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Monday, October 7, 2013

Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments

Shirley A. Kan
Specialist in Asian Security Affairs

Since 2000, the U.S. military has been building up forward-deployed forces on the westernmost U.S. territory of Guam to increase U.S. operational presence, deterrence, and power projection for potential responses to crises and disasters, counterterrorism, and contingencies in support of South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, or elsewhere in Asia. Since 2006, joint exercises based at Guam called “Valiant Shield” have boosted U.S. military readiness in the Pacific. The defense buildup on Guam has been moderate. China has concerns about Guam’s buildup, suspecting it to be directed against China. There has been concern that China and North Korea could target Guam with missiles. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has increased activities in waters around Guam. Still, Guam’s role increased in engaging with the PLA.

In 2006, the United States and Japan agreed on a Realignment Roadmap to strengthen their alliance, including a buildup on Guam to cost $10.3 billion, with Japan contributing 60%. Goals were to start the related construction on Guam by 2010 and to complete relocation of about 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam by 2014. In Tokyo on February 17, 2009, the Secretary of State signed the bilateral “Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Japan Concerning the Implementation of the Relocation of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Personnel and Their Dependents From Okinawa to Guam” that reaffirmed the “Roadmap” of May 1, 2006.

However, completion of the marines’ relocation by 2014 would be unlikely, and the original realignment actually would have involved more than moving 8,000 marines to Guam. Japan’s dispute over the location on Okinawa of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) to replace the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma raised implications for the relocation of marines from Okinawa to Guam. Nonetheless, despite the dispute over the FRF, Japan has budgeted for its contributions to the marines’ relocation to Guam.

By 2011, some Members urged attention to concerns that included Japan’s impasse, expanded costs, and the delay in the realignment even as the U.S. military presence and readiness remain critical. On May 11, 2011, Senators Carl Levin, John McCain, and Jim Webb called for a review of plans to restructure military forces in South Korea, Japan, and Guam. President Obama issued in January 2012 the defense guidance for the strategy of “rebalancing” diplomatic, defense, and economic priorities more to the Asia-Pacific region. Finally, on February 8, the United States and Japan agreed to “adjust” the Roadmap and separate the move of marines from the plan for the FRF, in order to make progress separately. A U.S.-Japan Joint Statement of April 2012 specified that out of about 9,000 marines to be relocated from Okinawa, about 5,000 marines would move to Guam. Out of the new estimated cost of $8.6 billion, Japan would contribute $3.1 billion. In March 2013, the Commander of the Pacific Command (PACOM) testified to Congress that he estimated the completion of movement of marines to Guam by 2020.

Facing North Korea’s announced missile threats against Guam in March 2013, the Defense Department announced on April 3 that it would deploy to Guam within weeks a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system as a precautionary measure to improve defenses against North Korea’s missile threat.

Legislation includes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2014, H.R. 1960 and S. 1197. For further discussion, see the section on legislation. Updated as warranted, this CRS Report discusses major developments and policy issues related to the defense buildup.

Date of Report: September 27, 2013
Number of Pages: 28
Order Number: RS22570
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Friday, October 4, 2013

U.S. Sanctions on Burma: Issues for the 113th Congress

Michael F. Martin
Specialist Asian Affairs

In March 2011, Burma’s ruling military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) formally dissolved itself and transferred power to a semi-military/semi-civilian government known as the Union Government, headed by President Thein Sein, ex-general and former prime minister for the SPDC. President Thein Sein, with the support of Burma’s Union Parliament, has implemented a number of political and economic reforms, to which the Obama Administration has responded by waiving or easing sanctions.

Although the presidential waivers effectively lift the sanctions, they do not revoke or remove the sanctions, which can be reimposed at any time. Various recent developments in Burma have sparked a general reexamination of U.S. policy towards Burma, and a discussion of whether U.S. sanctions continue to be an effective means of achieving policy goals or effecting change in Burma. However, the continuation of serious human rights abuses has raised questions about the extent to which there has been significant political change in Burma, and if the easing of sanctions has been warranted.

The United States is nearing the limits of steps it can take to ease Burma sanctions without Congress passing new legislation. Thus, President Obama may approach Congress about the selective repeal or removal of one or more of the current sanctions on Burma. The 113
th Congress allowed some of the sanctions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 to expire on July 26, 2013, when it did not pass an annual renewal resolution. The 113th Congress may consider either the imposition of additional sanctions or the removal of the remaining sanctions on Burma, depending on the conduct of the Burmese government and other developments in the country.

The current U.S. sanctions on Burma were enacted, for the most part, due to what the U.S. government saw as a general disregard by the SPDC for the human rights and civil liberties of the people of Burma. Burma-specific sanctions began following the Burmese military’s violent suppression of popular protests in 1988, and have continued through several subsequent periods in which Congress perceived major human rights violations in Burma. The result is a web of overlapping sanctions with differing restrictions, waiver provisions, expiration conditions, and reporting requirements.

Existing U.S. sanctions on Burma are based on various U.S. laws and presidential executive orders. They can be generally divided into several broad categories, such as visa bans, restrictions on financial services, prohibitions of Burmese imported goods, a ban on new investments in Burma, and constraints on U.S. assistance to Burma. This report provides a brief history of U.S. policy towards Burma and the development of U.S. sanctions, a topical summary of those sanctions, and an overview of actions taken to waive or ease those sanctions by the Obama Administration. The report concludes with a discussion of actions taken by the 112
th Congress and options for the 113th Congress.

In addition to the targeted sanctions, Burma may be subject to certain sanctions specified in U.S. laws addressing various functional issues, such as the use of child soldiers, drug trafficking, human trafficking. In many cases, the type of assistance or relations restricted or prohibited by these provisions is also addressed under Burma-specific sanction laws. Finally, Congress has used appropriation legislation to restrict or prevent the use of designated funds in Burma. This report will be updated as conditions warrant.

Date of Report: September 13, 2013
Number of Pages: 47
Order Number: R42939
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation

Emma Chanlett-Avery
Specialist in Asian Affairs

Ian E. Rinehart
Analyst in Asian Affairs

North Korea has been among the most vexing and persistent problems in U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. The United States has never had formal diplomatic relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the official name for North Korea). Negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have occupied the past three U.S. administrations, even as some analysts anticipated a collapse of the isolated authoritarian regime. North Korea has been the recipient of well over $1 billion in U.S. aid and the target of dozens of U.S. sanctions.

This report provides background information on the negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program that began in the early 1990s under the Clinton Administration. As U.S. policy toward Pyongyang evolved through the George W. Bush and Obama presidencies, the negotiations moved from mostly bilateral to the multilateral Six-Party Talks (made up of China, Japan, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States). Although the negotiations have reached some key agreements that lay out deals for aid and recognition to North Korea in exchange for denuclearization, major problems with implementation have persisted. With Six- Party Talks suspended since 2009, concern about proliferation to other actors has grown.

After Kim Jong-il’s death in December 2011, his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, has consolidated his authority as supreme leader. Bilateral agreements with the United States in February 2012 involving the provision of aid and freezing some nuclear activities fell apart after Pyongyang launched a rocket in April 2012. Prospects for further negotiations dimmed further after another, more successful, launch in December 2012 and a third nuclear test in February 2013. In response to new U.N. sanctions, Pyongyang sharply escalated its rhetoric and took a number of provocative steps. The U.S. reaction included muscular displays of its military commitments to defend South Korea and moves to bolster its missile defense capabilities.

North Korea’s actions present renewed questions for the Obama Administration. Does the nuclear test, along with a successful missile launch last year, fundamentally change the strategic calculus? Has North Korea’s capacity to hurt U.S. interests, up to and including a strike on the United States itself, increased to the point that military options will be considered more carefully? Is returning to the Six-Party Talks, dormant since 2008, still a goal? Relatedly, does the United States need a strategy that relies less on Beijing’s willingness to punish Pyongyang? Do North Korea’s nuclear advances mean that the policy of “strategic patience” is too risky to continue? More broadly, to what degree should the United States attempt to isolate the regime diplomatically and financially? Should those efforts be balanced with engagement initiatives that continue to push for steps toward denuclearization? Have the North’s nuclear and missile tests and attacks on South Korea demonstrated that regime change is the only way to peaceful resolution?

Although the primary focus of U.S. policy toward North Korea is the nuclear weapons program, there are a host of other issues, including Pyongyang’s missile programs, illicit activities, violent provocations inflicted upon South Korea, and abysmal human rights record. Modest attempts at engaging North Korea remain suspended along with the nuclear negotiations.

This report will be updated periodically. (This report covers the overall U.S.-North Korea relationship, with an emphasis on nuclear diplomacy. For information on the technical issues involved in North Korea’s weapons programs and delivery systems, as well as the steps involved in denuclearization, please see the companion piece to this report, CRS Report RL34256, North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons: Technical Issues, by Mary Beth D. Nikitin. Please refer to the list at the end of this report for CRS reports focusing on other North Korean issues.)

Date of Report: September 13, 2013
Number of Pages: 26
Order Number: R41259
Price: $29.95

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