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  • Author: P. H. Yu
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As confrontation looms over Washington and Beijing, it is critical to identify the true nature of this challenge from an international relations perspective before any attempt to devise a counter measure. Wrong presumptions or prejudicial interpretations may lead to dire consequences of unforeseeable magnitude. One past example would be the U.S. government’s belief that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) before the American invasion in 2003. A more current example would be the American nuclear anxiety on North Korea and how President Trump bypassed conventional American strategic thinking and circumvented hawkish threats of preemptive nuclear annihilation to resolve a “draconian crisis” via “smart diplomacy.” These examples may shed light on a pathway to resolution for the current U.S.-China trade conflict. The United States and China have ample experience of weathering a crisis on the brink of war, whether it was on the Korean Peninsula or in Indochina. China today remains on the U.S. sanctions list for certain high-tech products and military equipment. Both the Trump administration and Congress continue to criticize China regularly, ranging from human rights to religious rights, from the rule of law to the autocratic political system, from the state-owned banks to restrictive market access to foreign corporations, and from currency manipulation to unfair trade practices.
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Trade Wars, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Prakash Menon
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Technology often seduces potential adversaries through a promise of relief from security threats only to deceive through the inevitable action-reaction cycle. In the universe of security, technology is contestable both by technology itself and by doctrinal prescriptions and operational countermeasures. The advantage provided by new technology is mostly ephemeral in that provides the momentum for an endless cycle that is best described as chasing one’s own tail. Only political intervention through mutual understanding, doctrinal prudence, and regulating the search for operational supremacy holds potential to escape the stranglehold of the action-reaction cycle. The elusive search for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) is a prime example. This paper seeks to interrogate the role of the technology-security dynamics in the context of the Sino-Indian nuclear weapon relationship. ​ The context of the Sino-Indian nuclear weapon relationship is clouded by the enhancing reach of India’s missiles[1], the evolving Chinese reaction to U.S. nuclear modernization accompanied by a shift in nuclear posture, and a shared belief in the role of nuclear weapons that is signified by No First Use (NFU) doctrine. The latter point represents political intervention while the two former signify the action-reaction cycle which is primarily a product of technology. However, both China and India must contend with nuclear powers that espouse First Use. China in dealing with the United States and Russia who are quantitatively superior nuclear powers, while India deals with Pakistan whose claims of quantitative superiority are contested. ​ In technological terms, the rise of China and the U.S. reaction resulting in contemporary geopolitical flux at the global level has impacted the evolution of China’s nuclear arsenal. The most prominent illustration of this is China’s reaction to the United States’ withdrawal from the Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty. Earlier China had eschewed development of BMD, but the United States’ quest to create BMD has caused China to attempt to develop its own BMD system as well as systems that can overcome BMD like multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) and Hyper Glide Vehicles (HGVs). Similarly, India has reacted to developments in China and Pakistan by launching an indigenous BMD development program...
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan Lim
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper conceptualizes the emerging détente within inter-Korean relations as evidence of tangible transformations within North Korea’s domestic and foreign policy, establishing how this phenomenon represents a unique and conclusive opportunity for peace and engagement. It contextualizes the inter-Korean and Singapore summits as foundations for the détente, before expanding upon the nature of the détente through the contrasting objectives of North and South Korea, and the transitional nature of domestic affairs in North Korea. The article establishes the bona fide nature of North Korea’s détente, as revealed by a direct connection between North Korea’s international diplomatic gestures vis-av-vis transitional domestic circumstances; involving incremental economic modernization and political liberalization under a shift in focus within Kim Jong-un’s Byungjin Line policy. This analysis departs from and orthodox Western interpretation of inter-Korean relations, providing a holistic analysis of inter-Korean affairs and North Korean domestic politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On May 30, Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second term as India’s Prime Minister. Conspicuous by their absence at the inauguration ceremony were Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan; Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Authority (CTA), more commonly known as the Tibetan government-in-exile; and Tien Chung-Kwang, Taiwan’s trade representative to India. While Khan was not invited on account of the serious deterioration in India-Pakistan relations since early this year, the absence of Sangay and Tien can be attributed to the Modi government adopting a more cautious approach to China in its second term. Modi’s administration seems keen to avoid needling the People’s Republic of China (PRC), especially at a time when Sino-Indian relations are improving (Deccan Herald, May 29). This caution on the part of India notwithstanding, Sino-Indian relations during Modi’s second term (scheduled to run through May 2024) are unlikely to be tension-free.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Dario Cristiani
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In March 2019, Italy and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed a broad and comprehensive, albeit not legally binding, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Italy to join the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This has triggered a significant debate—in Brussels as well as in Washington—about whether this decision signalled an Italian shift away from its historical pro-European and pro-Atlantic position, to a more nuanced position open to deepening strategic ties with China. The MoU is not definite proof of such a shift, and the Italian government has denied any strategic change. However, Italy is the first major European country, and the first Group of Seven (G7) member, to formalize its participation with the BRI project. As such, this development is particularly remarkable.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Italy
  • Author: Troy Stangarone
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Following a relatively successful period for U.S.-South Korea economic relations under the Bush and Obama administrations, Washington and Seoul have entered a new period of economic tension in the Trump administration. Unlike prior U.S. presidents, who placed a priority on negotiating fair rules in the United States’ economic relationships, President Trump has prioritized outcomes. As a result, one of his administration’s earliest moves was to renegotiate the KORUS Free Trade Agreement. While the results of the renegotiation were modest, they may help to expand the sale of American automobiles in the Republic of Korea in the long-run. The largest outcome of the negotiations may be to protect the Ford Motor Company from South Korean competition in the U.S. market as the company transitions to sales focused on light trucks. While the renegotiation has eased tensions for the moment, the prospect of economic engagement with North Korea, the Trump administration’s continued use of national security to erect trade barriers, and the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles could result in growing tensions in the relationship.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Negotiation, Free Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Upon coming to power in May 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) adopted a more muscular approach to China than its predecessors. As part of this, it was not averse to using the Dalai Lama and the CTA to gain leverage in its dealings with China. Its recent move to put distance between itself and Dharamsala reflects an understanding that playing the ‘Tibet card’ brought India no benefits. In fact, the failure of the BJP’s four-year gambit reaffirms what many Indian diplomats and scholars have been saying for decades: there is no ‘Tibet card’ for India to play.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Alicia Campi
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The U.S. and Mongolia established diplomatic relations in 1987, after earlier failed attempts and many years of Cold War frostiness. In this account, Dr. Campi describes the negotiations leading up to relations with the Mongolian People’s Republic, at the time a communist country closely allied to the Soviet Union, and her own role in the process.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, History, Bilateral Relations, Negotiation, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Japan, Mongolia, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Evan Ellis
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Though superpower diplomacy dominated coverage of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) leaders summit in November, China’s upgrading of a free-trade agreement with Chile served to highlight the strength of an economic and political relationship that it has built with the country, and the influential position Chile currently occupies in shaping Chinese engagement with Latin America.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Chile
  • Author: Richard Aidoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: From Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward to Deng Xiaoping’s Opening Up, through Jiang Zemin’s Going Out (also known as the Going Global strategy) to Xi Jinping’s recent Chinese Dream, China has pursued diverse diplomatic engagements with African countries within these broad development visions. These engagements have evolved along with Africa’s changing political and economic circumstances, as well as China’s resurgence as a global economic power. Most significantly, in large parts of the developing world (including Africa), China has shifted away from its support for the struggle for ideological identity to assume geopolitical and geo-economic weight, as anti-imperialism rhetoric and support have given way to its business-is-business mantra, and noninterference diplomacy. In other words, from the late 1970s, Africa encountered Beijing’s gradual shift away from an ideological proselytizer to a global economic adventurer. After the Cold War, Chinese influence in Africa has grown significantly as it has traded, invested, and constructed its way to the most relevant economic partner to African economies. Chinese capital, aid, expertise, and diplomacy have brought increasing numbers of Chinese to the continent to serve as expatriate workers as they heed the call to “go out” and enhance the national ambitions and seek personal fortunes. In the past two decades, it has been remarkably evident that the relationship between China and Africa has entered into a different phase. Contrary to the rather simplistic and unilinear account of China’s scramble of the African continent, current engagements are rather complex with China as a pragmatic economic actor with both complementary and competitive impacts that draw different reactions from African populations – from the often reported embrace to intense local anger in certain parts. Along with a political independent and largely democratically governed Africa, China is also currently engaging mostly empowered African populations who will readily assert and preserve their sovereignties, political rights and civil liberties through public protests, pronouncements and political competitions like elections, and referendums. So, in spite of Beijing’s touted African embrace as the partner-in-development option for African states, some growing popular resentment for “most things Chinese” in some parts of Africa is confronting China as it deals with a continent in transition. Alternatively, though the effectiveness of popular African reactions towards the Chinese in African countries may be shaped by factors such as regime type, and economic status of the state in question,3 sustainability and longterm impacts of these people centered movements depend on more than any visceral efforts. Consequently, how will Beijing’s motives and strategies in Africa be impacted by popular reactions as African populations look to the past and present?
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Natural Resources, Populism
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia