Asia and Pacific

Article

Of Debt and Detriment

Authors: Benn Steil and Emma Smith
Weekly Standard

Benn Steil and Emma Smith show how China mirrors the U.S. “exorbitant privilege” from minting the world’s primary reserve currency. While the United States is deeply indebted to the rest of the world, it still earns far more abroad than it pays out. China, in contrast, has become the world’s largest creditor while paying foreigners far more than it receives. Steil and Smith argue that China is making itself vulnerable to financial crisis by massively subsidizing its geostrategic objectives.

See more in China; United States; Economics

Other Report

The Korean Pivot: Seoul’s Strategic Choices and Rising Rivalries in Northeast Asia

Authors: Scott A. Snyder, Darcie Draudt, and Sungtae "Jacky" Park

As U.S.-China tensions intensify and as the North Korean threat grows, the importance of the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) as a pivot state in East Asia and as a valuable ally for the United States has become clearer than ever.

See more in South Korea; China; Diplomacy and Statecraft; International Organizations and Alliances

Article

Japan And South Korea Welcome Some Much-Needed Reassurance From The Trump Administration

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Forbes

Northeast Asia is facing profound political uncertainty: South Korea is immobilized by a political scandal that has resulted in the impeachment of its president and ensnared top business elites; Japan has been left high and dry after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguably the country’s best chance at growth; and North Korea is getting closer and closer to becoming a nuclear power. And no one knows what President Trump's "America First" agenda means for the country's Asian allies. What both Japan and South Korea need right now is assurance from the United States that its alliances are a priority. In his first overseas trip as the new Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis will be sure to affirm that commitment.

See more in Japan; South Korea; Politics and Strategy

News Release

Kurlantzick Chronicles the U.S. Secret War in Laos and Creation of a Paramilitary CIA in New Book

“Over the course of the war, U.S. bombing of Laos would become so intense that it averaged one attack every eight minutes for nearly a decade,” observes Joshua Kurlantzick in his new book, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA. Kurlantzick, a Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia, mines extensive interviews and recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) records to give a definitive account of the secret war in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of Laos, which lasted from 1961 to 1973, and was the largest covert operation in U.S. history. The conflict forever changed the CIA from a relatively small spying agency into an organization with vast paramilitary powers.

See more in Laos; Vietnam; Intelligence; Wars and Warfare

Article

Nuclear Test, Political Fallout, and Domestic Turmoil

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

South Korea’s domestic political vacuum following the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on December 9 overshadows prospects for renewing China-ROK relations in the year ahead. While the current cycle of DPRK provocations and international sanctions has drawn attention to vital Chinese interests in ensuring stability on the peninsula, Beijing’s deteriorating bilateral relationships with the two Koreas and the United States impede immediate regional efforts to break this cycle.

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Regional Security; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

Assessing U.S.-Asia Relations in a Time of Transition

Author: Sheila A. Smith
Asia Policy

“Although Abe’s quick reach out to Trump in the wake of an election has eased some of the anxiety about the future of the alliance under new U.S. leadership, the larger uncertainty about how the new president will shake up U.S. policy toward Asia continues to shape Japanese attitudes on the transition,” writes CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith.

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

The Sea Where The Sun Rises

Author: Sheila A. Smith
Outlook India

"For much of Japan’s modern history, the sea has protected the Japanese from their neighbors,” yet today they are alarmed by the increasing evidence that “China may have a far greater appetite for risk in Asia’s near seas,” says CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith

See more in Japan; Defense and Security

Article

Donald Trump Must Take North Korea's Nuclear Threat Seriously

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Forbes

During his annual New Year’s address on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s dropped a bombshell: He stated as part of his review of the past year's accomplishments that North Korea has entered “the final stage in preparations to test-launch” an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). One that could hit the United States. To deal with the threat, the Trump administration should strengthen sanctions and find a way to work with China or, at a minimum, should isolate North Korea as an essential area of cooperation in an otherwise contentious U.S.-China relationship. 

See more in North Korea; Nuclear Energy; Defense and Security