The September China-South Korea summit in Beijing catalyzed the resumption of trilateral talks with Japan in October and the launch of the China-South Korea free trade agreement in December. Beijing’s Korean engagement also included a visit to North Korea in October by Chinese Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan for 70th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). Despite new initiatives to expand economic cooperation, Pyongyang’s apparent defiance of Chinese diplomatic efforts on denuclearization suggests further difficulties in China-North Korea relations.
The White House moved quickly to debunk North Korea's exaggerated claim that a Jan. 5 "artificial earthquake" at the site where Pyongyang had conducted three previous nuclear tests was a breakthrough detonation of a hydrogen bomb. The size of the blast was similar to that of North Korea's January 2013 test and had a yield thousands of times lower than the yield expected of a hydrogen blast. But in downplaying North Korea's claim so as not to feed Kim Jong-un's cravings for international attention, the Obama administration risks underplaying the growing danger posed by North Korea's unchecked efforts to develop nuclear and missile capabilities needed to threaten a nuclear strike on the United States.
The confirmation by UN monitors that Iran has complied with the deal to dismantle large parts of its nuclear program lifts major sanctions and ushers in a new era for the Middle East. This issue guide offers analysis and background.
In Politico, Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew argue that the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement makes the world safer and buys valuable time. Now the United States must ensure its enforcement; prevent Iran from destabilizing actions in the region; and cautiously explore the possibility of a new and more constructive relationship.
Joshua Kurlantzick looks at current U.S. policy toward China and argues that not only does it alienate allies, but takes U.S. diplomats, money and arms away from places that truly matter, and that in some places America would do best to let China win.
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the National Defense University about the Obama administration's foreign policy agenda. The main focus of his speech included strategy for defeating the self-proclaimed Islamic State, addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, integrating screened refugees, and beginning implementation of several agreements, including the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the Paris climate change agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Given the complex politics of the India–Pakistan relationship, the United States does not play a role in their bilateral talks, but Washington can certainly take steps to help prevent spoilers from once again disrupting a dialogue process that deserves every chance to succeed.
Anyone watching this meltdown unfold has every reason to think of worse-case scenarios, as it will only deepen the Middle East’s widening sectarian divide, intensify the region’s multiple conflicts, and set back efforts to defeat the Islamic State and end the bloodshed in Syria.
The implementation phase of major multinational agreements reached in 2015, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to the Iran nuclear accord, will likely be more trying than the negotiation process, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Author: Stewart M. Patrick Global Summitry: Politics, Economics, and Law in International Governance
A defining feature of twenty-first century multilateralism is growing reliance on informal, non-binding, purpose-built partnerships and coalitions of the interested, willing, and capable. But the new multilateralism also presents dangers, among these encouraging rampant forum-shopping, undermining critical international organizations, and reducing accountability in global governance, writes Stewart Patrick.
Steven A. Cook testified before the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and argued that although the coup d’état that brought General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to power has not resulted in stability, prosperity, or democracy, Egypt is too important for the United States to walk away.
Unification would constitute one of the most decisive changes in the history of Northeast Asia since the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, with far-reaching implications for the United States and the balance of power in the region. Sue Mi Terry outlines steps that the United States should take to increase the likelihood that the U.S.-South Korea alliance would survive the disappearance of North Korea.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »