Issues & Insights 2019 Half-Year Index

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Issues & Insights is Pacific Forum’s publication series that includes monographs, conference reports and working papers. These in-depth analyses cover a range of topics and are published on an occasional basis. The following have been published in 2019 and are available online here.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP6 – China’s Growing Engagement in South Asia: Challenges for the US

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India, often considered the natural leader of South Asia, is facing stiff competition from China. The recent tilt of the “non-nuclear five” South Asian states (i.e. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan) toward China has become quite visible as China has significantly increased its influence across the region through investment, trade, military ties, diplomatic and cultural initiatives. Meanwhile, the US envisages playing a more prominent role in South Asia by teaming up with India to challenge China and exert influence in the Indo-Pacific region. A key consideration in the US “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” hinges on India’s influence in South Asia. This paper looks closely at how Chinese bilateral trade, investment, political and military ties with the “non-nuclear five” nations have evolved and how that may affect India’s ambitions in the region. Recommendations are offered for both the US and India on how they may retain their supremacy in the region despite an ambitious and resourceful China.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP5: Is China Challenging the Global State of Democracy?

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With its economic success, China seems to convey to the world that democracy is not a prerequisite for prosperity and social well-being. This paper seeks to explore whether and how the rise of authoritarian China may affect the state of democracy worldwide. It argues that at least for now, China may not intend to challenge the global state of democracy by actively blocking the expansion of democracy or promoting authoritarianism. However, China’s growing global influence, along with its overseas activities in defending the Chinese Communist Party regime and seeking greater international status, have had a negative impact on liberal democracy.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP4 – Assessing the Impacts of Chinese Investments in Cambodia: The Case of Preah Sihanoukville Province

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The past several years have seen an unprecedented inflow of Chinese investments to Cambodia, resulting in a huge increase in the number of Chinese people in this Asian country. Chinese investment projects have previously been concentrated in the Cambodian capital city, Phnom Penh, but the focus has recently been shifted to Sihanoukville, a coastal province of Cambodia. The growing presence of the Chinese, many of whom are business people and migrant workers in Sihanoukville, has brought concerns about potential impacts resulting from Chinese investment projects. Although positive impacts in terms of infrastructure development and job opportunities are apparent, Chinese investments have created numerous issues that have made headlines across various media outlets, both national and international. This analysis aims to assess the impacts of Chinese investment in Cambodia by drawing on data in the form of new reports, commentaries, analyses, and articles published on different media platforms and in academic journals. Taking Sihanoukville as a case study, the analysis shows that, despite economic benefits, Chinese investments have significant negative impacts on Cambodia as a host country of foreign direct investment. Four dimensions of the impact, including political, socio-cultural, environmental, and socio-economic are discussed. The analysis concludes with ways forward for Cambodia and China to ensure that positive rather than negative outcomes are the consequences of Chinese investments in Cambodia.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP3 – A Guide to Japan’s Space Policy Formulation: Structures, Roles and Strategies of Ministries and Agencies for Space

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The Japanese government’s organizational structure and policy processes for outer space programs have evolved over time, and now the government has completed its restructuring. Fifty years ago, the Japanese government restricted national space activities to “peaceful purposes,” which was interpreted as non-military activities. As a consequence, Japan’s space programs, including the government’s utilization of space systems, were rationalized on the basis of scientific purposes. Today, technological advancements and changes in both internal and external political circumstances led the government to accept and pursue a full-spectrum national space policy that includes military usage. The government codified these changes and created the first national law for space in 2008. The law established a Cabinet-level headquarters to develop and lead Japan’s space policy. In addition, organizational reforms in 2012 affected ministries’ and agencies’ roles, responsibilities, and national space policy processes. This paper is a resource for researchers of Japan’s space policy. It will allow them to easily and comprehensively understand how Japan’s national space policy is being formulated. The first section of this paper aims at clarifying the Japanese government’s current organizational structures, roles and strategies in space policy. The second section provides an overview of two national space policy pillars: national military space strategies and commercial space initiatives.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, CR4: ASEAN Centrality and the Evolving US Indo-Pacific Strategy

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Pacific Forum, in cooperation with The Habibie Center, conducted a track II dialogue on US-ASEAN relations in Jakarta, Indonesia on Feb. 11-13, 2019. Titled the “United States-ASEAN Partnership Forum,” the dialogue brought together some 70 US and Southeast Asian foreign policy specialists, subject-matter experts, and other thought leaders to discuss key issues in the Indo-Pacific related to enhancing US-ASEAN relations. The dialogue included a cohort of young scholars and policy analysts drawn from the US State Department’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, CR3 – The US and Australia: Addressing 21st Century Challenges Together

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The Pacific Forum, in partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the Australian Institute of International Affairs, co-hosted a public panel featuring four Pacific Forum Young Leaders, two moderators, and more than 40 audience members from the United States and Australia, all attending in their private capacity, in Canberra, Australia, on Dec. 6, 2018. Supported by the Embassy of the United States of America, the panel discussion explored the development of the Indo-Pacific strategy and how the United States-Australia alliance should evolve to address future challenges. In this, emphasis was on identifying and probing differences in thinking about the 21st century challenges facing the United States and Australia. This report contains papers presented by the Young Leaders within the context of the public panel.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP1: Resolving The Korean Conflict

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Much ink has been spilled on the return to major-power competition in recent years, singling out three states: the United States, Russia, and China. For good reasons: the relationships between these three states have become increasingly complicated, notably between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China. What’s more, there are few signs that the current trajectory could change for the better. If anything, we can expect these relationships to become more, not less, complicated.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, CR2: Balancing Strategic Trade Control Implementation with the Broadening Role of Technology and Financial Controls in Foreign Policy

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The Pacific Forum, National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations, and I-Shou University’s Department of Public Policy and Management with support from the Taiwan Coast Guard, Prospect Foundation, Ocean Affairs Council, and the US State Department’s Export Control and Related Border Security Program held their eighth annual strategic trade control (STC) workshop on Nov. 7-8, 2018 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Nearly 40 participants from relevant government agencies and nongovernmental organizations attended in their private capacities. Discussions focused on the status of outreach programs in the Asia-Pacific, proliferation finance controls, issues associated with technology controls and transfers, the relationship between foreign policy and nonproliferation goals, and transit/transshipment and port security. Key findings include:

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