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  • Author: Paul Saunders, John Van Oudenaren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the National Interest
  • Abstract: The report provides a synthesis of Japanese and American expert perspectives on the recent history, current state and future prospects for Japan-Russia relations. The authors examine the political, diplomatic, security, economic and energy dynamics of this important, but understudied relationship. They also assess how the Japan-Russia relationship fits within the broader geopolitical context of the Asia-Pacific region, factoring in structural determinants such as China’s rise and the level of U.S. presence in the region. Finally, the authors consider potential policy implications for the United States, paying special attention to how shifts in relations between Tokyo and Moscow could impact the U.S.-Japan alliance. As Saunders observes in his introduction to the volume, the currently shifting strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a central factor in Tokyo and Moscow’s efforts to foster constructive relations, also raises a host of questions for the US-Japan alliance. What are the prospects for Japan-Russia relations? What are Russian and Japanese objectives in their bilateral relations? How does the Trump administration view a possible improvement in Russia-Japan relations and to what extent will U.S. officials seek to limit such developments? Is the U.S.-Russia relationship likely to worsen and in so doing to spur further China-Russia cooperation? Could a better Russia-Japan relationship weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance? Or might it in fact serve some U.S. interests?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Erica Downs
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: Pakistan is increasing its use of coal to generate electricity at a time when many other countries are reducing coal use in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions or pollution. China is helping Pakistan expand its coal-fired generation capacity through the financing and construction of coal power plants as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC is a component of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to forge greater global connectivity in part through infrastructure development. Nearly 75 percent of the generation capacity of CPEC power plants is coal-fired. Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) expects that CPEC coal power plants will be largely responsible for the projected increase in the country’s coal-fired generation capacity from 3 percent as of June 30, 2017 (fewer than six months after the first CPEC coal plant began commercial operation), to 20 percent in 2025. As part of its series on the Belt and Road Initiative, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy initiated research into the CPEC power sector projects, which account for the majority of the cost of CPEC projects. This paper examines two of the key concerns critics have about the BRI: environmental sustainability and debt sustainability. Concerns about environmental sustainability center on the ways in which an expansion of the amount of electricity generated globally by fossil fuels, especially coal, will increase greenhouse gas emissions, making it more difficult if not impossible to meet the emissions targets in the Paris Agreement. Concerns about debt sustainability focus on whether China’s lending in support of infrastructure projects will lead to problematic increases in debt, with some analysts maintaining that Beijing is intentionally seeking to push countries into debt distress in an attempt to gain control over strategic assets or decision-making in borrowing countries. The main findings of this study are threefold. First, the heavy focus on coal in the new generation capacity added by the CPEC power projects stems from both “pull” factors from Pakistan and “push” factors from China: The CPEC coal power projects reflect Pakistan’s long-standing goal of diversifying its generation mix away from fuel oil toward domestic coal in an attempt to decrease generation costs and conserve foreign exchange. They also reflect the perception of the administration of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whose pledge to end power outages helped his party win the 2013 election, that coal was the best option to bring on a large amount of new capacity in the short term. Although Pakistan has vast renewable energy potential, solar and wind power were considered too expensive and difficult to integrate into electric grids. Meanwhile, Chinese companies had several reasons to sell coal power plants to Pakistan, including exporting rather than warehousing excess power generation equipment, financial incentives provided by Beijing and Islamabad, and the ability to execute projects fast enough to help Sharif eradicate the blackouts hurting Pakistan’s economy before he stood for reelection in 2018. Second, there is a mismatch between the dominance of coal in the CPEC power generation mix and Beijing’s recent emphasis on green development as an important feature of the BRI. This gap between Beijing’s rhetoric and the reality on the ground can be explained in large part by Pakistan’s preference for building coal-fired generation capacity. Ultimately, it is up to the host country to decide the composition of its electricity mix. The Chinese government has a long-standing reluctance to interfere in decisions of this type. Moreover, China regards some of the CPEC coal power plants as environmentally friendly