Archive for September, 2015

Policy Alert: Prime Minister Xi Jinping in U.S.: Reactions from Rising Powers

Xi-Obama-White-House-State-Visit-2015

The summit between Prime Minister Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama last Friday produced mixed results. Both sides reached an agreement on climate change and on cyberattacks, following the recent Chinese attacks against American businesses and government agencies, but made little progress on the maritime security issues in the South China Sea. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Japan, India, and South Korea on Xi’s visit to the U.S.

CHINA

Chinese officials and media regarded the summit as highly successful, noting that Xi’s visit purportedly assuaged U.S. concerns regarding a rising China.  (more…)

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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Under the Sugarcoating

chinapakisanThe China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—a $46 billon development megaproject which aims to connect Gwadar Port and Xinjiang via a network of railways, highways, and pipelines—is being hailed by both countries as another testament to the “iron-clad” friendship between the two neighbors, which stands “higher than the Himalayas.” Given the massive economic payoffs that could be reaped from their joint ventures, it seems apt that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef calls the relationship “sweeter than honey.”

If the CPEC proceeds as planned, it will provide China with a shorter access route to the Middle Eastern and European markets, both for its exports and its growing energy needs. The route allows China to circumvent the narrow Malacca Strait, which is both longer and prone to being sealed. China is looking at the CPEC as an initial part of its “One Belt, One Road” project, an attempt to tap into markets to its west through a transportation and infrastructure network in Asia reminiscent of the Silk Road. Pakistan views it as a windfall opportunity to upgrade its infrastructure. The project includes $33 billion worth of energy projects and coal-fired electricity plants which can help Pakistan with its existing energy crisis that leaves it at a loss of billions annually. (more…)

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Iran’s Nuclear Agreement and Its Ripple Effects on South Asia

As we may have expected, the historic agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers at Vienna in the mid-July has already begun creating ripple effects on the geopolitics of South Asia. Although the relief from sanctions afforded to Iran won’t come into full effect until later in 2015 or early 2016, when Iran meets its obligations under the deal, the economic and strategic opportunities opening up with Iran’s reintegration into the global economy is a prime concern for the countries in the region. And these countries will be looking to factor in the new development into their national policies. India and Pakistan, specifically, will be looking to readjust their policies with respect to Iran and each other to take into account the central role that Tehran can play in the region, not in the least as a potentially major trading partner and energy provider.

With regards to the latter, the dominant theme has been pipeline politics. The lifting of sanctions on Iran has been touted by Pakistan as boding well for progress on the much-trumpeted $7 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, a massive energy infrastructure project that can prove essential in easing Pakistan’s energy woes. This is despite recent statements by the U.S. State Department on the matter indicating that Pakistan shouldn’t bank on the project just yet, at least not until Iran has met its obligations under the agreement – “We do not consider Iran open for business yet,” said Mark Toner, a U.S. State Department Spokesman. (more…)

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Policy Alert: European Refugee Crisis Provokes Reactions from Rising Powers

refugeecrisisEurope is currently witnessing a massive refugee influx as millions of people flee war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya. While Germany has taken on leadership by welcoming 800,000 migrants this year, European countries have yet to come up with a unified EU policy to address the refugee issue. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on the ongoing refugee crisis.

CHINA

Chinese commentary blamed the United States and the European Union for causing the refugee crisis as a result of U.S. intervention in the Middle East. (more…)

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China’s Internet Policies: Doubling Down

chinainternetThe People’s Republic of China (PRC) is already famous for its strict controls over Internet content and users. If anything, these controls appear to be growing tighter over time. Although many once hoped that the Internet would bring change to China, it now appears that China is more likely to bring change to the Internet. These trends are evident in two key domains: China’s domestic policies for Internet management, and China’s efforts to influence sites and users beyond its own borders. Instead of a gradual opening up, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is doubling down on its efforts to control, censor, and undermine those aspects of the net which it finds threatening. (more…)

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RPI Author Mike Mochizuki: Revise the Plan to Build the U.S. Marine Air Base in Henoko, Okinawa

osplayMike Mochizuki, the Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at George Washington University, co-authored an op-ed with Akikazu Hashimoto, project professor at J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, in The Diplomat on the controversy surrounding the relocation of the U.S. marine air base in Okinawa. This op-ed is based on their new book published in Japanese, The Okinawa Solution.

Early last month, Japan’s central government made a surprise announcement that it would suspend for one month from August 10to September 9 the construction of the controversial U.S. Marine Corps air base in Henoko, Okinawa. Building this landfill facility on the edge of Camp Schwab on Oura Bay has been the precondition for closing down the Futenma Air Base, which is dangerously located in a densely populated area. Back in 1996, the U.S. government had promised to return Futenma as soon as a replacement facility was completed on Okinawa. (more…)

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