The “Indo-Pacific Strategy” of the Trump Administration: Evolution, Impact and Prospect
By Chen Jimin, Associate Research Fellow from the Institute for International Strategic Studies of the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC (Chinese Academy of Governance) and Guest Research Fellow of CPDS. The strategy of the Trump administration toward the Indo-Pacific region has evolved from a vision design to a policy practice. Since proposing the vision of “a free and open Indo-Pacific” in 2017, the Trump administration has pursued this vision by consolidating political alliance and seeking partnerships, strengthening its security involvement in the Indo-Pacific region, and expanding American economic presence and influence there, thus initially forming the basic framework of the US “Indo-Pacific Strategy”. This strategy has posed certain challenges to China’s military security, economic development, regional influence and political security. However, constrained by such factors as domestic political entangles in the U.S., the complicated mentality of regional powers, Trump administration’s overstretched diplomatic front, the trend of China’s development and the Sino-U.S. relations, the influence and prospect of the Trump administration’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy” remains greatly uncertain.
A Retrospect of the Korean Peninsula Situation in 2018
By Yang Xilian, Senior Adviser, CIISS. 2018 witnessed changes never seen in the past 70 years on the Korean Peninsula, as a turn for the better took the place of crisis and dramatic changes preceded a sudden change, thus pacifying and stabilizing the overall situation on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea committed to give up its line for obtaining nuclear weapons, which put the Korean nuclear issue back on the track of political settlement, thus cooling the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The relationship between North and South Koreas underwent rapid adjustment, leading the two sides to persistent reconciliation cooperation on the peninsula. A breakthrough was made in the DPRK-U.S. relationship, while North Korea made a big stride toward merging into the international community. The Sino-DPRK relationship kept developing, providing positive energy for resolving the Korean Peninsula issue. The Korean nuclear issue remained on the track of political and diplomatic settlement, while the denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea made a slow advance. Therefore, the relaxation process on the peninsula entered a phase of political game.
A Review of Japan’s New National Defense Program Outline
By XuWansheng, Professor and Doctoral Supervisor, Information Engineering University, PLA Strategic Support Force and Guest Research Fellow of CPDS and JiShilun, Graduate Student, Information Engineering University, PLA Strategic Support Force. Based on strategic cognition of the “severity and uncertainty” of the surrounding security environment Japan is in, the Abe administration issued a new National Defense Program Outline in December of 2018. The amending of the “Outline” has been done under the direct guidance of the Prime Minister Abe, featuring a strong personal role in the process of decision-making. The new “Outline” has proposed the building of “multi-domain defense forces”, with emphasis on strengthening their combat capabilities in such new domains as space, networks and electromagnetic waves, and reorganizing the Self-Defense Forces so as to enable them to engage in multi-domain combat. With the implementation of the new “Outline”, the tendency of Japan to become a military power is surely to be stepped up, which will not only make Japan’s policy of “concentrating on defense” existing only in name, and bring Japan and the U.S. increasingly closer in their military cooperation, but also lead to the complication of regional security environment.
Comparing the Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation with the Greater Mekong River Cooperation and its Enlightenment
By Dr. LuoShengrong, Research Fellow from Institute of International Studies, Yunnan University and Su Lei, Graduate Student (2017) from Institute of International Studies, Yunnan University. The Lancang-Mekong River cooperation and the greater Mekong River cooperation are two most important cooperation mechanisms in the Mekong region with different merits. Currently, the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation is in the stage of path exploration, while the greater Mekong River cooperation has gained relatively rich experience after more than two decades’ operation. Thus, a comparison of the two may produce a reference for the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation. As the analysis based on SWOT shows, the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation operates at a higher level, has a wider range of coverage and has made brilliant achievements in a short run, while suffering from such defects as participating subjects are single, mechanism empowerment is limited and development concepts among the participants are not unified. It is true that the greater Mekong River cooperation is not short of structural defects, as well as weak in constraint and cohesion, but it has rich experience in fund management, image building and mechanism operation, which are very much worthy of reference for the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation. In the new era, the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation may learn from the beneficial experience of the greater Mekong River cooperation in an earnest way, while giving a full play to China’s leading role, strengthening internal and external coordination, improving mechanism building, promoting the consciousness of Lancang-Mekong community, and boosting the construction of a community with a shared future among the Lancang-Mekong countries.
A Retrospect of the Middle East Situation in 2018: Stalemate and Solidification
By Dr. Tang Tianbo, Assistant Research Fellow, CICIR. In 2018, although regional hot issues kept cropping up in the Middle East, the overall situation there tended to be solidified, featuring a phase of stalemate, either in big power game or in the contention by regional powers. The policy focus of the U.S. was on containing Iran, while Russia focused on consolidating its victory in Syria, with their policy focuses running parallel. Neither the U.S. nor Russia wanted to be mired in the Middle East, refusing to increase their investment there and remaining less enthusiastic about confronting each other. As a result, they began to explore a way for co-existence. The contradiction between Saudi Arabia and Iran remained the major variable in the regional structure, with them caught in a stalemate, and their relations remaining neither improving nor deteriorating. Turkey reaped some diplomatic benefits, while Israel strived to contain Iran and improve relations with the Gulf States, with both of them getting more deeply involved in the regional affairs. However, their involvement could hardly alter the regional power structure. Many old issues remained in the region, while some new phenomena showed up, such as the revival of strongman politics, the emergence of economic worries and the surging of livelihood crises.
An Initial Analysis of the New Changes in the Turkey-U.S. Relationship
By Li Yunpeng, Doctoral Student, Luoyang Campus, Information Engineering University, PLA Strategic Support Force and Visiting Scholar of Peking University. Although Turkey has been an important ally of the U.S. for a long time, its relations with the U.S. have undergone periodical ups and downs as well as adjustment in recent years with the profound changes of the geopolitical structure in the Middle East focusing on the Syria issue. The worsening of the Turkey-U.S. relationship has resulted from the rising Kurdish issue in northern Syria, the impact of the “July 15th” aborted coup in Turkey, the deteriorating value rift between Turkey and the U.S., the hedging of Turkey’s foreign policy transformation against the US Middle East policy, and the impacts brought about by geopolitical factors in the neighborhood. However, as the demands to join NATO and for foreign investment, among other factors, exist, Turkey’s relations with the U.S. has not broken down, but instead entered a “new normal” featuring steady adjustment since October of 2018, as characterized by the US contradictory cognition of Turkey, Turkey’s growing centrifugal pull from the U.S., the periodical breaking out of structural contradictions between Turkey and the U.S., and the periodical oscillation in their bilateral relationship.
The Opioids Crisis in the U.S. and the Anti-Drug Cooperation between China and the U.S.
By Dr. Yuan Sha, Assistant Research Fellow from Department of American Studies, CIIS. With the death doll caused by abusing opioids increasing rapidly, the U.S. is mired in an “opioids crisis”. This crisis is resulted from growing domestic demand in the U.S., but the U.S. has blamed China as the chief culprit for exporting synthetic opioids including fentanyl to the United States. China has made positive efforts in fighting against illegal manufacturing and trafficking fentanyl. Nonetheless, given the facts that the cause of the crisis is complex, its spread is wide, and the crisis is fermenting continuously, the U.S. is likely to keep on putting pressures on China over the issue. Meanwhile, as anti-drug cooperation is among a few consensuses reached presently between China and the U.S., they should continuously advance their cooperation in this regard as a way to find new opportunities for opening up a new diplomatic situation between the two countries.
The Trump Administration’s National Cyber Strategy: Effects and Concepts
By Geng Zhao, Doctoral Student from the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University in association with the Department of Political Science, Columbia University. The National Cyber Strategy issued by the White House in September of 2018 indicates the maturity of Trump’s policy toward the cyberspace. Domestically, the Trump Administration has attached great importance to the research and development of new cyber technologies, made big efforts to promote informatization upgrade of its infrastructure, and tried hard to ensure the development of its digital economy. In global cyberspace governance, the Trump Administration has insisted with great efforts on the existing governance model that involves multiple stake-holders as the dominant model, while opposing the governance model centered on state and keeping on spreading American value concepts in this domain. This strategy of the Trump Administration fully reflects the features of the US cyberspace policy in emphasizing both actual effects and the spread of American values; and ensuring its cyber security, while maintaining its dominant position in this realm. This strategy will usher in a period of turbulence and adjustment in global cyberspace governance. The differences between the established powers and emerging powers in cyberspace over governance concepts and models can hardly be bridged in a short run.