Global Insider: China-Taiwan Trade Relations

Taiwanese Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung said today that Taiwan might delay the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China, which was originally slated to be ready for a June deadline. In an e-mail interview, Eurasia Group associate Nicholas Consonery explains Taiwan-China trade relations and the likely impact of the ECFA.WPR: What is the status quo in terms of the regulation and extent of trade between Taiwan and China? Nicholas Consonery: The total volume of trade between Taiwan and China has increased precipitously since Taiwan lifted a long-standing ban on direct trade and transport links […]

S. Korea Halts Trade to N. Korea

Earlier this week, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak announced that his country will suspend all trade with the communist North — a move that could cost the North up to $200 million a year. This measure will be paired with an appeal to the international community to show its disapproval of the North’s actions. China, arguably the nation with the most clout in Pyongyang, has strategically disapproved of the situation without directly blaming North Korea.

Much ink has been spilled discussing the nuclear fuel swap deal that Brazil and Turkey brokered with Iran last week. The pundits have focused on whether the deal will resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, or whether Tehran is simply playing for time, as well as what the deal says about the growing prominence of Brazil and Turkey. Yet the real meaning of the nuclear deal has gone largely overlooked: The dominant trend of the early 21st century is the rise of democratic powers to positions of regional and even global influence. Of course, the most prominent rising power, […]

As somebody who voted for President Barack Obama, I am surprised to find myself believing that he is slated to be — and more so, should be — a one-term president, a possibility that Obama himself has already broached publicly. It’s not any one thing he has or hasn’t done that has led me to this admittedly premature conclusion. Rather, it’s a growing realization that everything Obama brings to the table in terms of both deeds and vision suggests that history will judge him to be a transitional figure. He is a much-needed leveling-off from Bush-Cheney’s nosebleed-inducing foreign policy trajectory, […]

The curtain rose on yet another act in the Iran drama this week. It began with the “diplomatic breakthrough” achieved by Brazil and Turkey: an Iranian agreement in principle to the fuel swap proposal, by which uranium is sent out of the country, turned into fuel rods, and returned for peaceful, civilian use. The plot thickened with the announcement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — and in particular Russia and China — had agreed to bring to the table for discussion a draft resolution imposing a fourth set […]

Global Insider: China-India Border Disputes

Recent statements by the Indian Army have shown a softened stance toward the ongoing dispute with China along the Line of Actual Control — an area that has long been a source of tension for the two countries. In an e-mail interview, Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, explains the current situation along the China-India border. WPR: What are the core unresolved issues regarding the India-China border? Douglas Paal: The principal disputes are over territory. The Sino-Indian territorial dispute is one of China’s few remaining border disputes after a decade of resolving tough […]

Global Insider: China-Japan Territorial Disputes in East China Sea

An incident earlier this month in which a Chinese survey vessel chased off a Japanese coast guard vessel in the East China Sea is putting further strain on longstanding territorial disputes between China and Japan, despite diplomatic efforts to resolve them. In an e-mail interview, Brookings Institution Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies Director Richard C. Bush III explains the current state of Japan-China maritime disputes.WPR: What are the current territorial disputes between Japan and China in the East China Sea? Richard Bush: Japan and China have one territorial dispute: That concerns islands north and east of Taiwan that China […]

For the first time since American and Soviet missiles silently faced off across the vast, icy expanse of their northernmost Arctic territories during the Cold War, the Arctic is again becoming a strategic concern. As global climate change forces both permanent and seasonal sea ice to recede, the world is gaining what amounts to a brand new ocean — one that has never been fished, rarely navigated, and has waters that are thought to be rich with natural resources. In 2009, the United States Geological Survey estimated that the Arctic contains over 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic […]

A subtle evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations is underway. If the first of these missions kept an agreed-upon peace, and later missions sought to make peace, several countries now use these operations to advance their foreign and economic policy agendas, and raise their global profile. This shift, selective as it is to date, may potentially raise the standard of conduct in U.N. peacekeeping operations increasingly fraught with charges of criminal behavior, corruption, lack of accountability, and general ineffectiveness. However, there are significant downsides to this approach. The global movement of people, information, goods, and services creates new opportunities, but […]

Photo: The Nine Dragon Screen, Datong, Shanxi, China (Photo by Wikimedia user Doron, licensed under the Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 Attribution).

