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  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A trifecta of international gatherings – the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Beijing, the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Nay Pyi Taw, and the G-20 gathering in Brisbane – had heads of state from around the globe, including US President Barack Obama, flocking to the Asia-Pacific as 2014 was winding to a close. North Korea was not included in these confabs but its leaders (although not the paramount one) were taking their charm offensive almost everywhere else in an (unsuccessful) attempt to block a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Pyongyang's human rights record. More successful was Pyongyang's (alleged) attempt to undermine and embarrass Sony Studios to block the release of a Hollywood film featuring the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: China, Thailand
  • Author: Brad Glosserman, Carl Baker
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Asia, South Korea
  • 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: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It was a rough four months for the US as Washington struggled to convince Asian audiences that the “rebalance” is sustainable given renewed attention to the Middle East, even before the Syrian crises. US engagement in Asia was multidimensional with participation at several ministeriallevel meetings, a visit by Vice President Biden, continued pursuit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a show of military capability in Korea. But, it isn't clear North Korea got the message. Kim Jong Un seems to have adopted his father's play book: first create a crisis, make lots of threats, and follow up with a “smile diplomacy” campaign. So far, Washington has stuck to its game plan, insisting on a sign of genuine sincerity before opening a dialogue with Pyongyang. Finally, the US image in the region was damaged by revelations about classified NSA intelligence collection efforts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Washington, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Abe focused intently on economic policy and led his Liberal Democratic Party to a resounding victory in the July Upper House election, securing full control of the Diet and a period of political stability that bodes well for his policy agenda. Multilateral gatherings in Asia yielded several opportunities for bilateral and trilateral consultations on security issues, and the economic pillar of the alliance also took shape with Japan's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and discussions on energy cooperation. Comments on sensitive history issues sparked controversy but did not derail bilateral diplomacy. The nomination of Caroline Kennedy as US ambassador to Japan marks a new chapter in the relationship.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Jacqueline Vitello
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With their domestic challenges in mind and a shared need for a stable bilateral relationship, Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping met for a day and a half “no necktie” official working meeting to discuss the panoply of bilateral, regional, and global issues that affect US and Chinese interests. The fifth annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S) was held in Washington on July 10-11, along with the Strategic Security Dialogue (SSD) and the first Cyber Working Group. Cyber security, especially cyber theft, was a prominent and contentious issue, aggravated by the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas were also a source of tension. The bilateral military relationship was a bright spot, with the visit to the US of Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Washington
  • Author: Ellen Kim, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The highlight of US-ROK relations was the first summit between Barack Obama and Park Geunhye in Washington where the two presidents celebrated the 60th birthday of the alliance. Obama announced his support for Park's “trustpolitik” initiative, demonstrating bilateral agreement on policies toward North Korea. The US also voiced support for the thaw in inter-Korean relations reflected in resumption of dialogue over the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Meanwhile, South Korea and the US agreed to an extension of the US-ROK civil nuclear agreement, began negotiations on a Special Measures Agreement (host nation support for US forces), and restarted discussions on a possible delay of OPCON transfer.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Washington, North Korea
  • Author: Sheldon Simon
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Philippines under President Benigno Aquino III has linked its military modernization and overall external defense to the US rebalance. Washington has raised its annual military assistance by two-thirds to $50 million and is providing surplus military equipment. To further cement the relationship, Philippine and US defense officials announced that the two countries would negotiate a new “framework agreement” under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty providing for greater access by US forces to Philippine bases and the positioning of equipment at these facilities. Washington is also stepping up participation in ASEAN-based security organizations, sending forces in June to an 18-nation ASEAN Defense Ministers Plus exercise covering military medicine and humanitarian assistance in Brunei. A July visit to Washington by Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang resulted in a US-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, actually seen as a step below the Strategic Partnerships Hanoi has negotiated with several other countries. Myanmar's president came to Washington in May, the first visit by the country's head of state since 1966. An economic agreement was the chief deliverable. While President Obama praised Myanmar's democratic progress, he also expressed concern about increased sectarian violence that the government seems unable (or unwilling) to bring under control.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China's tough stand on maritime territorial disputes evident first in 2012 confrontations with the Philippines in the South China Sea and Japan in the East China Sea has endured into 2013. Leaders' statements, supporting commentary, military and paramilitary activity, economic developments, and administrative advances all point to determined support of an important shift in China's foreign policy with serious implications for China's neighbors and concerned powers, including the US. China's success in advancing its control of disputed areas in the South China Sea and its overall assertiveness in support of China's broad territorial claims along its maritime rim head the list of reasons why the new Chinese policy is likely to continue and intensify. Few governments are prepared to resist.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: David G. Brown, Kevin Scott
