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

Asia Times: Asian allies boost Myanmar’s pariah military

Asian countries are taking a pragmatic approach to Myanmar’s military while the West seeks more sanctions.

YaleGlobal Online: A Trade Love Triangle

An argument that US antagonism is pushing China and the European Union into a closer trade relationship.

The Interpreter: Peeling back the label in Australia’s America and China relationships

Australia’s angst over its relationships with China and the US reflects the growing realization that Asian countries can no longer compartmentalize economic and security relationships with the two countries.

The Diplomat: China and Japan’s Rapprochement Continues – For Now

Yang Jiechi’s upcoming visit to Japan seen as more evidence of an improvement in China-Japan relations.

Project Syndicate: Is America Tired of Losing Yet?

An examination of the impact the US decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement has had on US economic competitiveness in Asia.

East Asia Forum: Abe’s efforts to woo Trump with three intimate summit meetings

An explanation for Prime Minister Abe’s recent interest in bilateral meetings with President Trump.

East Asia Forum: Malaysia’s new turn to the East

Does Malaysia’s decision to resume work on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the Bandar Malaysia project represent an important turning point for China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia?

The Diplomat: Southeast Asia and China’s Belt and Road Initiative

An assessment of the impact China’s Belt and Road Initiative is having in Southeast Asia concludes countries are still weighing the advantages and disadvantages.

The Strategist — 5G, Xi and Huawei: looking beyond Trump and the ‘China price’

A warning about the hidden costs associated with deciding what 5G network countries choose.