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Issues & Insights 2019 Half-Year Index

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.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – CR1
Sustaining Deterrence in a Time of Change and Uncertainty by Brad Glosserman

The Pacific Forum, with support from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US Air Force Academy Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts on Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (AFA PASCC), brought 47 officials and experts from the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK), along with five Pacific Forum Young Leaders, all attending in their private capacity, to Maui, Hawaii, Aug. 6-8, 2018 to explore the three countries’ thinking about changes in relations with North Korea, extended deterrence, and ways to strengthen trilateral security cooperation. A two-move tabletop exercise (TTX) was conducted that dealt with different outcomes in negotiations with Pyongyang.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – CR2
Balancing Strategic Trade Control Implementation with the Broadening Role of Technology and Financial Controls in Foreign Policy by Crystal D. Pryor

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, transit/transshipment facilities, and port security.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – CR3
The US and Australia: Addressing 21st Century Challenges Together by Keoni Williams and David Santoro

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 in Canberra, Australia, on Dec. 6, 2018. Supported by the United States Embassy, the panel explored the development of the Indo-Pacific strategy and how the US-Australia alliance should evolve to address future challenges. 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.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – CR4
ASEAN Centrality and the Evolving US Indo-Pacific Strategy by Jeffrey Ordaniel and Carl W. Baker

Pacific Forum, in cooperation with The Habibie Center, conducted a Track-2 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 forum 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.

Together, they examined ASEAN centrality, the US approach to the region – in particular, the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the US Indo-Pacific strategy – and the role of the United States in supporting the ASEAN Community vision. Participants exchanged views on issues related to regional security and stability, sustainable economic growth and development, and closer people-to-people ties.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – WP1
Resolving the Korean Conflict by David Santoro and Anton Khlopkov

In an effort to maintain (and possibly, strengthen) strategic stability and reduce nuclear risks, Pacific Forum and the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), in coordination with Chinese foreign-policy think tanks and with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, launched a Track-1.5 US-Russia-China strategic dialogue in 2018. The first round of the dialogue on “Regional Strategic Stability and Nuclear Risk Reduction in Northeast Asia” took place in Vladivostok, Russia, on Nov. 26-27, 2018 and included more than 25 US, Russian, and Chinese scholars and officials. The discussion focused on the Korean Peninsula, especially the events that took place during the 2018 “Spring Summitry” that led to the first-ever summit between a US president and a North Korean leader.

The papers in this volume address these three topics. Fan Jishe and Georgy Toloraya give a Chinese and a Russian perspective on past efforts. This is followed by papers from Alexander Ilitchev, Duyeon Kim, and Teng Jianqun, who respectively offer a Russian, a US, and a Chinese perspective on the key takeaways and implications of the 2018 “Spring Summitry.” Finally, Richard Johnson’s paper focuses on the lessons from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action experience with Iran and what they mean for the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula. Because this is an ongoing research effort, the volume is limited to sharing perspectives from the three countries.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – WP2
North Korea Negotiations are not about Denuclearization, but the Future of Asia by Joshua Nezam

United States policy towards North Korea has for decades been guided by prioritizing denuclearization despite dramatic changes in political and material circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Pre-summit reports of the possibility of the United States opening liaison offices in North Korea and President Trump’s willingness to declare an end to the Korean War in Hanoi represented positive steps toward improving the US relationship with both actors (North and South Korea) on the peninsula. But the political step of transforming relations can only be sustained by pursuing a credible objective of arms reduction short of full denuclearization and encouraging political buy-in from Congress. The North Korean nuclear issue should be framed as a geopolitical problem so that policy objectives are embedded in a broader regional strategy. Denuclearization driven by US withdrawal or imprudent accommodation that erodes US credibility would be a strategic failure of US policy. 

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

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.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – WP4
Assessing the Impacts of Chinese Investments in Cambodia: The Case of Preah Sihanoukville Province by Sovinda Po and Kimkong Heng

In recent years there has been an unprecedented inflow of Chinese investments to Cambodia, resulting in a huge increase in the number of Chinese people in this country. Chinese investment projects have previously been concentrated in the Cambodian capital city, Phnom Penh, but the focus has recently been shifted to Sihanoukville. The growing presence of the Chinese, many of whom are business people and migrant workers, has brought concerns about potential impacts. Although positive impacts 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 news 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. Four dimensions of the impacts, 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.

Issues & Insights Vol. 19 – WP5
Is China Challenging the Global State of Democracy? by Emily S. Chen

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 explores 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 role of democracy by blocking its expansion or promoting authoritarianism. However, China’s growing global influence, along with its overseas activities in defending the Chinese Communist Party and seeking greater international status, have had a negative impact on liberal democracy.

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

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.