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  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While Japanese and Chinese political leaders and diplomats worked to build the mutually beneficial strategic relationship and to advance the spring visit of China's President Hu Jintao, both sides found it hard going. The safety of imported Chinese gyoza (dumplings) became a major issue as reports of food poisoning of Japanese became front-page news in early February. Responsibility for the poisoning, whether the result of the manufacturing process in China or deliberate action by individuals after the gyoza left the factory, became the center of contention. Health Ministry and pubic safety officials in both countries pledged cooperation in resolving the issue but failed to identify the cause, while retreating to positions that attributed responsibility to the other side.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the change in Japanese leadership from hard-liner Abe Shintaro to the more dialogue-oriented Fukuda Yasuo, this quarter's Japan-North Korea relations were largely uneventful and produced little progress. Tokyo criticized Pyongyang for missing the year-end deadline for declaring all its nuclear programs and facilities, urging North Korea to make a “political decision” to fulfill its commitment under the Six-Party Talks agreement. Pyongyang reiterated that Japan should be excluded from the talks, and blamed Japan for the U.S. failure to remove Pyongyang from its list of state sponsors of terror. North Korea asserted that there would be no improvement in their bilateral relations as long as Japan continues to press resolution of the abduction issue on Pyongyang. By mid-March, Tokyo had decided to extend economic sanctions against Pyongyang for another six months after they expire April 13, if the current situation continues with no breakthroughs. Meanwhile, with the change in South Korean leadership from a liberal-minded Roh Moo-hyun to the more conservative Lee Myung-bak, Tokyo exerted diplomatic efforts to bring South Korea closer to Japan by trying to form a united front between Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. against North Korea.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Tokyo, Pyongyang
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In both substance and symbolism, the first quarter of 2008 was a transition for Moscow and Beijing in their respective domestic domains. Russia's Vladimir Putin switched roles with successor Dmitry Medvedev, but did not fade away. China's Hu Jintao sailed into his second five-year term as the next generation of China's leaders emerges. The quarter also witnessed political changes in neighboring countries with strong implications for Russia and China. South Korea inaugurated a pro-U.S. president (Lee Myung-bak) on Feb. 25. Pakistani general elections on Feb. 22 led to the victory by the opposition parties. Taiwan voters chose the pro-stability Ma Ying-jeou over pro-independence Frank Hsieh on March 22.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, Beijing, South Korea, Taliban, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After eight months of inaction, there was a flurry of six-party action at quarter's end. As Pyongyang produced its long-awaited declaration of its nuclear activities, President Bush announced his intention to remove North Korea from the U.S. listing of state sponsors of terrorism and Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) restrictions. Pyongyang responded with a made-for-TV demolition of the cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear facility. Elsewhere, respective reactions to natural disasters showed how far China has come and Myanmar/Burma still has to go in dealing with the outside world. There was a generally positive reaction to Secretary Gates' Shangri-La statements on U.S. East Asia policy and toward the two U.S. presidential candidates (or their surrogates) early pronouncements about Asia as well. In contrast, there has been almost no reaction at all to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's call for a more inclusive Asia-Pacific community.
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, Burma, Myanmar, Pyongyang
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The debate in the Japanese Diet remained contentious this quarter as opposition parties challenged the Fukuda government on several legislative issues including the gasoline tax, a new health insurance program for the elderly, and host nation support for U.S. forces. Fukuda's approval rating fell suddenly due to public dissatisfaction with his domestic policy agenda but later rebounded enough to quell rumors of a Cabinet reshuffle prior to the Hokkaido G8 Summit in July. The arrest in early April of a U.S. serviceman charged with murdering a taxi driver in Yokosuka brought negative publicity for U.S. forces.
  • Topic: Elections
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Major developments in Sino-U.S. relations took place on the economic, military, and political fronts this quarter. The fourth U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue was held in Annapolis, Maryland, June 17-18, yielding a 10-year energy and environment cooperation framework. A telephone link was installed between the U.S. Department of Defense and China's Ministry of Defense and talks were launched on nuclear policy and strategy. The U.S. and China held a round of their bilateral dialogue on human rights after a hiatus of six years and vice-foreign minister level talks on security issues were held for the first time in four years. The U.S. provided assistance to China to ensure the security of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. A massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake rocked China's southwestern Sichuan Province and the U.S., along with the rest of the international community, provided aid. Secretary of State Rice visited the quake-hit area and held talks in Beijing focused on North Korea.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, North Korea, Maryland
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The quarter started off well with the first meeting of Presidents George W. Bush and Lee Myung-bak at Camp David in April. The two leaders emphasized common values and the global scope of the alliance. They reached an agreement to maintain current U.S. troop levels on the Peninsula, which appeared to be an attempt by conservatives in Seoul to reverse the unfortunate trend they saw during the Roh-Rumsfeld era where each side was perceived as whittling away at the foundations of the alliance for disparate reasons. An important but understated accomplishment was Bush's public support of Lee's request to upgrade the ROK's foreign military sales status. Should this request be approved by the Congress, it would amount to a substantial upgrading of the bilateral alliance relationship as it would give Seoul access to a wider range of U.S. military technologies similar to what NATO and other allies like Australia enjoy. Finally, the two governments inked a memorandum of understanding on security improvements necessary to enable the ROK's entry to the U.S. visa waiver program.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Joseph Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the conclusion of the final summit meeting between Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin at the Russian resort of Sochi in early April, relations between Moscow and Washington appeared to have righted themselves. The cordial meeting between the outgoing presidents left a sense of optimism in both Moscow and in the West that U.S.-Russia relations would improve until at least the fall presidential elections in the United States. Things have quieted down between the two nations over the last quarter, as the leadership of both countries has gone about business at home and has lessened (though not ceased) the often-negative rhetoric. But when the summer concludes, Russia will again loom large in U.S. political debates, and the big questions of U.S. foreign policy – whether they revolve around Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Northeast Asia, or even Venezuela – will necessarily include Russia policy. And as President Dmitry Medvedev unveils his own version of “sovereign democracy,” U.S. foreign policymakers will be forced to address the fundamental question of whether U.S. policy toward Moscow is centered on its strategic interests, or on democratic values.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Iraq, Washington, Moscow, Venezuela, Northeast Asia
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Cyclone Nargis, which devastated Burma's Irrawaddy delta in early May killing tens of thousand and leaving 1.5 million homeless, was met with international concern and the offer of large-scale U.S. assistance via navy ships in the vicinity for the annual Cobra Gold exercise. Burma's junta, however, obstructed international humanitarian assistance, fearing that Western powers would use the opportunity to overthrow the generals. So, in contrast to the massive aid effort for Indonesia in the December 2004 tsunami aftermath, assistance has only trickled into Burma, and mostly controlled by the Burmese military. ASEAN, in collaboration with the UN, appealed to Burmese authorities to open the country to aid providers, but the most it has been able to accomplish is to insert 250 assessment teams into some of the hardest hit areas to survey the population's needs. U.S. aid has been limited to more than 100 C-130 flights out of Thailand whose cargos are delivered into the hands of the Burmese military.
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Burma, Thailand