Europe - East Asia

While Europe has long been an important economic power in the Asia Pacific, its political profile until recently has been rather weak. In recent months, however, Europe has taken important steps to strengthen its political involvement in the region, notably on the Korean Peninsula. This more active stance reflects progress in efforts to make European foreign policies more coherent and effective through a strengthening of the European Union’s “Common Foreign and Security Policy,” including the appointment of a high representative for foreign relations. Europe’s increasing influence in the Asia Pacific can also be felt economically, as Europe’s negotiations with Beijing over China’s WTO membership have made clear. Still, in keeping with its peculiar characteristics as a “composite” international actor and its rather modest self-defined role in the Asia Pacific, Europe’s political influence in the region remains that of an important subsidiary player, rather than of a great power. On the whole, Europe’s modest but gradually growing involvement has been constructive and welcome.

Daily Digest

The Diplomat: Cracks Appear in the New Zealand-China Relationship

China-New Zealand relations: Are we seeing the limits of Chinese power based on economic influence?

East Asia Forum: Can Cambodian foreign policy find its feet?

Cambodia’s foreign policy: diversifying relations or distancing itself from the West?

Asia Times: No end to World War II in sight in the Kuril Islands

How did the US end up in the middle of the dispute between Japan and Russia over the Northern Territories/Kuril Islands?

Asia Times: Morrison misconnects across the South Pacific

Engaging with the Pacific Island states will require more than just “showing up.”

The Diplomat – An American Consensus: Time to Confront China

A pessimistic view of US-China relations: Trump’s hardline policies are more deep-seated in the US than China realizes.

The Diplomat: China and the US Are Destined for Peace, Not for War

An optimistic view of US-China relations: the trajectory toward a mutual interest in peaceful coexistence is too great to be disturbed by Trump’s short-term focus.

The National Interest: Re-Opening the Kaesong Industrial Zone Would Give North Korea Something for Nothing

Would re-opening the Kaesong Industrial Zone at this point give North Korea an undeserved advantage over South Korea?

The Strategist: Improving maritime security in the Asia–Pacific

An argument for why a European solution to maritime domain awareness would not be a good solution for the Asia-Pacific.

The Interpreter: Philippine alliance angst

Is Defense Secretary Lorenzana’s call to review the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty a case of being too clever by half?