, 2016. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)

Following weeks of tense political scandal, the South Korean National Assembly voted overwhelmingly by a margin of 234-56 on a motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye today. Read more »