Books

05.10.19

The Costs of Conversation

Oriana Skylar Mastro
Cornell University Press: After a war breaks out, what factors influence the warring parties’ decisions about whether to talk to their enemy, and when may their position on wartime diplomacy change? How do we get from only fighting to also talking?In The Costs of Conversation, Oriana Skylar Mastro argues that states are primarily concerned with the strategic costs of conversation, and these costs need to be low before combatants are willing to engage in direct talks with their enemy. Specifically, Mastro writes, leaders look to two factors when determining the probable strategic costs of demonstrating a willingness to talk: the likelihood the enemy will interpret openness to diplomacy as a sign of weakness, and how the enemy may change its strategy in response to such an interpretation. Only if a state thinks it has demonstrated adequate strength and resiliency to avoid the inference of weakness, and believes that its enemy has limited capacity to escalate or intensify the war, will it be open to talking with the enemy.Through four primary case studies—North Vietnamese diplomatic decisions during the Vietnam War, those of China in the Korean War and Sino-Indian War, and Indian diplomatic decision making in the latter conflict—The Costs of Conversation demonstrates that the costly conversations thesis best explains the timing and nature of countries’ approach to wartime talks, and therefore when peace talks begin. As a result, Mastro’s findings have significant theoretical and practical implications for war duration and termination, as well as for military strategy, diplomacy, and mediation.{chop}

What Comes Next after the Panmunjom Summit?

Paul Haenle & Zhao Tong from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea at the Panmunjom Summit in April 2018, setting the stage for President Trump’s meeting with Kim in June. Just days after the summit, Paul Haenle spoke with Tong Zhao, a...

Conversation

04.25.18

Does China Want the Koreas to Reconcile?

Bo Zhiyue, Zhang Baohui & more
This Friday, April 27, the South Korean and North Korean leaders will meet in the demilitarized zone dividing their estranged countries to discuss improving relations and possibly even formally ending the Korean War, which has continued in the form...

China, Russia Welcome Korean Peace Efforts with Diplomacy in Overdrive

Christine Kim
Reuters
China’s President Xi Jinping offered encouragement for South Korea’s initiative to nurture peaceful engagement with North Korea, and Russia also expressed support, the South Korean official leading diplomatic efforts said on Thursday.

South Korea Moves to Ease Chinese Jitters over U.S.-North Korea Talks

Euan McKirdy
CNN
South Korean officials met with Xi about Trump-Kim Meeting.

China accuses U.S. of “Cold War thinking” with North Korea summit

CBS News
China on Wednesday said “Cold War thinking” was behind a meeting of U.S. allies on how to deal with North Korea's nuclear threat, adding that the gathering risks splitting international opinion over the issue...

The North Korean Nuclear Threat: The View From Beijing

Paul Haenle & Jen Psaki from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
North Korea was atop the list of priorities for President Donald Trump during his first visit to China, but it remains to be seen how much substantive progress was made on bringing parties closer to a dialogue aimed at denuclearizing the Korean...

Viewpoint

11.08.17

Will Trump’s ‘Flattery Machine’ Work on Xi Jinping?

Orville Schell
Before winging off to Beijing, Trump managed to convince his staff and Korean President Moon to take him to the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Many of his aides were said to have been wary about the idea, fearing he might make some kind of provocative...

Viewpoint

11.07.17

Sticking to the Script, Trump Seems to Internalize It

Orville Schell
Slowly we are stitching our way across Asia on Donald J. Trump’s great five-nation oriental hegira. After a punishing 2:00 a.m. departure from Yokota Air Force Base outside Tokyo, we arrived this morning at Osan Air Base outside of Seoul, a reminder...

White House Again Rejects Talks with North Korea on Nuclear Issue

Steve Holland
Reuters
The White House on Monday ruled out talks with North Korea except to discuss the fate of Americans held there, again appearing to rebuke Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said Washington was directly communicating with Pyongyang on its nuclear...

China's Real Reasons for Enforcing North Korea Sanctions: Trump, Party Congress

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
Washington has praised the world's second-largest economy for making progress in enforcing sanctions imposed on North Korea. But China's current measures may just be a temporary move for its own gain...

Why Kim Jong Un Is Alienating China

Blaine Harden
Washington Post
Totalitarian leaders usually don’t explain themselves, and Kim — six years in power and only 33 — is no exception. But insights into his Sino-belligerence can be gleaned from the back story of his family.

As Sanctions Bite, North Korean Workers Leave Chinese Border Hub

Philip Wen
Reuters
Almost 100,000 overseas workers, based predominantly in China and Russia, funnel some $500 million in wages a year to help finance the North Korean regime, the U.S. government says.

Tillerson Masters the Art of Comity in Talks with China Leaders

Nick Wadhams
Bloomberg
Rex Tillerson made a show of harmony with Chinese leaders during a whirlwind visit to Beijing, skipping over tensions around trade and North Korea to emphasize the personal bond between the countries’ presidents.

In Tillerson's China Stop, Questions on North Korea but Slim Chance of Clarity

David E. Sanger
New York Times
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is scheduled to arrive in Beijing early Saturday for a brief visit, amid confusing signals about President Trump’s position on two questions looming over the confrontation with North Korea: Is America’s long-term...

U.S. Directly Communicating with North Korea, Seeks Dialogue

Phil Stewart, Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The disclosure by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a trip to China represented the first time he has spoken to such an extent about U.S. outreach to North Korea over its pursuit of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

There’s One North Korea Taboo China's Leaders Won’t Talk About

Ting Shi and David Tweed
Bloomberg
In discussions between the U.S. and China about reining in North Korea, one topic remains taboo: What would happen if Kim Jong Un’s regime collapses?

Is Trump All Talk on North Korea? The Uncertainty Sends a Shiver

Julie Hirschfeld Davis
New York Times
Mr. Trump’s willingness to casually threaten to annihilate a nuclear-armed foe was yet another reminder of the steep risks inherent in his brute-force approach to diplomacy.

China to Trump: That Speech on North Korea Was Really Unhelpful

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
China rebuked President Trump on Wednesday after he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary, a warning that may have undermined the chances of peace but also gave Beijing an easy opportunity to seize the moral high ground.

North Korea Fires Second Ballistic Missile over Japan

BBC
BBC
The missile reached an altitude of about 770km, travelling 3,700km — higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month — before landing in the sea off Hokkaido, South Korea's military says...

Chinese Academics Prod Beijing to Consider North Korea Contingencies

Reuters Staff
Reuters
Chinese academics are publicly broaching the idea that China and the United States should share plans on how to deal with a potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula, a sign some say of how North Korea’s weapons test may be making Beijing more open...

Tillerson Is Working with China and Russia — Very, Very Quietly

David Ignatius
Washington Post
The Tillerson approach focuses on personal diplomacy, in direct contacts with Chinese and Russian leaders, and through private channels to North Korea. His core strategic assumption is that if the United States can subtly manage its relations with...

China Will Back Fresh U.N. Measures on North Korea over Nuclear Tests

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
China’s foreign minister said Thursday that Beijing would support further U.N.-imposed “measures” against North Korea following its largest nuclear test, but stopped short of saying whether China would back crippling economic sanctions such as halts...

China Can Squeeze Its Neighbors When It Wants. Ask South Korea

Jethro Mullen
CNN
South Korean businesses have been suffering since early this year after the country angered the Chinese government with the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system. The victims include companies in tourism and retail, but also Hyundai (HYMTF),...

Why Trump’s North Korea Threat Is the Last Thing China Needs

Ben Wescott
CNN
US President Donald Trump’s threats of “fire and fury” against North Korea couldn’t come at a worse time for China.

An ‘Alternative Future’ for the Korean Peninsula

Paul Haenle & Evans Revere from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Despite widespread international condemnation of North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, strategic distrust and misperceptions continue to impede deeper cooperation between the United States and China on the nuclear...

Viewpoint

07.22.17

Why Korean Reunification is in China’s Strategic National Interest

Jamie Metzl
North Korea’s July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile has highlighted once again both the extent to which Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and aggressive behavior is destabilizing the Asia Pacific region and the relative impotence...

Commentary: Why North Korea Is Turning into a Headache for China and Xi Jinping

Bo Zhiyue
Channel NewsAsia
Chinese President Xi Jinping has found himself in a peculiar predicament over the North Korean nuclear issue. Although Xi is widely believed to be far more popular as a global leader than his immediate predecessor, President Hu Jintao, he is...

China’s Missile Tests in Bohai ‘Aimed at THAAD’

Minnie Chan
South China Morning Post
Chinese rocket forces tested a new type of missile aimed at the country’s waters west of the Korean peninsula, the defense ministry announced in a rare public statement. The statement did not say what missile was tested or when the launch took place...

North Korea Expected to Ask China for a Break at Summit

Kristin Huang
South China Morning Post
North Korea is expected to press China to tone down its economic sanctions when its delegation attends an infrastructure and trade summit in Beijing on Sunday, observers said.

After North Korea Criticism, China Says Wants to Be Good Neighbor

Reuters
China said on Thursday it wants to be good neighbors with North Korea, after the isolated country’s state news agency published a rare criticism of Chinese state media commentaries calling for tougher sanctions over the North’s nuclear program.

Books

04.25.17

China’s Hegemony

Ji-Young Lee
Many have viewed the tribute system as China’s tool for projecting its power and influence in East Asia, treating other actors as passive recipients of Chinese domination. China's Hegemony sheds new light on this system and shows that the international order of Asia’s past was not as Sinocentric as conventional wisdom suggests. Instead, throughout the early modern period, Chinese hegemony was accepted, defied, and challenged by its East Asian neighbors at different times, depending on these leaders’ strategies for legitimacy among their populations. This book demonstrates that Chinese hegemony and hierarchy were not just an outcome of China’s military power or Confucian culture but were constructed while interacting with other, less powerful actors’ domestic political needs, especially in conjunction with internal power struggles.Focusing on China-Korea-Japan dynamics of East Asian international politics during the Ming and High Qing periods, Ji-Young Lee draws on extensive research of East Asian language sources, including records written by Chinese and Korean tributary envoys. She offers fascinating and rich details of war and peace in Asian international relations, addressing questions such as: why Japan invaded Korea and fought a major war against the Sino-Korean coalition in the late sixteenth century; why Korea attempted to strike at the Ming empire militarily in the late fourteenth century; and how Japan created a miniature tributary order posing as the center of Asia in lieu of the Qing empire in the seventeenth century. By exploring these questions, Lee’s in-depth study speaks directly to general international relations literature and concludes that hegemony in Asia was a domestic, as well as an international, phenomenon with profound implications for the contemporary era. —Columbia University Press{chop}

Xi, Trump Discuss Ties, Korean Peninsula Situation over Phone

Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula on phone, pledging close contact by various means to promptly exchange views on major issues of common...

China’s Leader Urges Restraint on North Korea in Call With Trump

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
China’s president, Xi Jinping, has urged President Trump to show restraint toward North Korea despite signs that the North may be preparing a nuclear test. Mr. Xi made the appeal in a phone call with Mr. Trump on Monday that reflected growing alarm...

South Korea Tells Trump It’s Actually Never Been a Part of China

Bloomberg
South Korea’s government wants to know whether Chinese President Xi Jinping gave alternative facts on the nation’s history to Donald Trump.

China’s Korea Policy ‘in Tatters’ as Both North and South Defy Sanctions

Washington Post
On Monday, South Korea announced that it would press ahead with the “swift deployment” of a U.S. missile defense system, despite vociferous Chinese opposition.

