The conclusion of Afghanistan’s ‘Kabul process’ or ‘Afghanization’ will be pivotal both for the national security and economic interests of the People’s Republic of China.
The past year saw the unfolding of the withdrawal timetable from Afghanistan, the second rotation of US Marines to northern Australia, the first “Full Knowledge and Concurrence” statement on US facilities on Australian soil in six years, and the end of Australia’s long-term military deployments in Timor Leste and Solomon Islands.
South Korea-Japan relations have been frozen for some time and despite the summer heat, no thaw appears likely anytime soon.
Relations entered an active phase of leadership exchanges following North Korea’s satellite launch, its nuclear test, and the passage of UN Security Council resolutions condemning these actions.
The slow steady improvement of cross-strait relations hit some not unexpected bumps in recent months. Domestic politics in Taiwan, particularly partisan actions by the opposition DPP, have delayed Legislative Yuan action on important cross-strait matters.
The Philippines under President Benigno Aquino III has linked its military modernization and overall external defense to the US rebalance. Washington has raised its annual military assistance by two-thirds to $50 million and is providing surplus military equipment.
With their domestic challenges in mind and a shared need for a stable bilateral relationship, Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping met for a day and a half “no necktie” official working meeting to discuss the panoply of bilateral, regional, and global issues that affect US and Chinese interests.
It was a rough four months for the US as Washington struggled to convince Asian audiences that the “rebalance” is sustainable given renewed attention to the Middle East, even before the Syrian crises.
There is a broad and enduring international consensus that good governance and the rule of law are important for the attainment of sustainable development results. But recognizing that good governance is important for development is one thing; carrying out effective international programs to support improved governance is something very different.
Last week, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry visited Colombia to meet with President Juan Manuel Santos and Minister of Foreign Affairs María Ángela Holguín. During his trip, Kerry pledged U.S. support for Colombia’s ongoing peace talks to end 50 years of violence with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla terrorist group.