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  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 2, 2010: US Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Leon Panetta makes a surprise visit to Seoul to discuss North Korean succession with President Lee Myung-bak. Oct. 6, 2010: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Tokyo to discuss strategies to deal with North Korea. Oct. 7, 2010: Secretary Campbell visits Seoul for talks on a wide range of issues. Oct. 8, 2010: South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young meets Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Washington for an annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM). Oct. 10, 2010: North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop dies at his home in Seoul of an apparent heart attack at the age of 87.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: East Asia, North 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
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 2, 2010: Wu Bangguo, chairperson of China‟s National People‟s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, meets Thongsing Thammavong, president of the Laotian National Assembly, in Shanghai. They agree to increase high-level contacts, expand trade and economic cooperation, and strengthen exchanges between the ruling parties. Oct. 11, 2010: Chinese and Vietnamese defense ministries issue a joint communiqué announcing agreement to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation, continue the exchange of visits between the two armed forces and navies, and to resolve all territorial disputes in a peaceful manner. Oct. 12, 2010: China‟s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie announces that China and Vietnam will co-chair an expert working group to strengthen regional capacity to respond to non-traditional security challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, counterterrorism, and peacekeeping operations. The working group is part of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus 8. Oct. 19, 2010: The China-ASEAN Expo opens in Nanning, with an emphasis on expanding regional cooperation in agriculture, trade, and investment.
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The pace of progress in cross-strait relations has slowed as agreement continues to take longer than anticipated. A medical and healthcare agreement was signed in December, but consensus on an investment protection agreement was not reached and establishment of the Cross-strait Economic Cooperation Committee (CECC) has been delayed. The mayoral elections in November saw the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) receiving more votes than the ruling Kuomintang (KMT). Both parties are now gearing up for the presidential election in March 2012. Consequently, campaign politics in Taiwan and jockeying in preparation for the 18th Party Congress in Beijing will dominate the way Beijing, President Ma Ying-jeou, and the opposition in Taiwan approach cross-strait issues in the year ahead.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 1, 2010: On the People‟s Republic of China (PRC) National Day, Politburo Chairman Jia Qinglin reaffirms the theme of peaceful development. Oct. 2, 2010: A business delegation led by Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Minister Shih Yen-shiang returns to Taiwan from Indonesia. Oct. 3-5, 2010: Annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference is held in Cambridge, MD. Oct. 10, 2010: On the Republic of China (ROC) National Day, President Ma Ying-jeou again welcomes indications that Beijing will remove missiles from China‟s East Coast. Oct. 11, 2010: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators call for a Chinese missile withdrawal timetable.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Ten years have passed since Ralph Cossa first asked me to write for this esteemed journal. Comparative Connections was young then. Launched in mid-1999, then as now its remit was to cover and track East Asia‟s key bilateral relationships: with the US and regionally. At the outset, inter-Korean relations must have seemed too insubstantial to be included. That changed in 2000: the annus mirabilis which saw the South‟s then president, Kim Dae-jung, fly to Pyongyang in June and hold the first ever North-South summit meeting with the man who still leads the North, Kim Jong Il. The former, but thankfully not the latter, was awarded the year‟s Nobel Peace Prize for this among other achievements. At the time this seemed, and was, a breakthrough. The summit was not just a one-off photo-op. We did not yet know that money had gone under the table to bring it about. Even so, to write as I did then of “the wholly new phase of regular and substantive inter-Korean dialogue that has ensued – ministerial and defense talks, family reunions, economic deals, transport links, and more” – was not mistaken. Seven years followed in which inter-Korean relations moved forward. Not evenly, not enough, and not reciprocally – but forward, none the less.
