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  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Noda advanced a legislative package on tax and social security reform but faced stiff political headwinds in the form of a frustrated public and a jaded opposition steeling for an election. Japanese concerns over the safety of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft scheduled for deployment in Okinawa dominated the bilateral agenda – at least in the media – and tested the mettle of Japan's widely-respected new defense minister. The two governments agreed to continue consultations on Japan's interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but political paralysis in Japan and presidential politics in the United States could complicate efforts to make progress in the near term. Two reports issued over the summer addressing US force posture strategy in the Asia-Pacific and the agenda for US-Japan alliance, respectively, focused on the future trajectory for the bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the second trimester of 2012, the US began to flesh out its rebalancing to Asia strategy, prompting Chinese concerns. The fourth round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S) was held in Beijing in May amid a kerfuffle over Chinese dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng. Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao held their 12thand likely final bilateral meeting in June on the margins of the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. Bilateral friction intensified over developments in the South China Sea. US-China military interactions stepped up with a visit to the US by Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and a visit to China by Commander of the US Pacific Command Samuel Locklear. The US-China Human Rights Dialogue was held in Washington in July.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In May, US-Korea relations were marked by nervousness about a potential crisis with North Korea as telltale signs of activity at Punggye suggested preparations for a third nuclear test. Though a test did not occur, no one is confident that a crisis has been averted. In US-South Korea relations, differences over imports of Iran oil and US beef calmed down without causing a major hiccup. Meanwhile, a number of difficult bilateral negotiations remain unresolved. While there are signs of progress on the New Missile Guidelines (NMG), the civil nuclear talks remain deadlocked. Territorial and historical disputes between Japan and Korea have complicated and frustrated US desires to strengthen trilateral cooperation with South Korea and Japan.
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa salvaged ASEAN unity after its failure to issue a formal communiqué at its ministerial meeting due to disagreement over Chinese activities in the South China Sea. At the US-ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference, Secretary of State Clinton reiterated US support for a peaceful settlement to the disputes and emphasized the importance of ASEAN-based institutions in that process. The US linked efforts to improve Philippine "maritime domain awareness" to Manila's military development plans. Secretary of Defense Panetta also announced that the US would be adding naval visits to Vietnam. The US suspended many prohibitions against private investment in Myanmar, though human rights-based sanctions remain. At the Shangri-La Dialogue, Panetta outlined an ambitious plan for enhanced military partnerships with regional friends and allies, though how a reduced US military budget will impact these plans is a growing concern in Southeast Asia.
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The primary focus of attention in the relationship over the summer was the ongoing dispute over territorial claims in the South China Sea as China set forth implicit choices for the Southeast Asian disputants and others with an interest in the region. Two paths – one focused on a demonstration of China's growing power and the other on positive aspects of Chinese engagement with Southeast Asia – are emerging as China continues to define its response to the conflict. Meanwhile, ASEAN struggled with finding a sense of unity in the face of disagreement among members regarding the territorial disputes. Elsewhere, China sought to reaffirm its friendly relations with Myanmar while seeking reassurance that the leadership in Naypidaw remained committed to previously agreed-upon projects.
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Ma's inaugural mentioned no new initiatives, confirming that this would be a year for consolidating relations rather than making breakthroughs in cross-strait relations. While Beijing understands Ma's domestic position, it continues nudging Taiwan to move beyond economic issues. The 8th ARATS-SEF meeting in August finally concluded the long-stalled investment agreement, but only by finessing key contentious issues. Debates within the DPP over its policy toward Beijing continue. However, initial decisions by new DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang indicate that the party is not yet willing to adjust its policy. President Ma has taken steps to underline ROC claims to the Diaoyutai Islands..
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is very little to be said about relations between the two Koreas in the middle four months of 2012. And under a sensible new dispensation granted by this esteemed journal's editors, I need not pretend otherwise. Usually guilty of over-writing (probably in more senses than one) when there was much to report and comment on, for once this time we shall be brief.
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior-level dialogue between China and North Korea resumed this summer when head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) International Department Wang Jiarui became the first senior foreign visitor to meet Kim Jong Un. Previously, there had been a great deal of speculation regarding the absence of leadership exchanges since Kim Jong Il's death. Several other high- level exchanges followed. Discussions focused on reconciling priorities and Chinese support for Kim Jung Un's consolidation of power. Although more subdued, there were also several high- level exchanges between China and South Korea as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties, initiated talks on establishing a bilateral free trade agreement, held the second round of strategic defense talks, and sparred over South Korean concerns about human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The summer was not all about the Senkakus, but the islands did dominate developments in the relationship. The Ishihara Senkaku purchase plan went full speed ahead. Meanwhile, Hong Kong activists landed on the islands, sparking diplomatic protests from Tokyo; Japanese activists followed with their own landing on the islands, sparking diplomatic protests from Beijing and anti-Japanese riots across China. Relations suffered further as Tokyo hosted the convention of the World Uighur Congress and President Hu Jintao found a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Noda inconvenient. Japan's 2012 defense white paper reiterated, longstanding, but growing concerns with China's lack of transparency and the increasing activities of its navy in waters off Japan. Meanwhile public opinion on mutual perceptions continued a downward trend in both countries.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Tokyo
  • Author: David C. Kang, Jiun Bang
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Diplomatic disputes between Korea and Japan over historical issues and territory flared yet again this summer, being by far the most serious row since the mid - 2000s. With both sides focused far more on proving the others' misdeeds than on finding some stable equilibrium, the disputes threatened to spill over and affect economic relations as well as distract leaders from focusing on a number of pressing domestic and foreign issues. We try to avoid overreactions in this forum, hence the title. Korea - Japan relations are nowhere near falling off a cliff, but without stabilizing relations, there are potential deleterious bilateral and regional effects that could result from the current disputes. There were three underlying themes that characterized and reinforced the general lack of rapport: first, the reverberations from these bilateral disputes onto third parties (US, China, and North Korea); second, the domestic sources of foreign policy (known as the “ second - image ” in international relations theory); and third , deliberate moves toward negative issue - linkage in stymieing diplomatic relations in the region.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, North Korea, Korea