CIAO DATE: 09/05
Volume 7, Number 2, July 2005
Mixed Signals, Mixed Results (PDF, 18 pages, 296.3 KB) by Ralph A. Cossa
The North Koreans stayed away from the Six-Party Talks this quarter, citing "mixed" and "confusing" signals from Washington. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick reassured ASEAN about Washington's continued commitment to the region, a message somewhat undercut when it was revealed that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would likely not attend the ASEAN Regional Forum ministerial meeting in late July. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also sent mixed signals to China at the Shangri-La Dialogue in early June, welcoming an emerging China "committed to peaceful solutions" as "an important new reality" while raising questions about the extent of its military build-up. Mixed signals also came from ASEAN as to whether Burma/Myanmar would forego its chairmanship of ASEAN in mid-2006, amid mixed predictions as to the impact of Rice's absence on this decision.
Tokyo's Trials (PDF, 9 pages, 236.0 KB) by Brad Glosserman
Two issues dominated U.S.-Japan relations this quarter. The first, Tokyo's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, is a high-profile diplomatic contest that could strain the alliance even though it is not about the alliance. The second is the continuing effort to transform the U.S. military presence in Asia and how the resulting deployments in Japan will look. There was no resolution to either issue, nor will there be one in the immediate future. Smaller trade issues were also back on the bilateral agenda. The 60th anniversary of the end of World War II could also provide a reckoning: will it be the moment that Japan emerges from its postwar slumber to assume a new role in Asia and the world, or will the accounting of history that has so roiled Tokyo's neighbors soon engulf the bilateral relationship?
Disharmony Signals End to Post-Sept. 11 Honeymoon (PDF, 16 pages, 277.4 KB) by Bonnie S. Glaser and Jane Skanderup
America's grievances with China mounted this quarter, signaling a likely end to the post-Sept. 11 honeymoon in Sino-U.S. relations. The Bush administration stepped up pressure on Beijing to appreciate its currency, hoping to fend off criticism that China is stealing U.S. jobs and unfairly creating a massive trade surplus with the United States. Washington leaned harder on Beijing to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to rejoin the Six-Party Talks. China's military buildup also came under sharper criticism, along with human rights abuses, suppression of political dissent, and foot-dragging on implementation of political reforms. Mindful of the benefits to the U.S. of cooperation with China and the dangers of full-blown strategic competition with China, President Bush and his Cabinet members attempted to keep the bilateral relationship on an even keel while urging Chinese leaders to make their policies more compatible with U.S. national interests.
Good News Summit Kicks Disputes Down the Road (PDF, 11 pages, 246.6 KB) by Donald G. Gross
Speculation about a North Korean nuclear test spiked tensions on the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang refused to return to the Six-Party Talks. Pyongyang underscored its self-proclaimed status as a nuclear weapons state by removing spent fuel rods from its five-megawatt reactor, and testing a short-range missile. The U.S. moved 15 stealth fighters to South Korea, broke off talks on recovering Korean War remains, and considered seeking sanctions against North Korea at the UN. South Korea focused instead on the mid-May inter-Korea meeting. Likely for the sake of reducing peninsular tensions while increasing U.S.-South Korean differences, Pyongyang agreed to a new round of these ministerial-level talks for the first time in 10 months. Presidents George Bush and Roh Moo-hyun held a summit June 10 where they emphasized strategic agreement on the importance of the U.S.-Korea alliance and a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue.
Further Strategic Disconnect (PDF, 7 pages, 226.1 KB) by Joseph Ferguson
Since late 2001, leaders in Moscow and Washington have tried to minimize political differences to maximize the effectiveness of the "strategic partnership" in its struggle against terrorism. But the limits of this partnership are increasingly apparent. The series of mini-revolutions or coups in the former Soviet republics along Russia's border may have marked the beginning of the end of this so-called strategic partnership. Moscow now has serious concerns about the penchant for Washington to "export" revolution to Eurasia. Washington, meanwhile, continues to view political developments in Russia with great displeasure, calling each successive move by President Vladimir Putin to consolidate his power a step backward for Russian democracy. U.S.-Russian cooperation in East Asia seems to have reached its limit, as Moscow looks more to Beijing as a partner, potentially along with New Delhi.
Summitry Hints of a More Activist Approach (PDF, 10 pages, 245.6 KB) by Catharin Dalpino
The U.S. attempted to maintain momentum in relations with Southeast Asia created by the tsunami relief effort earlier this year. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick travelled to Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and proclaimed a new policy of greater attention to the region. President George Bush hosted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, inaugural visits to Washington for both leaders. In June, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attended the Shangri-La security meeting in Singapore and criticized Beijing. Indonesia was of two minds about the U.S.: tsunami aid polished the U.S. image, but reports of Islamic prisoner abuse triggered fresh resentment. U.S. military cooperation moved toward a more regional approach, while several rounds of bilateral trade talks were held. Human rights remained central to U.S. policy in Burma as Washington prepared to renew sanctions and made clear its opposition to Rangoon's chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006.
