The more vulnerable Kim Jong Un feels atop a weakening North Korea, the more he seeks a silver bullet to ensure the regime's long-term survival. On May 6, Kim may enjoy a Korean Worker's Party conference that will celebrate his achievements and consolidate his rule. He may even think that his nuclear deterrent has bought time and saved money that can be used to improve North Korea's economy. But the regime's own systemic need to generate instability as a primary means of exerting domestic political control guarantees that the young leader will never have enough nuclear weapons to achieve absolute security, writes Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
“For some time, the idea of a formal trilateral discussion between the United States, Japan, and China has been considered but not acted on. Today, however, as the interactions among these three major powers carry such significant implications for the future of the Asia Pacific, the need for such a trilateral seems stronger than ever,” writes Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies.
Despite the Obama administration’s new approach to East Asia, overall security aid to Southeast Asia actually fell by 19 percent between 2010 and 2015, shows a new analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Speaker: Priscilla A. Clapp Speaker: Derek J. Mitchell Presider: Paul B. Stares
Priscilla A. Clapp, former U.S. chief of mission to Myanmar (1999-2002), and Derek J. Mitchell, former U.S. ambassador to Myanmar (2012-2016), discussed the country's new government and the challenges it faces in securing the transition to democracy. The speakers reflected on recent changes in Myanmar since the November 2015 election.
Jerome A. Cohen writes about the impact of the ruling of the arbitration tribunal in the Philippines’ case against China. In this article, Cohen explores potential responses from different Asian nations to the tribunal’s ruling and what China’s reaction might be if the legal basis of the “Nine-Dash Line” is invalidated.
Last week, Washington attempted two important policy feats aimed squarely in Beijing’s direction. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter grabbed headlines by visitingthe South China Sea, after earlier announcing he would scrap a visit to Beijing amid rising tension over territorial disputes in the region.
Authors: Adam Segal and Tang Lan The National Bureau of Asian Research
While there continue to be significant differences between the perspectives of the U.S. and Chinese governments on issues in cyberspace, recent progress to overcome these challenges suggests a path forward, writes Adam Segal. Substantive cooperation on cybersecurity, cybercrime, and Internet governance can help both countries avoid a conflict over cyberspace.
Presider: Gideon Rose Speaker: Jacob S. Hacker Speaker: Stephen G. Brooks
Republican presidential candidates are calling for Washington to get tougher on an assertive China and reduce the size of the U.S. government. In a media call, contributors to the upcoming May/June issue of Foreign Affairs make the opposite case, calling for patience with China and a significant public role in boosting the domestic economy.
“Despite having the most powerful economy on earth, the United States too often reaches for the gun instead of the purse,” contend Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Senior Fellows Robert D. Blackwill and Jennifer M. Harrisin a new book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft. Instead, argue Blackwill and Harris, the United States must strategically integrate economic and financial instruments into its foreign policy—what they define as geoeconomics—or risk losing ground as a world power.
When U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump mused about the possibility of Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia developing their own nuclear weapons, it was probably not his intention to highlight the success of the nuclear nonproliferation regime or the policy of President Barack Obama's administration.
Over the past two decades, many developing countries have turned away from free market capitalism and toward modern state capitalism, which is a combination of traditional state economic planning and elements of free market competition. In his new book, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick argues that modern state capitalism is ultimately “more protectionist, more dangerous to global security and prosperity, and more threatening to political freedom” than free market economics.
In testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Elizabeth Economy discussed the economic components of the “rebalance to Asia” and its prospects going forward. She recommended that the U.S. Congress ratify TPP, continue to support the Ex-Im Bank, and increase support for NGO operations across the Asia-Pacific in fields such as legal education and anti-corruption that help promote good economic governance. She also called for greater coordination between commercial diplomacy and strategic economic plans and greater support for the proposed U.S. New Silk Road initiative.
A frank conversation between China and the United States about the future of the Korean peninsula could pave the way for greater cooperation to stymie North Korean nuclear ambitions, writes CFR’s Scott Snyder.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 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 »