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.
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…)Continue Reading →
Russian airstrikes in Syria since September 30, portrayed by the Kremlin as an attack against the Islamic State (IS), have been met with widespread criticism. The United States has accused Russiaof targeting U.S.-backed rebel groups against the Assad regime and refused to cooperate with Moscow. European foreign ministers have called on Russia to end its attacks. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from Russia, China, India, and Japan on Russian intervention in the Syrian conflict.
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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.
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…)Continue Reading →
The 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…)Continue Reading →
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…)Continue Reading →
Europe 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.
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…)Continue Reading →
A near-9 percent dive in China shares sent world stocks and commodity prices tumbling on Monday amidst deepening concerns about a China-led global economic slowdown and crashing commodities prices. This Policy Alert examines reactions from China, India, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and Russia to the ‘Black Monday’ stock turmoil.
Following a poor week that saw an 11-percent drop in its market value, Chinese stocks nosedived again on Monday with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plummeting 8.49 percent to close at 3,209.91 points, the sharpest decline in more than eight years. (more…)Continue Reading →
A series of ASEAN meetings including the 22nd ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) took place from August 1-6 in Kuala Lumpur. Concerns over territorial disputes in the South China Sea came under the spotlight at these meetings, with ASEAN’s foreign ministers struggling until the eleventh hour to issue a joint statement. In this Policy Alert, we examine reactions from China, Russia, India, Japan, and South Korea to last week’s ASEAN meetings.
Chinese media defended accusations by other nations regarding China’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea. (more…)Continue Reading →
The launch of a UN arbitration tribunal on the China-Philippines maritime dispute has Asian powers watching closely as these debates unfold. From July 7 to 13 at The Hague, the Philippine delegation argued China violated the Philippines’s rights to exploit waters within a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as established by the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The treaty – which set rules on countries’ exercise of maritime activities – counts China, the Philippines, ASEAN countries, and many others as member-states. Sea-lanes through the South China Sea account for $5 trillion in trade every year. Therefore, the case could have a significant impact on many Asian nations, including Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam who attended the hearing as formal observers.
While Beijing refused to formally participate in the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) – the chosen UNCLOS dispute resolution mechanism – Chinese officials have taken opportunities to state their case through formal and informal channels, raising legal questions about whether China can dip its toes in the water without getting drowned by the tribunal’s verdict. Before the tribunal can begin to consider the case, the PAC will first decide if it has jurisdiction over the dispute in question before a later possible hearing to determine the legal merits of the Philippine complaint.
This Policy Alert — written by Timothy Westmyer, the program and research assistant at the Sigur Center, is part of our series on Energy and Maritime Security for the Rising Powers Initiative’s new project: The Linkages between Energy Security and Maritime Strategies in the Indo-Pacific. The research effort looks at how energy security debates shape and influence maritime strategies and vice-versa in China, India, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam and the implications of these linkages for U.S. policy toward the region. (more…)Continue Reading →
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.
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…)Continue Reading →