China's complicated attitude towards its past appear to be evolving. From a modern geostrategic viewpoint, however, the era of colonial China, above all others, plays a significant role in shaping Beijing's intentions and behaviors on the international stage. BEIJING—The current wave of restoration of historical sites across China, such as the reconstruction of the 14th-century city walls at Datong, is sometimes seen as evidence of the country's changing attitude towards its past: The destructive tendencies of the Mao years have been replaced by a new curiosity and respect for the Middle Kingdom's long history. This interpretation, however, fails to capture […]

TOKYO — Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama made a strange admission on his recent trip to Okinawa to try to persuade local authorities to support his plan to realign U.S. military forces on the island — a plan that includes relocating the Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma to a less-populated part of the island. Hatoyama admitted that until his trip, he did not see any reason why the U.S. Marines should remain on Okinawa. But, he added, he had gradually come to understand the deterrent value of the Marines, not to mention other American forces in Japan, “as he […]

Global Insider: China’s Housing Bubble

Over the past few months, China’s central bank has taken a number of precautionary measures to curb the risks of a housing bubble. In an e-mail interview, Eurasia Group associate Nicholas Consonery explains what China’s rising housing market could mean for Chinese and international stability. WPR: What geographic and demographic sectors are most affected by China’s rising housing market? Consonery: Though the government’s official measurements have shown rapidly rising housing prices across China’s 70 largest cities since last year, in reality this growth has been regionally skewed toward major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. An extreme example: In March, […]

Wired magazine’s May cover presents Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, while the accompanying article salutes the “hacker culture” that “conquered the world.” Amid the political paralysis we now witness in Washington, it’s a timely reminder of how all the top talent of the Boomer generation went into business and technology, while the dregs went into politics. Don’t believe me? Try to imagine a politics-oriented magazine offering a similar cover: You couldn’t get more than half of America to agree upon a single Boomer politician of Gates’ historic stature. Boomer business leaders and technologists rebooted the world, playing seminal roles in […]

THIMPU, Bhutan — Nepal’s Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal returned home from the 16th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Bhutan on April 30 to face a political crisis in his landlocked Himalayan nation. On May 1, the country’s former prime minister, the Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal (popularly known as Prachanda), began an indefinite general strike aimed at bringing down Kumar Nepal’s government. The ostensible reason was the latter’s almost-certain inability to meet a looming May 28 deadline for a new constitution, part of the 2006 peace agreement that ended a decade-long Maoist insurgency. But a […]

Gates Sets His Sights on Navy

In case you missed it, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently gave a speech to announce that he’s now set his sights on the Navy as next up for an overhaul to bring it into the 21st century. The question, though, is just what a 21st-century navy should look like. Gates cited the U.S. Navy’s 11 carrier groups, at a time when no other country has more than one, as a particular area in need of rationalization. That prompted Robert Haddick, at SWJ, to question such straight-up comparisons as a criterion for judgment, while offering some thought-provoking reasons for concern […]

MANILA, Philippines — Whoever wins the Philippines’ upcoming presidential election on May 10, it is likely that the special ties that bind the country to the U.S. will remain largely unaffected. In Manila, however, those ties are considered a necessity, not a choice, and some perceptible changes in attitude have emerged. The shift is aided by China’s inroads into what has historically been considered “the United States’ backyard.” Segments of Filipino civil society have long opposed what they perceive as Washington’s interference in the country’s internal affairs, as well as the U.S. military’s presence during lengthy training exercises. Politicians, including […]

This World Politics Review special report is a compilation of World Politics Review’s top articles on the global nuclear agenda from July 2009 through April 2010. The report includes articles on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Below are links to each article, which subscribers can read in full. Subscribers can also download a pdf version of the report. Not a subscriber? Subscribe now, or try our subscription service for free. Disarmament Movement Needs Youth Involvement to Counter Cynicism By Johan Bergen√§sJuly 30, 2009Moving Past STARTBy Richard WeitzAugust 4, 2009Obama’s Challenging NPT AgendaBy Miles A. PomperAugust 4, 2009Keeping Swords, Building PlowsharesBy […]

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