Foreign Policy

Abe must understand – and the U.S. should exert pressure on him – that the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II is prime time for him to profoundly reflect on Japan’s wartime crimes. If Abe goes too far in the wrong direction, there will be no peace in the Asia-Pacific and the hard-won beginning of a Sino-Japanese détente may vanish.

The question of Thucydides trap has become a classic in Sino-US relations to explain the rising military securitization. For the past five years China has attempted to develop state-of-the-art A2AD capabilities to secure its periphery, and the U.S. has called for a maritime version of NATO to ensure U.S. conventional offensive advantage over China. Trigkas argues the relevance of Thucydides today in teaching that we must utilize the creative forces of humans towards the Epicurian or the Confucian Good life and not towards supremacy.

Since normalization of relations in 1979, US-China relations have been characterized by a mixture of cooperation and conflict. Up until a few years ago, it was clear that “cooperation” was the hallmark, the most important part, of the relationship.


Britain has broken ranks with the United States to join China in the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). As other nations like Australia and South Korea choose to similarly defy U.S. opposition to the AIIB, and join, it could shake Japan’s confidence in its own position and even in the reliability of its alliance with the U.S.

The current international situation is rife with change, uncertainty and crisis in the Middle East, Asian Pacific, and Europe, largely due to shifting world power. Chen Xiangyang overviews changes and contradictions around the globe from a realist perspective on power relations.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the WWII in the Pacific, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe plans to make a statement of apology, which is already drawing concerns from the international community. Abe’s denials and changes to historical accounts mean that an “Abe Statement” could turn out to be a declaration on Abe’s “proactive pacifism” rather than a statement on Japan’s remorse and apology.

Curtis Chin explores who had the “best” and “worst” year in Asia, a list ranging from Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims to India’s space program; each case sheds light on possible areas for China-U.S. cooperation.


The challenges that face the world are not a due to a transition of power among states, but a diffusion of power away from governments. Nye argues that for a “new type of major power relations,” the U.S. needs to avoid containment as a strategy, and China must accept the legitimacy of American presence in the Western Pacific.

china-japan-south korea

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have always been somewhat frosty, but recent developments are accentuating the animosity. Obama administration officials continue to press Seoul and Tokyo to resolve their differences on the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute, the comfort women issue, and other grievances. A comprehensive reconciliation between Seoul and Tokyo, U.S. leaders believe, is imperative to facilitate meaningful trilateral cooperation to deal with North Korea’s threatening behavior and China’s looming presence in the region.

Andrew Small’s new book on China-Pakistan relations is a very significant new revelation on a relationship that has been primarily strategic and military-based since its beginnings. The Karakoram Highway, which connects the two countries, has very little economic value and increasingly “Talibinization” has become a concern for Beijing, which may see its ally as a strategic counter to India’s eminence.

China's rise

China’s rise has given life to assumptions about the intentions of China’s influence. Wu Zurong dispels the notion of a Chinese “secret strategy” to replace the United States as the global superpower, and describes the complex historical relationship between China and the U.S. which has largely been based on cooperation.


China’s foreign policy three “no’s” are no expansion, no hegemony, and no alliances. Its foreign policy three “yes’s” are to peace, development, and cooperation. President Xi Jinping has stated over and over again that China will stick to this peaceful development strategy.


The recent announcement in Washington and Beijing that Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to the United States in September underscores the continuing momentum in the improvement of bilateral relations. Potential conversation points could be climate change, territorial disputes, and ISIS.

President Obama is very cautious in using military force. The transforming foreign policy strategy for the U.S. has been to share the cost of hegemony. For the United States, the main risk comes from the possibility of lacking confidence in U.S. strength among the allies and partners, but the strong leadership has reassured that the question is not whether the U.S. will lead, but how it will.

US-China-Russia-flags new

Not only do conflicts between U.S., China and Russia affect the world, their interdependence and occasional synergy also shapes world affairs. The U.S. and Russia still have an unstable relationship and could learn confidence building from the China-U.S. or China-Russia relationships.

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