"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
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.
Following weeks of tense political scandal, the South Korean National Assembly voted overwhelmingly by a margin of 234-56 on a motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye. Scott Snyder discusses where to go from here.
Much of the new U.S. administration’s foreign policy is a mystery, but expect broad policy continuity in U.S. relations with India while geopolitical and geoeconomic questions pull the two countries in new directions.
Among many challenges revealed during the 2016 presidential election to the Obama adminisration’s rebalance to Asia, Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, notes “it is the United States’ own commitment to the region that seems the most fragile.”
China-South Korea tensions rose with the announcement of the U.S.-South Korea alliance decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea and South Korean protests against illegal Chinese fishing. Exclusive economic zones (EEZs) remain another point of China-South Korea tension. Although China and South Korea seek to advance trade within various frameworks, such efforts only highlight a widening gap between the economic and political aspects of their relationship. Current security priorities require effective approaches to both immediate differences over THAAD and EEZs and longer-term preferences over how to effectively promote lasting stability on the Korean Peninsula, write Snyder and See Won Byun, PhD candidate in political science at the George Washington University.
Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies, overviews President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima in May and his last visit to Asia that reemphasized the regional priorities of his “pivot” to Asia. She, together with Charles McClean of University of California, San Diego, also examine the shared challenges the United States and Japan face such as domestic politics of each country, the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, North Korean fifth nuclear test, and continued maritime tensions in Asia even after the ruling of The Hague came out.
Because North Korea thrives in the gap created by Sino-U.S. strategic mistrust and the most dangerous threat to the Kim Jong-un regime’s legitimacy comes from South Korea, the most effective way of conveying to him that his regime’s survival depends on denuclearization would be through coordination of a trilateral strategy among the United States, China, and South Korea., writes CFR Senior Fellow Scott Snyder.