  • Political Geography: East Asia
  • Author: Scott Snyder
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea"s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23 placed the Korean North Korea‟s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23 placed the Korean Peninsula at the center of regional attention and intensified diplomatic pressures on China as an indispensable player. Beijing mobilized a remarkably swift diplomatic effort in response, sending State Councilor Dai Bingguo to Seoul to meet President Lee Myung-bak and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, and to Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong Il and Vice Premier Kang Sok Ju. Chinese calls for regional dialogue intensified with South Korean efforts to deter North Korea through joint naval exercises with the US in the Yellow Sea and live-fire artillery drills. Despite urgent Chinese entreaties to convene “emergency consultations” among senior envoys, North Korean provocations appeared to undermine already limited prospects for Six-Party Talks. Beijing‟s persistent calls for both Koreas to return to dialogue and Seoul‟s apparent support for inter-Korean dialogue and Six-Party Talks, may open the way for a return to negotiations, but South Korea‟s position remains conditional upon North Korea acknowledging its responsibility for provocations and taking concrete steps to show its commitment to denuclearization.
  • Political Geography: China, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2010: Choe Thae Bok, member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Worker"s Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee, leads a party delegation to China and meets President Hu Jintao and other Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders. Oct. 6, 2010: President Lee Myung-bak and Premier Wen Jiabao meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels. Oct. 8, 2010: The DPRK Embassy in Beijing hosts a reception marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of the WPK, where Vice President Xi Jinping delivers a speech. Oct. 9, 2010: President Hu sends a congratulatory message to Kim Jong Il on the 65th anniversary of the founding of the WPK. Oct. 9-11, 2010: Zhou Yongkang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, leads a party delegation to North Korea to attend 65th anniversary celebrations of the WPK. Zhou meets Kim Jong Il and Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People"s Assembly.
  • Political Geography: China, Korea
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Reactions to the Sept. 7 Senkaku fishing boat incident continued to buffet the relationship. Both the East China Sea and the Senkaku Islands remain flashpoints in both countries. Anti-Japanese protests spread through China in mid-October and were followed by smaller-scale anti-Chinese protests in Japan. Efforts by diplomats to restart the mutually beneficial strategic relationship ran into strong political headwinds, which hit gale force with the public uploading of the Japan Coast Guard"s video of the September collisions on YouTube. Prime Minister Kan did meet China"s political leadership, but the Kan-Wen and the Kan-Hu meetings were hotel lobby or corridor meet-and-greets, with the Chinese taking care to emphasize their informal nature. In Japan, public opinion on relations with China went from bad in October to worse in December.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Sept. 30, 2010: Prime Minister Kan Naoto apologies for the poor handling of the Senkaku incident and reaffirms Japanese sovereignty over the islands. Oct. 1, 2010: Foreign Minister Maehara Sieji calls for dialogue with China in order to avoid future incidents similar to the one in the Senkakus.
  • Topic: National Security
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The year ended with heightened tensions resulting from Pyongyang"s shelling of South Korea"s Yeonpyeong Island on Nov, 23 and the subsequent show of force by South Korea, the US, and Japan. Yet, despite dueling artillery barrages and the sinking of a warship, pledges of “enormous retaliation,” in-your-face joint military exercises and urgent calls for talks, the risk of all-out war on the Korean Peninsula is less than it has been at any time in the past four decades. North Korea didn"t blink because it had no intention of actually starting a major war. Rather than signifying a new round of escalating tension between North and South Korea, the events of the past year point to something else – a potential new cold war. The most notable response to the attack on Yeonpyeong was that a Seoul-Washington-Tokyo coalition came to the fore, standing united to condemn North Korea”s military provocations, while Beijing called for restraint and shrugged away calls to put pressure on North Korea. Within this loose but clear division, Japan-North Korea relations moved backward with Prime Minister Kan Naoto blaming the North for an “impermissible, atrocious act.” On the other hand, Japan-South Korea relations have grown closer through security cooperation in their reaction to North Korea. Tokyo"s new defense strategy places a great emphasis on defense cooperation and perhaps even a military alliance with South Korea and Australia in addition to the US to deal with China"s rising military power and the threat from Pyongyang.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Japan, Washington, Asia, Tokyo, Korea
