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  • Posts Tagged ‘PRC’

    The End of the “One China” Policy?: Trump Using The “One China” Policy as a Bargaining Chip

    December 5th, 2016  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    In recent days, US President-elect Trump has received criticism both domestically and internationally over his recent phone call from Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-wen.
    Given that the US has recognized a “One China” policy since 1979, what could be the meaning of Trump’s latest actions–defying decades of existing apparent political protocol?
    This is a broad question that will be further delineated from an apolitical perspective using a “negotiator’s lens.” As a self-professed negotiator, Trump has taken the view that “everything’s negotiable,” the following reasons could underly the President-elect’s decision to speak directly with Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen.
    1. Why would Trump receive a call from Taiwan’s Tsai, given the potential for antagonizing China?
    The answer is simple. Trump spoke with Tsai to increase Trump’s bargaining power over China.
    From a negotiation perspective, China has generally viewed its nearly four decade “One China” policy with the US as a given. The One China Policy–negotiated by Kissinger and Nixon in the 1970s–is a policy that is viewed with great weight and pride by Beijing. After all, it is arguably because of the US-PRC’s One China policy that allowed China to definitively assert itself from a regional to a global purview as a diplomatic–as well as economic and military–powerhouse.
    By following long-held diplomatic protocol, Trump most likely took the view that the US would gain relatively little, if anything at all, as a new negotiator-in-chief. Even with the One China policy in a status quo state under the current Obama administration, tensions between the US and PRC have, if anything, escalated in the form of increased military tensions and posturing both in and outside the Asia-Pacific region.
    Why not then—from Trump’s negotiator’s mindset perspective—remind Beijing not to take the One China policy for granted? Why not remind Xi Jingping of the possible, albeit remote, risk of the US increasingly and purposely, as a negotiation strategy, taking greater notice of Taiwan? Even if such overtures from Trump towards Taiwan fall slightly short of an outright reneging on the One China policy, such negotiation tactic can increase the US’s negotiation power vis-a-vis Beijing. This could translate into greater terms and conditions for the US regarding things it wants from China now or in the future.
    As a rough analogy, imagine you are a partner for a large firm undergoing a perfunctory yearly performance review. Under normal circumstances, your mind would normally be preoccupied with the possible upsides that you hope to receive from your other partners (negotiation counterparties), such as the amount of your yearly bonus. But instead, imagine that the firm’s partners instead tell you that there’s a chance that you could be fired. Thereafter, after you go through various nightmare scenarios in your head of you looking for a new job, finding ways to support your family, and/or seek ways to live on your current savings, the partners thereafter inform you, “Well, congratulations, after some internal contemplation, you’re not fired after all; you get to keep your job, with all its current rights and obligations.” The outcome is still the same–the status quo. But surely, you will agree that such an unexpected and shocking review process will now serve as a renewed impetus towards dealmaking on behalf of the firm in the future.
    2. Why did Trump not follow traditional diplomatic protocol as suggested by certain experts and bureaucrats, including the US State Department?
    Tradition and protocol is good until it is not. In other words, the benefits of diplomatic tradition and protocol may, at a certain point, be outweighed by its constraints. This type of thinking is why so many of the best and brightest minds from around the world have constantly sought to seek US shores, rather than other countries, for jobs, education, and citizenship. It is because traditions and protocols that originally acted as fundamental pillars within certain societies suddenly became weighted tipping points and constraints in terms of limitations on individual and economic freedoms. This was certainly the case with the US colonies when it was ruled by the UK monarchy, leading to the Declaration of Independence and the formation of a new republic.
    As a political presidential candidate, Trump represented the epitome of an unorthodox political candidate. Trump’s supporters liked him not because he followed protocol in terms of his speeches and rhetoric, but to the contrary, because he challenged the norm, status quo, and political elitism.
    It should thus be no surprise then that Trump, now as President-elect, is trying to “think different” by not following the typical dog-and-pony show that certainly can exist in bureaucratic circles in Washington, DC, Beijing, and elsewhere.
    Why do such protocols exist in Washington, DC? From a negotiation theory perspective, it is based on a “not-to-lose” negotiation mindset, known as a dispute settlement negotiation (DSN) mindset, as opposed to a “play-to-win” negotiation mindset, known as a deal-making negotiation (DMN) mindset.
    A “not-to-lose” DSN mindset is often the mindset of cautious bureaucrats who fear risk rather than seek opportunity. Such a mindset is often based on a working assumption that the status quo (par) is as good as things can generally get. However, such extreme caution can lead to the tangible risk of missed opportunities and gains by taking a “play-to-win” DMN mindset–the type of dealmaking mindset that President-elect Trump proclaims to have, and appears to be taking based from his past business dealmaking experience.
    3. Could Trump’s perceived lack of possible diplomatic predictability lead to “lost in translation” communications between the US and its allies and foes?
    The short answer is yes. However, the rest of the world will adjust. This may seem somewhat pompous and arrogant, but it is true. The US, in the era of Pax Americana, is the world leader in terms of military, economic, and diplomatic might. For many countries, particularly non-liberal democracies, the election of a potentially new US president every four years is often perceived as a relatively frequent affair compared to the potential life-long tenure of an undemocratically elected dictator, king, or military ruler. And with what is often the case with an incoming US president from a competing political party, such new president will not only be busy trying to undo his predecessor president, but also have a unique personality and style while in the Oval Office, and thus, in communicating with world leaders.
    Presidential candidate Trump has already used very direct language during the course of his 2016 campaign, including those directly aimed against Beijing. But Beijing is so far not in apparent panic mode. So far, China’s leaders have more or less taken a “wait and see” patient approach–a wise, strategic move. The world should follow suit.
    Maybe President Trump will adjust his language, tenor, and approach once in the White House, maybe not. But one virtue of being the world’s most powerful man in the world’s most powerful nation, is that the world will adjust, if anything because the world has little choice but to adjust to the style of a new US president.

