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Asia and the Pacific

Our Research & Offerings on Asia and the Pacific
  • Issue Brief posted November 24, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Election Should Energize Asia Policies

    The results of the midterm elections could reinvigorate U.S. policies toward Asia, which have suffered from a lack of resources and resolve. The new Congress will likely be more supportive of concluding free trade agreements, funding U.S. defense requirements, and imposing additional sanctions to leverage North Korean compliance with international agreements. That said,…

  • Commentary posted November 21, 2014 by Walter Lohman Widodo's Early Moves Suggest Continuity, not Change

    International leaders gained their first measure of Indonesia's dynamic new president Joko Widodo in the round of Asian summits in mid-November. At home, Widodo has a reputation as a populist, a problem solver, and a regular guy. Abroad, he was -- and still is -- a largely unknown quantity. Early signs point to a continuation of the "free and active" foreign policy…

  • Commentary posted November 12, 2014 by William T. Wilson, Ph.D. Asia’s Economic Miracle Has Peaked

    Historically, economics has often driven the narrative surrounding presidential visits to Asia. Consider President Obama’s 2009 trip to China in the midst of the global financial crisis. It gave wings to a narrative about China’s rise and American decline. The economic environment may be changing again. Only this time, the change is less dramatic and occurring largely…

  • Issue Brief posted November 11, 2014 by Walter Lohman President Obama’s Burma Visit: An Alert Congress Makes All the Difference

    The context for President Barack Obama’s trip to Burma has changed considerably since his historic first visit in 2012. Then, his visit conveyed optimism for democratic reform and the benefits of deepening engagement. His second visit takes place in a climate leavened by considerable doubt. In 2012 a pliant bystander in Burma policy, today’s politically emboldened…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2014 by Lisa Curtis Afghanistan’s New Leaders Forge Steep Path to Security and Stability

    Ashraf Ghani was made President of Afghanistan and Abdullah Abdullah the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in a power-sharing deal in September 2014. The departure of former President Hamid Karzai and the installation of a national unity government is providing some optimism that long-term stability may be possible in Afghanistan. It demonstrates that Afghan leaders can come…

  • Commentary posted October 16, 2014 by Lisa Curtis Setting Stage for Successful Modi Visit

    The foundations for a successful visit to Washington by India’s recently-elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Minister Narendra Modi are being put in place. The White House will hold two days of talks with Modi on September 29 and 30 that are likely to cover a range of issues and result in new commitments of economic and security cooperation. Both Washington and New…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korean Power Politics Get More Ruthless

    Pyongyang announced on December 12 the trial and execution of Jang Sung-taek, former vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission and uncle to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Although Kim has already purged hundreds of officials during his two year reign, Jang's ouster is highly unusual, even by North Korean standards. Jang is married to the sister of…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Power, Not Policy, Drives Pyongyang's Purge

    Despite being the “second most powerful man in North Korea,” Jang Song Taek has reportedly been purged from the leadership elite for the third time. Jang, Vice Chairman of the important National Defense Commission, ascended to the pinnacle of power after marrying the sister of previous leader Kim Jong Il. Although Jang returned to senior positions after his previous…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korea's Young Kim There to Stay

    Kim Jong Un has further solidified his control over North Korea by reportedly purging his uncle Jang Sung-taek, Vice Chairman of the important Nation Defense Commission. Although Jang was often referred to as the "second most powerful man in North Korea," he may now been ousted from the leadership elite for the third time. He has twice returned to the inner circle of…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Abe's Yasukuni Visit Imperils Allied Security Interests

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to Yasukuni Shrine is a serious foreign policy mistake that threatens allied security interests in Asia. Although Abe expressed "severe remorse" for Japan's historic actions, he should have realized that the visit was needlessly provocative and would exacerbate already strained relations with the United States and South Korea. Abe's…

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  • Backgrounder posted January 9, 2013 by Derek Scissors, Ph.D. China’s Global Investment Rises: The U.S. Should Focus on Competition

    Chinese outward investment broke records in 2012, both around the world and in the United States. Foreign distrust of state enterprises and other obstacles will serve as a check on the pace of growth, but the willingness to pay top dollar for energy and other assets ensures a higher profile for Chinese firms. The People's Republic of China (PRC) is hardly buying up Latin…

  • Issue Brief posted July 16, 2013 by Derek Scissors, Ph.D. China’s Steady Global Investment: American Choices

    The tidal wave of Chinese investment around the world predicted by some and feared by others has not materialized and is unlikely to. Various obstacles to overseas spending by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) kept growth moderate in the first half of 2013. Energy was again the focus, but the dominance of state-owned enterprises has begun to ease. Chinese investment in…

  • Issue Brief posted July 9, 2012 by Derek Scissors, Ph.D. Chinese Outward Investment: Acceleration Features the U.S.

    Chinese investment could be a global economic force for decades to come. The potential was underlined in the first half of 2012, when investment climbed more strongly than in 2011. The U.S. in particular saw a rebound. Policymakers should welcome this development by making the American review process quicker and more transparent. Washington should also seek better…

  • Special Report posted August 27, 2014 by William T. Wilson, Ph.D. Beating the Middle-Income Trap in Southeast Asia

    About the Author William T. Wilson, PhD, is a senior research fellow in the Asian Studies Center, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. In the 14 years of the new millennium, Southeast Asia has had some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Indonesia’s economy has been cruising at…

  • Backgrounder posted March 4, 2010 by Walter Lohman U.S.-Indonesia Relations: Build for Endurance, Not Speed

    Abstract: The relationship between America and Indonesia can and should expand far beyond its current level. There are critical interests around which the two countries can build a strong, mutually beneficial partnership, such as trade, counterterrorism, military-to-military cooperation, and democracy promotion. But a new and deep U.S.- Indonesian partnership must…