  • Author: Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 4, 2010: Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEAM) and discuss bilateral relations. Oct. 22, 2010: A group of Japanese and South Korean scholars release a study commissioned by the two governments in which they conclude that Japan"s annexation of Korea was coerced in the face of opposition from Koreans. Oct. 29, 2010: Prime Minister Kan, President Lee, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao meet on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Vietnam. Nov. 11-12, 2010: South Korea hosts G20 Summit. Nov. 13-14, 2010: Japan hosts APEC Leaders Meeting.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Tensions on the Korean Peninsula preoccupied both Russia and China as the two Koreas edged toward war at the end of 2010. Unlike 60 years ago when both Beijing and Moscow backed Pyongyang in the bloody three-year war, their efforts focused on keeping the delicate peace. The worsening security situation in Northeast Asia, however, was not China”s only concern as Russia was dancing closer with NATO while its “reset” with the US appeared to have yielded some substance. Against this backdrop, Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao traveled to Moscow in late November for the 15th Prime Ministers Meeting with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. This was followed by the ninth SCO Prime Ministers Meeting in Dushanbe Tajikistan. By yearend, Russia”s oil finally started flowing to China through the 900-km Daqing-Skovorodino branch pipeline, 15 years after President Yeltsin first raised the idea.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, Tajikistan, Korea
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 1, 2010: President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin send congratulatory messages to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in recognition of the 61st anniversary of the People"s Republic of China. Oct. 5-6, 2010: Chinese State Councilor and Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu attend the International Conference for Senior Representatives of National Security Affairs in Sochi, Russia at the invitation of Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. More than 40 countries join the forum.
  • Topic: National Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • 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: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Sept. 30, 2010: The Koreas hold their first direct military talks (at colonel level) in two years, at Panmunjom. They founder on the wreck of the Cheonan. The South insists on an apology, while the North still demands to send its own inspectors to examine the wreckage. [Ed. Note: Our apologies for incorrectly reporting them as occurring on Oct. 1 in our last issue.] Oct. 1, 2010: At a meeting of their Red Crosses, the two Koreas agree to hold family reunions at the North"s Mt. Kumgang resort Oct. 30-Nov. 5. Oct. 1, 2010: ROK National Assembly confirms Kim Hwang-sik as premier two months after an earlier nominee withdrew. Oct. 2, 2010: North Korea proposes working-level talks on Oct. 15 to discuss ways to restart regular tourism to Mt. Kumgang. Oct. 3, 2010: An unnamed ROK official tells the daily JoongAng Ilbo that in 2007 a senior DPRK diplomat, Ri Gun, inadvertently admitted North Korea"s responsibility for the 1987 bombing of KAL 858, with 115 deaths. Oct. 4, 2010: In Germany for the 20th anniversary of reunifcation, ROK Unification Minister Hyun In-taek says North Korea must change its stance on the Cheonan if it wants the South to consider resuming cross-border tourism.
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea
  • 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
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US and South Korea continued strong solidarity and close policy coordination on North Korea in early 2011. The US made repeated calls for North Korea to improve its relations with South Korea and show sincerity about denuclearization. The Hu Jintao visit to the US in January paved the way for the first inter-Korean talks since the Yeonpyeong shelling, although they collapsed as the two Koreas could not resolve their dispute over the sinking of the Cheonan. Meanwhile, the US and South Korea agreed to pursue a UNSC Presidential Statement that would denounce North Korea's uranium enrichment program. Possible resumption of US food aid and Jimmy Carter's Pyongyang visit were new variables, although neither brought any change. The KORUS FTA looks near its long-awaited passage in the Congress. With both the Obama and Lee administrations making final efforts to clear all political barriers , it appears that the measure will be passed in both countries in the coming months.
