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  • 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: Satu Limaye
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over a decade into the “normalization” of US-India relations and nearly 20 years into India's “Look East” policy, the US-India-East Asia nexus is regularly articulated by the US and India, generally accepted in the region, and shows some signs of gaining traction including a regular US-India dialogue on East Asia and the launch of the first-ever US-India-Japan trilateral dialogue. More broadly, US views of India as part of Asia now encompass mental as well as policy maps (though not yet bureaucratic and all geographical ones) and transcend party politics. Meanwhile, US-India bilateral relations move steadily if sometimes frustratingly forward, and India-East Asia ties continue to deepen and widen though to neither side's full satisfaction. One thing is clear: triangulation depends above all on India's own commitment and actions to build a closer relationship with the wider Asia-Pacific region. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an echo of comments made by regional leaders over the years, told an Indian audience in Chennai in July that “India's leadership will help to shape positively the future of the Asia Pacific. That's why … we encourage India not just to look east, but to engage east and act east as well [emphasis added].”
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, India, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Bonnie Glases
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Obama's first-ever trip to China was the main attraction of the fourth quarter. In addition to meeting Chinese leaders, Obama held a town hall-style assembly with Chinese students in Shanghai. The two sides signed a joint statement, the first in 12 years, which highlighted the depth and breadth of the relationship and promised greater cooperation. Nevertheless, the US media mostly faulted the president for not making sufficiently concrete progress on a number of problems. The Copenhagen climate talks garnered much attention in December. As the two largest emitters of CO2, negotiations between China and the US not only occupied the meeting's spotlight, but also ultimately decided its outcome. Trade friction continued to intensify with both countries launching new investigations and imposing duties on several products. The bilateral military relationship took a step forward with the visit to the US by Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ross Matzkin-Bridger
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The final quarter of 2009 included a number of significant developments in US-Korea ties. President Barack Obama made his first trip to Seoul in November, and Special Envoy for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth traveled to Pyongyang in December. The summit between Presidents Obama and Lee Myung-bak marked the continuation of an historical high in relations between the two countries. On issues affecting the alliance, Obama and Lee found common ground on North Korea, while they inched forward with the Korea-US free trade agreement. Meanwhile, Bosworth's three days of talks with North Korean officials brought the most encouraging signs of a return to the six-party process since talks broke down at the end of 2008. The Obama administration is faring well on the Korean Peninsula, even as relations with other major powers of the region become more complicated. Those accompanying Obama on his trip to Asia informally acknowledged that Korea was the “best stop” on the trip and sensed a personal connection between the two leaders.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Joseph Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last quarter of 2009 proved to be a quiet one for US-Russia relations. Although there were no major bilateral rifts, several issues continue to fester, including the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program. The biggest disappointment, however, may have been the failure to reach an agreement on the replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that expired on Dec. 5. Negotiations are set to resume in January, but end-of-year remarks by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin about the dangers of the US ballistic missile defense system threaten to throw a wrench into the discussions. Meanwhile, the long-awaited East Siberian oil pipeline destined for Asian markets has finally come on line.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level US efforts to convince Burma's military government to open its political system to the democratic opposition and release political prisoners prior to scheduled 2010 elections accelerated this quarter. President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and Assistant Secretary of State Campbell all weighed in during meetings in Burma and at the first ASEAN-US summit in Singapore after the annual APEC leaders meeting. The ASEAN states welcomed the first US summit with all 10 members. Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan noted that President Obama's praise for ASEAN's key role in Asian international organizations debunked claims by some that ASEAN is no longer the centerpiece of the region's architecture. Singapore's prime minister insisted that the US continues to be Asia's “indispensable” player despite the rise of China and India. In the Philippines, the Visiting Forces Agreement continues to be a political football in domestic Philippine politics as President Arroyo's political opponents claim that the US military violates the Philippine constitution by engaging in combat – an allegation denied by both the US embassy and the Philippine government. On a tip from the US, Thai authorities detained a cargo aircraft coming from North Korea with a load of sophisticated weapons in violation of a UN Security Council Resolution.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Satu Limaye
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: India-US relations were characterized by a degree of ennui while India-East Asia relations were overshadowed by public tensions between China and India throughout much of the year. The Obama administration, preoccupied by multiple high-stakes domestic and foreign policy priorities, offered up two high-profile visits for New Delhi with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton going to India in July and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh coming to Washington in November as the first head of state visit. But the newly strengthened Congress-led government, which returned to power after the April-May national elections, remained wary of the Obama administration's priorities and approaches toward a range of issues including its Afghanistan-Pakistan (AfPak) strategy, nuclear nonproliferation, and climate change, as it felt some nostalgia for the primacy of place and purpose offered to India by the bygone Bush administration. Meanwhile, in India's ties with East Asia, even though New Delhi made diplomatic forays ranging from Mongolia to Papua New Guinea to the Pacific Islands Forum to Australia while sustaining its traditional relationships with Japan and ASEAN, the tense Beijing-New Delhi interaction over the decades-old border dispute was the focus of attention for most observers.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Japan, Washington, India, Beijing, East Asia, New Delhi, Guinea
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: United States, India, East Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Last quarter we focused on remarks by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaiming that “America is back in Asia,” an obvious dig at real and perceived neglect of Asia by the previous administration. This quarter, both were forced to postpone planned trips to Asia although, in Secretary Clinton's case, not before giving a major Asia policy address in Honolulu. This quarter also ended the same as last, amid hints that Pyongyang really would, at some not too distant point (but not this past quarter), return to six-party deliberations. On a more positive note, it looks like arms control agreements are on the way back, following the announcement that the US and Russia had finally come to terms on a new strategic arms agreement, to be signed by both presidents in April. Speculation about the “changing balance of power” in Asia also continues as a result of China's economic resilience and apparent newfound confidence, although it still seems premature to announce that the Middle Kingdom is back, given the challenges highlighted at this year's National Peoples' Congress. Political normalcy also appears to be a long way from returning to Bangkok where the “red shirts” have once again taken to the street, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, America, Asia, Bangkok
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio moved to implement his domestic policy agenda with an eye toward the Upper House elections this summer but watched his approval rating fall as he and members of his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) were beset by political fundraising scandals. The impasse over the relocation of Marine Air Station Futenma continued to dominate the bilateral agenda and alternative proposals put forth by the Hatoyama government failed to advance the discussion. Concerns about barriers to US exports and the restructuring of Japan Post emerged in commentary by the Obama administration and congressional leaders but a joint statement highlighting cooperation on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) reinforced the economic pillar of the relationship. The Toyota hearings in Congress were covered extensively by media in both countries but did not have an immediate impact on US-Japan relations. However, the recall issue and other developments point to potentially negative perceptions that could cloud official efforts to build a comprehensive framework for the alliance over the course of the year, the 50th anniversary of the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, David Szerlip
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After a relatively smooth period in US-China relations through the first year of the Obama administration, the “honeymoon” ended in the first quarter of 2010. The new year brought new frictions and returned to the spotlight many problem areas. The quarter began with an unexpected announcement from an unlikely player in China-US relations: Google, the internet giant, reported extensive hacking of its networks traced back to China and then redirected Google.cn users to its Hong Kong site to evade Chinese censorship. Tensions were further stoked by the administration's notification to Congress of a major weapons sale to Taiwan and President Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama. Throughout the quarter, economic frictions intensified, particularly over the valuation of China's currency. Despite these numerous difficulties, the quarter closed with the pendulum swinging back toward the center. At the end of March, President Obama and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg both reaffirmed the US commitment to a positive relationship with China; Beijing announced that President Hu would attend a major international nuclear security summit in the US in April 2010; and Obama and Hu, in a friendly phone call, renewed their determination to sustain healthy and stable ties.
  • Topic: Economics, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Hong Kong
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ross Matzkin-Bridger
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The first quarter of 2010 set the stage for what should be a busy year in US-Korea relations. The Six-Party Talks remain stalled, although dire conditions in the North may force Kim Jong-il back to negotiations soon. While North Korea continues to demand concessions before a return to talks, the US shows no sign of caving in. In South Korea, there was a flurry of mixed signals on whether the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) to Seoul scheduled to be completed in 2012 would go ahead as planned. Prospects for the US-ROK free trade agreement got a boost from President Obama and his administration, however, it remains uncertain when the deal will move to Congress for ratification. Finally, the issue of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing in South Korea has made its way to the forefront of US-Korea relations, where it will likely remain for some years.
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Catharin Dalpino
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After banner initiatives in US policy toward Southeast Asia were unveiled in 2009 – the US-ASEAN Leaders Meeting, signing the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, and a 45-degree change in Burma policy that added engagement to sanctions – a loss of momentum in early 2010 was hardly surprising. President Obama's decision to delay his long-awaited trip to Indonesia twice in March added to the impression of a slump in relations with the region. The administration proved to be prescient in its warning last fall that greater engagement with the Burmese regime would not likely reap short-term gains when the junta announced restrictive election laws. However, in the first quarter of 2010 the US also moved forward on two regional initiatives – strengthening its interest in the TransPacific Trade Partnership, which could be a route to trade liberalization with several Southeast Asian countries, and preparing to establish a Permanent Mission to ASEAN. Despite Bangkok's ongoing political crisis and a new wave of “red shirt” protests, the US and Thailand implemented new rounds of two multilateral military exercises in this quarter, including the flagship Cobra Gold. At the end of the quarter the US and Vietnam signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding on the development of civilian nuclear power facilities, a bilateral segue to the multilateral nuclear summit that Obama will host with 43 heads of state in mid-April.
  • Topic: Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Bangkok
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: United States, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), inaugurated on Jan. 1, marked the highlight of a quarter featuring otherwise slow Chinese-Southeast Asian interaction during the winter months. Premier Wen Jiabao did mention the trade accord in his report to the National People's Congress in March, but official Chinese media accounts of interviews and commentary by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi this quarter did not mention ASEAN or Southeast Asia in inventories of Chinese foreign policy priorities in 2010. In a visit receiving low-keyed and delayed treatment in official Chinese media, State Counselor Dai Bingguo, China's senior foreign policy expert, traveled to ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta to give a speech in late January that highlighted the positive aspects of Chinese-ASEAN relations as well as important elements in China's policy in Asia. Included in foreign assessments of China's rising prominence in Southeast Asia was a hearing by a US congressional commission in February featuring views of two US administration officials and eight experts offering mixed conclusions. Chinese statements this quarter expressing strong differences with the US thus far have not shown much impact on Chinese relations with Southeast Asia.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The interaction between economic negotiations and Taiwan domestic politics will dominate cross-Strait relations this year. Formal negotiation of an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) began in January and both sides now talk hopefully of completing the negotiations by June. On Taiwan, recent election losses make timely conclusion of the ECFA on terms welcomed by Taiwan voters important for President Ma Ying-jeou and the Kuomintang (KMT) party's political fortunes. The announcement of a US arms sales package in January was welcomed by Ma, but predictably created tensions in US-China relations – tensions that raise the stakes when the Obama administration considers Taiwan's request for F-16 C/D aircraft.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Hopes for a resumption of Six-Party Talks this past quarter were torpedoed when an international investigation team concluded that the ROK Navy ship Cheonan was deliberately attacked by a North Korean submarine. The Chinese, while scuttling plans for UNSC censure of Pyongyang, fired a warning shot of their own, denying Defense Secretary Gates' request for a China visit after the Shangri-La Dialogue in June in a sign of continued displeasure over US arms sales to Taiwan. Also once again torpedoed, this time by an oil spill, was President Obama's twice-delayed “homecoming” visit to Indonesia.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, North Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa remained the predominant issue in the US-Japan relationship and the two governments issued a joint statement in late May reaffirming a commitment to realize a plan adopted in 2006 with some modifications to be explored. Prime Minister Hatoyama then resigned as polls revealed frustration with his handling of the Futenma issue and weak leadership overall. Finance Minister Kan Naoto succeeded Hatoyama as premier and outlined his own policy priorities just weeks before an important parliamentary election. Kan stressed the centrality of the US-Japan alliance to Japanese diplomacy and reiterated the theme in his first meeting with President Obama at the G8 Summit in late June. The two leaders' first meeting was business-like and lacking for drama – exactly as both governments had hoped. New public opinion polls suggested political turmoil at home has not had a significant impact on Japan's standing globally or in the US, but some observers continued to suggest the US should lower expectations of Japan as an ally in the debate about the future of the alliance.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao met twice this quarter, first on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April and again on the margins of the G20 Summit in Toronto in June. Nevertheless, tensions lingered over US arms sale to Taiwan and the military relationship remained suspended. The Chinese rejected a request from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to visit China. The second round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue was held in Beijing in late May, yielding agreements on energy, trade environment, and healthcare. Many hours were spent during the quarter in discussions between the two countries on an appropriate response to the sinking of the South Korean warship, but the gap was not narrowed. In June, China finally announced the long-awaited decision to allow its currency to be more flexible, though it remains unclear how fast and to what extent it will permit the yuan to appreciate.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Taiwan, South Korea, Toronto
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The second quarter saw a series of major events in US-ROK relations. With the sinking of the Cheonan in late March, the quarter saw the possible return to armed conflict in Korea. The North Korean torpedo attack on the South Korean warship caused the two Koreas to break ties, intensified the tension along the border, and blasted hopes for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Meanwhile, the US-ROK alliance was at its zenith as the US showed solidarity with South Korea on its response to the provocation and put pressure on China to support a strong UN Security Council measure identifying North Korea as being responsible for the attack. The two presidents announced a delay in transfer of wartime operational control and President Obama, in a surprise announcement on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Toronto, called for ratification of the KORUS FTA. Though these two developments were not a direct result of the Cheonan sinking, they were influenced by a desire by both allies to show strong, deep partnership in the face of North Korean threats, and perhaps more important, by a personal chemistry between the two leaders that is unique in the history of the alliance.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Toronto
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In mid-May, long-simmering political tension in Thailand between the Bangkok elite establishment and urban lower classes as well as those in northern Thailand who feel ignored by the center erupted in the worst political violence in decades. Tentative US efforts to mediate were rejected by the Thai government, though the opposition appeared to welcome a US role. A tense calm has been restored, but the prospect for renewed violence is palpable. While the Indonesian government expressed understanding for President Obama's second postponement of a visit to his childhood home because of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, opposition Muslim politicians claimed the real reason for the postponement was the Israeli attack on a Turkish flotilla running Israel's Gaza blockade. A number of Muslim leaders stated that Obama wished to avoid encountering Indonesian ire for his country's pro-Israeli stand. The election of Benigno Aquino III as the Philippines' 15th president was greeted by international observers as a generally fair and transparent process. The president-elect has stated he plans to review the country's Visiting Forces Agreement with the US to modify its pro-US bias. Washington continues to criticize Burma's preparations for elections scheduled for October as marginalizing the political opposition. The US is also concerned that Burma may be clandestinely importing materials from North Korea for a nascent nuclear weapons program.
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Israel, North Korea, Philippines, Burma, Mexico, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Bangkok
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao traveled to the remote Myanmar capital during a swing through Asia in May and June, marking the first official visit by a Chinese premier in 16 years. Wen had planned to visit Brunei, Myanmar, and Indonesia in April but was compelled to cancel that trip due to a major earthquake in Qinghai province. Vice President Xi Jinping advanced Chinese relations with a visit to Australia, New Zealand and Laos in mid-June. Chinese officials and authoritative media generally avoided taking sides in the deepening and increasingly violent internal crisis in Thailand. A variety of reporting and private disclosures by Vietnamese officials indicated more serious Sino-Vietnamese frictions over disputed claims in the South China Sea than previously indicated. Maneuvers by Chinese naval forces over disputed territories and related claims caught the attention of regional observers and the US, deepening concerns regarding Chinese objectives.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Vietnam, Australia, Thailand, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Myanmar
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After six months of arduous negotiations, China and Taiwan signed an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), including an “early harvest” list of tariff reductions. The agreement, which provides a basis for further integration of the two economies, is a milestone in institutionalizing cross-Strait relations. On Taiwan, opposition politicians continue to criticize the ECFA but months of discussion and debate have led to a gradual increase in public support and acceptance. The issue of US arms sales to Taiwan continues to complicate US-China relations. The Democratic Progressive Party's consideration of a new 10-year platform has revealed an ongoing internal difference over cross-Strait policy. The coming quarter will see the Legislative Yuan's review of the ECFA, Taiwan's quest for free trade agreements with trade partners and jockeying in the run-up to the November municipal elections on Taiwan.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The sinking of the South Korean warship on March 26 turned the second quarter into a tumultuous time for Northeast Asian diplomacy. A multinational team of investigators concluded that North Korea was responsible, bringing Seoul and Tokyo closer together in a united stand against Pyongyang, while Japan's relations with North Korea relations declined even more than usual as they continued their “sanctioning and blaming”: Tokyo placed more sanctions on Pyongyang, and Pyongyang blamed Tokyo for being used as a US “servant.” For its part, the Democratic Party of Japan found a face-saving solution to the problem of the Futenma relocation issue, putting the matter on hold due to the threat from North Korea. At the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the region appears largely the same as it did in 1950. Both Koreas view each other as the main enemy, US alliances are the cornerstone of Japan and South Korean foreign policies, and China (and to a lesser extent, Russia) is sympathetic to North Korea and faces strong criticism from the US and South Korea.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US profile in Asia appears to be on the rise following Secretary of State Clinton‟s highly publicized presentation at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) ministerial in Hanoi in July and President Obama‟s New York meeting with ASEAN leaders at quarter‟s end. Meanwhile Beijing‟s image took a few hits as it tried to bully Japan (successfully), the US and ROK (unsuccessfully), and ASEAN (TBD) on maritime-related issues, while seemingly having nothing but kind thoughts and gestures for the DPRK, essentially serving as its defense attorney during UN Security Council deliberations regarding the attack on the Cheonan. Prospects for a resumption of Six-Party Talks remained low, despite a professed willingness by Pyongyang to return to the table (albeit as a recognized nuclear weapon state). New faces appeared in the North‟s general officer ranks but the (seemingly nonexistent) prospects for Korean Peninsula denuclearization remained unchanged.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) suffered an embarrassing defeat in the July Upper House election less than a year after assuming power. Prime Minister Kan Naoto subsequently took a beating in the polls but managed to withstand a challenge from former DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro in a party presidential election marked by heated debate over economic policy. Political turmoil did not preclude active diplomacy on the part of Kan‟s government, nor coordination between Washington and Tokyo on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues including the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma on Okinawa; a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands; and sanctions on Iran to condemn its nuclear activities. The quarter came to a close with President Obama and Prime Minister Kan taking stock of a rapidly developing bilateral agenda during a brief yet productive meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, setting the stage for the president‟s trip to Japan in November.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Washington, Tokyo
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Diplomatic confrontations over the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea were the source of new bilateral tensions this quarter. Beijing vigorously objected to the dispatch of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to waters near where the South Korean corvette Cheonan sunk after being attacked in March, even before Washington had made a decision to deploy it. Worried about Chinese diplomatic posturing and destabilizing activities in the South China Sea, Secretary of State Clinton delivered a clear statement of US interests at the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Hanoi that irritated Beijing. With the US mid-term elections approaching, US frustration mounted over China‟s unwillingness to allow its currency to appreciate against the dollar at a faster pace. The House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow the US to impose import duties on countries that have undervalued currencies. After more than five months of delay, the Pentagon submitted to Congress its annual report assessing Chinese military capabilities. Finally, two US presidential envoys traveled to Beijing to smooth over relations and President Obama met Premier Wen Jiabao on the margins on the UN General Assembly.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, North Korea
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The sinking of the Cheonan remained the predominant issue in the US-ROK relationship as both countries spent the quarter coordinating and undertaking punitive measures against North Korea for its alleged attack on the ship. The UN Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement condemning the attack but did not directly blame North Korea. The US and the ROK held their first “Two-plus-Two” meeting in Seoul where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met Foreign Minster Yu Myung-hwan and Minister of National Defense Kim Tae-young. While countries reopened their dialogue channels in the hope of resuming the Six-Party Talks, there remain many challenges and uncertainties that make the future direction of the Talks unclear. Several issues remain to be resolved on the KORUS FTA while negotiators are expected to hold a ministerial meeting soon to strike a deal. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a report on US attitudes toward South Korea that highlighted public support for trade agreements, including the KORUS FTA, is lukewarm. Among those who viewed fair trade as critical for US interests, support for KORUS was much stronger.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States significantly raised its political profile in Southeast Asia this quarter, inserting itself in South China Sea disputes, announcing its plan to join the East Asia Summit, convening the second US-ASEAN summit, and creating an ambitious agenda for participation in a variety of Southeast Asia programs. On the South China Sea issue, Secretary of State Clinton proposed multilateral discussions under ASEAN auspices – an idea that did not appear, however, in the ASEAN-US summit communiqué in late September. The US inaugurated naval exercises with Vietnam in early August, coinciding with the visit of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. Washington is considering new financial sanctions against Burma, recognizing that more engagement with the military regime has not yielded the expected results. The presence of US military trainers in the southern Philippines continues to rile leftist and nationalist legislators. As a sign of growing warmth in US-Malaysian relations, Kuala Lumpur is sending a small contingent of medical personnel to Afghanistan. The Indonesian-US Comprehensive Partnership was launched in Washington in September, signifying Jakarta‟s special importance to the US. Washington also restored military-to-military relations with Kopassus, the Indonesian Special Forces unit that has been accused of egregious human rights violations in Timor, Papua, and Aceh.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huan
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China was on the defensive this quarter, reacting to interventions by the US, including a notable statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Hanoi regarding the South China Sea. The ARF meeting also saw a new US commitment, backed by ASEAN, to participate actively in the East Asian Summit, raising the profile of that regional body over China‟s preference for Asian-only regional groups. Further complicating China‟s regional calculus were prominent advances in US relations with Vietnam shown during celebrations of a US-Vietnam anniversary in August that involved exercises with a US aircraft carrier deployed near disputed regions of the South China Sea. Chinese officials and commentary in Chinese media at first countered that the US actions were self-serving and destabilizing. Those attacks meshed with public Chinese attacks on concurrent US military exercises with South Korean forces in reaction to North Korea‟s sinking of a South Korean warship. Later, some Chinese commentary dissented from the harsh public approach, and by the end of the quarter, the criticism of the US and others over the South China Sea disputes and other issues subsided. For the time being at least, it appeared that China will remain focused on publicly stressing trade and reassuring diplomacy in Southeast Asia, while defending its territorial claims and continuing to build military capabilities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This has been a quiet but constructive quarter in cross-Strait relations. Taipei and Beijing were focused on ratifying and beginning implementation of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). With Beijing‟s agreement, Singapore and Taipei announced that they would consider negotiating a WTO-consistent economic cooperation agreement. This important flexibility by Beijing allows President Ma to show that ECFA has opened the door at least slightly to Taiwan‟s involvement in regional trade liberalization. Despite Washington‟s approval of small commercial arms sales, Beijing indicated a willingness to resume military exchanges with Washington. Nevertheless, arms sales to Taiwan remain a threat to US-China relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Meghan L. O'Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The sanctions debate is, once again, in full bloom. Thanks to Iran's budding nuclear program and the intransigence of Tehran thus far, policymakers and pundits are again pondering the utility of sanctions. Amid a flurry of sanctions activity at the U.S. Department of Treasury, in Congress, at the UN, and overseas, the question persists: ''Do sanctions work?''
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Founded in the aftermath of the Holocaust amid violent rejection from its neighbors, Israel has long insisted on extraordinary freedom of action to defend its existence as a Jewish majority state. But external pressures are rising, creating a diplomatic crisis that may constrain Israel's tendency to use massive military force against adversaries. Increasingly, questions are being raised even by those sympathetic to Israel about whether its military conduct and unresolved conflict with the Palestinians are impinging on the U.S. ability to fight wars in two Muslim nations and to counter anti-U.S. sentiment in the wider Muslim and developing world. There is also an emerging debate about the wisdom and feasibility of Israel refusing to acknowledge its arsenal of nuclear weapons, while demanding that other countries in the Middle East foreswear them.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Israel, Germany
  • Author: Lincoln A. Mitchell, Alexander Cooley
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Russia—Georgia war of August 2008 had repercussions well beyond the South Caucasus. The war was the culmination of Western tensions with Russia over its influence in the post—Soviet space, while the fallout exposed divisions within the transatlantic community over how aggressively to confront Moscow after its invasion of undisputed Georgian territory and its permanent stationing of troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.1 The conflict also called into question Georgia's relationship with the United States, as well as U.S. credibility as a regional security partner in light of Washington's apparent inability either to restrain Tbilisi from launching an attack against Tskhinvali in August 2008 or to help its ally once the war began.2 Since the war, both the United States and Europe have provided significant financial support to help rebuild Georgia and have denounced the continued presence of Russian forces in the breakaway territories. The transatlantic community, however, has failed to develop a forward-looking strategy toward those territories.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Moscow