Asia Articles

Japan's Comfort Women Apology: Trust, But Verify

11:12 AM, Dec 29, 2015
Japan apologizes, but will it stick? Read more

South Korea to Show Its Mettle as an Ally with THAAD Deployment?

9:45 AM, Oct 14, 2015

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on October 7 that “the only concern” Beijing has regarding the October 16 White House summit between President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye is a possible discussion of “deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in the South.” Yonhap quoted Chinese professor Cheng Xiaohe of Renmin University as stating, at a recent seminar at Johns Hopkins University, that “China’s government explicitly opposed the implementation of THAAD systems on the Korean peninsula no matter in the U.S. military base or on the ROK’s military base.” The message is loud and clear: Beijing does not want a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment in South Korea and is hoping that its new “charm” offensive to win over President Park can trump any considerations for her as a U.S. treaty ally.

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So Long, Harry: Will Obama’s Apology Tour End in Hiroshima?

1:19 PM, Sep 02, 2015

A lame duck President Obama, released next year from any lingering political constraints, will make a likely final official visit to Asia to attend the 42nd G-7 summit of leaders of the world’s leading economies. The summit is scheduled to be held in May 2016 in central Japan, not far from Hiroshima.

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Time to Talk Tough on Chinese Aggression

9:29 AM, Aug 05, 2015

John Kerry’s visit to Asia this week – like Ashton Carter’s last month – is designed to offer reassurance that America’s commitment to the region remains unwavering in the face of increased Chinese aggression. Yet despite these visits, leaders in the region have profound doubts whether the United States is serious about standing up to China.

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Japan Axes Liberal Arts in Favor of More Job Training

4:01 PM, Aug 04, 2015

Americans have long been skeptical of the liberal arts. Frequently this takes the form of a discussion of whether a degree in history or literature is “worth it” in a purely economic sense. Annual reports highlight the top-earning college majors, subtly encouraging students to forgo a class in literature or history in favor of something useful, like nursing or engineering.

Perhaps it’s a reflection of our innate American pragmatism.

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Japan Pushes South Korea Into China’s Arms

10:29 AM, Jun 29, 2015

South Korean President Park Geun-hye may have avoided walking into a potential minefield in postponing her recent Washington visit due to the MERS outbreak in her home country.

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Toward a Free and Democratic China

Overhauling U.S. strategy in Asia
May 18, 2015

At the top of our next president’s task list will be rescuing American foreign policy from the wreckage of the Obama years. The prevailing headlines detail a grim litany of new threats, each one emanating from an Obama administration policy failure.

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The Pathetic Pacific Pivot

11:06 AM, Dec 22, 2014

As the historically minded will recall, back in 2012 the Obama administration declared that the United States “will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific.” That was the guidance the commander in chief gave to the U.S. military, the idea being that since, the peace of Europe was eternal and self-sustaining, and the Middle East was a mess made by George Bush, that the most important mission for the 21st century was to keep an eye on the Chinese, the “rising” great power.

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North Korea: Breaking the Silence

10:21 AM, Dec 17, 2014

Alarm bells have gone off in Beijing, in Moscow, and even among some so-called “realists” in the West. They caution that the pending U.N. General Assembly consideration of an EU-Japan joint resolution on North Korean human rights violations, scheduled for December 18-19, could push Pyongyang over the edge. Publicly censuring North Korea for its crimes against humanity, they warn, might lead to a fourth nuclear test and even potentially trigger another military confrontation on the Korean peninsula. These voices, as a result, advocate continued silence despite overwhelming evidence of massive human rights violations, about which the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) report wrote the following: “The gravity, scale, and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the modern world.”

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Protest Signs Meet Obama in Burma: 'Reform Is Fake,' 'Change'

12:08 PM, Nov 14, 2014

President Obama held a townhall today in Burma where he was met with signs that read "Reform is fake" and "Change." He commented on the signs before getting on with the program.

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Japan and the Comfort Women: Not a ‘Beautiful Country’

4:14 PM, Jul 01, 2014

In 2007, during his first term as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe penned a work titled Toward a Beautiful Country, My Vision for Japan. The recent re-examination of the 1993 Kono Statement on the Imperial Japanese military’s use of “comfort women” during World War II (a euphemism for sex slaves), which was presented to the Japanese Diet on June 20, is the antithesis of the actions of “a beautiful country.” It represents a backward step, reopening a dark chapter in 20th-century history, which most of the world woul

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State Dept. Warns of Protest at U.S. Embassy in Malaysia One Day Before Obama's Visit

9:25 AM, Apr 23, 2014

The State Department is warning of a protest in Malaysia on Friday, one day before President Obama is expected to arrive there on Saturday.

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The Asian Pivot: Does America Still Rule the Waves?

8:37 AM, Apr 16, 2014

President Obama is about to undertake a fence-mending mission to America’s Asian allies in Tokyo, Seoul, and Manila. The U.S. “pivot” to Asia is coming under renewed scrutiny following Beijing’s announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) for the East China Sea in November, Pyongyang’s recent firing of two midrange missiles into waters near Japan and South Korea, and regional whispers questioning American resolve.

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Foolish Consistency

Jan 20, 2014

You would guess that an agreement between the United States and Japan to move a Marine air base from one location to another on Okinawa would be good news. And it is, for three reasons. First, because there has been opposition to relocating the base on the island, and negotiations had stalemated. And second, because the move is endorsed by Okinawa’s governor, who had initially opposed it.