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The slow steady improvement of cross-strait relations hit some not unexpected bumps in recent months. Domestic politics in Taiwan, particularly partisan actions by the opposition DPP, have delayed Legislative Yuan action on important cross-strait matters. Despite these domestic troubles, Beijing is maintaining a steady course and seems confident about the long-term direction of President Ma Ying-jeou's policy. Track II political dialogues are growing, including those involving the DPP, which has launched a series of meetings on its policy toward Beijing. On Sept. 13, Taiwan was invited to attend the triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a special guest of the ICAO Council.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Taliban
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: So far this year, ups and downs on the Korean Peninsula have coincided conveniently with Comparative Connections' deadlines. Had this journal still been published quarterly, as it used to, our first report of 2013 would have come out in the middle of what we can now look back on as North Korea's spring saber-rattling. Most of that was rhetoric, albeit extreme even by DPRK standards. The main actual event, the suspension of the joint venture Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), broke just as we would have been going to press. But as it was, Comparative Connections' now thrice-yearly schedule enabled us to cover this lengthy hissy-fit in its entirety. This time the date fit is not quite so neat, but as of early September it is a relief to report that inter-Korean relations are on the up again; they could hardly have gone lower. This has been an interesting four months. Pyongyang abruptly changed its tune, demanding the immediate reopening of the KIC no less peremptorily than it had earlier closed it. Both attitudes were exasperating and hard to explain, but at least the North's new “peace offensive” offers some hope of a more constructive approach. At the same time this challenged the South, forcing it to put flesh on the bones of President Park Geun-Hye's “trustpolitik” and make hard decisions on two levels: what principles to adopt in dealing with a now partly more pliant North and – on that basis – how precisely to respond on a whole range of immediate concrete issues. This was a steep learning curve, which the new ROK administration mostly handled with a skillful mix of firmness and flexibility – except for one mistaken and avoidable row over protocol, discussed below, which delayed the rapprochement by a month or so.
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-won Byun
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China-Korea relations entered an active phase of leadership exchanges during the summer of 2013 following North Korea's December 2012 satellite launch, its February 2013 nuclear test, and the passage of UN Security Council resolutions 2087 and 2094 condemning these actions. The exchanges have focused on the DPRK nuclear issue, which has been a source of unprecedented political tensions between China and North Korea. The aftermath drove continued debate on the extent of Chinese leverage and patience with Pyongyang. Beijing has reaffirmed its commitment to bring North Korea back to multilateral talks through revived bilateral exchanges with Pyongyang, including a meeting between Vice President Li Yuanchao and Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on July 26 in commemoration of the signing of Korean War armistice, which was celebrated in Pyongyang as a “victory.” Although Beijing's frustration with its North Korean ally has expanded Chinese willingness to include denuclearization as a policy objective it shares with the US and South Korea, differences remain regarding long-term strategic interests and the preferred tools for pursuing the objective.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: China, Korea
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Repeated efforts by the Abe government to engage China in high-level dialogue failed to produce a summit meeting. While Tokyo remained firm in its position on the Senkakus, namely that there is no territorial issue that needs to be resolved, Beijing remained equally firm in its position that Japan acknowledge the existence of a dispute as a precondition for talks. In the meantime, Chinese and Japanese patrol ships were in almost daily contact in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands region, while issues related to history, Japan's evolving security policy, Okinawa, and the East China Sea continued to roil the relationship. By mid-summer over 90 percent of Japanese and Chinese respondents to a joint public opinion poll held negative views of each other.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China
  • Author: Jiun Bang, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea-Japan relations have been frozen for some time and despite the summer heat, no thaw appears likely anytime soon. Although economic interactions continue to deepen between the two countries, and although there is a clear desire – and even a need – to coordinate policies toward North Korea and China, the two countries appear more focused on other issues as their main foreign policy priorities in the short-term. The two recently elected leaders have yet to meet for a summit, a sign that even a symbolic attempt to repair relations is proving difficult. Japanese Prime Minister Abe has grown stronger with a rousing Liberal Democratic Party victory in Upper House elections, yet a number of rhetorical controversies kept attention focused on Abe's foreign policy, particularly toward Korea and China. To date not much has changed and there is little evidence that either Seoul or Tokyo desires improved relations.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, South Korea
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Sino-Russian strategic partnership was in overdrive during the summer months despite the unbearable, record-setting heat in China and Russia. While the Snowden asylum issue dragged on, “Operation Tomahawk” against Syria appeared to be in countdown mode by late August. In between, the Russian and Chinese militaries conducted two large exercises, which were described as “not targeted against any third party,” a term often used by the US and its allies to describe their exercises. Welcome to the age of speaking softly with or without a big stick.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Moscow
  • Author: Graeme Dobell
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The 12 months under review saw the unfolding of the withdrawal timetable from Afghanistan, the second rotation of US Marines to northern Australia, the first “Full Knowledge and Concurrence” statement on US facilities on Australian soil in six years, and the end of Australia's long-term military deployments in Timor Leste and Solomon Islands. The Gillard government produced a trio of major policy statements built on an understanding that Asia's “extraordinary ascent” means Australia is entering “a truly transformative period in our history.” In the words of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper: “In managing the intersections of Australia's ties with the United States and China, we will need a clear sense of our national interests, a strong voice in both relationships and effective diplomacy.” Meanwhile, Australian politics experienced a bit of turmoil. The Labor government discarded Australia's first female prime minister in an attempt to appease the voters, but instead the voters discarded the Labor government. So it was that in the national election on Sept. 7, Australia got its third prime minister in the same calendar year. After six years of Labor rule, the LiberalNational Coalition led by Tony Abbott is back in power. Plummeting opinion polls had caused the Labor Parliamentary Caucus to vote out Julia Gillard as leader in June and elect Kevin Rudd as prime minister. Thus, Labor returned to the man it had thrown out of the prime ministership in 2010, afraid he could not win the looming 2010 election. Facing the prospect of another federal election, the Caucus this time dispensed with Gillard and gave Rudd a second chance as prime minister. Rudd, though, carried the weight of Labor's six years in office and the wounds of his bitter three-year leadership wrangle with Gillard, a struggle that had eaten at the government's standing and morale. Abbott's simple message was a Coalition alternative to the disunity, drama, and spectacular hatreds of the Labor years, allowing the Liberal leader to run a campaign that was singularly light on policy commitments. In the end, not being Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd was enough for an Abbott triumph.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Australia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There was a brief period during the past four months –16 days to be precise – when it looked like a breakthrough was possible in the longstanding nuclear stalemate with North Korea; then Pyongyang reverted to form. Shortly after pledging to freeze all nuclear and missile tests, Pyongyang announced a satellite launch, pulling the rug out from under Washington (and itself) and business as usual (or unusual) returned to the Peninsula. The announcement also cast a shadow over the second Nuclear Security Summit hosted by Seoul while providing additional rationale for Washington's “pivot” toward Asia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Washington, Taiwan, Beijing, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is an old Japanese saying that no one should be prepared “to wait even three years sitting on the rock” (“ishi no ue ni mo sannen”). After three tumultuous and frustrating years as the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) tried to find its sea legs, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko finally made the first official visit to Washington of a Japanese prime minister since the spring 2009. Noda had his hands full this quarter: pursuing an increase in the consumption tax, trying to convince a wary public to support some continuation of nuclear power, cobbling together domestic support to move ahead with Japanese participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and facing the perennial struggle to make progress on relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa. By the time of his Washington visit, Noda had started to line up support for the consumption tax backed off temporarily on TPP, and waited on restarting nuclear plants. However, he did manage to complete an agreement to move ahead with de-linking the move of about 9,000 US Marines to Guam and other locations in the Pacific and setting aside (but not give up on) the Futenma Relocation Facility (FRF). That announcement was a rare victory and set a positive tone for the summit and the joint statement Noda and President Obama made pledging to revitalize the US-Japan alliance. The prime minister returned home on May 1 facing the same stack of difficult domestic political challenges, but with an important if limited accomplishment in foreign policy.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Washington
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China's next leader, Xi Jinping, traveled to the US for a visit that went smoothly and laid a foundation for a strong bilateral relationship after the 18th Party Congress this fall. Senior US and Chinese officials delivered speeches to mark the 40th anniversary of Nixon's 1972 visit to China, highlighting the progress made and the importance of the bilateral relationship while recognizing the deep mutual strategic mistrust. The third Asia-Pacific Consultation was held to manage suspicious and enhancement cooperation. President Obama met Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit and coordinated planned responses to North Korea's satellite launch. Friction increased with the filing of a complaint with the WTO that charged China with manipulating prices of rare earth elements. Beijing angered the Obama administration at the UN Security Council by vetoing a resolution that called for Syria's president to step down. But as the violence worsened, the Council passed a resolution that authorized observers to monitor the ceasefire. China rebuffed US entreaties to reduce tis oil imports from Iran and the US imposed sanctions on a Chinese company for selling refined oil to Iran. A Chinese dissident sought assistance by entering the US Embassy, creating potential new challenges for the relationship.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, North Korea