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  • Author: Michael D. Swaine, Jessica J. Lee, Rachel Esplin Odell
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: The world faces twin crises — a global pandemic and rising climate chaos — even as an epochal change in the balance of power unfolds in East Asia. In response to these trends, the United States has doubled down on efforts to contain a rising China and maintain its eroding military dominance in the region. Simultaneously, it has neglected economic engagement and diplomatic cooperation with East Asian nations, thereby undermining its ability to manage the Covid–19 pandemic and the climate change challenge. This failed approach is directly harming the interests of the American people.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, International Order
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia
  • Author: Craig Kafura, Dina Smeltz, Joshua W. Busby, Joshua D. Kertzer, Jonathan Monten
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Craig Kafura, Dina Smeltz, Joshua Busby, Joshua D. Kertzer, Jonathan Monten, and Jordan Tama analyze recent surveys of foreign policy professionals and the American public on the degree of threat posed by China and how the United States should respond. As President Joseph Biden returns to the White House, this time to sit behind the Resolute desk, perhaps no foreign policy question looms larger than that of US-China relations. The results of the 2020 Chicago Council Survey and the 2020 Chicago Council on Global Affairs-University of Texas at Austin survey of foreign policy professionals and the American public find there are significant partisan differences among leaders and the public on the degree of threat posed by China and how the United States should respond. When it comes to defending Taiwan, however, the divisions are not between partisans but between the public and opinion leaders, with the public in opposition and leaders in support of an American defense of Taiwan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Diplomacy with North Korea must factor in an understanding of the Kim regime’s fears and insecurity. Pyongyang’s military actions and negotiating gambits jeopardize the United States, South Korea, and other nations’ vital interests and policy goals. Accordingly, the study of North Korean threat perceptions—how Kim Jong-un thinks about the utility of force and about threats to his regime—is essential for averting strategic surprise and buttressing diplomacy. National security strategy should be systematic, a deliberate calculation about national capabilities to achieve crucial objectives. It should be infused with an understanding of other actors, both friend and foe. A coherent national security strategy begins with clear and realistic written objectives. If aims are vague, it will be difficult to concentrate resources and mobilize others around a common cause. Similarly, if a nation’s goals are too ambitious and surpass the prospects or means for success, then the national security strategy represents wishful thinking and will likewise be difficult to carry out. What is needed is a serious attempt to grapple with the world as it exists and to harmonize a nation’s crucial ends with existing means.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, National Security
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Kharis Templeman
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Over the past three decades, democracy has put down roots in many seemingly unlikely places across Asia, from Mongolia to Indonesia. At a time when democracy is in global retreat, the majority of these Asian regimes have demonstrated surprising resiliency, though many continue to suffer from glaring flaws: weak state capacity and accountability institutions, the absence of impartial rule of law, and uneven protection of political rights and civil liberties. This issue brief, “Democracy under Siege: Advancing Cooperation and Common Values in the Indo-Pacific,” by Dr. Kharis Templeman, examines challenges and opportunities for advancing cooperation and common values in the Indo-Pacific as the region faces an increasing challenge from China.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Diplomacy, International Organization, Politics, Reform, Elections, Democracy, Rule of Law, Norms, Transition
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Taiwan, East Asia, Asia, Australia, Korea, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Chung Jae Ho
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Pertinent literature abounds on how East Asian states have struggled to position themselves vis-à-vis a rising China over the past two decades. Due to its geographical proximity and cultural similarities with China, as well as its strategic importance to both the United States and China, South Korea’s tightrope-walking has been more pronounced than anyone else’s.1 Given the crucial strategic issues regarding U.S.-China relations and the North Korean conundrum, how the Seoul-Beijing relationship is to evolve undoubtedly constitutes a key variable in regional security dynamics. This chapter asks what is Seoul’s recipe for dealing with a China that is becoming more “assertive,” examining its changing strategic and diplomatic stance over the years of the Park Geun-hye administration and the first year of the Moon Jae-in government. Of the six sections, the first offers a brief overview of the complex relationship since diplomatic normalization in 1992. The second outlines key features of an era of overoptimism during the first three years of the Park administration (2013-15). The third delves into the issue of THAAD (terminal high-altitude area defense) deployment and how that utterly shattered the Park-Xi honeymoon in 2016. The fourth offers a discussion on China’s narrowly-focused sanctions during 2016-17. The fifth is devoted to the first year of the Moon administration, focusing on envoy politics, the “three-noes controversy,” and Moon’s state visit to China. The final section provides concluding assessments of the factors critical in shaping Moon’s policy toward China and where the room for mending relations remains.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Sanctions, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Marco Milani
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: In recent years the North Korean nuclear program has increasingly become a major concern for East Asian security. Pyongyang has repeatedly demonstrated its advancements in both missile and nuclear technology, with the final goal of acquiring a credible nuclear deterrent. To achieve this goal, the regime has committed a vast amount of state resources and has jeopardized relations with neighboring countries and major powers. This dangerous situation has created instability in the region and has hindered the possibilities of inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation. The traditional interpretation of the North Korean nuclear program focuses on the survival of the regime and emphasizes the military aspect of security. While these factors play a significant role, over the last twenty-five years new roles have emerged for the nuclear program. Survival remains the priority, but in addition to the military level of nuclear deterrence this paper introduces two different aspects directly connected to the security of the regime: economic security and domestic ideological legitimization. The development of nuclear weapons has been repeatedly used by Pyongyang as leverage in negotiations and to strengthen its political legitimacy. Understanding the complexity and the different factors behind this strategy is crucial to design and implement a viable and effective strategy aimed at limiting or eliminating the North Korean nuclear threat.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Takako Hikotani
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: On February 7, 2018, Daniel Russel, Diplomat in Residence and Senior Fellow at Asia Society, spoke of the Trump administration’s Policy toward East Asia. Takako Hikotani, the Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy at Columbia University, moderated the discussion. This event was co-sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the APEC Study Center.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia