Will regional tensions shift the deadlock on Okinawa’s military bases?

The Okinawa prefectural assembly adopts a resolution on 19 August 2015, calling for the consolidation and scaling down of US military bases. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: H.D.P. Envall and Kerri Ng, ANU

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be close to achieving one long-pursued goal, the relocation of the controversial Futenma airbase in Okinawa. This has been a perpetual sore in the US‒Japan alliance. But recent international trends may be reshaping Okinawa’s base politics and pushing the two allies closer to carrying out the Futenma relocation. Read more…

China, US looking past each other on trade and investment

Chinese President Xi Jinping's (C-R) meeting with the members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China 24 October 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, PIIE

US exports of goods and services to China have been practically flat since the first quarter of 2014, while Chinese exports to the United States have expanded only modestly. This is not an inspiring record. Meanwhile, two-way stocks of direct investment remain well below potential — about US$60 billion from the United States to China and around US$50 billion going the other direction. This stands in contrast with a potential of at least US$100 billion in each direction.

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The race to a risky Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Protestors stand at a rally outside the Sheraton Hotel in Sydney as global trade ministers meet at the venue to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement on 25 October 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

The largest hurdle for the 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement — the US president’s ability to get Trade Promotion Authority, or fast track — has been cleared. Many people think that the TPP can be wrapped up in a few months. Read more…

Minorities forgotten as Vietnam–US ties improve

People protest for human rights and democracy in Vietnam outside the White House during the visit of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of Vietnam, in Washington DC, USA, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Helen Clark, Deakin University

Twenty years after the post–war normalisation of Vietnam–US ties, the two nations are increasingly close. This process has sped up with China’s moves in the South China Sea since 2014, although a number of issues still hold the relationship back:  Vietnam wants the embargo on weapons sales gone and the United States wants to see an improvement in human rights.  Read more…

Vietnam and rapprochement with the United States

US President Barack Obama and Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong shake hands during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The visit, the week before last, of the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong to Washington at the invitation of President Obama marked another important step on the long journey towards rapprochement between Vietnam and the United States. The visit marked the twentieth anniversary of the ‘normalisation’ of diplomatic relations and the removal of some of the embargoes after the end of the Indo-Chinese war nearly twenty years earlier. Read more…

On human rights, US and Vietnam still talking past each other

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong, left, speaks during a luncheon gathering hosted by Vice President Joe Biden at the Department of State in Washington, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: David Brown, California

Human rights — chiefly political and religious freedoms — have been on the American agenda since Washington and Hanoi resumed direct dialogue about a quarter of a century ago. Though bilateral ties have grown vastly broader, US prodding on civil liberties still piques Vietnam’s one-party regime. Read more…

Vietnam and US deepen ties 20 years after normalisation

US President Barack Obama and Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, July 7, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Murray Hiebert, CSIS, Washington

The 7 July visit to the White House by Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong signaled just how far the United States and Vietnam have come in the past two decades in moving beyond their ‘difficult history’, as President Barack Obama put it after their meeting. The leaders discussed how they would advance ties between the two countries in areas ranging from economic and political relations to security and education cooperation. Read more…