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Friday, February 11, 2011

China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues


Shirley A. Kan
Specialist in Asian Security Affairs

Congress has long been concerned about whether U.S. policy advances the national interest in reducing the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles that could deliver them. Recipients of China’s technology reportedly include Pakistan and countries said by the State Department to have supported terrorism, such as Iran. This CRS Report, updated as warranted, discusses the security problem of China’s role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid- 1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. and other foreign concerns about its role in weapons proliferation. Nonetheless, supplies from China have aggravated trends that result in ambiguous technical aid, more indigenous capabilities, longer-range missiles, and secondary (retransferred) proliferation. According to unclassified intelligence reports submitted as required to Congress, China has been a “key supplier” of technology, particularly PRC entities providing nuclear and missile-related technology to Pakistan and missile-related technology to Iran.

Policy approaches in seeking PRC cooperation have concerned summits, sanctions, and satellite exports. On November 21, 2000, the Clinton Administration agreed to waive missile proliferation sanctions, resume processing licenses to export satellites to China, and discuss an extension of the bilateral space launch agreement, in return for another PRC promise on missile nonproliferation. However, PRC proliferation activities have continued to raise questions about China’s commitment to nonproliferation and the need for U.S. sanctions. The Bush Administration imposed sanctions on 20 occasions on various PRC “entities” (including state-owned entities) for troublesome transfers related to missiles and chemical weapons to Pakistan, Iran, or perhaps another country, including repeated sanctions on some “serial proliferators.” Among those sanctions, in September 2001, the Administration imposed missile proliferation sanctions that effectively denied satellite exports, after a PRC company transferred technology to Pakistan, despite the promise of 2000. In September 2003, the State Department imposed additional sanctions on NORINCO, a defense industrial entity, effectively denying satellite exports to China. However, for six times, the State Department waived this sanction for the ban on imports of other PRC government products related to missiles, space systems, electronics, and military aircraft, and issued a permanent waiver in 2007. Since 2009, the Obama Administration has imposed sanctions on four occasions on PRC entities for missile or other weapon proliferation.

Skeptics question whether China’s cooperation in weapons nonproliferation warrants the U.S. pursuit of closer ties, even as sanctions were required against PRC technology transfers. Some criticize the imposition of U.S. sanctions targeting PRC “entities” but not the government. Others doubt the effectiveness of any stress on sanctions over diplomacy. Meanwhile, in 2002-2008, the U.S. approach relied on China’s influence on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons. Beijing hosted the “Six-Party Talks” (last held in December 2008) with limited results. China’s approach evolved to vote for some U.N. Security Council (UNSC) sanctions against nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran. Some still called for engaging more with Beijing to use its leverage against Pyongyang and Tehran. However, North Korea’s second nuclear test in 2009 and military attacks against South Korea in 2010 prompted greater debate about the value of China’s roles. After much diplomacy, the PRC voted in June 2009 for UNSC Resolution 1874 to expand sanctions previously imposed under Resolution 1718 in 2006 against North Korea and voted in June 2010 for UNSC Resolution 1929 for the fourth set of sanctions against Iran. Also, concerns increased that China could capitalize in oil/gas deals in Iran as others enforce sanctions. Relevant legislation for Congressional oversight include U.S. sanctions against Iran (P.L. 111-195) and the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 111-383) relating to nuclear security.



Date of Report:
February 3, 2011
Number of Pages: 77
Order Number: RL31555
Price: $29.95

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Indonesia: Domestic Politics, Strategic Dynamics, and U.S. Interests


Bruce Vaughn
Specialist in Asian Affairs

With a population of 240 million, Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia and the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world. Its size, its emerging democracy and economic vibrancy, and its strategic position across critical sea lanes linking the Middle East with East Asia have led many to consider it an emerging middle-tier power. The U.S. maintains close relations with Indonesia, with considerable security, economic, and trade ties, although human rights concerns about the Indonesian armed forces have long been a thorn in the relationship.

In the 12 years since a catastrophic economic crisis led to the fall of longtime President Suharto, Indonesia has undergone a remarkable transformation. It has held two successful direct Presidential elections, both of which were considered largely free and fair, and conducts dozens of actively contested provincial and local elections each year. Its economy regularly posts growth of better than 6% annually, although poverty remains considerable and corruption widespread.

Discussion of Indonesia has shifted from speculation about its possible breakup due to separatist sentiments in places such as Aceh, the Malukus, West Papua, and the now independent state of Timor Leste to admiration of its democratic transformation, its relatively strong performance in the recent global economic crisis, its cooperation in efforts to combat terrorism, and its growing role in regional diplomatic institutions, international efforts to combat climate change, and its membership in the G-20.

In recent years, U.S. policy towards Indonesia has focused on cementing ties with a geopolitically important state that can play an active role in regional diplomatic institutions, and encouraging Indonesia to combat terrorism and effectively counter the rise of violent Islamic militancy. The United States has also sought to promote democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and to further American trade and investment interests in Indonesia.

The election of President Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, did much to spur expectations in Indonesia that the U.S.-Indonesia bilateral relationship would be enhanced. President Obama’s visit to Indonesia in November 2010, with the signing of a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), did much to meet these expectations. The agreement covers a range of issues including trade and investment, food security, science and technology, educational exchanges, and military cooperation.

Congressional concerns have included oversight of the Obama Administration’s policies towards Indonesia, including the Comprehensive Partnership, Indonesia’s role in regional diplomacy, the restarting of comprehensive military-military relations, and policies to encourage human rights performance, particularly in restive West Papua.



