Archive for May, 2015

Policy Alert: PM Narendra Modi’s China Visit Draws Reactions in Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his first visit to China since taking office a year ago. The much anticipated three day trip began May 14 and yielded 26 deals worth $22 billion between the two countries spanning a wide range of industries including renewable energy, power infrastructure, and steel. Prime Minister Modi began his trip in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province and the hometown of Chinese President Xi Jinping, followed by meetings in Beijing and Shanghai. This Policy Alert covers reactions to Modi’s visit from India, China, and South Korea.

INDIA

Media coverage on Modi’s visit spanned a wide range of topics including addressing the India-China trust deficit, the trip’s emphasis on soft power diplomacy, and Modi’s capacity to expand Sino-Indian ties. (more…)

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RPI Visiting Scholar Bhubhindar Singh: Japan’s Global Image Blemished by History

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a State Dinner during Abe's April  2015 visit to the United States (Source: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a State Dinner during Abe’s April 2015 visit to the United States (Source: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the United States at the end of April was a resounding success overall. One of the main highlights of the five-day visit was the signing of the new US-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. The defense guidelines, as David Shear, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, insisted are not a revision of the 1997 version but signaled a new phase in US-Japan defense cooperation. The new guidelines introduced a whole-of-government coordination on bilateral issues to ensure a more effective alliance coordination mechanism; authorized Japan to engage in missions to defend the United States and other friendly countries even when Japan is not under attack (known as collective self-defense); expanded bilateral defense cooperation from a regional to global level; and finally, included new areas of defense cooperation relevant to the current strategic environment, such as, cyber and space.

The introduction of the new defense guidelines is a positive development in three ways; reinforced the already strong defense relationship between the United States and Japan; strengthened the deterrence effect against the key strategic challenges facing both states; and elevated Japanese security policy expansion to the global level. This is a positive development and there is no reason to doubt Japan’s intentions. (more…)

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Policy Brief: Cautious Optimism from Asia’s Energy Security Debates

energyMeeting the energy demands of a growing economy is one of the primary challenges in the 21st century. This endeavor has led many states in Asia to consider whether to satisfy their energy needs through competitive “resource nationalism” or to instead rely on market-based approaches and better energy efficiency. These debates have profound implications for U.S. foreign policy in the region and took center stage at a roundtable on Energy Security Worldviews hosted by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. Three experts who participated in a major Sigur Center research project presented their findings that there are relatively optimist prospects for energy security in Asia, thus posing a challenge to prevailing assumptions and fears.

This research project studied how three foreign policy “schools of thought” contended for influence in the domestic energy security debates of several countries in Asia. The nationalist school argues that energy vulnerability demands greater national autonomy, mercantilist policies, and aggressive military strategies to realize these goals. Globalists, on the other hand, emphasize liberal market approaches and international regimes as solutions for the region’s energy demands. A third group, realists, focuses on geo-strategic international cost-benefit calculations.

In Japan, South Korea, and to a degree in China, coalitions of pragmatic realists and liberal globalists have thus far steered domestic energy debates away from the nationalist camp. This Policy Brief explores energy debates in Asia, the factors underlying them, and the future outlook for energy security and U.S. foreign policy in the region. (more…)

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Policy Alert: Nepal Earthquakes Spark Responses from Rising Powers

nepalA massive earthquake in Nepal on April 25 has claimed thousands of lives and left many survivors camped in the streets for fear of aftershocks. International humanitarian aid has poured into the country as the victim toll continues to rise. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from India, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea on the humanitarian disaster in Nepal.

INDIA

The Indian government responded to the earthquake by sending 300 disaster-response personnel and a mobile hospital. Newspapers in India praised the country’s swift response, while noting the lack of regional cooperation. (more…)

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