Robert A. Manning

  • Airport Clash Raises Fear of Violent Crackdown in Hong Kong

    Months-long demonstrations in Hong Kong escalated on August 13, when riot police and protestors clashed in Hong Kong’s international airport. Demonstrators began occupying the airport on August 9, the latest move in a protest campaign that began in June. The violent encounters between protestors and riot police could spark a crackdown by Chinese authorities, Atlantic Council resident senior fellow Robert A. Manning said, adding that “this will not end well.”


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  • Trump Announces More Tariffs to Put Pressure on Beijing

    US President Donald J. Trump escalated his growing trade dispute with China on August 1, announcing that the United States would place additional tariffs of 10 percent on the so far un-tariffed $300 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods, effective September 1. These tariffs will be added to the 25 percent tariffs already on $250 billion dollars of goods, meaning that nearly all Chinese exports to the United States could be facing tariffs.


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  • New Missile Tests Cast Doubt on North Korea’s Commitment to Nuclear Talks

    New missile launches from North Korea could derail US President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to restart talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The tests are “another sign that [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un believes he has the upper hand over Trump and that the administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ strategy isn’t working,” according to Alexander Vershbow, an Atlantic Council distinguished fellow and former US ambassador to South Korea.

    According to South Korean officials, two short-range missiles were fired from the east coast of North Korea on July 25, landing harmlessly in the sea. Seoul has suggested that these missiles could be a “new type of missile,” design but likely are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions barring North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.  In addition to the tests, North Korea released images on July 23 of a new submarine, which could be large enough to carry nuclear-armed missiles. The July 25 missile tests are the first reported since several other short-range missiles were fired on May 4.


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  • With One Small Step, Trump Makes History in North Korea

    Trump, Kim agree to restart nuclear negotiations

    On June 30, Donald J. Trump became the first US president to set foot in North Korea. Trump made history when stepped across a low concrete marker accompanied by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and walked a few steps into the North. The two leaders agreed to have their negotiators resume an effort to reach what has so far been an elusive nuclear deal.

    “The United States, under the Trump administration, has disrupted the longstanding, but failing, US policies of past administrations by seeking to build trust from the top down,” said Barry Pavel, senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair, and director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

    “This was helpful for reducing the near-term threat, but so far it is unclear whether it will help to achieve the denuclearization that we seek,” said Pavel. “How much trust building will be required before North Korea begins the process of denuclearization? Certainly, today’s ceremony and symbolism is not unhelpful, but it is unclear how and when this path will lead to a nuclear-free North Korea.”


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  • Can Xi’s Visit to North Korea Facilitate US-China Trade Talks?

    Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to North Korea this week will underscore Beijing’s clout in Pyongyang and, by doing so, Xi may be looking to re-energize a US effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and gain leverage in stalled US-China trade negotiations.

    “President Xi recognizes that closer relations with North Korea’s leader will give China additional leverage in its ongoing [trade] dispute with the United States,” said Jamie Metzl, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.


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  • Dial 911: Trump’s Telecommunications National Emergency

    US President Donald J. Trump on May 15 declared a “national emergency” that gives his administration the power to prevent US companies from doing business with foreign suppliers, including, potentially, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. The decision is likely to exacerbate tensions with China with which the United States is currently engaged in a trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs.


    In an executive order, Trump wrote: “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services… in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people.” 


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  • The Huawei Challenge

    Despite an effort by the United States to persuade its friends and allies not to use 5G wireless communications technology developed by Huawei, many will find it hard to avoid doing business with the Chinese telecom giant altogether.

    Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, explains: “It will be difficult to avoid licensing any Huawei or Chinese 5G technology as Chinese firms hold 37 percent of all 5G patents.”

    Huawei, for instance, said Manning, “has over 1,000 patents, so many nations and carriers may have little choice but to license some Chinese 5G technology.”


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  • Trump's Reversal of North Korea Sanctions Sends a Dangerous Signal

    US President Donald J. Trump’s stunning decision to reverse Treasury sanctions on North Korea because he “likes” Kim Jong-un sends a troubling message to the United States’ friends and foes.

    “Hard to believe, but the president is undercutting his own policy of maximum pressure/maximum diplomacy, which was arguable sound, in favor, it seems, of an obsequious gesture,” said Daniel Fried, a distinguished senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center who as the State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy crafted US sanctions against Russia, the largest US sanctions program to date, and negotiated the imposition of similar sanctions by Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia. 


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  • Manning quoted in Voice of America on North Korea's economic development goals


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  • Manning in Global Times: All frontline states needed to resolve NK issue


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