Washington Report

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Washington Report is a bimonthly newsletter that provides an "inside-the-Beltway" perspective on developments in U.S.-Asia Pacific relations. The centerpiece of the report is an interview with a leading authority on an economic, political, and/or strategic issues of importance to transpacific relations. Periodically, a special supplement is published that provides in-depth analysis of a topic covered in the newsletter.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 35
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    Washington Report, 2011-9
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center , U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2011-09) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Wanner, Barbara ; Stokes, Bruce
    This issue features an interview with Mr. Bruce Stokes, Senior Transatlantic Fellow for Economics at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. A long-time and highly respected commentator on US trade policy and American politics, Mr. Stokes explores the issues that have curtailed expeditious consideration of the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) as well as the growing tensions between Washington's jobs creation and trade policy agendas
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    Washington Report, 2011-7 (Special Report: Asia-Pacific perspectives on the future of the World Trade System)
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2011-07) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Emerson, Craig ; Groser, Tim ; Pangestu, Mari ; Bergsten, Fred ; Morrison, Charles
    Special Report: Asia-Pacific perspectives on the future of the World Trade System. The US Asia Pacific Council’s 8th Annual Washington Conference on May 23 featured an elite panel discussion, composed of trade ministers from leading Asia-Pacific nations and a highly respected US economist. The speakers explored developments in regional and global trade and considered issues that will challenge efforts to realize a more liberal trading order. The panelists included: Hon. Dr. Craig Emerson, MP, Minister of Trade, Australia; Hon. Tim Groser, MP, Minister of Trade, New Zealand; Hon. Dr. Mari Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia; and Dr. C. Fred Bergsten, Director, Peterson Institute for International Economics. They explored developments in regional and global trade and considered issues that will challenge efforts to realize a more liberal trading order in Asia. Dr. Charles E. Morrison, President, East-West Center, moderated the panel.
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    Washington Report, 2011-5
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2011-05) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Smith, Sheila A.
    It has been one month since the earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, which has caused the gravest crisis this country has faced since World War II. The sheer magnitude of this natural disaster would challenge the governing capacity of most any nation. How is the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan faring? Dr. Sheila A. Smith of the Council on Foreign Relations compares the response of the Kan government to the response of the government in 1995 to the Kobe earthquake. In human costs, the Tohoku earthquake was far more destructive than the Kobe quake. The tsunami defined this tragedy differently because the human toll of nearly 30,000 people confirmed dead or missing in comparison to only three people missing in Kobe. The most challenging aspect of this catastrophe has been management of the nuclear crisis. We should have been more sensitive to how our public discussion might undermine our ally's ability to manage a serious public safety issue. The generally positive reaction in Japan to the US military's "Operation Tomodachi" appears to have further strengthened the foundation of the bilateral security relationship, despite tensions in recent years related to the relocation of US bases on Okinawa. Operation Tomodachi enabled an interesting marriage of both the global experience of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the long-standing contingency planning of the US military and the SDF. There might be greater tension between Japan's national and local governments, which could undermine their ability to integrate capacities as part of post-crisis response and recovery. The localities that are devastated have completely lost their governing capacities--literally, the people who populated the local governments are gone as well as the fiscal infrastructure, the support system, the communications systems. In these small municipalities along the hard-hit coastal areas there effectively is no local government. The prefectural governments have had to assume the primary role in crisis management. Japanese governors are talking about sharing responsibility and being adequately prepared to deal with crises.
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    Washington Report, 2011-3
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2011-03) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Flake, G. Gordon
    On March 1, 2011, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to examine ways to break North Korea’s cycle of provocative behavior and end its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. Committee Chairman John Kerry (D., Massachusetts) strongly advocated a new approach, featuring US bilateral outreach to Pyongyang. L. Gordon Flake, Executive Director of The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, disagreed. As he elaborates in the following brief interview, Mr. Flake testified that Washington must continue to work closely with regional allies and insist that, before resuming meaningful discussions, Pyongyang must take steps to comply with its denuclearization commitments under the Six-Party framework. In excerpts of his testimony that follow, Mr. Flake further proposed that a solution to breaking Pyongyang’s destructive cycle of behavior lies in understanding its root causes, such as internal developments and trends in North-South relations.
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    Washington Report, 2011-1
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2011-01) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Lincoln, Edward
    When Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan visits Washington, D.C. in a few months, the spotlight likely will shine on the anticipated roll-out of a new “vision” for the U.S.-Japan security relationship. But as Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara pointed out during a brief visit to Washington in early January, the continued evolution of the bilateral alliance also will depend on robust economic relations. Prof. Edward Lincoln of New York University considers domestic and regional developments that may challenge some of Tokyo’s economic aspirations.