Date of Report:
January 31, 2011
Number of Pages: 42
Order Number: RL32394
Price: $29.95

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prospects for Democracy in Hong Kong: The 2012 Election Reforms

Michael F. Martin
Specialist in Asian Affairs

Support for the democratization of Hong Kong has been an element of U.S. foreign policy for over 17 years. The Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-383) states, “Support for democratization is a fundamental principle of United States foreign policy. As such, it naturally applies to United States policy toward Hong Kong. This will remain equally true after June 30, 1997” (the date of Hong Kong’s reversion to China). The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-8) provides at least $17 million for “the promotion of democracy in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan …”

The democratization of Hong Kong is also enshrined in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s quasiconstitution that was passed by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) prior to China’s resumption of sovereignty over the ex-British colony on July 1, 1997. The Basic Law stipulates that the “ultimate aim” is the selection of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and the members of its Legislative Council (Legco) by “universal suffrage.” However, it does not designate a specific date by which this goal is to be achieved.

On November 18, 2009, Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen released the longawaited “consultation document” on possible reforms for the city’s elections to be held in 2012. The document was immediately met by sharp criticism from representatives of Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” parties. Five Legco members resigned on January 21, 2010, as a form of protest, forcing a by-election on May 16, 2010. The five incumbents were re-elected.

On June 7, 2010, Chief Executive Tsang submitted two motions to Legco increasing the size of the Election Committee (EC) for Chief Executive to 1,200 members and adding 10 new seats to Legco—five elected by geographical districts and five elected by “functional constituencies.”

Initially, the pan-democratic Legco members announced they would vote against the motions. However, a last-minute agreement between the pro-universal suffrage Democratic Party and the Chinese government led to a split among the pan-democrats, a coalition of parties that support a more rapid transition to universal suffrage. Legco passed both motions—one on June 24; the second on June 25—the first significant changes in Hong Kong’s political system since the Handover on July 1, 1997.

To implement the election changes, Legco will need to pass enabling ordinances detailing how to carry out the election reforms. On December 10, 2010, Chief Executive Tsang submitted two bills to amend Hong Kong’s election laws. The bill governing the election of the Chief Executive specifies how the additional EC members are to be allocated and sets the nomination threshold at 150 EC members. The bill governing the 10 new Legco seats will allow the Electoral Affairs Commission to determine how to allocate the five geographical seats (based on population projections) and establishes a “District Council (second) functional constituency” to elect the other five new Legco members. Under the new law, every Hong Kong voter will be able to vote for at least one functional constituency member of Legco.

The 2012 election reforms are important to Hong Kong’s democratization for two reasons. First, they are an indication of the Hong Kong government’s willingness to press for democratic reforms. Second, the Chief Executive and Legco selected in 2012 will have the power to implement universal suffrage for the Chief Executive election in 2017 and the Legco election in 2020, if they so choose.



Date of Report: February 1, 2011
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R40992
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The U.S.-Japan Alliance


Emma Chanlett-Avery
Specialist in Asian Affairs

Under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, about 53,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan and have the exclusive use of 89 facilities throughout the archipelago. In exchange for the bases, the United States guarantees Japan’s security. The alliance has endured over 50 years, through periods of intense partnership and stretches of political drift. In the past decade, the relationship has seen both ends of the spectrum. During the first term of the George W. Bush Administration, converging U.S. and Japanese objectives in confronting North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and Japan’s participation in U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan reinforced the notion of the U.S.-Japan alliance as one of the central partnerships of U.S. foreign policy, particularly in Asia. By 2007, political developments in Japan and diverging policy approaches to North Korea created some distance in the relationship. After the Democratic Party of Japan took power in a historical election in September 2009, a disagreement over the relocation of the Futenma Marine airbase in Okinawa erupted into a public rift that led many to question the fundamental soundness of the alliance.

Regional developments in 2010, however, appeared to refocus attention in Washington and Tokyo on the value of the alliance. North Korea’s continued and increasingly aggressive actions, coupled with a diplomatic crisis after a Chinese trawler rammed a Japanese Coast Guard ship in disputed waters, drove the allies back together. A new DPJ administration in Tokyo affirmed its intent to work out U.S. base realignment issues and renewed its financial support for hosting the troops. At the same time, solidarity grew in confronting North Korea provocations.

After a brief historical review, this report examines the regional environment that Japan and the United States face in shaping the alliance. While history-related grievances have traditionally dominated Tokyo’s relations with China and the Korean Peninsula, there are some trends that indicate a shift in regional relations. Tensions with Beijing over territorial disputes and China’s growing military capabilities and maritime activities are growing, while Seoul and Tokyo have developed an increasingly cooperative relationship, even exploring nascent military-to-military pacts. North Korea continues to provide ample justification for Japanese supporters of developing a strong missile defense system.

The report then explores the national challenges that frame the alliance, particularly the large presence of U.S. military bases in the southern prefecture of Okinawa. While the Futenma base relocation controversy has dominated the debate, Okinawan frustration with the bases has existed for many years, with outcries spiking in the event of military accidents or crimes committed by U.S. soldiers. For these reasons, the Futenma relocation plan faces major challenges, despite Tokyo’s agreement and pledge to implement it.

The report then examines key features of bilateral agreements to upgrade the alliance, with updates on progress on agreements outside of base realignment and discussion of Japan’s internal and evolving views on security as reflected in official guidelines. Accomplishments in ballistic missile defense co-development, strong maritime cooperation, and Japanese contribution to international missions are outlined, along with some of the unresolved issues that remain. The report concludes with a discussion of the most prominent operational, budgetary, legal, and normative constraints that some see as a cap on expanding the alliance’s effectiveness. Despite the alliance’s sustainment over a half-century, it still faces fundamental challenges, including political paralysis and increasingly tight fiscal conditions in Tokyo and long-standing constitutional and societal limits on Japan’s military.



Date of Report: January 18, 2011
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: RL33740
Price: $29.95

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