Negotiators from 14 Indo-Pacific nations concluded negotiations in substance on a new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Supply Chain Agreement. At a ministerial-level meeting on the margins of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum gathering in Detroit, Michigan, IPEF parties released a statement outlining major contours of the agreement. The first of four potential agreements that the United States aims to conclude under IPEF, the supply chains agreement represents a positive step toward further economic integration in the Indo-Pacific. However, questions remain about how binding or impactful the supply chains agreement will be and which additional agreements will come to fruition under the framework this year.
Q1: What did IPEF partners agree to under the new Supply Chains Agreement?
Anthony Albanese, Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak announce the Aukus nuclear-powered submarine deal in San Diego. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/AP
In a tripartite deal with the US and the UK, Australia has unveiled a plan to acquire a fleet of up to eight nuclear-powered submarines, forecast to cost up to $368bn between now and the mid-2050s. Australia will spend $9bn over the next four years.
From this year Australian military and civilian personnel will embed with US and UK navies, including within both countries’ submarine industrial bases. From 2027 the UK and the US plan to rotate their nuclear-powered submarines through HMAS Stirling near Perth as part of a push to step up training of Australians.
By Tran Đinh Hoanh Tran Đinh Hoanh is an international litigator and writer in Washington DC.
[TĐH: I’ve tried to make this piece ultra-short, simple, and easy
to remember, with sufficient citations for those who’d like to dig
deeper into UNCLOS]
During China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 13, he responded to a Bloomberg question concerning the legal status of the Taiwan Strait. Asked about Chinese military officials’ contention that the Taiwan Strait does not constitute “international waters,” he said that Taiwan is “an inalienable part of China’s territory. …According to UNCLOS and Chinese laws, the waters of the Taiwan Strait, extending from both shores toward the middle of the Strait, are divided into several zones including internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, and the Exclusive Economic Zone. China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait.”
He went on to say that calling the strait international waters is “a false claim” by “certain countries” searching for a pretext for “threatening China’s sovereignty and security.”
Responding to widespread criticism of the Biden administration’s paltry offer of funding for Southeast Asian partners at a recent summit, a wise friend offered a colorful metaphor: “If we’re dating and I sense that you’re being transactional, then I want you to take me to the best restaurant in town and get the priciest bottle of wine. If you want a long-term relationship, buy me a cheap bottle of Chianti and we can sit on the roof and watch the sunset.”
My friend is right: no amount of money will win hearts and minds in the vital Indo-Pacific region unless it comes with a credible demonstration of long-term commitment to the region.
In late May, the Joe Biden administration launched its first major trade initiative: the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The IPEF is billed as an effort to expand U.S. economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific region. This was also the objective of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal that was negotiated during the Barack Obama administration. But President Donald Trump withdrew from the TPP in 2017, and the Biden administration has made clear that it does not intend to reenter that trade pact, which is now renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP.
By Graeme DobellGraeme Dobell (email@example.com) is Journalist Fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. He has been reporting on Australian and international politics, foreign affairs and defense, and the Asia-Pacific since 1975.
Australia’s election: Quad continuity and climate alignment, with nuclear disagreements
Sworn-in as Australia’s new prime minister, within hours Anthony Albanese was flying to Japan for the summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”).
An accident of timing—the May 24 summit following Australia’s May 21 election—offered the leader of the Australian Labor Party plenty of flying-start symbolism.
On February 11, 2022, the Biden administration released its Indo-Pacific Strategy. The document covers a vast geographic area including many nations and touches on a wide range of issues. What does the new strategy mean for U.S.-Vietnam cooperation?
The strategy names Vietnam as one of the United States’ leading regional partners. Keen observers have anticipated the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership signed in 2013 to be upgraded to a strategic partnership. Although some U.S. and Vietnamese officials have said that the name does not matter, formally upgrading to a strategic partnership with a written joint statement will assure both sides’ commitments.
Vietnam’s digital economy is rapidly expanding. In 2011, only 35 percent of the Vietnamese population used the internet, which doubled to 70 percent by 2020. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2021 report, 71 percent of Vietnamese internet users have made at least one purchase online. The report projected Vietnam’s gross merchandise value (GMV) to reach a total value of $21 billion in 2021, when all sectors, except online travel, experienced double-digit growth. E-commerce is leading the pack, with a 53 percent increase from $8 billion to $13 billion. Vietnam’s GMV is expected to grow from $21 billion in 2021 to $57 billion in 2025.
