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  • 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: 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: 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.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • 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: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Southeast 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
  • 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
  • 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: Bonnie Glaser
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. and China held the 5th Strategic Economic Dialogue and the 6th Senior Dialogue this quarter. The global financial crisis was a focal point of discussion in both dialogues, as well as in the meeting between Presidents Bush and Hu Jintao on the sidelines of APEC in Lima, Peru. Beijing responded to the announced U.S. sale of $6.5 billion in arms to Taiwan by suspending bilateral military exchanges between the U.S. and China and talks on nonproliferation. China's internal debate about the international structure of power and the status of the U.S. was revived as the two prepared to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Beijing
  • Author: Joseph Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As documented in this chapter during the last quarter (and over the last several years), U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated to post-Cold War lows. Given the number of distractions over the last few months, relations stabilized somewhat in that the usual number of caustic barbs hurled across the oceans was limited. The leaders of the two nations are increasingly preoccupied with finding solutions to the economic ills affecting their respective nations and the entire world. As the Obama administration comes to office there seems to be a determination to reestablish a working relationship with the Kremlin, something that was obviously lacking during the August crisis when Russian troops invaded Georgia. President-elect Obama and future Cabinet members – as well as members of Congress – have publicly stated the need to recalibrate relations with Russia, starting with arms control.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Asian commentators who asserted that China and its neighbors could ride out the economic crisis in U.S. and Western financial markets appeared in retreat during the quarter as the impact of the financial turmoil and recession in America and Europe began to have a major effect on China and the region's trade, manufacturing, currency values, and broader economic stability. The hope that China could sustain stable growth independent of the U.S. and Europe and thereby provide an engine of growth for export-oriented Southeast Asian countries was dented by Chinese trade figures that nosedived in November, especially Chinese imports, which fell by 18 percent. The financial crisis also dominated the discussion at the ASEM summit in October. Meanwhile, China continued to pursue infrastructure development projects with its neighbors to the south, resolved the land boundary dispute with Vietnam, and signed a free trade agreement with Singapore. Talk of a planned Chinese aircraft carrier caused some controversy, but on the whole assessments of China's rise were notably more balanced than in the past.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The year ended fairly quietly in Japan-Korea relations with no major events marking the last few months of 2008. Japan-North Korea relations remained stagnant and Japan-South Korea relations essentially ignored the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute, instead focusing on dealing with the widening global economic crisis. The biggest diplomatic event was the successful trilateral summit in December among China, Korea, and Japan, which may set the stage for further diplomatic movement. Whether 2009 will bring dramatic progress on these issues remains to be seen, but with new leaders in Japan and South Korea entering their first full years of rule, the continued concerns about the health of North Korea's leader, and a new U.S. president, the new year holds the possibility for progress on at least some of these issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A new calendar year did little to change the tenor of Japanese domestic politics as the public became increasingly frustrated with parliamentary gridlock and the leadership of Prime Minister Aso Taro, whose approval rating plummeted amid a deepening recession. Opposition leader Ozawa Ichiro continued pressure tactics against the government and became the favorite to succeed Aso until the arrest of a close aide damaged his reputation and stunted momentum for a snap election. Aso demonstrated the art of political survival, touting the urgency of economic stimulus over a poll he could easily lose and which need not take place until the fall. In an effort to prevent political turmoil from weakening Japan's global leadership role, the government dispatched two Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyers to participate in antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, London
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Southeast Asian and broader international attention focused in March on the confrontation between five Chinese government ships and the U.S. surveyor ship USNS Impeccable in the South China Sea near Hainan Island. U.S. and Chinese protests and related media commentary highlighted for Southeast Asian audiences a pattern of U.S. surveillance to learn more about China's growing military presence and activities in the area, and a pattern of China's unwillingness to tolerate such actions in areas where it claims rights that are disputed by the U.S. and other naval powers. The protests and commentary provided a vivid backdrop for China's continued efforts to claim and defend territory in the South China Sea that is also claimed by Southeast Asian nations. Meanwhile, there was little good news on the economic front as China's international trade and economic interchange with Southeast Asia continued to fall rapidly. Chinese diplomatic and political attention to the region remained low during the quarter.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The inaugural session of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue was held in Washington in July, combining pomp with substantive discussions on issues of great consequence for the two countries and the world. High-level exchanges continued with the visit to the U.S. by Wu Bangguo, the head of the National People's Congress – the first visit by China's top legislator in two decades. A special meeting of the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement was held in Beijing to discuss the confrontations inside China's exclusive economic zone between U.S. Navy surveillance ships and Chinese vessels that took place earlier this year. The U.S. imposed tariffs on tire imports from China, prompting Beijing to file a formal complaint against the U.S. at the WTO and launch an investigation into U.S. exports of chicken meat and auto parts. Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao met in New York and both attended the G20 in Pittsburgh. They will meet again in November when Hu hosts Obama for his first visit to China.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, New York, Washington
  • Author: Graeme Dobell
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Australia's government swung from the right to the left of the political spectrum in 2007. The U.S. did the same in 2008. Yet, not much changed in the fundamentals of the 57-year-old U.S.-Australia alliance. The assertion of alliance continuity, however, comes with a major caveat: the tectonic effects being exerted by China's rise. As with the rest of the Asia-Pacific, Australia is adjusting significant aspects of its foreign and security policy to the magnetic pull of China, which was dramatized for Canberra through the middle of 2009 by an outburst of Chinese official anger directed at Australia. Other important influences to consider include the so-called “Kevin Rudd” effect, the global economic crisis, and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, Australia