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    South Korea-China trust process needed: Why the two countries are mutually dependent

    April 16th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    Below is an article by Jaeho Hwang, PhD of the Asia-Pacific Global Research Group.
    In the article, Jaeho Hwang argues for closer ties between South Korea and China.
    Original title : Korea-China trust process needed: Why the two countries are mutually dependent (신뢰프로세스도 필요)
    Date :March 03, 2013 (Kyunghyang Shinmun; 경향 신문)
    Written By : Jae-Ho Hwang, PhD (황재호): Professor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS); Asia-Pacific Global Research Group
    [English summary translation below]:
    There should be a trust process as it relates to Korea-China relations.
    Recently, in both China and South Korea, new leaders have been chosen for each respective country. From China’s perspective, South Korean president Park Geun-hye is viewed as a good partner who considers stability of critical importance. If South Korea sets a good geopolitical strategy for the Korean Peninsula, the relationship between South Korea and China could go forward in a credible manner.
    However, as China is less likely to change its policy on North Korea, South Korea should not force China to change its stance on Sino-DPRK relations. If South Korea attempted such move, it would worsen Sino-South Korean relations. Instead, South Korea should initiate a credible-based approach towards the proposed confidence and trust building process.

    [Original Korean language version below]:
    강성대국(强盛大國). 강대하고 번영하는 나라를 건설하는 것이 북한의 오랜 염원이다. 그러나 한자 두 개를 바꾸어보면 전혀 다른 뜻이 된다. 강한(强) 성격(性)의 짝퉁(代) 국가(國)가 바로 북한이다. 국가보다 정권의 생존을 최우선시하며 이를 위해서라면 일부터 저지르고 본다. 외부와의 커뮤니케이션에 서투르고 욱하길 잘한다. 그런 북한이 지난 2월12일 제3차 핵실험을 감행했다. 핵무기의 소형화와 경량화에 좀 더 다가섰다는 평가가 지배적이다.
