China and the ROK-US-Japan “Virtual Alliance”
Frictions in ROK-Japan relations have hindered efforts to develop trilateral strategic cooperation among the two countries and their mutual ally, the United States, which considers its alliances with the two countries to be the cornerstones of regional stability and security. Nevertheless, efforts towards such cooperation have been made, including the recently thwarted attempt to form a military intelligence sharing agreement between South Korea and Japan. How does China view ROK-US-Japan strategic cooperation and the intentions of the United States? To what extent would ROK-US-Japan strategic cooperation be a response to China’s rise? How does China view the three countries’ trilateral efforts to address North Korea? Given the frictions between South Korea and Japan, where can trilateral cooperation be most effective and how might such cooperation affect the three countries’ relations with China?
China and Japan
Historically, China and Japan have been both economic partners and rivals in East Asia. While Japan has suffered over two decades of economic stagnation, China has become the world’s second largest economy. Frictions in China-Japan relations have extended to political and security concerns, including the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, which has periodically contributed to deterioration in China-Japan trade relations. Sensitive issues in China-Japan bilateral relations also include the history textbook controversy, Japan’s alliance with the United States, and the two countries’ relations with North Korea. This session will examine how new the leadership in both China and Japan will manage these tensions in China-Japan relations.
Political Reform in China
Following the inauguration of China’s new leadership, this session focuses on the issue of Chinese political reform. While China’s economic power has advanced dramatically, political reform has lagged behind. The disparity between China’s economic and political development has produced several significant domestic challenges that the new leadership will be under pressure to ameliorate. How will China’s new leadership manage this disparity? How might China’s new leadership envision incorporating more democratic institutions within the Chinese Communist Party to address these challenges? How do Chinese perspectives and expectations for these reforms compare to those from abroad?