China Warns of ‘Storm Clouds Gathering’ in U.S.-North Korea Standoff

New York Times
China warned on Friday that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control, as North Korea said it could test a nuclear weapon at any time and an American naval group neared the peninsula in a show of resolve.

China’s Xi Tells Trump He Wants Peaceful Solution to North Korea

Ryan Gaydos
Fox News
Xi told Trump that China insists on peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson to the area and the conducting of the biggest-ever U.S.-South Korea military drills.

North Korea Push Will Send U.S. Allies to China: Ex-CIA analyst

Joe Hildebrand
News.com.au
Donald Trump’s move against North Korea is set to send American allies like Japan and South Korea into China’s hands, giving the Asian giant a “once in a generation” opportunity in its push to become the world’s number one superpower, a former top...

China and South Korea Said to Promise Tougher Sanctions if North Conducts Tests

Choe Sang-Hun
New York Times
China and South Korea agreed on Monday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries out nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests

U.S. Reroutes Warships toward Korean Peninsula in Show of Force

Eric Schmitt
New York Times
The commander of American forces in the Pacific has ordered an aircraft carrier and several other warships toward the Korean Peninsula in a show of force by the Trump administration

Trump’s First Test in Asia, Part II

Paul Haenle & Michael Green from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
While President Trump appoints new officials to his administration and reviews policy frameworks, Asia-Pacific leaders are moving ahead. Since taking office, Trump has grappled with consequential developments in the region, ranging from North Korea’...

China and America Need a One-Korea Policy

Michael D. Swaine
Foreign Policy
The only way to stop North Korea is by guaranteeing the peninsula will eventually be united—and non-aligned.

China Fans Anger Over Seoul's Missile Move

BBC
The only perspective that gets an airing is that the Thaad battery allows the Americans to see deep into China, that this is a threat to China. 

Conversation

11.15.16

Should China’s Neighbors Rely on the U.S. for Protection?

Richard J. Heydarian, Sheila Smith & more
President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of neo-isolationism that could see many traditional U.S. allies in Asia left without Washington’s support in the newly roiled waters of the South- and East China Seas. What will the governments...

Conversation

10.25.16

How Many U.S. Allies Can China Turn?

Zhang Baohui, Richard J. Heydarian & more
Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines since June, visited China this week and signaled his interest in shifting Manila’s allegiance away from Washington toward Beijing. While his predecessor sued China in an international court to contest...

Conversation

09.01.16

What Can We Expect from China at the G20?

Sophie Richardson, Joanna Lewis & more
On September 4-5, heads of the world’s major economies will meet in the southeastern city of Hangzhou for the G20 summit. The meeting represents “the most significant gathering of world leaders in China’s history,” according to The New York Times...

Who Is Kim Jong-un?

Andrew J. Nathan from New York Review of Books
The pudgy cheeks and flaring hairdo of North Korea’s young ruler Kim Jong-un, his bromance with tattooed and pierced former basketball star Dennis Rodman, his boy-on-a-lark grin at missile firings, combine incongruously with the regime’s pledge to...

China Won't Allow Chaos or War on Korean Peninsula: Xi

Michael Martina
Reuters
China would safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, meanwhile maintaining its sovereignty and rights there.

Obama Seeing China Leader as South China Sea Tensions Rise

Matthew Pennington
Associated Press
World leaders, including those from China, Japan and South Korea, will be in town for a summit hosted by Obama on nuclear security.

Conversation

04.09.13

Is China Doing All It Can to Rein in Kim Jong-un?

Winston Lord, Susan Shirk & more
Winston Lord:No. 

Conversation

02.13.13

North Korea: How Much More Will China Take and How Should the U.S. Respond?

Winston Lord, Tai Ming Cheung & more
China is increasingly frustrated with North Korea and may even see more clearly that its actions only serve to increase allied unity, stimulate Japanese militarism and accelerate missile defense. For all these reasons the U.S. should lean on Beijing...