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Commentaries by Yun Sun

Yun Sun

Senior Associate with the East Asia Program, Henry L. Stimson Center

Yun Sun is a senior associate with the East Asia Program at the Henry L. Stimson Center and a non-resident fellow of the Brookings Institution. Her expertise is in Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations and China’s relations with neighboring countries and authoritarian regimes. From 2011 to early 2014, she was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution jointly appointed by the Foreign Policy Program and the Global Development Program where she focused on the Chinese national security decision-making processes and China-Africa relations. From 2008 to 2011, Yun was the China Analyst for International Crisis Group based in Beijing, specializing on China's foreign policy towards conflict countries and developing world. Prior to ICG, she worked on U.S.- Asia relations in Washington DC for five years.
  • Feb 27 , 2018

    The release of China’s Arctic White Paper in late January brought broad attention to China’s somewhat nascent but rapidly expanding role and interests in the Arctic region. Even though most of the information in the White Paper is not new, initiatives such as the Polar Silk Road could indicate a coming surge in China’s political and economic endeavors in the Arctic.

  • Oct 25 , 2017

    Many people find China’s secrecy regarding foreign aid perplexing. To understand Chinese foreign aid policy requires understanding of the complex goals China tries to achieve with aid and of the complex intended, or unintended, effects after aid is distributed. Foreign aid has always been a thorny issue between the Chinese general public and the government, because of the clash between China’s identity as a developing country and its desire for international recognition.

  • Sep 21 , 2017

    China is stuck between a rock and a hard place on North Korea, but any change in the country’s policy towards North Korea would require a fundamental change in China’s cost-benefit analysis of the current situation. More provocations by North Korea won’t change China’s policy, unless they are bound to lead to a war. Without understanding this crucial point, the world will continue to be disappointed by the insufficiency of the Chinese response.

  • May 23 , 2017

    Two major security concerns, a rising China and a nuclear North Korea, have prompted the Pentagon to endorse a plan to invest $7.5 billion to strengthen the U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region over the next five years. However, it remains to be seen how this fits with Trump administration’s broader policy and military posture for the Asia Pacific.

  • Mar 07 , 2017

    Different from the earlier narrative that China was free-riding from U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan, more recent developments have focused on China’s expanding political involvement, deepening security ties, and economic investments in Afghanistan. However, the description of China as the largest, and potentially, the most influential player in Afghanistan is misleading.

  • Nov 09 , 2016

    Forty percent of China’s total ten vetoes ever casted at the UN Security Council have been on Syria, making it the most-vetoed issue of all time for China. The four vetoes and most recent abstention from the French-drafted resolution underscore China’s increasingly assertive stance on state sovereignty, territorial integrity and its repulsion to foreign interference.

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