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  • Author: Mike Smith, Nicholas Khoo
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Second World War, US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific has been characterized by the assertion of American dominance. To this end, policy-makers in Washington have adopted a varied policy towards China. From 1950 to 1972, the US pursued a containment policy designed to thwart the revolutionary goals of Maoist foreign policy. Beginning with Nixon's rapprochement with Beijing in 1972, US policy was dramatically altered to meet the overriding goal of deterring the Soviet threat. The US and China actively cooperated to contain Soviet and Vietnamese influence in Northeast and Southeast Asia. The end of the Cold War, preceded shortly before by the Tiananmen massacre, saw another shift in the US position, whereby China was no longer looked upon with favour in Washington. Acting on his presidential campaign promises not to repeat George Bush Senior's policy of 'coddling dictators'in Beijing, President Clinton initially enacted a policy that explicitly linked China's human rights record to the renewal of most favoured- nation trade status with the US. When this linkage failed, a striking policy reversal occurred as the Clinton administration adopted an unrestrained engagement policy in which it eventually underplayed Sino-US differences in the spheres of trade, human rights, and strategic-military ties.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Ji Guoxing
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In the wake of a collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter off the coast of Hainan in April 2001, verbal skirmishing between the United States and China revealed sharply different conceptions of jurisdictional and navigational principles. These differences persist and will likely be the cause of future conflicts; they have already caused strife among countries ringing the South China Sea. Central to these conflicts are the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) that extend 200 nm into the sea from coastal nations' baselines. Created by the UN Law of the Sea Convention, these zones attempt to accommodate coastal states' interest in controlling offshore resources and maritime powers' interests in maintaining freedom of navigation. But ambiguities in the Convention's language combined with coastal states' proliferating EEZ claims have created a tinderbox. The situation will remain volatile as long as the focus remains on jurisdictional disputes. But confidence-building efforts aimed more narrowly on practical navigation issues and managing “incidents at sea” offer a starting point for first bilateral and then multilateral agreements. In the wake of a collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter off the coast of Hainan in April 2001, verbal skirmishing between the United States and China revealed sharply different conceptions of jurisdictional and navigational principles. These differences persist and will likely be the cause of future conflicts; they have already caused strife among countries ringing the South China Sea. Central to these conflicts are the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) that extend 200 nm into the sea from coastal nations' baselines. Created by the UN Law of the Sea Convention, these zones attempt to accommodate coastal states' interest in controlling offshore resources and maritime powers' interests in maintaining freedom of navigation. But ambiguities in the Convention's language combined with coastal states' proliferating EEZ claims have created a tinderbox. The situation will remain volatile as long as the focus remains on jurisdictional disputes. But confidence-building efforts aimed more narrowly on practical navigation issues and managing “incidents at sea” offer a starting point for first bilateral and then multilateral agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: China said yesterday it would release the crew of the US EP-3 surveillance aircraft that was forced to land in Hainan Island on April 8, following a mid-air collision with a Chinese fighter. The Bush administration will welcome resolution of the dispute, especially as opinion polls released yesterday showed that a majority of US citizens regarded the crew as 'hostages'. Had the 24 crew members not been released before the Easter holiday, the crisis would have become far more significant for the White House, and inflamed anti-China sentiment in Congress. In the short term, resolution of the crisis will result in a scaling down of the criticism of some conservatives that the White House has been unduly accommodating towards China. However, in the longer-term, the episode will strengthen the conservative 'anti-China' lobby in Washington, which could hamper Bush's future attempts to improve relations with Beijing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Beijing
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In what has been described as its most important vote this year, the U.S. Congress will soon decide whether to provide permanent normal trade relations to China. A vote is required because, after 14 years of negotiations, China is poised to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO). Assuming China concludes its bilateral negotiations with the European Union by June or July, entry is likely before the end of the year. The cornerstone principle of the World Trade Organization is that members provide each other unconditional Most Favored Nation trade status, now called Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) in U.S. trade law. Current U.S. law precludes granting PNTR to China; as a result President Clinton has asked Congress to amend the law. A negative vote would have no bearing on China's entry into the World Trade Organization, but it would mean that U.S. companies would not benefit from the most important commitments China has made to become a member. Gaining the full range of benefits is particularly important in light of the large and growing deficit the United States faces in its trade with China (Figure 1). A positive vote would give U.S. companies the same advantages that would accrue to companies from Europe, Japan, and all other WTO member states when China enters the World Trade Organization. It would also provide an important boost to China's leadership, that is taking significant economic and political risks in order to meet the demands of the international community for substantial additional economic reforms as a condition for its WTO membership. A positive vote would strengthen bilateral economic relations more generally. That may help place a floor on the broader bilateral relationship, which continues to face critical challenges on security issues, stemming largely from tensions between China and Taiwan, and on human rights issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan G. Clarke
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The foreign policy record of the Clinton-Gore administration deserves a less than stellar grade. At the end of the Cold War, there was an extraordinary opportunity to build a new relationship with a democratic Russia; restructure U.S. security policy in both Europe and East Asia to reduce America's burdens and risk exposure; and revisit intractable Cold War–era problems, such as the frosty relations with Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea. The administration's performance must be judged within the context of such an unprecedented opportunity for constructive change.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Israel, East Asia, Asia, North Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Mark A. Groombridge
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. Congress is in the historic position of being able to help pro-reform leaders in China move their country in a market-oriented direction. A vote to grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status will bolster the position of those leaders in Beijing who are attempting to deepen and broaden the scope of China's two-decade experiment with economic reform. Granting PNTR and China's subsequent accession to the World Trade Organization will benefit, not only the United States and the world trading community, but most directly the citizens of China, millions of whom are still mired in abject poverty.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Richard L. Lawson, Donald L. Guertin, Shinji Fukukawa, Kazuo Shimoda
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Given the dramatic increases in economic growth, energy use and attendant environmental problems in Asia, it is timely for Japan and the United States to increase their bilateral cooperation and cooperation with other Asian countries in the energy field as an integral part of their efforts to help Asia achieve sustainable development. The magnitude of growth in Asia in energy use is well illustrated, for example, by a projected doubling in China from 1990 to 2020. Projections indicate energy demand in China could triple by 2050, relative to 1990. These increases are not only of great significance to individual Asian economies, but also globally, as projections indicate that most of the growth in energy demand in the next century will occur in Asia (and principally in China and India). Achievement of such growth in energy demand, to improve the living standards of the 3.3 billion Asians that now represent about half of the world's population, is essential from the viewpoint of equity, social development and the economic well-being of people throughout Asia.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Chen Yixin
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Recent years have seen increasing liberalization of trade in financial services associated with the GATT / WTO negotiations. The Agreement concluded on 13 December 1997 by 70 WTO members will result in a significant impact on the financial services sector for these members. Although China has not yet been admitted to membership of the WTO, it has come under pressure to open its financial services market. Market access in this sector has been not only one of the major issues in its WTO accession talks, but also intrinsically linked to China's ongoing domestic financial system reforms, consistent with the gradualist scheme for its overall economic reform. China has been liberalizing its financial services sector, but only gradually. This paper outlines the reforms in its financial sector since 1979, and then offers an explanation for the slow speed of reform .
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Shanghai
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: A leaked Shanghai Stock Exchange report has detailed the extent of trading irregularities within China's domestic equity markets. In the primary market, a series of companies have falsified records on profits, assets and even entire businesses in order to publicly issue and list shares. In the secondary markets, insider trading, the spreading of false information, coordinated stock purchases, price ramping and sales of stocks by large institutional investors are common practice. The extent of trading irregularities reflects the government's preference for market growth over regulatory standardisation. This approach is undermining the CSRC's credibility. Unless regulatory practices are tightened, institutional investors will not have the maturing effect on markets and stabilising impact on prices the government seeks.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and China's Prime Minister Zhu Rongji this month held talks in Beijing to discuss China's accession to the WTO. Beyond opening up commercial opportunities to US firms, the award of permanent normal trade relations status to China, and its prospective accession to the WTO, should in theory add predictability to the bilateral trade relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing