Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

U.S.-China Military Contacts: Issues for Congress


Shirley A. Kan
Specialist in Asian Security Affairs

This CRS report, updated as warranted, discusses policy issues regarding military-to-military (mil-to-mil) contacts with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and provides a record of major contacts and crises since 1993. The United States suspended military contacts with China and imposed sanctions on arms sales in response to the Tiananmen Crackdown in 1989. In 1993, the Clinton Administration re-engaged with the top PRC leadership, including China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Renewed military exchanges with the PLA have not regained the closeness reached in the 1980s, when U.S.-PRC strategic cooperation against the Soviet Union included U.S. arms sales to China. Improvements and deteriorations in overall bilateral relations have affected military contacts, which were close in 1997-1998 and 2000, but marred by the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, mistaken NATO bombing of a PRC embassy in 1999, the EP- 3 aircraft collision crisis in 2001, and aggressive maritime confrontations (including in 2009). Issues for Congress include whether the Obama Administration has complied with legislation overseeing dealings with the PLA and pursued contacts with the PLA that advance a prioritized set of U.S. security interests, especially the operational safety of U.S. military personnel. Oversight legislation includes the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY1990-FY1991 (P.L. 101-246) and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2000 (P.L. 106-65). Skeptics and proponents of military exchanges with the PRC have debated whether the contacts have achieved results in U.S. objectives and whether the contacts have contributed to the PLA’s warfighting capabilities that might harm U.S. security interests. Some have argued about whether the value that U.S. officials place on the contacts overly extends leverage to the PLA. Some believe talks can serve U.S. interests that include conflict avoidance/crisis management; militarycivilian coordination; transparency and reciprocity; tension reduction over Taiwan; weapons nonproliferation; nuclear/missile/space/cyber talks; counterterrorism; and POW/MIA accounting.

In part of 2010 and 2011, the PLA criticized U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and claimed to “suspend” many U.S.-PRC military contacts. Then, in 2011, the PLA hosted Secretary Gates in January, and the PLA Chief of General Staff visited in May. In May 2012, PLA General Liang Guanglie visited as the first PRC Defense Minister to do so since 2003.

Policymakers could review the approach to mil-to-mil contacts, given concerns about crises. U.S. officials have faced challenges in cooperation from the PLA. The PLA has tried to use its suspensions of exchanges while blaming U.S. “obstacles” (including arms sales to Taiwan, legal restrictions on contacts, and the Pentagon’s reports to Congress on the PLA). The PRC’s harassment of U.S. surveillance ships (in 2009) and increasing assertiveness in maritime areas have shown the limits to mil-to-mil talks and PLA restraint. Still, at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in July 2009, President Obama called for military contacts to diminish disputes with China. The U.S. military seeks to expand cooperation with the PLA. The NDAA for FY2010 (P.L. 111-84) amended P.L. 106-65 for the annual report on PRC military power to expand the focus to security developments involving the PRC, add cooperative elements, and fold in another report on mil-to-mil contacts. However, the Administration was late in submitting this report in 2010 and in 2011 (not until August). Enacted as P.L. 112-81 on December 31, 2011, the FY2012 NDAA required reporting on cyber threats but did not require a change back to the original title, while adding a requirement for a report from the Defense Secretary before any waiver of a ban on defense procurement from PLA companies. H.R. 4310 and S. 3254, NDAA for FY2013, would strengthen the annual report on military and security challenges and mil-to-mil engagement.



Date of Report: June 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 75
Order Number: RL32496
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press,or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations


Emma Chanlett-Avery
Specialist in Asian Affairs

Ben Dolven
Specialist in Asian Affairs


U.S.-Thailand relations are of interest to Congress because of Thailand’s status as a long-time military ally and a significant trade and economic partner. For many years, Thailand was also seen as a model of stable democracy in Southeast Asia, although this image, along with U.S. relations, have been complicated by deep political and economic instability in the wake of a September 2006 coup that displaced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a popular but divisive figure who remains a flashpoint for many divisions within Thailand.

In recent years, Thai politics have been dominated by rivalries between populist forces led by Thaksin (now in exile) and his opponents, a mix of conservative royalists and military figures, and other Bangkok elites. Despite his exile, pro-Thaksin political parties have won both nationwide elections since his ouster, and the current government is led by his younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra. Mass movements both supporting and opposing Thaksin have staged vigorous demonstrations, and one such set of protests spilled over to riots in Bangkok and other cities in May 2010, causing the worst street violence in Thailand in decades.

Many analysts believe that traditional Thai elites—particularly the military’s top brass and many prominent royalist figures—remain deeply opposed to Thaksin and any indication that he might seek to return to a political role in Thailand. But Thaksin (and Yingluck) have considerable support in the country’s poorer regions, stemming from programs Thaksin pursued during his rule from 2001-2006 to provide rural healthcare and other benefits. His ouster has brought out divisions that had been emerging for years between the growing middle-class of Bangkok and the poorer rural population. Risks are heightened by uncertainty about the health of Thailand’s widely revered King Bhumiphol Adulyadej, who is 84. Yingluck has pursued a largely moderate course since taking office in July 2011, steering clear of the divisive question of her brother’s possible return to Thailand.

Despite past differences on Burma policy and human rights issues, shared economic and security interests have long provided the basis for U.S.-Thai cooperation. Thailand contributed troops and support for U.S. military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq and was designated as a major non-NATO ally in December 2003. Thailand’s airfields and ports play a particularly important role in U.S. global military strategy, including having served as the primary hub of the relief effort following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Burma. Although the alliance itself does not appear to be fundamentally shaken by events of the past few years, Thailand’s reliability as a partner, and its ability to be a regional leader, are uncertain. Successive Thai governments have also been unable to stem violence by insurgents in the southern majority- Muslim provinces.

Under the Obama Administration, the United States has prioritized engagement with Southeast Asia and a broader strategic rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific. With its favorable geographic location and broad-based economy, Thailand has traditionally been considered among the most likely countries to play a major leadership role in the region. But growing U.S. engagement with other allies and partners such as the Philippines and Singapore, and Thailand’s domestic problems appear to have dimmed the prominence of the U.S.-Thai relationship in Southeast Asia. Thailand maintains close relations with China and is considered by some to be a key arena of competition between Beijing and Washington for influence.



Date of Report: June 5, 2012
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: RL32593
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

Emma Chanlett-Avery, Coordinator
Acting Section Research Manager

William H. Cooper
Specialist in International Trade and Finance

Mark E. Manyin
Specialist in Asian Affairs


The post-World War II U.S.-Japan alliance has long been an anchor of the U.S. security role in East Asia. The alliance facilitates the forward deployment of about 36,000 U.S. troops and other U.S. military assets in the Asia-Pacific, thereby undergirding U.S. national security strategy in the region. For Japan, the alliance and the U.S. nuclear umbrella provide maneuvering room in dealing with its neighbors, particularly China and North Korea.

When a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, U.S.-Japan relations were stable but still recovering from a difficult period in 2009-2010. The Democratic Party of Japan’s (DPJ’s) landslide victory in the August 2009 elections for the Lower House of Japan’s legislature marked the end of an era in Japan; it was the first time Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was voted out of office. The LDP had ruled Japan virtually uninterrupted since 1955. Since the resignation of the DPJ’s first prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, in June 2010, bilateral relations have been smoother under the leadership of Naoto Kan and Yoshihiko Noda. The party appears to have shifted its strategic thinking after a series of provocations from North Korea and indications of growing assertiveness from the Chinese military in disputed waters in 2010. The massive and immediate relief provided by the United States following the March 11 disaster bolstered the relationship further.

Difficult problems remain in the alliance, particularly in resolving problems related to the stationing of marines on Okinawa. In April 2012 the governments agreed to relocate several thousand marines elsewhere in the region, but have been unable to make serious progress on implementing a 2006 agreement to relocate the controversial Futenma Marine Air Station to a less densely populated location on Okinawa. Futenma Air Base remains open and presents a risk of an accident or crime that could exacerbate local-base relations further. In addition, concerns and uncertainty about the cost of the realignment plans has drawn criticism from several U.S. senators, putting funding at risk.

Japan is one of the United States’ most important economic partners. Outside of North America, it is the United States’ second-largest export market and second-largest source of imports. Japanese firms are the United States’ second-largest source of foreign direct investment, and Japanese investors are the second-largest foreign holders of U.S. treasuries, helping to finance the U.S. deficit and reduce upward pressure on U.S. interest rates. Bilateral trade friction has decreased in recent years, partly because U.S. concern about the trade deficit with Japan has been replaced by concern about a much larger deficit with China. One exception was U.S. criticism over Japan’s decision in 2003 to ban imports of U.S. beef, which have since resumed, but on a limited basis.

However, the economic problems in Japan and the United States associated with the credit crisis and the related economic recession, together with the impact of the March 11 disasters, have played a role in the bilateral economic agenda. Japan has been hit particularly hard by the financial crisis and the subsequent economic downturn. Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined 1.2% in 2008 and 5.3% in 2009 but grew 4.0% in 2010. It declined 0.7% in 2011. However, the major focus of discussions has been on Japan’s expressed interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and under what conditions Japan might join. 
.


Date of Report: May 4, 2012
Number of Pages: 34
Order Number: RL33436
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

The Republic of the Philippines and U.S. Interests

Thomas Lum
Specialist in Asian Affairs

The United States and the Republic of the Philippines maintain close ties stemming from the U.S. colonial period (1898-1946), the bilateral security alliance, extensive military cooperation, and common strategic and economic interests. Although the United States closed its military bases in the Philippines in 1992, the two treaty allies have continued joint military activities related to counterterrorism and maritime security. The bilateral security relationship has gained prominence as a key link in the evolving U.S. foreign policy “pivot” or “rebalancing” toward Asia, and the two sides are discussing bolstering U.S. access to Philippine military facilities. On November 16, 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario signed the “Manila Declaration,” which reaffirmed the bilateral security relationship and called for multilateral talks to resolve maritime disputes in the region.