Today, we – Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, and President Joe Biden of the United States – convene in Tokyo to renew our steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.
Just over one year ago, Leaders met for the first time. Today in Tokyo, we convene for our fourth meeting, and our second in person, to demonstrate, at a time of profound global challenge, that the Quad is a force for good, committed to bringing tangible benefits to the region. In our first year of cooperation, we established the Quad’s dedication to a positive and practical agenda; in our second year, we are committed to deliver on this promise, making the region more resilient for the 21st century.
President Biden in Japan.Doug Mills/The New York Times
Biden in Asia
The politics of trade policy have become toxic in the U.S.
For decades, the mainstream of both the Democratic and Republican parties favored expanding trade between the U.S. and other countries. Greater globalization, these politicians promised, would increase economic growth — and with the bounty from that growth, the country could compensate any workers who suffered from increased trade. But it didn’t work out that way.
Hiệp định Đối tác tăng cường an ninh ba bên giữa Mỹ, Anh và Australia (AUKUS) có phiên âm khá thú vị (ô kis) – “Hôn nhau cái nào” – đến mức Tổng thống Biden cũng cảm thấy thích thú khi phát âm tên liên minh mới trong bài diễn văn đánh dấu sự ra đời của AUKUS.
Tuy nhiên, việc thành lập AUKUS thì hoàn toàn nghiêm túc, chẳng “lãng mạn” chút nào, và là kết quả của những nỗ lực thương lượng không ngừng nghỉ trong nhiều tháng trước đó của quan chức cấp cao 3 nước, trước khi AUKUS chính thức ra đời ngày 15/9/2021 vừa qua.
Tạm thời có thể rút ra 10 nhận xét nhanh từ sự ra đời của AUKUS như sau:
Indonesia’s environment ministry has terminated its forest conservation partnership with WWF, citing the organization’s violations of their agreement.
But the spat appears to have been inflamed by high-profile social media posts that praised WWF Indonesia’s work to tackle forest fires last year during a period in which government efforts faced widespread criticism.
WWF Indonesia has operated in Indonesia for more than 50 years, and its ongoing programs with other government institutions remain unaffected by the environment ministry’s move.
In this two-part series, Dr. Amy Searight, senior adviser and director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program, previews five key issues to watch in Southeast Asia in 2020. This installment addresses U.S.-ASEAN relations, climate change and the imperiled Mekong, and domestic politics. The next installment will cover economic trends and developments in the digital space.
Can Trump Reset U.S.-ASEAN Relations?
Disappointingly, 2019 was a pretty bad year for U.S.-ASEAN relations. Trump had a promising start in his first year in office, hosting four Southeast Asian leaders in the White House, traveling to Vietnam and the Philippines to unveil his “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” vision, and holding a U.S.-ASEAN summit. But Trump’s interest in Southeast Asia has since appeared to wane considerably. Although Trump traveled to Vietnam in February for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he later called Vietnam the “single worst abuser” in trade relations with the United States. In November, President Trump skipped the East Asian Summit (EAS) for the third straight year, sending National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien instead. Trump’s absence in Bangkok and the historically low level of diplomatic representation at the summit ruffled a lot of feathers within ASEAN and led most of the Southeast Asian leaders to snub the U.S.-ASEAN summit held on the sidelines of the EAS (only Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos attended at the leader level). ASEAN’s disenchantment with the level of U.S. engagement came just as China was gaining new traction in the region, with a revamped Belt and Road Initiative that appeared to address regional concerns and progress toward launching the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade agreement between ASEAN, China, and four other regional trade partners. Tiếp tục đọc “Southeast Asia in 2020: Issues to Watch, Part 1”→
China unveiled the concept for the Twenty-First Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) in 2013 as a development strategy to boost infrastructure connectivity throughout Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Indian Ocean, and East Africa. The MSR is the maritime complement to the Silk Road Economic Belt, which focuses on infrastructure development across Central Asia. Together these initiatives form the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative designed to enhance China’s influence across Asia. Tiếp tục đọc “China’s Maritime Silk Road: Strategic and Economic Implications for the Indo-Pacific Region”→