because they use relatively modern technologies and are expected to emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the fuel oil plants Pakistan is replacing. Third, there is a risk that the CPEC power projects will add to Pakistan’s sovereign debt burden, but multiple factors indicate that any increase in sovereign debt from these projects is unlikely to be the result of a deliberate strategy on the part of China. Although the debt financing arrangements for CPEC power sector projects primarily involve loans from Chinese banks to project companies wholly or partly owned by Chinese firms, these projects may increase Pakistan’s debt because of sovereign guarantees issued by Islamabad to support CPEC power projects and the liquidity crisis in Pakistan’s power sector known as circular debt. That said, several aspects of the China-Pakistan relationship and the large stake that China’s government and companies have in the success of CPEC indicate that Chinese interests are better served by sustainable CPEC projects than unsustainable ones.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, Green Technology, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, Asia
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Europe has become a major target of China’s push to acquire advanced key technologies. These technologies support the development of dual-use products with civilian as well as military applications, a development that is in line with China’s efforts towards civil-military integration. The EU has been slow to wake up to this trend. Despite recent efforts, including those to set up a tighter investment screening mechanism, it still lacks strong coordinated regulations to protect its research and technologies. Even more importantly, the author of our newest China Global Security Tracker, MERICS researcher Helena Legarda, warns that Europe lacks a clear policy or strategy to keep up with China’s ambitions in this area. Joint European initiatives providing strategic guidance and adequate funding for innovation in dual-use technologies will be needed to not only preserve but to advance the EU’s scientific and engineering expertise. The China Global Security Tracker is a bi-annual publication as part of the China Security Project in cooperation between Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). This issue also features the Trump administration’s tightened export controls in response to China’s civil-military integration efforts, and it tracks other security developments in China in the second half of 2018, from the launch of a number of new defense systems to an increase in China’s military diplomacy activities around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Anu Anwar
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: India, often considered the natural leader of South Asia, is facing stiff competition from China. The recent tilt of the “non-nuclear five” South Asian states (i.e. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan) toward China has become quite visible as China has significantly increased its influence across the region through investment, trade, military ties, diplomatic and cultural initiatives. Meanwhile, the US envisages playing a more prominent role in South Asia by teaming up with India to challenge China and exert influence in the Indo-Pacific region. A key consideration in the US “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” hinges on India’s influence in South Asia. This paper looks closely at how Chinese bilateral trade, investment, political and military ties with the “non-nuclear five” nations have evolved and how that may affect India’s ambitions in the region. Recommendations are offered for both the US and India on how they may retain their supremacy in the region despite an ambitious and resourceful China.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Economic Diplomacy, Cultural Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Asia-Pacific, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Scott Kennedy, Matthew Funaiole
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a concerted effort to expand Taiwan’s presence across the Indo-Pacific, President Tsai Ing-wen has introduced the New Southbound Policy (NSP) to strengthen Taipei’s relationships with the 10 countries of ASEAN, six states in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan), Australia, and New Zealand. The policy is designed to leverage Taiwan’s cultural, educational, technological, agricultural, and economic assets to deepen its regional integration. This report tracks the ongoing implementation of the NSP and assesses what has been achieved since Tsai was elected in January 2016. The Guidelines for the New Southbound Policy issued by the Tsai administration detail that the policy is designed to (1) forge a “sense of economy community” by fostering links between Taiwan and the 18 NSP target countries; and (2) establish mechanisms for wide-ranging negotiations and dialogues, and to “form a consensus for cooperation” with NSP target countries. In the short and medium term, the Guidelines identify four goals: (1) use national will, policy incentives, and business opportunities to spur and expand “two-way” exchanges with NSP target countries; (2) encourage industry to adopt “a New Southbound strategy” in their planning; (3) cultivate more people with the skills needed to support the NSP; and (4) expand multilateral and bilateral negotiations and dialogues to enhance economic cooperation and resolve disputes and disagreements.1 The NSP follows from similarly named policies initiated under Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, which were aimed at diversifying Taiwan’s outbound investment away from Mainland China and into Southeast Asia. Since these prior efforts had only a limited impact, skeptics often mischaracterize the NSP as the latest iteration of a failed policy. Such naysayers fail to appreciate, however, that Tsai’s approach is both more strategic and more comprehensive than those of her predecessors. While diversifying and reinvigorating Taiwan’s economy remain fundamental to the NSP, the policy also outlines mechanisms for more effectively integrating Taiwan into the region through cultivating interpersonal connections. Moreover, the NSP is being implemented at a time of slowing growth and rising wages in Mainland China, while investment opportunities are booming in Southeast Asia and South Asia. The core economic goals of the NSP include institutional initiatives, such as updating and expanding economic agreements with targeted countries. At the same time, Taiwan is seeking to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to explore opportunities overseas. Taipei has also identified avenues for improving bilateral ties by engaging with the general publics of NSP target countries, as well as with government officials and business executives. As such, Taiwan has invested heavily in expanding cultural and educational exchanges to help promote a deeper under- standing of South and Southeast Asian cultures, languages, and business practices among the people of Taiwan. These “people-centered” exchanges serve to realize Taipei’s twin goals of strengthening Taiwan’s integration with the region and facilitating its economic diversification. It is too early to determine whether the NSP will ultimately achieve its ambitious goals, and it may take years before the Tsai government’s investment will start paying dividends. Furthermore, the NSP should be carefully examined by both the countries targeted by Tsai and partners further afield—including the United States. Many of these countries have a vested interest in bolstering the mechanisms available for Taiwan to contribute to the peaceful development of Asia. These countries may find that the goals of the NSP overlap with their own objectives in the region, and therefore may be eager to lend additional support to the endeavor. Selected Policy Recommendations for the United States The United States has a profound interest in the success of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy. Taiwan has been a long-standing partner of the United States. Its democracy and free society are a beacon of liberal values in the region, while its economic development model has been admired and studied for decades by nations in Asia and beyond. To date, the United States does not appear to have given much thought or expended much effort to support the NSP within Asia. We suggest the United States consider actively supporting the NSP. We recommend the following specific actions: The assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs should coordinate with his/ her counterpart in the South and Central Asia division to create an internal working group to consider how the U.S. government can support the NSP. The U.S. government should engage Japan, Australia, and India, the other members of the “quad,” in support of the NSP. The U.S. government should continue to support Taiwan’s inclusion and active participation in international and regional initiatives where statehood is not required. U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), particularly those with programs in NSP target countries, should consider partnerships with NGOs in Taiwan to integrate their work where appropriate in support of the NSP. The Commerce Department’s U.S. Commercial Service should engage with American industry associations and companies, and explore potential avenues of collaboration be- tween American and Taiwan industry in NSP target countries. The United States should consider bilateral (U.S.-Taiwan) cultural initiatives that may be brought to third countries in Asia. The United States should include Taiwan youth in relevant regional programs and networks.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Education, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Culture, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan
  • Author: Bonnie S. Glaser, Matthew Funaiole
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The papers in this compendium were written by the 10 members of the 2017 CSIS Taiwan-U.S. Policy Program (TUPP) delegation. TUPP provides a much-needed opportunity for future leaders to gain a better understanding of Taiwan through first-hand exposure to its politics, culture, and history. Each participant was asked to reflect on his or her in-country experience and produce a short article analyzing a policy issue related to Taiwan. These papers are a testament to the powerful impact that follows first-hand exposure to Taiwan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Gurmeet Kanwai
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Issue The development of Gwadar Port is a key element of the greater China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It speaks to both the strength of the China-Pakistan relationship and the reach of China’s grand strategy. With Pakistan’s two other major ports operating near capacity with no room for expansion, projects in Gwadar promise to eventually handle one million tons of cargo annually, while also providing significant industrial, oil, and transportation infrastructure. Though a “monument of Pakistan-China friendship,” there are misgivings on both sides about CPEC, including the safety of Chinese workers, the resentment of Baloch nationalists, and the growing debt trap created by the project. The prospect of the PLA Navy in Gwadar poses greater security questions, as it forms another link in China’s efforts to expand its maritime presence in the Indo-Pacific region. The members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” comprised of India, Japan, Australia, and the United States, should counter China’s strategic outreach by networking with other like-minded countries on cooperative security frameworks to ensure a free, open, prosperous, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Regional Cooperation, Global Political Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Japan, China, Middle East, India, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Tom Karako
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Several decades ago, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone once described his country as a “big aircraft carrier” from which to defend against Soviet aircraft.1 Although such an analogy fails to capture the richness and depth of the U.S-Japan alliance, it did say something important about Japan’s unique geographic and strategic position. Today’s air and missile threats in the Asia-Pacific region are different, as is the joint U.S.-Japanese defense posture to meet them. Given a handful of changes underway, however, one might instead say that Japan is shaping up to be a giant Aegis destroyer group of sorts. A vision of much more robust air and missile defense capability in the Asia-Pacific region hinges upon the forthcoming acquisition of Aegis Ashore sites in Japan. Japan’s intent to acquire two such sites was announced in December 2017, a decision supported by 66 percent of the Japanese population, according to one recent poll.2 But the potential significance of Japanese Aegis Ashore deployments has not yet been widely understood. Combined with military forces in other domains, these sites will be the foundation of more robust air and missile defenses against North Korea and form a base upon which to adapt to more sophisticated future threats, including China. Assuming the approval process for the foreign military sales comes along well, this development has broad implications for the United States and America’s allies.3 The road to more layered missile defense goes in part through Aegis Ashore, and the road to innovative Aegis Ashore deployments probably goes through Tokyo. The U.S. Navy’s Aegis Combat System has evolved considerably since the first Aegis ship deployed in 1984. Some 90 Aegis ships are currently operated by the United States, and five other countries have Aegis ships as well: Australia, Norway, South Korea, Spain, and Japan. The word “Aegis” refers to the shield of the ancient god Zeus, and Aegis ships have long provided fleet air defense, strike, and antisubmarine warfare. Over the past decade, 35 American and 4 Japanese Aegis ships have also acquired a ballistic missile defense mission. The most recent configurations are capable of executing the integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) mission, with simultaneous air defense and ballistic missile defense operations.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Trump's cancellation of the summit with North Korea is a warning as to just how difficult it is to bring any kind of stability to the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. It is also a warning that the U.S. cannot focus on the nuclear issue and ICBM, rather than the overall military balance in the Koreas and the impact that any kind of war fighting can have on the civil population of South Korea and the other states in Northeast Asia. The nuclear balance is an all too critical aspect of regional security, but it is only part of the story and military capability do not address the potential impact and cost of any given form of conflict.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Pradumna B. Rana, Xianbai Ji, Wai-Mun Chia, Chang Tai Li
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trump’s “America First” agenda have ignited a second round of interest in mega-free trade agreements in the Asia Pacific region. Countries have been motivated to explore alternative trade policy options. Using national real gross domestic output gains estimated by the GTAP model to construct “preference ordering” for 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and their six regional dialogue partners, this paper comes up with several findings. First, when multilateral agreements are not possible, countries are better off with a narrower regional trading agreement than without one. Second, in the region, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has higher beneficial impacts than the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Third, for dual-track countries, that is countries that are negotiating both the CPTPP and the RCEP, implementing both agreements is better than each separately. Fourth, as expected, economic impacts of the CPPTP are lower than those of the original TPP12, but all CPPTP members will benefit although to different degrees. Fifth, economic impacts of open regionalism are higher than those of a closed and reciprocal one. Going forward, the paper argues that ASEAN countries and their regional dialogue partners need to adopt a “multi-track, multi- stage” approach to trade policy.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Free Trade, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Asia-Pacific