  • Topic: National Security
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Both the US and ASEAN expressed dismay at border skirmishes between Thailand and Cambodia around the Preah Vihear temple and two other ancient temples about 160 km to the west. Artillery exchanges and small arms fire call into question the two countries' commitment to the ASEAN rule of the peaceful settlement of disputes among its members. Washington has promised to aid Philippine maritime capabilities to patrol both its South China and Sulu Seas' territorial waters as part of a larger US goal of keeping Asian sea lanes open. New ships and radar installations as well as navy and coast guard training are being provided by the US. In Indonesia, the US embassy inaugurated a new public diplomacy program, @america, an interactive information technology site designed to demonstrate the breadth of American life to Indonesia's tech-savvy young people. Wikileaks releases of US embassy cables published in the Australian press critical of President Yudhoyono caused some tension between Jakarta and Washington. As the current ASEAN chair, Indonesia seemed to follow Secretary of State Clinton's call for an ASEAN role in resolving the South China Sea islands dispute. US relations with Vietnam and Cambodia continue to be strained over human rights concerns. While ASEAN has called for the lifting of economic sanctions on Burma since its recent national election and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, Washington seems in no hurry to follow suit, labeling the election as fatally flawed and noting that political prisoners remain in jail. Finally, the US promised high-level participation in ASEAN-led regional organizations, including the ARF, the ADMM+, APEC, and the EAS.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, South China
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Following last year's strong Chinese criticisms of US and regional moves seen directed against Chinese policies in Southeast Asia, the reassuring message of good neighborliness and cooperation that Chinese leaders and commentary reverted to at the end of 2010 continued into 2011. The shift was reflected through more positive attention to Southeast Asia and other neighbors, seeking to advance extensive Chinese engagement, especially rapidly growing economic interchange, while endeavoring to play down differences over territorial disputes and other questions. Wariness remained over US policies and practices, but disputes were registered less frequently and in less strident tones than in much of 2010. The treatment was consistent with the improvement in China-US relations registered in Chinese commentary coincident with the prelude and aftermath of President Hu Jintao's January visit to Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee held its first meeting in February, an important step in implementing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. Both Beijing and Taipei believe this year will see steady consolidation of cross-strait relations, but few new agreements. The backdrops of this modest prospect are the leadership transitions underway on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Evidence of PLA modernization confirms that military capabilities threatening Taiwan continue to increase, confronting Washington with difficult decisions on arms sales to Taiwan.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: Washington, Taiwan
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The first four months of 2011 saw no real improvement in relations between the two Koreas. Their sole official contact, military talks in February, broke up in acrimony after two days. A slight easing of South Korea's aid restrictions in April was in response to dire humanitarian need in the North, and probably does not indicate a wider thaw. There was the hint of back-channel talks, but no progress. The obstacles are familiar. Pyongyang's peace offensive as the year began did not impress Seoul as it failed to deal with two stumbling-blocks: the sinking of the Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. The North continues to deny all responsibility for the former and insists it was provoked into the latter. This appears to be a recipe for stalemate, perhaps for the rest of Lee's presidency, which ends in February 2013 – although in Korea surprises are always possible.
  • Topic: Intelligence
  • Political Geography: South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of North Korea's artillery shelling of Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23, 2010, Chinese officials showed great concern about the possibility of escalation, focusing special concern on the possibility that South Korean military exercises might lead to military escalation. The January summit between Presidents Hu and Obama served to reduce tensions to some degree, especially through a call for resumption of inter-Korean talks in the US-China Joint Statement released at the summit. Following the apparent stabilization of inter-Korean relations, China has stepped up calls for "creating conditions" for the resumption of Six-Party Talks, engaging in diplomatic exchanges with both Koreas, including meetings between Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei and ROK nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac on Feb. 10-11 in Beijing and again on April 26 in Seoul, and through DPRK Vice Minister Kim Kye Gwan's meetings in Beijing with Wu Dawei, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun respectively in mid-April in China. Although South Korea in April agreed to China's proposed "three-step" process toward restarting Six Party Talks – (1) Inter-Korean, (2) US-DPRK, and (3) Six-Party Talks – this plan makes the resumption of multilateral talks depend most critically on reaching consensus on the preconditions for inter-Korean talks, which remain stalled since a preparatory meeting for inter-Korean defense ministers' talks broke down in February.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: James Przystupd
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Old problems – the Senkaku fishing boat incident, the East China Sea, and China's increasing maritime activities in waters off Japan – persisted in early 2011. Efforts by Japan to keep lines of communication open with China's leadership included a visit to China by members of the Diet and Japan's senior vice minister for foreign affairs. The China-Japan Strategic Dialogue resumed in Tokyo at the end of February. Less than two weeks later, the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. China responded by providing emergency assistance and sending a rescue and medical team. Prime Minster Kan personally thanked China's leadership and the Chinese people for their assistance, support, and encouragement. The Asahi Shimbun offered the hope that the crisis could provide a fresh start in Japan's relations with its Northeast Asian neighbors.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Tokyo, Northeast Asia
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China-Russia economic relations were “reset” on New Year's Day 2011 when the 1,000-km Skovorodino-Daqing branch pipeline was officially opened. The pipeline, which took some 15 years from conception to completion, will transport 15 million tons of crude annually for the next 20 years. The low-key ceremony marking the launch of the pipeline at the Chinese border city of Mohe was followed by several rounds of bilateral consultations on diplomatic and strategic issues in January. In March and April, Moscow and Beijing sought to invigorate their “joint ventures” – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Brazil, Russia, India, China (BRIC) forum – at a time when both Moscow and Beijing feel the need for more coordination to address several regional and global challenges and crises.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Beijing, Moscow
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A few dim rays of light pierced what has been the darkness of the Six-Party Talks since their suspension in December 2008, raising hopes that we would see a resumption of dialogue in the next few months (even though prospects for actual Korean Peninsula denuclearization remain low). US-China relations continued to mend at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) gatherings amid ever-so-slight progress toward the creation of a South China Sea Code of Conduct. Vice President Biden's first official trip to China added to the light.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Kan Naoto resigned as prime minister on Aug. 26 after promising to step aside almost three months earlier amid dissension within his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and dwindling public support after a clumsy response to the tragedies of March 11. He was succeeded by Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko, who prevailed in the DPJ presidential race despite little evidence of support in the polls, but strong backing within the party. The US and Japan convened the first Security Consultative Committee or “2+2” in four years to outline common strategic objectives and strengthen alliance cooperation in a regional and global setting. The two governments also consulted on the margins of international events to discuss cooperation on various issues. Vice President Joseph Biden visited Japan in late August to reiterate US support for the recovery effort and met victims of the disaster in Tohoku. Public opinion polls in Japan and the United States revealed a solid foundation of support for the US-Japan alliance.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In pursuit of agreements reached between Presidents Hu and Obama in January, the US and China worked to strengthen their relationship, while managing friction on a number of issues. Renewed tensions in the South China Sea put maritime security at the top of the agenda in many bilateral and multilateral interactions, including the inaugural US-China Consultations on Asia-Pacific Affairs, at the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Bali, and in a bilateral meeting between Secretary Clinton and State Councilor Dai Bingguo in Shenzhen. In early May, the third annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S) convened in Washington, DC. Despite protests from Beijing, President Obama met the Dalai Lama. In May and July, PLA Chief of the General Staff Gen. Chen Bingde and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen exchanged visits. In August, Joe Biden made his first visit to China as vice president.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The summer months saw a potentially new cycle of US-DPRK dialogue. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's invitation to DPRK Vice-Minister Kim Kye Gwan to visit New York for two days of official talks raised the specter that the North may be ready for re-engagement. Meanwhile, South Korea named a new unification minister, which some perceive to be the harbinger of a shift in its North Korea policy. But reliable sources say that President Lee Myung-bak will not cave so easily on his principles. Elsewhere, the Korea-US free trade agreement remains in limbo as it remains caught in partisan strife within the legislatures of both countries and the US received another lesson in Korea's preferred terminology for Asian geography.