    이런 북한을 불안하게 바라보는 국가가 있다. 화가 나서 한 대 쥐어박고 싶지만 그럴 수도 없고, 한숨 쉬는 중국이다. 지난 한 주 국내 언론들은 중국의 대북정책 변화 가능성에 대해 많은 보도를 하였다. 중국의 광저우와 선양에서 벌어진 반북 시위, 환구시보의 북한 비난 사설에 이어 북한 포기를 주장한 중앙당교 기관지 부편집인의 영국 파이낸셜타임스 기고문을 집중 보도하였다. 중국의 웨이보(트위터)에서는 지금도 중·북관계의 미래와 관련해 격론이 벌어지고 있다.
    중국 인민들의 반응이 예전과 다른 것은 일정 부분 사실이다. 그러나 중국이 당장 한반도정책을 바꿀 것이라고 믿는 것은 섣부른 기대이다. 중국의 대북 인식이 변하고 있지만 여전히 제한적이다. 일부의 불만을 중국정부의 대북정책 전환으로까지 연결시키는 것에는 무리가 있다.
    북한에 대한 불만은 중국정부도 당연히 크다. 중국이 주중 대사를 외교부에 초치하는 등 무형의 압력을 가했지만 보기 좋게 무시당했다. 그럼에도 중국의 대북정책은 그대로일 수밖에 없다. 중국은 향후 10년을 전략적으로 중요한 시기로 본다. 자국이 실제 G2로 부상하기 위해서는 국내경제 발전에 집중해야 한다. 따라서 주변 안보환경이 안정적이어야 한다. 북한이 자생력만 있다면 그대로 안고 가고자 한다. 섣부른 결정으로 불확실한 낭패를 보고 싶지 않다.
    중국은 북핵문제에서 미국과 공조하는 데 불신을 갖고 있다. 북한의 제1차 핵실험 직후 북한을 제멋대로라고 즉각 비난하면서 미국의 입장에 동조했지만, 미·북은 베를린에서 따로 만나 2·13 합의를 도출했다. 중국의 입장에서는 미국만 믿고 따라가서는 손해 볼 수 있다는 인식이 강하다. 이 때문에 국제사회의 결정에 반보 늦은 행보를 보이고 있다. 중국은 여전히 냉정한 대응과 대화를 강조하면서 군사적 개입 등 강도 높은 제재는 반대한다.
    이제 한·중 양국은 새 지도자를 맞이했다. 안정감을 중시하는 중국 지도자들에게 박근혜 대통령은 좋은 파트너이다. 박 대통령은 3·1절 기념사에서 북한이 추가적 도발을 중지한다면 대화를 시작할 수 있다는 긍정적 메시지를 보냈다. 신정부의 대북정책에 기대를 가지고 있는 중국은 북핵 국면이 끝나는 대로 한국의 건설적인 대북 접근을 기대하고 있다. 한국의 한반도 신뢰프로세스가 합리적인 것으로 판단된다면 북핵을 계기로 양국은 더 큰 협력적인 관계로 나아갈 수 있다.
    단 중국의 대북 입장 변화 가능성이 매우 낮은 상태에서 중국에 입장을 바꾸라고 요구해서는 안될 것이다. 성사도 되지 않을뿐더러 감정만 상하게 된다. 오히려 향후 5년 동안 한국의 대중외교는 한국의 전략적 가치에 주목하게 하고 신뢰를 구축하는 데 집중해야 한다. 한·중 간 신뢰프로세스도 동시에 진행해야 한다.
    첫 5년 시진핑의 대북정책은 신중하고 수세적으로 갈 가능성이 크다. 그러나 시진핑의 후반 5년부터 중국의 대북정책은 공세적이고 선제적일 수 있다. 북한에 끌려가기보다는 북한문제에 전향적인 결정을 할 수 있다. 이때 우리가 원하는 방향으로 중국이 결정을 내리도록 하려면 신뢰를 확실히 구축해야 한다. 강한(强) 성격(性)의 짝퉁(代) 국가(國) ‘북한’보다, 의연하고 굳건한(剛) 성격(性)으로 큰 일을 준비하고 기다리는(待) 국가(國), 즉 또 다른 강성대국 ‘한국’과 한반도 대사를 논할 수 있겠다는 믿음을 심어주어야 한다.