Broad U.S. policy objectives include the following: maintaining the U.S.-Philippine alliance; enhancing security and stability in the South China Sea; assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in counterterrorism, maritime, modernization, and administrative reform efforts; supporting the peace process in Muslim areas of Mindanao; promoting broad-based economic growth; and helping the Philippines to develop more stable and responsive democratic institutions. The U.S. Congress has placed conditions upon a portion of U.S. military assistance to the Philippines in order to pressure the Philippine government and judicial institutions to hold the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings and violence against journalists accountable.

Since 2002, the United States has provided non-combat assistance to the AFP through the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines—rotating units of approximately 600 U.S. military personnel. Philippine-U.S. counterterrorism efforts, along with development aid, have helped to significantly reduce the size and strength of the Abu Sayyaf Group, a violent, Philippines-based Islamist organization that has acted as a bridge between Southeast Asian terrorist networks and Muslim separatist insurgencies such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In the past decade, the Philippines has been one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance in Southeast Asia. About 60% of the aid supported development programs in Muslim areas of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, with the aim of mitigating the economic and political conditions that make extremist ideologies and activities attractive. In 2010, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation approved a five-year, $434 million compact with the Philippine government. Through the Partnership for Growth, the United States supports economic expansion and investment in the Philippines and Manila’s goal of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free trade agreement.

In 2011, Chinese naval forces reportedly harassed Philippine fishing and oil exploration vessels and erected structures in disputed waters of the South China Sea near the Philippine island of Palawan. Philippine President Benigno Aquino responded in part by announcing increases in the country’s military budget and welcoming increased security cooperation with the United States. The Philippine government has demanded that Beijing negotiate a code of conduct and settlement of claims with the principal regional body, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The U.S. government does not take a position on the territorial disputes, but supports a peaceful resolution that is based upon international law and involves a multilateral process. Washington also has promised greater military cooperation with, and assistance to, the Philippines, although no permanent U.S. bases are planned.



Date of Report: May 23, 2012
Number of Pages: 37
Order Number: RL33233
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

U.S.-China Diplomacy Over Chinese Legal Advocate Chen Guangcheng


Susan V. Lawrence
Specialist in Asian Affairs

Thomas Lum
Specialist in Asian Affairs


The case of blind Chinese legal advocate Chen Guangcheng, who escaped from illegal house arrest in China’s Shandong Province on April 20, 2012, and made his way to Beijing, the United States Embassy, and, ultimately, the United States, has generated strong congressional interest. While Chen was still in China, some Members questioned whether the U.S. State Department had done enough to ensure Chen’s safety, with criticism focused on the State Department’s decision to escort Chen from the Embassy to a Beijing hospital on May 2, 2012, and its willingness to accept verbal assurances from the Chinese government that it would ensure a “safe environment” for Chen in China. With Chen now in the United States, remaining issues for the Administration and Congress include the fate of the family members, supporters, and friends back in China who helped him escape. The situation of Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui, may be of particular concern. He faces attempted murder charges for injuring security personnel with a kitchen knife when they burst into his father’s house late at night after Chen’s escape, and he has been denied access to lawyers retained by his family on his behalf. The United States is also watching to see if China follows through on its promise to investigate Chen’s treatment at the hands of local officials in Shandong over the past seven years. In the longer term, congressional considerations include how the United States should respond to other human rights cases in China, and what place promotion of human rights should have in the overall U.S.-China relationship.

Chen’s saga tested the bilateral relationship and showed it to have a resilience that surprised some observers. When an associate of Chen’s contacted the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 25, 2012, to request help for him, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reportedly personally authorized a mission to rescue Chen from the streets of Beijing and bring him into the U.S. Embassy compound for assessment by U.S. medical personnel. That move plunged the United States and China into three weeks of high-stakes diplomacy over Chen’s fate. With the two countries’ premier bilateral dialogue, the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, scheduled for May 3 and 4, 2012, in Beijing, diplomats for the two sides engaged in tense negotiations. Moving at a rapid pace, they produced a detailed and highly unusual set of understandings under which the Chinese government committed to relocate Chen to a “safe environment” away from his home province and offer him the opportunity to study law at one of seven universities, with the Chinese government paying for Chen’s tuition and room and board for him and his family. Chen accepted these verbal understandings—the terms of which China never publicly confirmed—and left the Embassy after six days for a local hospital. Hours later, Chen changed his mind about staying in China, occasioning another round of negotiations. Those negotiations produced a subsequent understanding, under which the Chinese government said publicly that Chen was free to apply for documents to study abroad. Chen, his wife Yuan Weijing, and their two children arrived in the United States on May 19, 2012. Chen plans to study law at New York University.

This report begins by examining implications of the Chen case for the place of human rights in U.S.-China relations. It then discusses why Beijing may have been willing to negotiate with the United States at all over the fate of a Chinese citizen inside China. The report highlights the remaining issues in the case, details the understandings reached between the two governments, and then provides background on Chen Guangcheng and a list of his family and other associates in China who may be at risk. The report includes a map showing Chen’s home district and Beijing, the city to which he escaped. It also includes a timeline of developments in the case from April 20, 2012, until May 19, 2012, based upon information available at the time of publication.



Date of Report: May 29, 2012
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R42554
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.