Are East Asian states really hedging between the US and China?

President Barack Obama pauses during a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Darren J. Lim, ANU and Zack Cooper, CSIS

The term ‘hedging’, one of the most widely used in contemporary discussions on East Asian security, is intended to capture the fact that most states in the region face conflicting economic and security interests. States wish to maximise trade and investment ties with Beijing and welcome China into the region’s political order, but also feel the need to maintain a close security relationship with Washington. Read more…

US North Korea policy should acknowledge past success

North Korean army solider look southern side as U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits at the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Stephen Costello, Washington

Following the latest North Korean nuclear test on 6 January, the Obama administration has resuscitated the Bush administration’s flawed expectation that China act in place of the United States in negotiating with North Korea. This expectation will be exposed as lacking insight into China’s foreign policy view and any real strategic logic for the actors involved. Read more…

The US the big winner in ‘comfort women’ agreement

People protesting the recent landmark deal between Japan and South Korea over comfort women in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Mikyoung Kim, Hiroshima Peace Institute

When ‘unthinkable’ events happen, they can change the course of history. The bilateral agreement reached by South Korea and Japan over ‘comfort women’ on 28 December 2015 was one such ‘unthinkable’ event. Read more…

Next steps in US–Indonesian relations

US President Barack Obama meets with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 26 October 2015. This was Jokowi's first-ever presidential visit to the United States. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Donald K. Emmerson, Stanford University

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was in Washington DC recently for his first-ever presidential visit to the United States. What can the two countries do now to build on the momentum for cooperation gained on the trip? Read more…

UK’s strategic China–US balancing act

UK Prime Minister David Cameron drinks a pint with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter's state visit to the UK in October 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rebecca Fabrizi, ANU

The lavish welcome laid on for Chinese President Xi Jinping in the United Kingdom in October 2015 provoked a surprising amount of criticism in the British and international press. Journalists talked of Prime Minister Cameron and Finance Minister Osborne’s ‘kowtow’, called it a national humiliation, and reported — or perhaps speculated on — ire from the US administration. Read more…

South China Sea tensions unlikely to lead to war

A handout photo released by the US Navy dated 25 May 2015 of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen conducting a trilateral naval exercise with the Turkish and South Korean Navy in support of theatre security operations in waters to the south of the Korean Peninsula. The destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago, one of the areas where Beijing has allegedly been building artificial islands, on 27 October 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Barry Desker, RSIS

Recent naval manoeuvres and land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands have drawn attention to the risk of incidents at sea leading to growing tensions and even conflict in the South China Sea. Read more…

Modi’s TPP-springboard to economic reform

U.S. President Barack Obama, right and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi interact during the India-U.S business summit in New Delhi, India, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Soyen Park, Korea University

The conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in early October 2015 has marked another substantive milestone in the global trade order. Rising doubts over domestic ratification aside, the world is keeping a wary eye open as it tries to grasp how the TPP will affect other ongoing free trade agreements (FTAs) and multilateral trade talks. Read more…