    PRC v. DPRK? – Will the China-NK alliance remain stable?

    February 19th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    Will the China-NK alliance remain stable?
    Global Times | 2013-2-17
    By Jasper Kim
    Given the recent bilateral and UN-based diplomatic discourse between North Korea and China on North Korea’s third nuclear test last week, could Pyongyang and Beijing’s relationship be switching from friends to foes?
    The once staunch alliance between North Korea and China has historically been based on shared mutual political interests.
    For North Korea, from an economic standpoint, an alliance with China translated into fuel aid and trade revenue, since China provides most of North Korea’s fuel supplies and is its top trading partner.
    For China on the other hand, in years past, from a socio-political standpoint, North Korea represented a sought-after strategic buffer zone from thousands of US and South Korean troops and any other military presence, above and beyond the Demilitarized Zone along the 38th parallel that has separated the two Koreas since 1953, the year of the armistice ending the Korean War (1950-53).
    From the US perspective, as per its stated Asian pivot, the US-South Korea alliance represents a much needed opportunity to maintain a military presence up to the 38th parallel, above and beyond its military presence in nearby Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Australia, and other strategic locations.
    From South Korea’s perspective, maintaining a strategic, albeit shrinking, troop-level presence onshore also represents a not so subtle US and UN military defense security guarantee in the event of a major incursion against South Korea’s sovereign borders or national security interests by North Korea.
    Relating to the recently evolving Sino-North Korean diplomatic dynamic – and specifically, how China should treat its Stalinist state neighbor – several perspectives can be taken.
    First, there is the traditionalist view which dictates that the Sino-North Korean relationship is one that should continue forward as it has in the past – in terms of economic and geopolitical support – primarily based on the history of alliance between the two countries and their respective leaders.
    Second, there is the absolutist view, which states that the Sino-North Korean relationship should be disentangled, given the fact that North Korea’s actions are increasingly unpredictable, and perhaps just as importantly, are increasingly embarrassing to Beijing’s leadership as it is seen as being unable to assert its leadership over the secretive Stalinist state.
    Third, there is the cost-benefit calculus view which oscillates between the traditionalist and absolutist views, specifically, that the Sino-North Korean relationship can either be one of an outright alliance or not, based on a multi-factor cost-benefit analysis.
    In other words, China should continue to support and outright align itself with North Korea if, but only if, the benefits of supporting North Korea outweigh its related costs, China’s benefits being the aforementioned geopolitical factors.
    In contrast, related costs in the calculus are ever-changing, which may tilt the cost-benefit calculus conclusion from a yes to no, in terms of whether Beijing should continue to support Pyongyang.
    Related costs could include, but not be limited to, North Korea’s actions potentially or actually negatively impacting China’s increasing rise as a global socio-political and economic superpower, loss of geopolitical legitimacy for supporting an increasingly rogue state from the viewpoint of the international community, embarrassment by being seen as being rebuked or ignored by North Korea, straining of the Sino-US relationship which may trigger a political or economic backlash in various forms, and the cost of providing fuel and economic aid which could instead be used to support other actual or potential future allies within and beyond Asia.
    Pyongyang has so far relied on the singular premise that Beijing’s leadership holds the traditionalist view.
    But even if the traditionalist view is one that China’s leadership harbored throughout the Cold War period, this premise fails to account for the possibility that Beijing’s leadership at some point may consider and implement the absolutist or cost-benefit calculus views as a matter of policy to North Korea’s possible detriment.
    Such a change may occur if the Sino-North Korean relationship continues to deteriorate with more provocative acts by Pyongyang.
    For these reasons, the Sino-North Korean dynamic in the 21st century – what I refer to as the “Chimerica century” – is in flux, unlike in years before, which may unexpectedly reconstitute China’s pivot sometime in the future from “China with North Korea” to “China versus North Korea.”
    The author is the founder and CEO of the Asia-Pacific Global Research Group.
    To view the article in the Global Times website, click here.