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    Washington Report, 2010-2
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2010-02) Wanner, Barbara
    The atmosphere of hope and optimism that enveloped the 1st session of the Democratic-controlled 111th Congress one year ago has all but evaporated in 2010. As the second session began in late January, the economic recovery remained uncertain, two of President Obama's policy priorities—health care reform and legislation addressing climate change—were stalled in one or both chambers, and job growth appeared flat. The majority party was further stunned by the victory on January 19 of Republican Scott Brown in the Senate race in the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy—an outcome that Republicans hailed as indicative of voter dissatisfaction with Obama/Democratic Party policies and leadership. In early February, lawmakers in both parties appeared to be groping for a way forward. As Members of the House and Senate gear up for midterm elections in November 2010, this undercurrent of anxiety about stalled, ineffective, or unformed policies and related concerns about one’s political fortunes will shape economic initiatives important to U.S.-Asia elations. Even as 2009 drew to a close, lawmakers had begun to explore the role of exports in fostering economic recovery, particularly U.S. exports to Asian markets. Congressional leaders on trade policy likely will approach this challenge on two tracks. The first track will focus on opening Asian markets for U.S. products by negotiating new free trade agreements (FTAs), refining already concluded FTAs, and addressing alleged barriers to American goods and services. The second track will deal with the promotion of U.S. export growth through government programs and other assistance. Lawmakers also will try to overhaul the U.S. export control regime to ensure that American producers of dual-use items are not being unduly deprived of sales opportunities in Asia and other markets. In terms of trade with specific Asian partners, congressional frustration with China’s trade-distorting industrial policies, highly regulated currency policy, and weak enforcement of intellectual property protections could boil over before the year’s end. During an election year, it is not uncommon for lawmakers to promote legislation aimed at redressing the policies of trading partners that are perceived as costing Americans their jobs. China’s practices continue to generate those fears at the U.S. grass roots. But the initiatives of lawmakers active on foreign policy also suggest that not all developments in Asia are viewed exclusively through an economic lens. Members of the House and Senate have become increasingly concerned about regional developments and the apparent transition in U.S. diplomatic relations with key Asian partners. The recent 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan security alliance will serve as the springboard for an examination of the political and security-related issues that have strained this important bilateral relationship. Lawmakers also will revisit developments on the Korean Peninsula, by considering the implications of South Korea’s emergence as a G-20 host as well as the conundrum of dealing with Pyongyang and ending its nuclear program via the Six-Party Talks. Burma’s upcoming elections will receive special scrutiny as will the effectiveness of the administration’s policy of “pragmatic engagement” with the repressive regime.
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    Washington Report, 2010-5
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2010-11) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Inderfurth, Karl F.
    President Obama’s visit to India November 6‒9 was aimed at boosting economic and commercial ties as well as deepening a bond with a democratic ally that is of growing strategic importance in Asia. On balance, most observers say the U.S. leader laid the groundwork toward accomplishing these broad objectives. However, the two nations will continue to face domestic and regional challenges as they endeavor to forge closer ties on a wide range of economic, diplomatic, security, and environmental issues. Amb. Karl F. Inderfurth of The George Washington University, who previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, explores the backdrop for U.S.-India relations at this important juncture in their development and considers how thornier matters might be tackled moving forward.
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    Washington Report, 2010-4
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2010-09) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Lampton, David M.
    Are the United States and China on a collision course? President Obama entered office committed to engaging China in dialogue aimed at resolving economic and diplomatic challenges in a reasonably amicable manner. Beijing's more assertive behavior in Asia and the sometimes harsh, anti-American rhetoric emanating from the certain quarters suggest that the Chinese political elite have a very different view of what is best the country and how relations with Washington should be managed. Prof. David M. Lampton of Johns Hopkins University explores the political, economic, and historical factors that more recently have escalated tensions in bilateral relations and caused growing concern among China's Asian neighbors. The full interview also is available.
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    Washington Report, 2010-3
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2010-07) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Jackson, Karl D.
    Soon after entering office, President Obama pledged to increase U.S. engagement in Asia through high-level diplomacy and substantive programs. He backed up his words with action on November 15, 2009 when he met with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)--the first such meeting ever between a U.S. President and all ten ASEAN leaders. Subsequently, however, the U.S. President on three occasions postponed a visit to Indonesia. In addition, long-time ally Thailand became roiled in political upheaval and Burma was rumored to have purchased arms from North Korea. Prof. Karl D. Jackson of Johns Hopkins University discusses how political developments in Southeast Asia and other challenges may affect U.S. efforts to build closer relations.
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    Washington Report, 2010-2
    (Washington, D.C.: East-West Center, U.S. Asia Pacific Council, 2010-03) U.S. Asia Pacific Council ; Mochizuki, Mike
    The Democratic Party of Japan’s (DPJ) landslide victory in August 2009 lower house elections, which enabled the left-ofcenter DPJ to wrest government control from the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has created new challenges in bilateral relations. The DPJ objected to implementing a key element of a 2006 agreement aimed at realigning U.S. forces in Asia. The new ruling party also has pursued deeper engagement with China, which has alarmed some U.S. observers. Prof. Mike Mochizuki of The George Washington University, explores the implications of Japan’s political changes on U.S.-Japan security issues, Japanese diplomacy in Asia, and domestic governance.
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