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Summit Diplomacy in Asia

Inside our December 2018 issue: Cover Package, Features, In Focus and Book Reviews

  • Letter from the Editors

    In looking back at the practice of diplomacy in 2018, it wouldn’t be farfetched to dub it “The Year of the Summit,” particularly in Asia, as the introduction to our cover package argues.

     

    The year opened with the world fearing a possible military conflict on the Korean Peninsula following months of heated rhetoric from US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But as was quickly shown by the subsequent summits between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim, and between Trump and Kim, dialogue among leaders determined to change the course of events can have an impact on re-calibrating discourse, even when the thorniest differences remain. Only the future will tell where current efforts to address the many contentious issues on the Korean Peninsula will lead, but if they ultimately succeed — even several years hence — the high-level meetings that marked 2018 will be seen as historic examples of the power and promise of summit diplomacy.

     

    In this issue of Global Asia, we take an in-depth look at the exercise of summit diplomacy in Asia, not just with regard to the Korean Peninsula, but also to the many issues that threaten stability in relations among China, Japan and South Korea, as well as the wider role of the United States in the region. We expand the remit of that inquiry in our In Focus section, examining the emergence in recent years of a variety of forums that are increasingly institutionalizing summit diplomacy in Asia — from the Shanghai Co-operation Organization to the Belt and Road Initiative to regional trade negotiations. This complex mosaic of summitry is vital in its own right as an opportunity for high-level dialogue, but also threatens to become a venue in which the regional rivalry between China and the US could play out.

     

    The articles on summit diplomacy presented here have their origin in a conference held on Oct. 29, 2018, at the University of California, San Diego, sponsored by the School of Global Policy and Strategy, the Korea-Pacific Program and The Asia Research Fund.

     

    In our Features section, we explore the implications of China’s inland nuclear-power policies for developing countries, as China seeks not only to vastly expand the development of nuclear plants along its inland waterways, but to export that technology to emerging economies around the globe; we examine in detail Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s determined effort to amend Article 9 of the country’s constitution, which prohibits Japan from going to war and maintaining a military, and ask whether those efforts really matter, after all; we reveal the complex challenges India and Japan face in seeking to navigate the Great Power rivalry between China and the US; and we lay out the extent of the risks that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest assault on a prominent journalist means for freedom of the press in one of Asia’s bastions of a vibrant media.

     

    Our book review section, meanwhile, highlights a wide range of the most engaging recent works on Asia.

     

    Sincerely yours,

     

    Chung-in Moon

    Editor-in-Chief

     

    David Plott

    Managing Editor

    See What’s in Our Latest Issue
OUR CURRENT AFFAIRS BLOG

Our online home for expert analysis and commentary on current affairs in Asia.

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    Why Reopening Kaesong Would Be Counterproductive

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