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Taiwan’s Presidential Election Provokes Reactions in Asia

taiwanelectionOn January 16, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen defeated the incumbent Kuomintang Party (KMT) to become the first female president of Taiwan. The DPP also won a majority in the Legislative Yuan and vowed to start a “new era” in Taiwan with an improved economy and a relationship with China based on “dignity and reciprocity.” The United States congratulated Tsai on her victory and expressed its desire for continued peace and stability in the cross-straits. China – who pined for a KMT victory – and other powers responded to the news with a mix of cautious optimism and diplomatic tightrope walking. In this Policy Alert, we look at reactions in Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, and India on what the election holds for the region.

TAIWAN

While not entirely a surprise, the landslide victory for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) transformed the balance of political power on the island. It has also forced the Kuomintang Party to do some soul searching when it votes in March for a new leader after its 2016 candidate and former chairman, Eric Chu, resigned. Furthermore, the new DPP majority promised new legislation to strip the KMT of its multi-million assets through party finance and property reforms, which may make it more difficult for the KMT to mount an electoral comeback.

Taiwanese policymakers remained cautious in the handling of post-election cross-strait relations. (more…)

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Policy Alert: Rising Powers Respond to North Korean Hydrogen Bomb Test

northkoreaOn January 6, North Korea announced it conducted its forth nuclear test, claiming the successful explosion of a hydrogen bomb. As experts work to verify the claim, the international community unanimously condemned Pyongyang with the UN Security Council planning to impose further sanctions on the Kim Jung-un regime for taking an action South Korea called an “unpardonable provocation.” In a display of strength and support for allies in the region, the United States flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over Seoul, which prompted North Korea to vow further tests. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from South Korea, China, Japan, India, Russia, and Brazil on the latest North Korean nuclear test.

SOUTH KOREA

As expected, South Korean President Park Geun-hye denounced the test as a “serious threat” to national security and warned “our military is at a state of full readiness, and if North Korea wages provocation, there will be firm punishment.” Along with resuming broadcasts of propaganda messages across the north-south border, South Korea urged the international community to work together on sanctions to inflict “bone-numbing pain” on its northern neighbor, specifically calling on China to prove Beijing is serious about improving ties with Seoul.

Newspapers in South Korea focused on how the country and the international community should response to this latest development by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). (more…)

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Policy Alert: We Have a Climate Deal: India and China React to the Paris Agreement

parisOn December 12, leaders from more than 190 countries reached a consensus on how to combat climate change after two weeks of intense negotiations and years of diplomatic wrangling. The Paris Agreement will succeed the expiring Kyoto protocol and seeks to keep the average global temperature from rising above two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels through reductions in greenhouse emissions, changes in energy policies, shifts in agriculture and livestock production, and other far reaching measures. Countries outlined their plans to reach these targets and pledged to share funding and technology to poorer states needing to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This Policy Alert is a companion to Policy Alert #114 and illustrates the reactions on the final deal within India and China, two rising powers central to the negotiations and future success or failure of the accord.

INDIA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the outcome in Paris where “every nation rose to the challenge, working towards a solution” that “has no winners or losers” save for the preservation of “climate justice” and “a greener future.” While many analysts worried India could play a “spoiler” in the negotiations due to its developing economy’s reliance on coal, New Delhi ultimately agreed to the final deal. (more…)

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RPI Scholar Deepa Ollapally: India’s National Identity and Its Impact on Security Policy under Modi

modi-fopoEarlier this month, Dr. Deepa Ollapally, director of the Rising Powers Initiative and research professor of international affairs at the Elliott School of International Relations, published an article at The Asan Forum that explored how the election of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014 shaped expectations of the future direction of India’s foreign policy and the eventual path the Modi government has taken since rising to power:

The consensus on India’s national identity has been slowly fragmenting over the last twenty-five years, especially since the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in 1998 displacing the Congress Party, India’s dominant political party since independence. After being out of power for a decade, the BJP came back to power with a decisive showing in May 2014 under Narendra Modi. There were varying expectations regarding how the new government would project its worldview onto the international stage, but a prior question for many was what exactly was the new prime minister’s own worldview, left unclear given that he had spent his career in state-level politics.