Dancing with China (PDF, 13 pages, 259.4 KB) by Ronald Montaperto
Nations of Southeast Asia threw off the torpor induced by the tsunami of December 2004 and returned to business as usual. Beijing seized the opportunity and immediately reenergized plans placed in temporary, forced abeyance in the wake of the disaster. President Hu Jintao's and Chairman Wu Bangguo's second-quarter travels showed the softer side of China with several economic agreements being finalized. The result was yet another series of apparent Chinese successes in Beijing's drive to gain acceptance as a good neighbor and further enhance its regional status. In the multilateral area, China partnered well with ASEAN, intuiting when to lead and when to follow. However, these accomplishments, the result of incremental steps, could still go wrong if other factors supervene to erode Beijing's accumulated credit.
Opposition Leaders Visit China (PDF, 9 pages, 234.4 KB) by David G. Brown
The visits of Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and People's First Party Chairman James Soong Chu-yu to China have ameliorated cross-Strait relations. The visits illustrated the potential for dialogue if a different government were in office in Taipei, and produced a new verbal formula that could bridge differences over preconditions for talks with a future government. However, the visits have poisoned the atmosphere between Beijing and the administration of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian. Despite speculation in Taipei, there is no prospect for political dialogue between the two. Furthermore, domestic politics is complicating the possibility of progress on functional issues such as transportation, agricultural exports, and tourism, which would be beneficial to both sides, particularly Taiwan.
Who's Singing Whose Song? (PDF, 15 pages, 282.8 KB) by Aidan Foster-Carter
The prospects for inter-Korean relations appear more propitious than they have for at least a year. Not only has Pyongyang ended its boycott of most forums of North-South dialogue created after the June 2000 Pyongyang summit, but it has agreed to deepen and extend these in significant ways. If a 12-point joint statement signed in Seoul on June 23 is fully adhered to, then the summer and fall will see a busy calendar of meetings. Besides such familiar fora as ministerial talks, the joint economic committee, and family reunions, there are to be military talks plus new panels on cooperation in farming and fisheries. North Korea has even agreed to discuss the sensitive issue of persons "missing" from the Korean War. Yet shadows persist. North Korea might not deliver; it may sulk, or take its bat home again.
Pursuing Super Economic Cooperation (PDF, 9 pages, 233.5 KB) by Scott Snyder
The torrid growth in China-ROK bilateral trade relations has slowed by half in the first part of 2005 after expanding by almost 40 percent to $79.3 billion in 2004. Nonetheless, South Korean firms are working with their government to lobby for expanded access to China's domestic market. Presidents Hu Jintao and Roh Moo-hyun met briefly on the sidelines of a ceremony commemorating the end of World War II in Moscow, and Foreign Ministers Ban Ki-moon and Li Zhaoxing also met on the side of an Asia-Europe Meeting for consultations on the North Korean nuclear issue, including a "balanced" rebuke to both the U.S. and DPRK for exchanging vituperative rhetoric instead of face-to-face negotiations. Despite extensive China-DPRK diplomatic activity in early April, including a visit to Beijing by Kim Jong-il's trusted advisor Vice Minister Kang Sok-ju, the DPRK, at quarter's end, had still not set a date for resuming its participation in the Six-Party Talks.
No End to History (PDF, 15 pages, 267.9 KB) by James J. Przystup
Throughout the quarter, history demonstrated its power over the Japan-China relationship. There were anti-Japanese riots, Vice Premier Wu Yi's snub of Koizumi, and June debates over Yasukuni and China policy within the Liberal Democratic Party and governing coalition. The past influenced the present and future as sovereignty issues over the Senkaku islands and East China Sea were caught up in surging nationalisms in both countries. The Japanese prime minister's visits to Yasukuni Shrine touched almost every aspect of the relationship. Even traditionally robust commercial and economic ties wobbled. At the end of the quarter, three Chinese residents of Guangzhou city were afflicted by poison gas leaking from shells abandoned by the Japanese Imperial Army and Chinese authorities in Dalian confiscated Japanese textbooks intended for the local Japanese school for inappropriate references to Taiwan.
Little Progress on North Korea or History Disputes (PDF, 11 pages, 246.4 KB) by David C. Kang and Ji-Young Lee
North Korea and history dominated Japan-Korea relations this quarter. Little progress toward resolution was made on either issue. In dealing with North Korea, Japan continued to mull sanctions or other measures against the North, although the government did not take any actions toward that end and Prime Minister Koizumi publicly disavowed sanctions in early June. In mid-June, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Koizumi met in Korea for a summit that failed to bring any progress on the range of issues, from the disputed Tokdo/Takeshima territory to Yasukuni Shrine visits and how Japan's middle-school textbooks treat the past. On the economic front, Japan and South Korea continued to deepen their relationship, but increasing economic interdependence has not dampened political disputes.
Politics of Anniversaries and Beyond (PDF, 10 pages, 243.7 KB) by Yu Bin
Past, present, and prospect were played out in the second quarter of 2005 when Russian and Chinese leaders commemorated the 60th anniversary of Russia's victory (May 9, 1945) in World War II, mended fences in Central Asia in the wake of a surge of "color revolutions" in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, and toyed with the idea of a multilateral world order with a Russia-China-Indian trio in Vladivostok. The quarter ended with President Hu Jintao's state visit to Russia, which aimed to take the strategic partnership to a new height. Meanwhile, Russian and Chinese generals were hammering out details of their first-ever joint exercises in eastern China to be held in the third quarter. Meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization provided opportunities for policy coordination and competition.