  • Backgrounder posted April 14, 2011 by Derek Scissors, Ph.D. The United States vs. China—Which Economy Is Bigger, Which Is Better

    Abstract: China’s leap from poverty due to the marvelously successful market reforms introduced in 1978 has obscured serious weaknesses in its economy—especially compared to the American economy. These weaknesses have been exacerbated by renewed Chinese state intervention that began around 2003. Many seem convinced that China is at the cusp of surpassing the U.S.…

  • Special Report posted October 7, 2013 by Walter Lohman, John Fleming, Olivia Enos A New View of Asia: 24 Charts that Show What's at Stake for America

    The Asian Studies Center Introduction Geography Economic Stakes Political Stakes Security Challenges Introduction: A New View of America's "Near West" At The Heritage Foundation’s annual B. C. Lee Lecture this year, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs summed up perfectly America’s destiny as regards Asia: It is America’s “Near…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Augment Sanctions After North Korean Crimes Against Humanity

    A United Nations Commission of Inquiry issued a damning condemnation of the North Korea government for “systemic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights.” The commission concluded that the human rights abuses were of such a monumental scale as to constitute crimes against humanity. The panel recommended referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for…

  • Lecture posted April 1, 2013 by Franklin L. Lavin Four Issues Facing China

    It’s a delight to be here. I enjoy coming by and seeing friends, making new friends, and sharing ideas and insight. I have a terrific job—not just the job itself, which is interesting, but the fact that it’s a China-oriented job, and that it allows me, every time I visit China, to learn and to see and to chat with people. It was certainly interesting to do that in a…

  • Testimony posted April 2, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korea: Sanctions, Nuclear and Missile Threat

    Testimony before Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Foreign Affairs Committee United States House of Representatives My name is Bruce Klingner. I am the Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage…

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  • Issue Brief posted November 24, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Election Should Energize Asia Policies

    The results of the midterm elections could reinvigorate U.S. policies toward Asia, which have suffered from a lack of resources and resolve. The new Congress will likely be more supportive of concluding free trade agreements, funding U.S. defense requirements, and imposing additional sanctions to leverage North Korean compliance with international agreements. That said,…

  • Issue Brief posted November 11, 2014 by Walter Lohman President Obama’s Burma Visit: An Alert Congress Makes All the Difference

    The context for President Barack Obama’s trip to Burma has changed considerably since his historic first visit in 2012. Then, his visit conveyed optimism for democratic reform and the benefits of deepening engagement. His second visit takes place in a climate leavened by considerable doubt. In 2012 a pliant bystander in Burma policy, today’s politically emboldened…

  • Special Report posted October 8, 2014 by Walter Lohman, Olivia Enos, John Fleming 2014 Asia Update: What’s at Stake for America

    Introduction Economy Political Security Introduction Often overlooked in the tumult of Washington’s foreign policy debates is the remarkable consistency of U.S. foreign and trade policies over time. This is due to one immutable factor: American national interests. When U.S. policy moves away from our national interest, not only does it cease to…

  • Issue Brief posted September 25, 2014 by Ryan Olson Obama Should Push Modi on Trade Facilitation

    This week President Barack Obama will welcome new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington for their first bilateral summit. In Geneva, the Trade Facilitation Preparatory Committee of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will also be meeting. The timing of these two events provides an opportunity to measure India’s commitment to trade freedom and to push Modi to…

  • Issue Brief posted September 24, 2014 by Lisa Curtis Priorities for Prime Minister Modi’s Visit: U.S. and India Must Cooperate for Asian Stability

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States next week provides an opportunity to strengthen U.S.–India ties, which stagnated during the second term of Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh. During the visit, President Barack Obama should demonstrate the importance the U.S. attaches to the bilateral relationship and offer cooperation on economic, defense,…

  • Issue Brief posted September 17, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Seek Release of Detainees in North Korea—Without Policy Concessions

    North Korea has sentenced Matthew Miller, a 20-year-old American tourist, to six years of hard labor for attempted espionage. Miller reportedly ripped up his tourist visa and declared he wanted asylum but Pyongyang accused him of intending to “experience prison life so that he could investigate the human rights situation” in North Korea. The regime is also holding Jeffrey…

  • Lecture posted September 15, 2014 by Lisa Curtis An Opportunity to Reenergize U.S.–India Relations

    Lisa Curtis If ever there were a time to expect U.S.–India relations to improve, many would say it is now. The new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has promised to open the economy to more private investment, improve the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, create jobs for the rapidly growing youth population, and quicken…

  • Special Report posted August 27, 2014 by William T. Wilson, Ph.D. Beating the Middle-Income Trap in Southeast Asia

    About the Author William T. Wilson, PhD, is a senior research fellow in the Asian Studies Center, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. In the 14 years of the new millennium, Southeast Asia has had some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Indonesia’s economy has been cruising at…

  • Backgrounder posted August 7, 2014 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. and South Korea Should Focus on Improving Alliance Capabilities Rather Than the OPCON Transition

    If hostilities break out between North Korea and South Korea (ROK), the current agreement between Washington and Seoul would put all ROK forces under control of the bilateral Combined Forces Command (CFC), which is led by a U.S. general. During armistice,[1] the government of South Korea controls its military forces, while the U.S. controls all U.S. and international…

  • Backgrounder posted August 1, 2014 by William T. Wilson, Ph.D. Market Solutions Should Be Central to U.S.’s Taiwan Policy

    Successive American presidential Administrations, guided by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, have recognized that a Taiwan that is free to make its own decisions, free from coercion by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is in the vital national security interest of the United States. The Taiwan Relations Act, in fact, is explicit about the connection between Taiwan’s…

Find more work on Asia and the Pacific
Find more work on Asia and the Pacific