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  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level contacts between the US and Chinese militaries resumed in January with a visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to China. Immediately following his trip, President Hu Jintao traveled to the US for a state visit. The occasion combined informal discussion with all the protocol trappings of a state visit by a leader from an important country. Both countries exerted great efforts to ensure the visit's success, which put the bilateral relationship on more solid footing after a year that was characterized by increased tensions and discord. At the invitation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, State Councilor Liu Yandong made a week-long visit to the US in mid-April. China held its annual “two meetings” – the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress – and endorsed the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Joseph Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last quarter of 2009 proved to be a quiet one for US-Russia relations. Although there were no major bilateral rifts, several issues continue to fester, including the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program. The biggest disappointment, however, may have been the failure to reach an agreement on the replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that expired on Dec. 5. Negotiations are set to resume in January, but end-of-year remarks by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin about the dangers of the US ballistic missile defense system threaten to throw a wrench into the discussions. Meanwhile, the long-awaited East Siberian oil pipeline destined for Asian markets has finally come on line.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This has been a quiet but constructive quarter in cross-Strait relations. Taipei and Beijing were focused on ratifying and beginning implementation of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). With Beijing‟s agreement, Singapore and Taipei announced that they would consider negotiating a WTO-consistent economic cooperation agreement. This important flexibility by Beijing allows President Ma to show that ECFA has opened the door at least slightly to Taiwan‟s involvement in regional trade liberalization. Despite Washington‟s approval of small commercial arms sales, Beijing indicated a willingness to resume military exchanges with Washington. Nevertheless, arms sales to Taiwan remain a threat to US-China relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. decision to rescind the designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism tested the bilateral relationship this quarter as the Bush administration was perceived in Japan as having softened its commitment to the abductee issue in favor of a breakthrough on denuclearization in the Six-Party Talks, which ultimately proved elusive. The Aso government managed to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for one year, though bilateral discussions on defense issues continued to center on whether Japan could move beyond a symbolic commitment to coalition operations in Afghanistan. Japanese domestic politics remained tumultuous as the opposition led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) thwarted the Aso legislative agenda to increase pressure for a snap election. Prime Minister Aso's approval rating plummeted over the course of the quarter due mostly to frustration with the response to the financial crisis, prompting him to postpone the widely anticipated Lower House election in an attempt to shore up support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Public opinion polls revealed increased interest in offering the DPJ a chance at the helm with most observers predicting an election sometime next spring. Other polls at the end of the quarter showed the Japanese public less sanguine about the U.S.-Japan alliance, a sobering development as President-elect Obama prepared to take office.
  • Topic: Development, Terrorism, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Oct. 1, 2008: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) becomes the world's largest bilateral development agency. Oct. 3, 2008: The Bank of Japan injects 800 billion yen ($7.6 billion) into the international financial system to prevent a global credit crunch from increasing interest rates. Oct. 3, 2008: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill meets Saiki Akitaka, director general for Asian and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Seoul to discuss Hill's visit to Pyongyang for discussions concerning a verification protocol for North Korean denuclearization under the Six-Party Talks.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Political conflict in Thailand between the ruling, rural-based pro-Thaksin People Power Party (PPP) and an urban elite coalition calling itself the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) – though actually opposing democratic elections – turned violent in November and shut down Bangkok and the capital's airports for several days. The PPP government was forced to postpone the ASEAN summit scheduled for early December because of the violence and rescheduled the meeting for February 2009 to the dismay of other ASEAN leaders. Nevertheless, the new ASEAN Charter, which provides the Association with a legal personality for the first time, was activated at a special meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Jakarta on Dec. 15. Southeast Asian leaders welcomed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's election as the next U.S. president although some commentators noted that the Democratic Party has sometimes followed a trade protectionist policy when the U.S. economy is in difficulty. The Democrats have also taken a tougher position on human rights. In general, though, no significant change is foreseen in U.S. policy for Southeast Asia under President-elect Obama.
  • Topic: Security, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Satu Limaye
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: India's relations with the U.S. and East Asia during 2008 took place amidst remarkable flux domestically, within the South Asian region, and around the world – all of which directly and indirectly influenced developments in bilateral relations. The two issues that dominated U.S.-India relations during 2008 were the civilian nuclear cooperation deal and, at the end of the year, the U.S.-India-Pakistan triangle including the issues of terrorism and Kashmir. India's relations with East Asia were quiescent during 2008. A notable development was the completion of an India-ASEAN free trade agreement, although its economic implications remain uncertain. India accentuated the positive with Myanmar as bilateral relations became more cordial while relations with China seemed to be on hold for most of the year as the border dispute remained unresolved and India responded cautiously to the Chinese handling of unrest in Tibet.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia, India, East Asia
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S.-China relationship got off to a good start under the Obama administration, putting to rest Chinese worries that a prolonged period would be required to educate the new U.S. president about China's importance. “Positive” and “cooperative” were the two watchwords used repeatedly by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her discussions with Chinese leaders, which focused on the need to deepen and broaden the U.S.-China relationship, and to elevate cooperation to address urgent global problems, especially the financial crisis and global warming. In late February, U.S.-China military-to-military ties, which had been suspended by Beijing after the U.S. sold a large weapons package to Taiwan last October, partially resumed with the visit of U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense David Sedney to Beijing. A naval confrontation between U.S. and Chinese ships took place near Hainan Island, which was quickly defused, although the underlying causes remain. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited Washington D.C. in March to prepare for the first meeting between the two countries' presidents, which took place on the margins of the G20 meeting in London on April 1.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Taliban
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Looking back, it was a hostage to fortune to title our last quarterly review: “Things can only get better?” Even with that equivocating final question mark, this was too optimistic a take on relations between the two Koreas – which, as it turned out, not only failed to improve but deteriorated further in the first months of 2009. Nor was that an isolated trend. This was a quarter when a single event – or more exactly, the expectation of an event – dominated the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia more widely. Suspected since January, announced in February and awaited throughout March, despite all efforts to dissuade it North Korea's long-anticipated Taepodong launched on April 5. This too evoked a broader context, and a seeming shift in Pyongyang. Even by the DPRK's unfathomable logic, firing a big rocket – satellite or no – seemed a rude and perverse way to greet a new U.S. president avowedly committed to engagement with Washington's foes. Yet, no fewer than four separate senior private U.S. delegations, visiting Pyongyang in unusually swift succession during the past quarter, heard the same uncompromising message. Even veteran visitors who fancied they had good contacts found the usual access denied and their hosts tough-minded: apparently just not interested in an opportunity for a fresh start offered by a radically different incumbent of the White House.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The cancellation of a draft peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government triggered renewed violence in the Philippine south and allegations that U.S. forces are involved in Philippine armed forces suppression activities. Both Manila and Washington deny the charges, though U.S. Special Operations Forces have been training the Philippine military in Mindanao since 2002. The U.S. has added new sanctions against Burma's junta and continues to criticize its political repression, while aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis remains under the Burmese military's control. Ratification for ASEAN's new Charter by its member states has been achieved by eight of the 10 countries. The delays include concerns in the Indonesian and Philippine legislatures about Burma's detention of Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the junta's insistence that any ASEAN Human Rights Commission be toothless. The U.S. State Department has expressed concern over the Malaysian government's arrest of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on suspicious sodomy charges. Malaysian leaders responded angrily that the U.S. complaint constitutes interference in Kuala Lumpur's domestic politics and that Washington is not “the policeman of the world.”
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Burma, Southeast Asia