|Map of Asia|
CIAO DATE: 03/04
Volume 5, Number 4, January 2004
Full Issue (PDF, 183 pages, 672 KB)
Regional Overview: U.S.-Asia Policy: Better than it Sounds? (PDF, 21 pages, 88 KB) by Ralph A. Cossa and Jane Skanderup
Washington's relations in the region generally ended the year better than they began. The North Korea situation appeared more hopeful than at this time last year. ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun reaffirmed his support for the U.S.-ROK alliance and agreed to send a second contingent of ROK forces to Iraq. Japan has also announced the deployment of Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. U.S.-PRC relations continue to be described as the "best ever" despite apparent efforts by Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian to stir the pot. U.S.- ASEAN relations were somewhat enhanced by President Bush's swing through Southeast Asia in October. Bush's trip "down under" demonstrated the solidarity of the U.S.- Australia alliance despite public opposition there (and almost everywhere else) to his decision to invade Iraq earlier in the year. Economic growth resumed for the U.S. and Asia in the third quarter and hopes are rising as the Year of the Monkey approaches.
U.S.-Japan Relations: Mr. Koizumi's Mandate (PDF, 13 pages, 54 KB) by Brad Glosserman
Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's "victory" in Japan's Nov. 7 ballot was the big event in U.S.-Japan relations this quarter. The ruling coalition's win was a stamp of approval for Tokyo's support of the United States-led invasion of Iraq and the controversial decision to send Self-Defense Forces to assist the postwar reconstruction of that country. The Japanese public is less than enthusiastic about U.S. policy in the Middle East, but the election results seemingly validated the prime minister's support for President George W. Bush and Koizumi's efforts to keep pushing the envelope on security policy. There are signs that Tokyo is learning to use the language of national interest instead of merely saying that is acting "as a good partner should."
U.S.-China Relations: Wen Jiabao's Visit Caps an Outstanding Year (PDF, 11 pages, 53 KB) by Bonnie S. Glaser
The year 2003 closed with two high-level visits. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was received at the White House with a 19-gun salute. Wen cemented the visit's success and boosted his position back home when President Bush stood by his side and rebuked Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian for seeking to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. But there was little progress made on important issues such as China's burgeoning trade surplus with the U.S. and North Korea's nuclear weapons. Chinese Defense Minister and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Cao Gangchuan was hosted by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Presidents Bush and Hu Jintao met early in the quarter on the sidelines of the APEC summit.
U.S.-Korea Relations: Now You See 'Em, Now You Don't: Elusive Six-Party Talks (PDF, 9 pages, 43 KB) by Donald G. Gross
The U.S., South Korea, and Japan sparred with North Korea this quarter over the content of an agreed joint statement for the negotiations. Despite President Bush's willingness to provide written multilateral security assurances and other unspecified benefits in exchange for "coordinated steps" toward nuclear dismantlement, Pyongyang stuck to its familiar approach. North Korea confirmed on Dec. 27 that it would participate in a second round at an early date in 2004 "to continue the process for a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue." To strengthen the U.S.-Korea alliance, South Korea agreed this quarter to dispatch 3,000 troops to assist U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraqi reconstruction. The U.S. and South Korea could not agree on redeployment plan for 1,000 U.S. troops in Seoul. On the trade front, South Korea welcomed the U.S. decision to lift steel tariffs even as it appealed to the WTO an USITC decision to impose tariffs on semiconductor.
U.S.-Russia Relations: A Chilly Fall for U.S.-Russia Relations (PDF, 8 pages, 37 KB) by Joseph Ferguson
While leaders in the United States and Russia profess a continuing partnership in the war on terrorism and foster a growing energy relationship, strains have become apparent during the past three months with the long-expected arrest in October of Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and following the December parliamentary elections in Russia, in which the pro-Putin United Russia Party gained a major victory. The U.S. government even went so far as to question the fairness of the elections. Other, more usual, complicating factors have caused some friction: Chechnya, Central Asia, and Iraq. But in three areas Russia and the U.S. continue to cooperate: nonproliferation, energy, and the war on terrorism. It remains to be seen how long the two nations can continue to smooth over frictions in the quest to cooperate on large-scale strategic issues.
U.S.-Southeast Asia Relations: President Bush Presses Antiterror Agenda in Southeast Asia (PDF, 11 pages, 49 KB) by Sheldon W. Simon
The Bush administration's most significant achievement following the president's October attendance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and visits to Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia has been to broaden APEC's agenda to incorporate security issues in parallel to trade and investment. The president praised Thai, Philippine, and Singaporean assistance for the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan and promised additional military and economic aid to Bangkok and Manila. However, Indonesia and Malaysia continue to express concerns about U.S. policy in Iraq and the U.S. war on terror, seeing the latter as anti-Muslim and the former as unilateral, preemptive, and disproportionately military. Thus, U.S. security policy may be splitting ASEAN with respect to the war on terror.
China-Southeast Asia Relations: A New Strategic Partnership is Declared (PDF, 10 pages, 41 KB) by Lyall Breckon
China's leaders made the most of the fall summit season, playing vigorous roles in "ASEAN-plus" meetings in Bali in early October, and in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok later that month. China and the 10 ASEAN governments declared a "strategic partnership for peace and prosperity" in Bali, where China formalized its accession to ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, renouncing the use of force in the region in favor of negotiation and consultation. Strategic partnership is to include, among other things, ambitious new goals for increasing trade, and a new security dialogue. Reacting to the perception that China is soaking up nearly all the foreign direct investment flowing to Asia, Beijing promised to increase its own investment in Southeast Asia.