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Diplomacy related to the South China Sea disputes dominated US actions at the May ASEAN Summit, the June Shangri-La Dialogue, and the July ARF meeting. Washington endorsed ASEAN consultations before the Association's meetings with China on the territorial disputes as well as an independent ASEAN role in the South China Sea negotiations separate from the bilateral negotiations preferred by the PRC. Related to US support for ASEAN is Washington's assistance to the Philippines in gradually building its archipelagic security capability by funding Coast Watch South radars and promising more military hardware to the ill-equipped and underfunded Philippine armed forces. Manila also maintained its efforts to obtain a specific defense commitment from the US in the event of a military conflict with China over South China Sea islands. The Cambodia-Thai border dispute continues to flare periodically. ASEAN mediation efforts have established a timetable for military disengagement but, as yet, no implementation. Washington has endorsed the ASEAN efforts. In Indonesia, radical Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda-affiliated cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was sentenced to 15 years in jail for aiding the formation of a new terrorist affiliate in Aceh. As in his previous trials, Bashir blamed his arrest and sentence on US and Jewish machinations. Although the Obama administration has appointed a new envoy, Derek Mitchell, as special ambassador to coordinate international approaches to Burma, this enhanced engagement runs parallel to increased US economic sanctions, suggesting little has changed with the new “civilianized” government.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, South China
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The moderation and reassurance seen in the public posture of top-level Chinese civilian leaders in their attentive interaction with Southeast Asian countries in the first third of the year gave way to rising tensions and widely publicized disputes centered on differing claims in the South China Sea. Senior Chinese officials portrayed China as reactive and defensive in the face of increasing encroachment on the part of Vietnam and the Philippines in particular, and what they saw as self-serving meddling by the US. Despite often reassuring words, the pattern of Chinese behavior in disputed areas in recent months undermined regional and broader international sympathy for China's position. Vietnamese and Philippine oil exploration vessels met with intimidation by Chinese patrol vessels, and in the case of Vietnam, repeated damage to underwater survey gear. Some Vietnamese fishermen were beaten by Chinese authorities, and Philippine fishermen were shot at by Chinese patrol vessels. Based on available reporting, the various incidents followed a common practice of China using superior power and coercion to pressure and force perceived intruders to retreat.
  • Political Geography: China, Vietnam, Philippines, Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There has been some progress in implementing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and other existing pacts, but differences continue to prevent finalization of the long-pending investment protection agreement. Beijing has criticized opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen's cross-strait policy platform, saying it would lead to a breakdown in dialogue and cooperation. Sea trials of Beijing's first aircraft carrier were symbolic of PLA capabilities that increasingly threaten Taiwan. Reports indicate that Taipei and Washington have agreed on the program to upgrade Taiwan's existing F-16A/B fighters with congressional notification expected in September.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Just for once, Comparative Connections' deadline chimed neatly with events on the Korean Peninsula. Late on the evening of Aug. 30, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, as part of a mini-reshuffle affecting four Cabinet positions, finally replaced his long-term hard-line unification minister, former academic Hyun In-taek. With Lee's characteristic cronyism, the man nominated to replace Hyun was another of his close advisers – geography professor Yu Woo-ik, once Lee's chief of staff in the Blue House and latterly ROK ambassador to China.
  • Political Geography: Russia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level exchanges between China and South Korea's foreign and defense ministries appeared to recover momentum as the two countries marked their 19th anniversary of diplomatic relations on Aug. 24. The first China-ROK “strategic defense dialogue” was held in Seoul on July 27 following talks between Defense Ministers Liang Guanglie and Kim Kwan-jin in Beijing on July 15 and in Singapore on June 4 on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue. Foreign Ministers Yang Jiechi and Kim Sung-hwan met June 6 ahead of the Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting in Budapest and held another round of talks July 21 in Bali on the sidelines of ASEAN regional meetings. But efforts to consolidate the China-ROK strategic partnership have exposed policy differences over North Korea and the ROK alliance relationship with the US.
  • Topic: Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Private-sector contacts kept the bilateral relationship afloat while high-level official contact began to re-engage. Defense ministers met in June in Singapore and foreign ministers met in July in Beijing. In each instance, they agreed on the importance of advancing the strategic and mutually beneficial relationship. In early August, Japan's Ministry of Defense released its 2011 Defense White Paper, which expressed concerns over China's military modernization, its increasing activities in waters off Japan, and its “overbearing” conduct in the South China Sea. Eight days later, the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag left port for initial sea trails. Meanwhile, activities in the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands area continued to generate political friction in both Tokyo and Beijing.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Tokyo, Island, South China
  • Author: David C. Kang, Jiun Bang
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea and Japan are neighbors that are advanced, technologically sophisticated capitalist economies with capable and well-educated populations, and are fully consolidated liberal democracies. They share an alliance with the US, and generally view themselves as stalwart regional allies. As has been the case for many years, relations between them during the past four months were relatively stable, with increasingly deep economic relations, voluminous cultural flows, and general agreement on a strategy of isolation toward North Korea. They also share a tendency to provoke each other over their shared history and the ownership of several islets that sit between them. When this happens, the media goes into a frenzy, breathlessly reporting the latest incident. But which is reality? Do the historical disputes meaningfully affect their bilateral relations? On the one hand, yes: they could cooperate more closely on issues such as military coordination and a free-trade agreement. On the other hand, no: it's not at all clear that historical issues are holding up cooperation and relations are deeper across a range of issues.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The summer of 2011 marked two anniversaries for China and Russia. In June, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) celebrated its 10th anniversary at the annual SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. Over the past 10 years, the regional security group has grown fed by its “twin engines” of Russia and China. Immediately following the SCO Summit, President Hu Jintao traveled to Moscow, marking the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Friendship Treaty between Russia and China. There was much to celebrate as Moscow, Beijing, and the SCO have achieved stability, security, and sustained economic development in a world riddled with revolutions, chaos, crises, and another major economic downturn. The two anniversaries were also a time to pause and think about “next steps.” While the SCO is having “growing pains,” China and Russia have elevated their “strategic partnership relations” to a “comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership.”
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Moscow
  • Author: Graeme Dobell
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Australia has a close alliance with the US and deep emotional and cultural ties, but the new reality is that the two economies have decoupled. Twice in the past decade the US has gone into recession, but Australia has kept growing; that is a huge change from the 20th-century experience when Australia's fortunes were closely tied to the health of the US economy. Asia now sets Australia's economic temperature, even as the Australian military draws closer to the US through parallel reviews of the posture of their defense forces.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Ralph Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Rays of hope were seen in several areas across the region. Dim rays of light pierced what has been the darkness of the Six-Party Talks since their suspension in December 2008, even though prospects for actual Korean Peninsula denuclearization remain low. US-China relations continued to mend at the Shangri-La Dialogue and the ARF; Vice President Biden's trip to China added to the light. Hopes have also been raised for an end to political turmoil in Japan and Thailand with the election of new prime ministers. Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest provides a ray of hope for progress in moving Burma/Myanmar toward democracy. Meanwhile, the self-inflicted debt crisis in the US has further dimmed hopes for US leadership in Asia and globally. Looking forward, there are flickering hopes that this year's APEC Leaders Meeting in Honolulu will shine a new spotlight on this increasingly overshadowed institution. Finally, the death of Osama bin Laden has raised the hope that this signals the beginning of the end for al Qaeda; others hope it will hasten the US exit from Afghanistan as well.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Japan, China, Asia, Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Noda accomplished important steps including the selection of the F-35 as Japan's next-generation fighter, relaxing the three arms export principles, and announcing a decision to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – all of which demonstrated the current Japanese government's readiness to revive the economy and strengthen security ties and capabilities. At the same time, the government's support rate began to collapse in a pattern eerily similar to Noda's five predecessors, raising questions about the ability of the government to follow through on the more challenging political commitments related to TPP. President Obama met Noda at the United Nations in New York and at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Hawaii in an active season of bilateral diplomacy. Public opinion surveys revealed generally positive views of the US-Japan relationship in both countries but the impasse over relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma fueled negative perceptions in Japan.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, New York, Asia, Hawaii
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of measures taken by the Obama administration to bolster US presence and influence in the Asia-Pacific was met with a variety of responses from China. Official reaction was largely muted and restrained; media responses were often strident and accused the US of seeking to contain and encircle China. President Obama met President Hu Jintao on the margins of the APEC meeting in Honolulu and Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. Tension in bilateral economic relations increased as the US stepped up criticism of China's currency and trade practices, and tit-for-tat trade measures took place with greater frequency. Amid growing bilateral friction and discontent, the 22nd Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) convened in Chengdu, China. An announcement by the US of a major arms sale to Taiwan in September prompted China to postpone a series of planned exchanges, but the Defense Consultative Talks nevertheless proceeded as planned in December.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Ellen Kim, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's state visit to the US was a big event that attested to the strength of the two countries' relationship and the personal ties between Presidents Obama and Lee. The timely passage of the KORUS FTA in the US was the big deliverable for the summit. Final ratification of the FTA in both countries clears one longstanding issue and lays the foundation for greater economic integration and a stronger alliance. Meanwhile, the most shocking news for the final third of the year was the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in late December. His death disrupted US-DPRK bilateral talks as North Korea observed a mourning period for its late leader. The US and South Korea spent the last two weeks of December quietly watching developments in North Korea as the reclusive country accelerated its succession process to swiftly transfer power to the anointed successor, Kim Jong Un.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With visits to Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, and Burma, President Obama and Secretaries Clinton and Panetta demonstrated a renewed US commitment to Southeast Asia despite concern over a projected steep decline in the US defense budget. Southeast Asian reactions to the announcement of an increased rotation of US military assets to Australia range from ambivalence in Indonesia to enthusiastic endorsement in the Philippines and Singapore. Generally, the additional US forces are seen as evidence of Washington's decision to remain involved in regional security. At the East Asia Summit (EAS), Obama outlined his hope that it could serve as a high-level security conclave whose agreements would be implemented through other multilateral organizations. In visits to the Philippines and Indonesia, Clinton and Obama promised naval and air force upgrades to each, including two squadrons (24 aircraft) of refurbished F-16C/Ds for Jakarta. Hoping for a breakthrough in US-Burma relations, Obama sent Clinton to see whether the situation warranted the easing of US economic sanctions and if Naypyidaw was moving to meet US conditions for the restoration of full diplomatic relations.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Singapore, Southeast Asia, Hawaii
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China endeavored to win regional influence and goodwill by emphasizing reassurance and mutually beneficial relations with Southeast Asian counterparts. Nevertheless, it failed to keep the issue of the South China Sea off the agenda at the East Asia Summit as Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was placed on the defensive and compelled to defend China's approach to resolving territorial and maritime security issues related to China's broad claims and sometimes assertive actions. Official Chinese commentaries reacted to the setback in Bali with criticism directed at the US, but they tended to avoid hyperbole sometimes seen in unofficial Chinese media. Official commentaries were measured as they depicted various economic, political, and security initiatives during President Obama's trip to the region as challenges to Chinese interests. They also registered opposition to initiatives by Japan and India regarding Southeast Asia and the South China Sea that were seen as at odds with Chinese interests. Myanmar's decision to stop a major hydroelectric dam project being built by Chinese firms added to China's challenges and complications as it raised questions about China's influence in the country while Myanmar's new civilian government tried to improve relations with the US and other powers.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar, South China
  • Author: David Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The campaign leading to the Taiwan's Jan. 14 presidential election has dominated cross-strait developments. Opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen has continued her rejection of the “1992 consensus” and criticized President Ma Ying-jeou for suggesting he might consider negotiating a peace accord with Beijing. Meanwhile, Beijing has emphasized its wish to further develop relations on the basis of the “1992 consensus,” without which relations will regress. Therefore, the outcome of the upcoming elections will have a decisive impact. Ma's re-election would permit further gradual progress; Tsai's election will likely lead Beijing to suspend dialogue and domestic pressures would probably produce a tougher policy toward Tsai's administration.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing