China’s foreign policy has been hit hard by recent developments, including new U.S. influence on their western border. In December alone China was faced with these new twists in international affairs:
In Japan, the Koizumi administration’s quick decision to send support ships and peacekeeping troops to the region reawakened a divisive debate over Japan’s use of military force abroad. Unable to effectively undertake promised economic reforms or achieve an economic recovery, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has seized upon a popular fear of terrorism and sympathy with U.S. suffering to pass domestic legislation permitting Japan’s first deployment of troops into a combat zone since World War II.
On January 29, President Bush’s State of the Union speech served clear notice that the U.S. “war on terror” is coming to Northeast Asia. To date, U.S. media attention has focused on the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan, the worldwide manhunt for al-Qaeda leaders and supporters, and domestic security scares. U.S. policies in East Asia have been understandably overlooked. No longer. With the president’s upcoming visit to Japan, South Korea, and China, Bush administration policies in East Asia and their dangerous implications for regional security are now coming under closer scrutiny.
Reviewing the Korea-U.S. Summit: What Lies Beneath By Brent (Won-Ki) Choi February 22, 2002
“What the hell have you come here for? We’ve got nothing here! The mines have shut down and those bastards in their offices are corrupt to the bone! We had a strike, but there’s no way of controlling them. It’s not like the USA where everyone’s rich and you’ve got democracy. Shulan Town? It’s a joke.”
U.S. President George W. Bush’s upcoming trip to South Korea in mid-February is an opportunity for the Bush administration to demonstrate its new vision by explicitly support the “sunshine policy” of South Korea’s President Kim Dae-Jung–a policy that has led to significant reduction in tensions in one of the last remaining hotspots of the cold war. Over the past year, the Bush administration has demonstrated little of the flexibility and vision necessary to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula. Instead, the administration has been inconsistent and obstructionist.
Immediately after the September 11 attacks in New York, South Korean and U.S. forces went into a state of heightened security alert that the North claimed was “threatening,” leading Pyongyang to break off ongoing negotiations on family reunions that remain stalled even today. Despite this reversal in negotiations, North Korea reacted to September 11 by unilaterally moving to sign two UN antiterrorism treaties and later expressing its willingness to sign an additional five.
President George W. Bush will visit Seoul for the first time in mid-February, as part of a major East Asian trip that includes visits to Tokyo and Beijing. Republic of Korea President Kim Dae Jung is urging Bush to give support to his “Sunshine Policy” toward North Korea and return to the policy of “engaging” Pyongyang pursued by the Clinton administration. A year after taking office, Bush has presided over a cacophony of mixed signals and diplomatic backsliding that has left U.S. policy toward Korea in disarray. But there is still a chance to revive crucial negotiations with North Korea that are deeply in the interest of American and Northeast Asian peace and security.
It was a speech foretold. After being compelled to make the “Friend-or-foe” choice after the September 11 attacks, Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf in his policy address on January 12th set about redefining the role of religion in Pakistani society and its domestic and external politics, with a special reference to Kashmir and terrorism. Islam, he said, has been misused and the Pakistani people exploited in its name. The general condemned acts of terrorism and in particular September 11, October 1, and December 13–the last two dates are of suicide attacks in Srinagar the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir) and on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi.
Since the December 13 attack on the Indian Parliament, the Indian government has not been engaged in the politics of actually preparing to go to war but rather in the politics of brinksmanship.