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  • Author: Scott Edwards
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: On the 3rd of January 2020, the United States signalled its intent to escalate tensions with Iran, through the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds forces, in Iraq. Following attacks from Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia on the American embassy in Baghdad, the escalation took place on a backdrop of worsening US-Iranian relations, focused on the US withdrawal of the Iranian nuclear deal (and Iran’s subsequent rollback of key commitments), the reinstatement of economic sanctions against Iran, and increasing tensions in the Straits of Hormuz. Such tensions have been met with concern in East Asia, particularly among countries that have been steadily expanding their relationships with Iran. Responses, however, reflect a continuation of business as normal rather than any great change. While Malaysia, for example, has condemned the assassination in line with their growing closeness to Iran, there has been no tangible change of policy. Indonesia, who has developed a relationship but emphasised their desire to remain neutral in the Iran-Saudi tensions, have avoided making overt statements in support of Iran or condemning US action. For the most part, therefore, Southeast Asian states have been unwilling and unable to abandon their relationship with the US and other key states such as Saudi Arabia, or isolate themselves by supporting Iran overtly. For other East Asian states, overtly supporting Iran runs the risks of encouraging the escalation of the conflict and the damaging of their interests, such as is the case with China. As such, this paper will argue that while the perception surrounding Soleimani’s assassination among East Asia is for the most part negative, this will not fundamentally impact on their relationship with the US or spur a further shift to Iran. Instead, in the face of continuing US pressure on Iran, Iran’s relationships within East Asia have begun to ultimately suffer. This paper will begin by analysing the expansion of Iran’s relationship with East Asian states before going on to argue how these are likely to decline in future despite these countries’ concerns of US actions as well as actions of other important states such as Saudi Arabia. While Iran has expanded its relationship with a number of partners in East Asia, this paper will focus on relationships Iran finds particularly important. Primarily, this is Malaysia and Indonesia, who, as countries with Muslim majority populations, have seen their involvement with Iran growing at a faster pace than others but in relationships mired in complexity. It will also consider China’s perspective; a relationship that has taken on importance for different reasons.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Conflict, Qassem Soleimani, Militias
  • Political Geography: Iran, Malaysia, Middle East, East Asia, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arthur Herman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The key to strengthening and deepening the U.S.-Japan alliance in order to better meet regional threats is to increase defense trade and defense industrial cooperation between the two countries. A Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty (DTCT), a formal agreement between two countries which exempts their trade in certain specified defense and defense-related articles from the arms export regulations of both nations, would be an important way to achieve that goal.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Trade
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • 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: G. John Ikenberry
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: For more than half a century, the United States has played a leading role in shaping order in East Asia. This East Asian order has been organized around American military and economic dominance, anchored in the U.S. system of alliances with Japan, South Korea, and other partners across Asia. Over the decades, the United States found itself playing a hegemonic role in the region—providing security, underwriting stability, promoting open markets, and fostering alliance and political partnerships. It was an order organized around “hard” bilateral security ties and “soft” multilateral groupings. It was built around security, economic, and political bargains. The United States exported security and imported goods. Across the region, countries expanded trade, pursued democratic transitions, and maintained a more or less stable peace.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Rani Mullen, Kashyap Arora
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Japan and India constitute two of the oldest democracies in Asia and also stand among Asia’s three biggest economies. It was in the year 1952 that India and Japan signed their first treaty and six years later in 1958, India received its first official development assistance from Japan. However, a major breakthrough in the bilateral ties took place only in the year 2000 when Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiko Mori visited India. The visit witnessed establishment of ‘Global Partnership between India and Japan’. This relationship was elevated to ‘Global and Strategic Partnership’ in 2006 which was later followed by up gradation of the bilateral partnership to the status of ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2014. In December 2015, both Indian and Japanese leaders also laid out the future roadmap of India-Japan ties in a joint statement referred to as ‘Japan and India Vision 2025: Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World’. Both the economies also find themselves in a mutually beneficial situation with Japanese economy finding it difficult to sustain economic growth due to its ageing and shrinking population size, whereas India suffers from infrastructural bottlenecks. More importantly, stronger India-Japan alliance also provides impetus to balance and counter the growing Chinese influence and ensure freedom of navigation and multilateralism in the Indo-Pacific. Both the countries also constitute a strong source of mutual support at multilateral level on global issues including each other’s candidature as a permanent member of an expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as well as India’s membership in the four international nuclear export control regimes among many others.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, United Nations, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Economies, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Asia, India, East Asia
  • Author: Fiona S. Cunningham, M. Taylor Fravel
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Whether China will abandon its long-standing nuclear strategy of assured retaliation for a first-use posture will be a critical factor in U.S.-China strategic stability. In recent years, the United States has been developing strategic capabilities such as missile defenses and conventional long-range strike capabilities that could reduce the effectiveness of China's deterrent. Writings by Chinese strategists and analysts, however, indicate that China is unlikely to abandon its current nuclear strategy.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia
  • Author: Alexander Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States and Taiwan are both approaching presidential elections in the next 18 months amid an environment of growing security tensions throughout maritime Asia, especially due to China’s tailored coercion. At the same time, regional politics are developing in such a way that stability across the Taiwan Strait cannot be taken for granted in the future. In this policy brief, Alexander Sullivan, an Associate Fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program, charts major challenges that the United States and Taiwan will face in the maritime domain over the medium term and offers a series of policy prescriptions to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate risks.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Maritime Commerce, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: East Asia
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Washington, East Asia
  • Author: Geoffrey Till
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The relative rise of China is likely to lead a major shift in the world's strategic architecture, which the United States will need to accommodate. For the outcome to be generally beneficial, China needs to be dissuaded from hegemonic aspirations and retained as a cooperative partner in the world system. This will require a range of potentially conflicting thrusts in U.S. policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Emerging Markets, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia
  • Author: Bruce E. Bechtol
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: South Korea is in a unique position. It is an economic powerhouse and a thriving democracy that faces the most ­ominous and imminent threat on its borders of any democracy in the world. Moreover, this is a threat that continues to evolve, with increasing missile, cyber, special operations, and nuclear capabilities and a new leader who shows no signs that he will be any less ruthless or belligerent than his father. To meet this threat, Seoul has undertaken a number of efforts to better deter and defend against North Korean capabilities and provocations, including increasing the defense budget, upping training with US forces, creating new command elements, and establishing plans for preemptive strikes against imminent North Korean missile launches. However, in part because of administration changes in Seoul, the South Korean effort has been uneven. And decisions remain to be made in the areas of missile defense, tactical fighter aircraft, and command-and-control arrangements that will be significant for not only South Korea but all states that have an interest in Northeast Asia's peace and stability.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Development, Emerging Markets, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Erik Beukel
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The divided Korean peninsula is a flashpoint in the regional security complex in East Asia. The central issue is the threat posed by North Korea and how to meet it. After a review of North Korea as an international actor and of two important incidents in 2010 (the sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan and North Korea's shelling of the South Korean coastal island of Yeonpyeong), the rationality underlying the country's military efforts is considered. South Korea's Nordpolitik is reviewed and the rise and decline of its sunshine policy and the role of its alliance with the United States is described. Two non-Korean great powers, China and the United States, are important actors in the region, and their relations with North Korea, goals and priorities, and implementation strategies are outlined. The report concludes with reflections on the potential for changing the present security complex, which is marked by a fear of war, into a restrained security regime, based on agreed and observed rules of conduct.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Communism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Korea, Island
  • Author: James Manicom
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The United States and Canada have simultaneously re- invigorated their diplomatic and military postures toward the Asia-Pacific region. As two of the world's closest allies, it is worth exploring the possible synergies and tensions between their efforts to identify areas of possible policy coordination. Canada has considerable assets that could support US diplomacy in the region, including the legacy of its good offices and its close ties with the US military; however, these assets are outweighed by three liabilities. First, Canada's diplomacy to the Asia-Pacific is driven by its desire to diversify away from the US market. Although relatively innocuous in isolation, the politics of this shift, driven by growing concern in Canada about whether the United States remains a reliable market for energy exports, adds a layer of complexity. Second, Canada's closer economic ties with China could undermine its willingness to support the United States on tough regional security issues in the Asia-Pacific. Third, and related, Canadian silence about navigational freedoms, the primary security issue between the United States and China in East Asia, has not gone unnoticed. This paper argues that, on balance, Canada may not be an ideal Pacific partner for the United States.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, East Asia, Asia, Australia/Pacific, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Frans-Paul van der Putten
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: This paper provides a brief overview of current developments relevant to Sino-U.S. security relations, and to China's involvement in regional security issues, in East and South-East Asia. The most fundamental challenge with regard to regional stability is how the roles of China and the United States in the Asia Pacific can be reconciled. While the U.S. is concerned that a rising China will eventually push American influence out of East and South-East Asia, China in turn fears that the U.S. will try to retain its leadership role by exploiting and amplifying tensions between the Chinese and their neighbours. Currently the Sino-U.S. rivalry is threatening unity within ASEAN, which poses an immediate risk for regional stability. A substantial improvement in regional stability – whether in South-East or in East Asia – is unlikely unless the U.S. and China manage to stabilise their bilateral relationship. It is important for all interested parties, inside Asia but also outside (including in Europe), to contribute to a move away from a scenario in which regional stability continues to deteriorate, and in the direction of a scenario that involves a cooperative arrangement between China and the U.S. in a stable multilateral setting.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Australia/Pacific, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of measures taken by the Obama administration to bolster US presence and influence in the Asia-Pacific was met with a variety of responses from China. Official reaction was largely muted and restrained; media responses were often strident and accused the US of seeking to contain and encircle China. President Obama met President Hu Jintao on the margins of the APEC meeting in Honolulu and Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. Tension in bilateral economic relations increased as the US stepped up criticism of China's currency and trade practices, and tit-for-tat trade measures took place with greater frequency. Amid growing bilateral friction and discontent, the 22nd Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) convened in Chengdu, China. An announcement by the US of a major arms sale to Taiwan in September prompted China to postpone a series of planned exchanges, but the Defense Consultative Talks nevertheless proceeded as planned in December.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Ishrat Husain
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the face of massive economic challenges, a burgeoning population, energy and water shortages, and huge and growing numbers of unemployed workers, especially youth, Pakistan needs to look for ways to move itself out of the economic hole into which it has fallen. Greater trade with India offers an immediate and rich possibility of economic growth for both Pakistan and India. Recent meetings between the commerce ministers of both countries in New Delhi appear to have yielded some good intentions to increase trade from its current level of $2 billion a year to $6 billion, still well below what many scholars estimate to be the potential. Yet, the obstacles remain, in the form of rules and regulations that inhibit trade, and in the lack of private-sector initiatives that would surmount governmental foot dragging. In the end, it is the private sector—not of cial trade—that will boost incomes on both sides of the border. And the question remains: Will India and Pakistan see the advantage of opening borders as being mutually beneficial?
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, East Asia
  • Author: Kishore Mahbubani
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Ambassador Mahbubani's address looked at previous American actions that built "reservoirs of good will" that ultimately assisted America in its ideological victory in the Cold War, especially in Asia: its sharing of the "American dream" with the world; its openness to foreign students; the international order built by the United States after 1945; and, finally, the stabilizing effects of its military presence in East Asia. However, the end of the Cold War has brought changes, and the gulf between America's self-perception and the way it is seen in the Islamic world, and China in particular, demonstrate the dwindling of those good will reservoirs.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, East Asia