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  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is an old Japanese saying that no one should be prepared “to wait even three years sitting on the rock” (“ishi no ue ni mo sannen”). After three tumultuous and frustrating years as the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) tried to find its sea legs, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko finally made the first official visit to Washington of a Japanese prime minister since the spring 2009. Noda had his hands full this quarter: pursuing an increase in the consumption tax, trying to convince a wary public to support some continuation of nuclear power, cobbling together domestic support to move ahead with Japanese participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and facing the perennial struggle to make progress on relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa. By the time of his Washington visit, Noda had started to line up support for the consumption tax backed off temporarily on TPP, and waited on restarting nuclear plants. However, he did manage to complete an agreement to move ahead with de-linking the move of about 9,000 US Marines to Guam and other locations in the Pacific and setting aside (but not give up on) the Futenma Relocation Facility (FRF). That announcement was a rare victory and set a positive tone for the summit and the joint statement Noda and President Obama made pledging to revitalize the US-Japan alliance. The prime minister returned home on May 1 facing the same stack of difficult domestic political challenges, but with an important if limited accomplishment in foreign policy.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Washington
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China's next leader, Xi Jinping, traveled to the US for a visit that went smoothly and laid a foundation for a strong bilateral relationship after the 18th Party Congress this fall. Senior US and Chinese officials delivered speeches to mark the 40th anniversary of Nixon's 1972 visit to China, highlighting the progress made and the importance of the bilateral relationship while recognizing the deep mutual strategic mistrust. The third Asia-Pacific Consultation was held to manage suspicious and enhancement cooperation. President Obama met Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit and coordinated planned responses to North Korea's satellite launch. Friction increased with the filing of a complaint with the WTO that charged China with manipulating prices of rare earth elements. Beijing angered the Obama administration at the UN Security Council by vetoing a resolution that called for Syria's president to step down. But as the violence worsened, the Council passed a resolution that authorized observers to monitor the ceasefire. China rebuffed US entreaties to reduce tis oil imports from Iran and the US imposed sanctions on a Chinese company for selling refined oil to Iran. A Chinese dissident sought assistance by entering the US Embassy, creating potential new challenges for the relationship.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The most significant news in early 2012 centered on North Korea's rocket launch. In a slightly different twist to the pattern, this latest provocation came just two weeks after reaching what seemed to be a new deal with the US to freeze its missile and nuclear programs in exchange for food assistance. After Pyongyang went ahead with the launch in defiance of its international agreements and its so-called “Leap Day” deal with the US, it felt like Groundhog Day. The question soon became how soon a nuclear test might be in the offing. Meanwhile, the KORUS FTA finally took effect after seven years of deliberation, and US sanctions on Iran and US beef imports to the ROK also reemerged as issues for the relationship.
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Noda advanced a legislative package on tax and social security reform but faced stiff political headwinds in the form of a frustrated public and a jaded opposition steeling for an election. Japanese concerns over the safety of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft scheduled for deployment in Okinawa dominated the bilateral agenda – at least in the media – and tested the mettle of Japan's widely-respected new defense minister. The two governments agreed to continue consultations on Japan's interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but political paralysis in Japan and presidential politics in the United States could complicate efforts to make progress in the near term. Two reports issued over the summer addressing US force posture strategy in the Asia-Pacific and the agenda for US-Japan alliance, respectively, focused on the future trajectory for the bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: David C. Kang, Jiun Bang
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Diplomatic disputes between Korea and Japan over historical issues and territory flared yet again this summer, being by far the most serious row since the mid - 2000s. With both sides focused far more on proving the others' misdeeds than on finding some stable equilibrium, the disputes threatened to spill over and affect economic relations as well as distract leaders from focusing on a number of pressing domestic and foreign issues. We try to avoid overreactions in this forum, hence the title. Korea - Japan relations are nowhere near falling off a cliff, but without stabilizing relations, there are potential deleterious bilateral and regional effects that could result from the current disputes. There were three underlying themes that characterized and reinforced the general lack of rapport: first, the reverberations from these bilateral disputes onto third parties (US, China, and North Korea); second, the domestic sources of foreign policy (known as the “ second - image ” in international relations theory); and third , deliberate moves toward negative issue - linkage in stymieing diplomatic relations in the region.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Graeme Dobell
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's military rebalancing to Asia helped reboot the US alliance with Australia. Indeed, the arrival of US Marines in northern Australia put real boots into the reboot. The announcement that the Marines were heading for Darwin was the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's visit to Australia in November. After the alliance intimacy achieved by two conservative leaders – George W. Bush and John Howard – it seemed unlikely that a Democrat president and a Labor prime minister could tighten the alliance bonds further. Obama and Gillard managed it, proving again the special status of the alliance for both sides of Australian politics. The Marine deployment became an important element in the broader debate in Australia about the emerging power system in Asia and the terms of Australia's future relationship with its number one economic partner, China. Even in trade, Australia now faces different US and Chinese visions of the institutional framework for Asia's future.
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Australia
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Regional Overview:………………………………………………………………………………1 More of the Same, Times Three by Ralph A. Cossa and Brad Glosserman, Pacific Forum CSIS Last quarter we noted that the US profile in Asia rising and China‟s image was falling, while questioning if North Korea was changing. This quarter has been marked by more of the same. President Obama made a high-profile trip to Asia, visiting India, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Clinton give a major address in Honolulu (co-hosted by the Pacific Forum CSIS) on US Asia policy, before her sixth trip to Asia, making seven stops before ending up in Australia, where she linked up with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for a 2+2 meeting with their Aussie counterparts. Gates also visited Hanoi in early October and stopped by Malaysia on his way home from Australia, while the USS George Washington paid a return visit to the Yellow Sea before participating in a joint US-Japan military exercise near Okinawa. Beijing appeared to back off its aggressive stance in the East China Sea and South China Sea and uttered hardly a peep in response to the US aircraft carrier operations off Korea‟s west coast. It did, however, continue to protect and essentially enable Pyongyang‟s bad behavior. Pyongyang once again offered an “unconditional” return to the Six-Party Talks while reinforcing the preconditions that stand in the way of actual denuclearization. 2010 proved to be a generally good year, economically, as most economies bounced back. It was not that good a year politically for Obama, although he did succeed in pressing the Senate in a lame duck session to vote on the New START Treaty with the Russians, which was ratified at quarter‟s end. US-Japan Relations:…..………………………………………………………………………..17
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, India, Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Last quarter we noted that the US profile in Asia was on the rise and China‟s image was falling, while questioning if North Korea was changing, as Beijing, among others, seemed to insist. This quarter has been marked by more of the same, on all three fronts.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Kan Naoto opened the quarter with a speech promising a government that would deliver on domestic and foreign policy, but public opinion polls indicated he was failing on both fronts, damaging his own approval rating and that of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The US and Japanese governments continued a pattern of coordination at senior levels and North Korea‟s bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23 furthered trilateral diplomacy with South Korea and exchanges among the three militaries. President Obama met with Kan on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leader‟s Meeting in Yokohama to take stock of the relationship, though a once-anticipated joint declaration on the alliance did not materialize and the optics of the meeting appeared designed to lower expectations as the Futenma relocation issue remained unresolved. A bilateral public opinion survey on US-Japan relations released at the end of the quarter captured the current dynamic accurately with Futenma contributing to less sanguine views but convergence in threat perception and an appreciation for the role of the alliance in maintaining regional security as encouraging signs for the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China-US relations were marked by the now familiar pattern of friction and cooperation. Tensions spiked over North Korea, but common ground was eventually reached and a crisis was averted. President Obama‟s 10-day Asia tour, Secretary of State Clinton‟s two-week Asia trip, and US -ROK military exercises in the Yellow Sea further intensified Chinese concerns that the administration‟s “return to Asia” strategy is aimed at least at counterbalancing China, if not containing China‟s rise. In preparation for President Hu Jintao‟s state visit to the US in January 2011, Secretary Clinton stopped on Hainan Island for consultations with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg visited Beijing. Progress toward resumption of the military- to -military relationship was made with the convening of a plenary session under the US-China Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) and the 11th meeting of the Defense Consultative Talks. Differences over human rights were accentuated by the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 8, 2010: President Barack Obama issues a statement welcoming the Nobel Committee‟s decision to award the Nobel Peace prize to Liu Xiaobo. Oct. 9, 2010: Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China‟s Central Bank, meets Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the margins of the G20 meeting in Washington. Oct. 11, 2010: On the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus 8 (ADMM+) in Hanoi, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and accepts an invitation to visit China in early 2011. Oct. 13, 2010: Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan converses by telephone with Gary Locke, co-chair of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and US Commerce Secretary, and Ron Kirk, US trade representative.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: US -Korea relations in the last quarter of 2010 centered around two major events. On the economic front, even though Presidents Barack Obama and Lee Myung-bak failed to seal a deal on the KORUS Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during their meeting on the margins of the G20 in Seoul, the two countries reached final agreement a few weeks later, potentially opening a new era in bilateral relations pending approval in the two legislatures. Meanwhile, North Korea‟ s revelation of its uranium enrichment facility and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island raised a real possibility of war on the peninsula. South Korea and the US once again demonstrated their strong security alliance and solidarity even at the risk of a military conflict. North Korea‟ s artillery attack quelled ongoing diplomatic efforts to resume the Six-Party Talks, as the prospect for early resumption vanished.
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High -level visits to Southeast Asia this quarter found President Obama in Indonesia to inaugurate a Comprehensive Partnership, Secretary of Defense Gates in Malaysia and Vietnam, and Secretary of State Clinton in several Southeast Asian states, a trip that was highlighted by her acceptance of US membership in the East Asian Summit and attendance at the Lower Mekong Initiative meeting. Obama praised Jakarta‟s democratic politics and insisted that the multifaceted relations with Jakarta demonstrate that Washington is concerned with much more than counterterrorism in its relations with the Muslim world. In Vietnam, both Clinton and Gates reiterated the US position from the July ASEAN Regional Forum that the South China Sea disputes be resolved peacefully through multilateral diplomacy led by ASEAN. Clinton expressed Washington‟s appreciation that China had entered discussions with ASEAN on formalizing a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea. In all her Southeast Asian stops, she e mphasized the importance of human rights. While deploring the faulty election in Burma, the US welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi‟s release from house arrest and the prospect for more openness in Burmese politics.
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 2, 2010: The aircraft carrier USS George Washington arrives in Thailand for a five-day visit with a crew of 6,250 and 80 aircraft aboard. Oct. 3, 2010: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun in a Congressional hearing states that the US is concerned about reports of human rights abuses in Papua and supports implementation of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law for that Indonesian province. Oct. 4, 2010: US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas urges ASEAN and China to make their 2002 Declaration of Conduct on the Spratly islands into a legally binding code. He says the US would be willing to assist ASEAN in this endeavor. Oct. 4, 2010: Thailand asks the US for a mid-life upgrade of 18 F-16A/B aircraft worth about $700 million.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Following last quarter‟s strong criticisms of US and regional moves seen directed against Chinese policies, Chinese leaders and commentary this quarter reverted to a reassuring message of good neighborliness and cooperation. Senior leaders interacted constructively and official Chinese media gave repeated emphasis to positive and mutually beneficial relations. Wariness of US policies and practices was registered in lower-level commentaries while Chinese officials interacted in business-like ways with US counterparts over regional issues. China consulted with ASEAN representatives seeking to implement a code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea, and a working group meeting was held in Kunming, China on Dec. 21-23. Handling of issues in the South China Sea was more moderate than the confrontational approach witnessed in Chinese actions and publicity over fishing and other rights in disputed waters in the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea. On the other hand, even reassurances underlined a determination to rebuff violations of China‟s “core interest” in protecting territorial claims. Some military exercises and enhanced patrols by Chinese ships also were noted in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, China‟s positive reaction to the November elections in Myanmar was in line with longstanding Chinese support for the authoritarian military leadership.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Myanmar
  • Author: Satu Limaye
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-profile visits and meetings characterized Indian relations with both the United States and East Asia in 2010. While there were no major “breakthroughs” or departures as a result, the ongoing evolution of both US-India and India-East Asia relations suggests that they are now a fixed part of the US-Asia dynamic. It is worth noting that while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton neither visited India during her first trip to Asia in February 2009 (she did visit India in July 2009) nor made mention of India in her pre-departure address on US Asia policy, in November 2010 President Obama opened his speech to the joint session of India”s Parliament by declaring that “[i]t”s no coincidence that India is my first stop on a visit to Asia…” And the joint statement between the two countries issued during that visit specifically noted a “shared vision for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, the Indian Ocean region and the Pacific region…[and] agreed “to deepen existing regular strategic consultations on developments in East Asia…” Indeed, including India at all in an Asia itinerary is a recent innovation in US foreign policy and one that speaks to a larger US policy debate about the evolving Asia-Pacific. Whether such an innovation sticks remains to be seen, although many indications suggest that it will; especially as the need to coordinate increases on matters such as the East Asian Summit, maritime cooperation across the “Indo-Pacific,” and wider global issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, National Security
  • Political Geography: United States, India, East Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Jan. 19-20, 2010: US Secretary of Defense Gates visits India. He praises India for its “statesman like” behavior following the Mumbai terrorist attacks, refers to a “syndicate” of terrorism, and assures India that the US would not depart from Afghanistan precipitously. Jan. 19-20, 2010: Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai holds talks with Myanmar about cooperation on the insurgency situation in northeast India. Jan. 19-23, 2010: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak makes a state visit to India, the first in six years by a Malaysian leader. Jan. 24-26, 2010: President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (ROK) makes a state visit to India as the chief guest at India"s annual Republic Day celebration. March 3-4, 2010: Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith visits India for bilateral discussions and addresses the safety of Indian students studying in Australia.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, India, East Asia, Australia, Korea, Myanmar
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The biggest headlines during the first four months of 2011 were generated by the triple tragedy in Japan, which left Tokyo (and much of the rest of the world) shaking, especially over nuclear safety. On the Korean Peninsula, Chinese concerns about the ROK/US “enough is enough” (over?)reaction to North Korean aggressiveness resulted in Beijing's acknowledgment that the road to a solution must run through Seoul, providing a new foundation for a resumption of Six-Party Talks. Meanwhile, elections among the Tibetan diaspora began a long-anticipated political transition, shaking Chinese policy toward the province. More fighting between Thailand and Cambodia over disputed borders has rattled ASEAN as it challenges the most important of its guiding principles – the peaceful resolution of disputes. Economic developments all highlighted growing doubts about the global economic order and the US leadership role. It's easy to predict the biggest headline of the next four month period: "Bin Laden is Dead!" Implications for Asia will be examined in the next issue; initial reactions were predictable.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea, Cambodia, Tokyo, Thailand
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that struck Japan March 11 tested the leadership credentials of the Kan government and the alliance coordination during simultaneous crises. With the exception of disconnects in assessing the nature of the nuclear emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the March 11 tragedy revealed the strength of the alliance as the Obama administration demonstrated US solidarity with Japan by announcing a partnership for reconstruction to support Japan's recovery. Prime Minister Kan reshuffled his Cabinet for the second time and unveiled a policy agenda aimed at “the opening of Japan” but faced scrutiny for failing to usher budget-related legislation through a divided Diet. Bilateral diplomacy proceeded apace and was aimed at advancing economic and security cooperation, though a controversy over alleged remarks about Okinawa by a senior US diplomat had the potential to cause another crisis in the alliance.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level contacts between the US and Chinese militaries resumed in January with a visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to China. Immediately following his trip, President Hu Jintao traveled to the US for a state visit. The occasion combined informal discussion with all the protocol trappings of a state visit by a leader from an important country. Both countries exerted great efforts to ensure the visit's success, which put the bilateral relationship on more solid footing after a year that was characterized by increased tensions and discord. At the invitation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, State Councilor Liu Yandong made a week-long visit to the US in mid-April. China held its annual “two meetings” – the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress – and endorsed the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, China