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Biden: My 'Profound Insights on Policy Are Vastly Exaggerated'

9:01 AM, Dec 06, 2013

The press covering Joe Biden's trip Asia caught an unusually frank comment from the vice president. Biden, speaking about himself, reportedly said that his "profound insights on policy are vastly exaggerated, but we do have profound respect for the people of South Korea."

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Biden Bows to China

11:55 AM, Dec 03, 2013

Absolute coherence when it comes foreign policy is a rare thing.  International relations will forever be a mix of principles, interests, circumstances, and necessities.  But recognition of that fact doesn’t mean one has to jump to the opposite conclusion that foreign policy is simply a grab bag of decisions, lacking any coherence whatsoever.  But, more and more, this appears to be the case when it comes to the Obama administration’s so-called “pivot” to Asia.

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Obama Pivots to Asia, Announces Trip to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines

12:00 PM, Sep 13, 2013

President Barack Obama will be traveling to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines, at the beginning of next, the White House announced today. 

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Blame America First: Asia-Pacific’s Harmonious Seas

2:01 PM, Jul 01, 2013

On the first weekend in June and for the twelfth year in a row, senior foreign policy makers, military officials, politicians, and defense industry representatives flocked to an exclusive hotel resort in this Southeast Asian city-state for the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian Security Summit. The event now draws a Who’s Who of global military power personalities: Asian, European and U.S. defense ministers; regional military commanders, including a high-level delegation of strategists from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) military.

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'War on Coal': Exports Doubled During Obama's First Term

8:29 AM, Jun 25, 2013

While Daniel P. Schrag, White House climate adviser, tells the New York Times that "a war on coal is exactly what's needed," so far the Obama administration has been a boon for U.S. coal exports.

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Kerry Welcomes Chinese Investment in America's Infrastructure

11:34 AM, Apr 14, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry told the press in Beijing that he discussed with Chinese government officials investing in America's infrastructure. Kerry called the security concerns "very, very few; very, very little."

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Don't Pivot to Beijing

9:29 AM, Apr 12, 2013

John Kerry’s first visit as secretary of state to Asia this week will be rightly dominated by the heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, where Kim Jong-un’s regime continues to generate headlines around the world with its bluster and brinksmanship.

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The Ally of My Ally

Asia’s divided democracies.
Jan 21, 2013

Asia’s democracies need to get their acts together to address a common danger from the region’s authoritarian/totalitarian powers. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan face rising challenges from China and/or North Korea. All have security arrangements with the United States to deter or confront those threats.

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China Claims to Have Landed First Plane on Aircraft Carrier

7:56 AM, Nov 25, 2012

The Chinese military claims for the first time to have landed a plane on an aircraft carrier, the state media outlet Xinhua reports.

China has successfully conducted flight landing on its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, naval sources said," says Xinhua.

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Obama Calls Burma 'Myanmar' as 'Diplomatic Courtesy'

8:03 AM, Nov 19, 2012

President Barack Obama called Burma 'Myanmar' after a bilateral meeting with Thein Sein, the president of that country. From the pool report:

Obama used the word "Myanmar," the preferred terminology of the former military government and currently nominally civilian government, in a spray following the bilat, rather than use "Burma," the former name of the country, and the one preferred by Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the name the U.S. uses.

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President Obama, Stop in Jerusalem

10:42 PM, Nov 15, 2012

President Obama heads abroad Saturday for a four-day visit to Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia. One assumes the president was going to add on to this trip a visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which would certainly be the fitting and proper thing to do.

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Obama to Travel to Burma

1:44 PM, Nov 08, 2012

President Barack Obama will travel to Burma, as well as other countries in Asia, the White House announced. 

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Pakistan May Lose Crucial Backing as Saudi Arabia Turns to India

5:15 AM, Oct 25, 2012

A post in the Wall Street Journal blog covering India suggests relations are souring between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, long the main instrument of Riyadh’s ideological influence over South Asian Muslims. The desert monarchy has extradited several terrorist suspects to India, under a treaty signed between the two countries in 2010. Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari was sent to India in June, A. Rayees was deported by the Saudis to New Delhi in October, and Fasih Muhammad, last week.

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The Only Option for U.S. China Policy

3:59 PM, Oct 23, 2012

During Monday night’s presidential debate, the candidates beat their breasts vying to be tougher on China. Barack Obama pointed to his accomplishments, while Mitt Romney attacked the president for being afraid to label China a currency manipulator. The amount of time devoted to America’s largest creditor and potential enemy shows that managing the relationship with China is critical for whoever sits in the Oval Office.

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Who’ll Get Thrown Off the Island?

The greater East Asian co-hostility sphere.
Oct 22, 2012

Relations between China and Japan, never particularly placid, have reached bona fide crisis proportions over the past several months—and could get worse.

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Chinese Medicine for Leviathan

6:33 AM, Jun 05, 2012

Eric Li’s op-ed in the New York Times, timed to coincide with the annual round-up of big wigs (with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey leading the U.S. delegation) in Singapore, the Shangri-La Dialogue, is a useful reminder of the many good things American power has done to lay the foundation for what’s supposed to be the “Pacific Century.”

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