The best indication came from the self-avowed nationalist image of the BJP. Based on this, it was assumed that under Modi, New Delhi could be expected to focus on building up the country’s hard power, i.e., military capabilities, and fashioning a more assertive defense and security policy. In other words, India’s “great power” ambition would be underwritten by bigger military prowess and stronger security policies. (more…)

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Policy Alert: COP21: Rising Powers Seek Solutions for Climate Change

cop21COP21, a UN climate change conference, opened last week in Paris, a city that experienced horrific terrorist attacks just weeks before. In his opening address, French President Francois Hollande noted “I can’t separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming. These are two big global challenges we have to face up to.” World leaders from about 150 countries are expected to reach a new greenhouse gas reduction framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2020. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on the climate change meeting.

CHINA

China and the United States – the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases – laid the ground work for the Paris talks with joint commitments this past year to address climate change. President Xi Jinping was the first Chinese head of state to attend a climate summit when he outlined his country’s plans to see a peak in carbon emissions by 2030 and for its emissions intensity of GDP to decline by 60 to 65 percent. Likewise, China has promised increases in energy efficiency and a shift toward to natural gas, hydropower, wind, and solar energy. (more…)

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Policy Alert: Paris Terrorist Attacks Provoke Responses from Rising Powers

policyalert113-2The terrorist attacks in Paris by the Islamic State (IS) last Friday killed at least 129 people, leaving France and the world in great horror and sorrow. French President Francois Hollande responded by calling the attacks “an act of war” and pleading to wage a “merciless” fight against terrorism. U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the terrorist act an “attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.” In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on the Paris terrorist attacks.

CHINA

Chinese officials unanimously condemned the attacks and extended their condolences to France. (more…)

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Policy Alert: China-Taiwan Historic Summit: Reactions from Asian Powers

chinataiwanOn Saturday, November 7, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou held the first China-Taiwan summit meeting since the two countries separated in 1949. The two leaders reconfirmed the “1992 Consensus” based on the principle of “One China” and agreed on further improvement of cross-Strait relations. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea on this historic summit.

CHINA

Chinese officials and media declared the summit a success, expressing hope for continued progress in cross-Strait relations. (more…)

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Policy Alert: The Russia-China Gas Deal and the Eurasian Balance of Power

APEC Bilateral Meeting - China & RussiaThe $400 billion natural gas agreement concluded by Russia and China in May 2014 was hailed by both countries’ leaders as a game-changing development in international affairs. Many Russian and Chinese analysts also seized upon the deal as evidence of an emerging Sino-Russian partnership set to challenge the U.S.-led global order. Is the gas deal part of a broader shift in Russia-China relations and the global balance of power? Are the two countries ready to construct a formidable alliance to challenge the United States and Europe? Or should the agreement be viewed in simpler economic terms?

The gas deal is the latest in a series of political, economic, and military developments between the two countries over more than two decades that illustrates a stronger and more integrated Russia-China relationship. However, the evolution of the Russia-China relationship over the past quarter of a century has been marked by as many policy failures as successes. Economic ties are not as deep as they could be and continue to be dominated by Russian raw materials exports to China. Diplomatic relations are also characterized by a grandiose rhetoric that overstates the progress made between the two countries and undersells underlying cultural and political differences. Complications continue to surround the implementation of the May 2014 gas deal, reflecting these dynamics as well as wider political and economic events that have transformed the global energy landscape since the gas deal was concluded. (more…)

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Policy Report: Perspectives on U.S.-India Relations

Expanding ties between the U.S. and India now span the entire spectrum of foreign policy, inevitably giving rise to convergences and divergences. What are some of the biggest challenges and greatest opportunities in U.S.-India relations? The “Perspectives on U.S.-India Relations” panel, held at the George Washington University on October 5, outlined the contours of the U.S.-India relationship and prospects for its future. The session, sponsored by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and hosted by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, was part of a broader daylong FICCI-GWU Foreign Policy Leadership Workshop introducing a leading group of Indian parliamentarians to U.S. foreign policy on current issues that are of major importance to India. Members of the Indian delegation included: (more…)

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Policy Alert: TPP Sparks Reactions from Rising Powers

tpp

Earlier this month, twelve Pacific Rim countries, including the United States and Japan, reached a final agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest regional trade pact in history with its member states accounting for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The pact also constitutes a cornerstone of President Obama’s “rebalance” toward Asia. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and India on the trade deal.

CHINA

Chinese commentary urged the government to push forward with the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) while downplaying the potential impact of the TPP for China. (more…)

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