North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February drew global opposition in the form of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2270 and condemnation by regional leaders. Pyongyang promptly dismissed such calls with a series of short- and mid-range missile launches in March and April.
Ambassador Robert Blackwill asserts that China’s strategy is to maximize its “comprehensive national power” at the expense of American predominance in Asia, and that Xi Jinping—as China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping—is likely to pursue that strategy aggressively. Blackwill argues for a revised American grand strategy toward Asia that seeks to avoid conflict with Beijing and maintain U.S. primacy in the region.
Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies, analyzes how the United States and Japan together dealt with North Korean fourth nuclear test, China’s increasing military activities in the South China Sea, the long-standing base relocation issue in Okinawa, and the “Trump Shock,” caused by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign language toward Japan on trade and on security cooperation.
In testimony before the United States-China Economic and Security Commission on April 27, 2016, Yanzhong Huang discussed China’s 13th Five Year Plan in the context of China’s healthcare system landscape, attempts at reform, and potential opportunities and challenges for collaboration between the United States and China in the healthcare sector.
Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies, identifies three areas of U.S. Asia policy that is particularly important for the next U.S. administration: devising a strategy for managing China’s increasing maritime activism, continued leadership in effective economy governance, and moving beyond the rhetoric of the presidential campaign to reassure allies and partners in Asia of the continued commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes and confidence building and risk reduction across Asia.
In spite of significant differences in views, Beijing and Washington appear committed to not letting cyber issues derail the U.S.-China relationship or interfere with cooperation on other high-profile issues. Among the wide range of issues raised at their recent meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping reiterated their commitment to last September’s breakthrough cybersecurity agreement.
“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.
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.
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.
Benn Steil’s op-ed in the March 30 edition of the Wall Street Journal, co-authored with Emma Smith, looks at presidential campaign charges that China is engaged in “currency manipulation” to boost net exports. They show that the aims of China’s pegged exchange rate regime have varied over the past two decades, and have not always been mercantilist. In recent months, with capital flowing out of China at a prodigious rate, its interventions have been to keep its currency up—not down. Launching a trade war with China over currency management, as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders intend, would therefore be nonsensical—as well as damaging to U.S. interests.
In light of China’s deepening economic slowdown, “China’s foreign policy may well be driven increasingly by the risk of domestic political instability,” write Robert D. Blackwill,Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Kurt M. Campbell, the Asia Group’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a new Council Special Report. “Economic growth and nationalism have for decades been the two founts of legitimacy for the Communist Party, and as the former wanes, [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] will likely rely increasingly on the latter.”
Robert D. Blackwill and Kurt M. Campbell analyze the rise of Chinese President Xi Jinping and call for a new American grand strategy for Asia that "seeks to avoid a U.S.-China confrontation and maintain U.S. primacy in Asia."
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 »