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  • Japan’s Response to Sea Piracy

    In its efforts to check the piracy menace, Japan deployed two Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) destroyers - Sazanami and Samidare - on March 14, 2009 in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, on a four-month long anti-piracy mission. Japanese law mandates that that the destroyers can only escort Japanese merchant ships through this piracy-prone area without the authority to use weapons. 2,595 Japan-linked commercial ships have already registered their requests to be escorted.

    March 30, 2009

    Volatility in Japanese Politics Intensifies following fundraising Scandal

    Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and projected to be the man most likely to become Japan’s next prime minister, has become dangerously entangled in an illegal political funds investigation. The resulting damage to the DPJ appears to be severe. It was believed to have had a strong chance to win the coming general elections, scheduled anytime before September 2009. The scandal has injected a new dimension to the already volatile political situation that has evolved in Japan since 1992, when the Liberal Democratic Party lost power for the first time.

    March 18, 2009

    Obama’s New Engagement Policy Towards Japan

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent four-stop swing through Asia – Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China – in her first tour as Secretary of State represented a strong new beginning for America’s Asia diplomacy. Relations between the US and China and the US and Japan at the moment are free of any acrimony and generally good. However, the recent global economic meltdown has affected the major Asian economies such as Japan and China to some extent given their heavy dependence for exports on the American market.

    March 09, 2009

    The Obama Administration and China

    Prior to the Democrats coming to power the Chinese Communist Party believed that the Barack Obama administration will push harder on Human Rights and other sensitive issues. The stability in relations between Washington and Beijing during the Bush era appeared to be on test given that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were quite critical of China during their election campaigns.

    March 05, 2009

    China’s Naval Force Projection off Somalia

    Call it China’s new military diplomacy or emerging naval strategy. A Chinese naval fleet arrived in the Gulf of Aden off the Somalian coast on January 6, 2009 to carry out the first escort mission against pirates. On February 18, 2009, in an efficient display of its growing naval capabilities, the fleet completed its twenty first mission (the largest held so far in the series) of escorting merchant ships in this region.

    March 02, 2009

    Obama’s Likely Policy Towards North East Asia

    Expectations are high in Japan, both in the general public and amongst the elite, after Democrat Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the American Presidency. Japan was clearly uncomfortable with Republican Bush administration’s pursuit of a unilateralist foreign policy as against Obama’s more pronounced multilateral approach. According to Professor Kenji Takita of Chuo University, multilateralism is closely associated with smart power and therefore Obama’s shift towards multilateralism is likely to undo some of the damage that the Bush administration’s unilateralism has done to American standing.

    January 29, 2009

    China and the Global Financial Crisis

    The global financial crisis which had been brewing for some time began to unfold in the middle of 2008. Stock markets around the world have nosedived, large financial institutions have collapsed or been bought out, and governments of even the wealthiest nations have had to come up with rescue packages to rescue their financial systems. The crisis stemmed from the collapse of the US sub-prime mortgage market and the reversal of the housing boom in other industrialised economies.

    December 04, 2008

    China’s Scary Challenges to India

    External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's recent outburst that China poses a security challenge indicates a dangerous ambiguity in India’s China policy. The fact that Mukherjee has aired such a view after his intense and long diplomatic rapport with the leadership of that country needs to be noted seriously. It is not that China has not been a puzzle to Indian strategic thinkers. Even former Defence Minister George Fernandes considered China as India’s number one enemy, but his views were transformed after he paid an official visit to Beijing.

    November 18, 2008

    Talking Peace Across the Taiwan Straits

    If current developments are any indicator, the long road to economic integration on either side of the Taiwan Straits has commenced. In a first of its kind, a sixty member delegation led by Chen Yunlin, Chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) visited Taiwan from November 3-7, 2008 to hold talks with his counterpart Chiang Pin-kung, Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF). ARATS and SEF are two non-governmental organisations authorised by China and Taiwan in the early 1990s to examine the entire gamut of cross-Strait relations.

    November 14, 2008

    Can India ever Trust China?

    The two recent glorious achievements - the Olympics and spacewalk mission – seem to have transcended China to a new global height with wide implications for the world’s strategic balance. From all accounts, analysts suggest that China will not only survive but has also gained from the recent global financial meltdown.

    October 27, 2008

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