• A Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy

    In November 2017, when President Trump visited Japan, Prime Minister Abe and President Trump agreed to work together to promote peace and prosperity in the region by developing the Indo-Pacific as free and open. In addition, particularly after President Trump gave a speech at the APEC CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, on November 10th, the concept of a "free and open Indo-Pacific" moved squarely into the spotlight and became a priority for policy makers of the United States and Japan. The two countries are about to initiate the process of elaborating this concept, and much work lies ahead, including how to coordinate their focus and approach, how to divide their roles, and how to conduct outreach to allies and partners.

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  • Gopalaswamy Quoted in iNews on New Competitors in the Space Race: India, Japan, and China

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  • TRADE IN ACTION November 10

    Tusk Trade Tile
    This week’s news has been dominated by President Trump’s trip to Asia

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  • TRADE IN ACTION November 6

    Japan Trade Tile
    The Bank of England is expecting that up to 75,000 jobs could be lost in financial services following Britain’s departure from the EU. 

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  • Trump Goes to Asia: An Opportunity to Assert US Leadership

    On his first full business day as president, Donald J. Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade agreement with eleven other Asia-Pacific nations that was viewed as a pillar of US commitment to Asia.

    At the height of a nuclear crisis with North Korea, he instructed his advisers to pull the United States out of a free-trade pact with South Korea, a longtime US ally.

    Further, he ratcheted up the rhetoric with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s mercurial leader, who conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of international condemnation.

    Compare these actions with his eagerness to engage Asian leaders. Even before he assumed office, Trump met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He has also hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, met South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan o-cha, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Thuc at the White House. In addition, Trump had “a very friendly” phone call with the Philippines controversial leader Rodrigo Duterte who has been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.

    Trump’s actions and rhetoric have left the region feeling uneasy. By rejecting TPP, he removed a key pillar of Obama’s “rebalance” toward Asia, but has yet to articulate his own Asia strategy.

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  • TRADE IN ACTION October 30

    Last Friday, just shortly before President Donald Trump arrives in Beijing in early November, the Commerce Department hit imports of Chinese aluminum foil with preliminary anti-dumping duties, ranging from 97 percent to more than 162 percent. 

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  • A Strategy for Dealing with North Korea

    Former US undersecretary of state, R. Nicholas Burns, discusses US options, the importance of Chinese pressure, and lessons learned from the Iran nuclear crisis

    New sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on September 11 in response to North Korea’s latest nuclear test are “not significant enough,” according to R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board member who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

    Sanctions must be part of a “patient long-term strategy” that includes deterrence, working closely with allies, and negotiations, said Burns, laying out the United States’ options for dealing with the North Korean crisis. 

    Capping a summer marked by defiant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un dramatically escalated the crisis on September 3 by successfully testing a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that is capable of being placed on an ICBM. On September 15, North Korea launched a missile over Japan—it's second such act in just over two weeks. The test was in defiance of a fresh round of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on North Korea earlier in September. 

    As the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department from 2005 to 2008, Burns was the lead US negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. Drawing on that experience, he emphasized the need for a multilateral approach to defuse the North Korean crisis. China, he said, would be a critical player in such an approach.

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  • The United States’ ‘Horrible Options’ for Dealing with North Korea

    With Kim Jong-un ratcheting up tensions on the Korean Peninsula, US President Donald J. Trump is left with two “horrible” options to deal with the threat posed by the North Korean regime, according to Atlantic Council board member and a former acting and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Michael Morell.

    Acknowledging that he has “serious doubts” about the effectiveness of diplomacy to defuse the crisis, Morell said that a non-diplomatic solution leaves the United States with less than palatable alternatives. Washington would have to weigh the options of conducting a pre-emptive strike on North Korea’s missiles and nuclear facilities, or accepting the fact that North Korea has these capabilities and using a strategy of containment and deterrence.

    Both options could leave thousands of people dead, Morell said. “Both options are horrible options. The problem is, it looks like the president of the United States is going to have to choose one of them,” he added.

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  • North Korea Tests Donald Trump

    North Korea’s missile test over Japan on August 29 came “perilously close” to being an act of war; the question now is how will US President Donald J. Trump react, said the Atlantic Council’s Robert A. Manning.

    In response to past North Korean missile tests, Trump vowed to rain down “fire and fury”  on the hermit kingdom. After the latest test on Aug. 29, he warned Pyongyang that “all options are on the table.”

    “[North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un has threatened to fire missiles at Guam, but the North Koreans are very careful to calibrate their actions so that they fall just under the threshold that would force a US response. However, I think this time there is an accumulation of frustration and anger building in the White House,” said Manning, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Guam is a US territory and home to the United States’ Andersen Air Force Base.

    Noting Trump’s past rhetoric on North Korea, Manning said: “The missile test is the equivalent of [North Korean leader] Kim [Jong-un] throwing a pie in his face.”

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  • The ‘Existential Threat’ Posed by North Korea

    The Pentagon has confirmed that North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 28. The missile, which landed in the sea off the Japanese coast, flew higher and for longer than the one North Korea tested on July 4. This means it could hit cities in the United States.

    Here is what Atlantic Council analysts had to say about this development.

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