Asia and Pacific

Article

Tillerson Bumbles Around Asia

Author: Ely Ratner
Politico

The Trump team’s early forays into Asia couldn’t have gone better. In early February, Defense Secretary James Mattis received high praise for his trip to Tokyo and Seoul, reassuring nervous allies that the Trump administration would continue decades of American leadership in Asia. A week later, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe braved a visit to the White House and was rewarded with President Donald Trump reaffirming the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

See more in China; United States; Politics and Strategy

Op-Ed

Don’t Buy China’s Peace Plan For North Korea

Author: Ely Ratner
Fortune.com

In a matter of weeks, all of China’s fears have come to a head on the Korean Peninsula. At an airport in Malaysia in mid-February, the exiled half-brother of North Korea’s ruler was assassinated with a nerve agent, reminding the world that the Hermit Kingdom is run by a paranoid and violent regime. Closer to home, North Korea conducted two rounds of ballistic missile tests in stark violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

See more in North Korea; Politics and Strategy

Article

How North Korea Evades UN Sanctions Through International "Front" Companies

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Forbes

North Korean sanctions evasion has largely eviscerated the intent and impact of UN sanctions resolutions designed to block international financial and material support for North Korean nuclear and missile development efforts. Aside from the obvious Chinese loophole, the assassination of Kim Jong Nam has shone a bright light on another major portal for North Korean illicit actions and sanctions evasion: Malaysia.

See more in North Korea; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Sanctions

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