November 05, 2004

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Time is having a look at the Bush agenda for Asia for the next four years. As you'd expect there's nothing new. On China Bush needs to cement relations with President Hu, continue working with them on North Korea and avoid protectionism in dealing with the trade surplus. In return Bush might hope for Chinese political reform, but that is extremely unlikely to happen in the next 4 years. On Korea it is clear the North were hoping for a Kerry victory. Now there will be an escalation in the tensions with the North likely to continue to push brinkmanship and testing American limits. There is a wedge at the moment between Ameriac and the others in the 6 party talks, and the North will exploit those differences. It wouldn't surprise if the North provoked a deliberate crisis and the USA will need to consider more assertive options such as sanctions, a blockade or military action. There's more on Afghanistan/Pakistan, the Asian economy and the outsourcing debate, with many Asia economies relieved the protectionist rhetoric of Kerry didn't succeed.

What is interesting is the two major areas that are ommitted from the analysis: South Korea and Japan. The movement of US troops based in South Korea, Japan's push to be more assertive diplomatically and Japan's economic recovery are all also important Asia issues for the next Bush administration. Bush's re-election means at the moment it is business as usual. The main indication of changes will only come once he announces his new Secretaries of State and Defence and new National Security Advisor.

posted by Simon on 11.05.04 at 11:50 AM in the


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