China-Taiwan Relations: Strains over Cross-Strait Relations (PDF, 10 pages, 42 KB) by David G. Brown
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian continued to press his proposals for referenda and plans for a new Taiwan constitution in the campaign for the presidential election next March. Beijing tried to respond to his moves at a low level, but the prospect of a new law permitting referenda on sovereignty issues forced Beijing to heighten its rhetoric and appeal to Washington. When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited, President Bush addressed the issue and made clear his concerns about possible steps by Chen to unilaterally change the cross-Strait status quo. Nevertheless, Chen announced he would proceed with his plan for a referendum next March. The campaign will continue to determine the temperature of cross-Strait relations and the outcome will have a major impact as the two candidates' approaches to China differ markedly.
North Korea-South Korea Relations: Simulacrum or Substance? (PDF, 12 pages, 53 KB) by Aidan Foster-Carter
The final quarter of 2003 saw no dramatic developments in inter-Korean ties. Rather, the picture was one of steady interaction across a now established range of contacts: political, economic, transport, social, cultural, and more. There is far more going on now between the two Koreas than four years ago let alone in the preceding half-century of hostility and minimal contacts. It suggests that at long last North-South relations have become institutionalized and firmly rooted. The on-off pattern of the past looks to have been superseded by permanent and continuous interaction, if still somewhat shallow. This de facto normalization has occurred during, and despite, the still unresolved nuclear crisis. But depending on its outcome, this may yet pose an obstacle to further deepening of inter-Korean relations.
China-Korea Relations: No Shows, Economic Growth, and People Problems (PDF, 7 pages, 34 KB) by Scott Snyder
The last quarter of the year has become a period when one can expect more intensive high-level exchanges than usual across the region. Including diplomatic planning for sixparty talks, a post-SARS bump, and a 40 percent rise in bilateral ROK-PRC trade, 2003 was a banner year for China-ROK high-level exchanges and trade relations. Booming economic growth in the PRC has driven and in some cases overtaken the Korean economy. Although this has benefited South Korean exports, China has become the de facto regional hub for Northeast Asian and Korean trade despite Korea's aspirations to play that role. The quarter also saw a number of incidents that raise questions about whether the two countries can manage diplomatic hot potatoes.
Japan-China Relations: Cross Currents (PDF, 14 pages, 54 KB) by James J. Przystup
In October, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro met China's Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao, renewing commitments to enhance cooperation in the bilateral relationship. China's leaders, however, made clear that a proper understanding of history is central to the development of bilateral relations. Economic and financial relations continued to expand and diversify. But Japan's rapidly expanding private sector presence on the mainland had to deal with Chinese national sensitivities and the burdens of history. Meanwhile, the repercussions of a Fukuoka murder committed by Chinese students; of the September Zhuhai sex orgy involving a Japanese business tour group; and of a Chinese rampage at Xian's Northwest China University following a dance performed by Japanese students crystalized nationalist sentiments in both countries.
Japan-Korea Relations: It's the Economy (and Culture), Stupid (PDF, 8 pages, 36 KB) by Victor D. Cha
The real action in Japan-South Korea relations this quarter was not over North Korea, but in the realm of economics and culture where a number of positive developments emerged. Meanwhile, the protracted nadir in Japan-North Korea relations has had permanent, lasting effects on Japan's future security profile in the region. The North Koreans lately are fond of telling Americans that the U.S. and Asia should grow accustomed to the prospects of living with a nuclear North Korea. Such an outcome is undesirable and hopefully untrue. But the statement underscores an alternate proposition: as a result of North Korean intransigence, Asia will have to live with the permanent reality of a militarily more "normal" Japan that is not deterred from initiating punitive actions against others, and is also unlikely to ever roll back these capabilities.
China-Russia Relations: Living With Normalcy (PDF, 10 pages, 43 KB) by Yu Bin
By any standard, relations between Moscow and Beijing in the last months of 2003 were uneventful and unenthusiastic. The world, too, was relatively quiet without Saddam or SARS. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing mentioned Russia only in passing in his year-end review of China's diplomacy, while relations with India and Pakistan were given more significant space. Even the Korean nuclear crisis became less alarming, as Washington was absorbed by the bloody peace in Iraq and the beginning of the presidential race at home. Without eye-catching events, attention was given to secondary issues in social, economic, and cultural areas. Meanwhile, top leaders from both countries tried to find ways to inject new momentum into the otherwise normal relationship between the two "strategic partners."
U.S.-Australia Relations: Delhi's Two-Front Diplomacy (PDF, 19 pages, 82 KB) by Satu Limaye
The past two years have been especially full for India's diplomacy. U.S.-India relations were preoccupied with getting Pakistan to carry out its commitments, preventing further escalation or miscalculation of the crisis, initiating a political process in Jammu and Kashmir, and nudging India and Pakistan toward dialogue. Simultaneously, the U.S. and India worked to transform their relations through enhanced defense cooperation, improved trade, and wider political and security consultations. On both counts, the U.S. and India made progress. In 2003, India also sought to improve relations with China, while building on the steady improvement of relations with Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent Japan. While no dramatic events or breakthroughs have occurred, an incremental but steady focus by India on East Asia has been maintained.