Asia-Pacific

Today's Financial Times has a story on how unhappy U.S. businesses have become about Chinese government restrictions interfering with their access to Chinese markets.  So, one can understand how U.S. exporters would welcome news that the United States and China are getting closer to including a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).  And, let's be clear, this would be the mother-of-all BITs, given...

Bangladesh has ratified the Rome Statute, making it the 111th member of the International Criminal Court.  Bangladesh was the first country in South Asia to sign the Statute, which it did on July 17, 1998.  I don't know what explains the 12-year gap between signature and ratification; if any readers know, please chime in below. Bangladesh's ratification will have immediate dividends. ...

Japan triumphs in a big way at the CITES meeting in Doha, as the U.S. proposed ban on bluefin tuna trade goes down 20-68. The rejection of the bluefin proposal was a clear victory for the Japanese government, which had vowed to go all out to stop the measure or else exempt itself from complying with it. Japan, which consumes nearly...

Yesterday, the Japanese Government (now led by the Democratic Party after nearly five-plus decades of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party) confirmed that in the 1960s Japan and the United States entered into a series of secret defense pacts.  Specifically, a committee of scholars has identified various tacit agreements allowing U.S. warships to carry nuclear weapons into Japanese ports, granting unrestricted use of...

Two different but interesting views of Australia's threat to bring Japan to the ICJ over whaling. Over at The Jurist, Don Rothwell of Australian National University provides some background and legal context for Australia's lawsuit. As I understand it, Australia could claim that Japan is actually violating Australia's 200 mile exclusive economic zone (assuming certain Australian Antarctic claims were accepted).  But...

I had almost forgotten about this ongoing dispute between Australia and Japan over whaling, which has been going on for years (and which I first noted on this blog way back in 2005).  The Australian Prime Minister warned Japan yesterday that if whaling doesn't stop by November, Australia will take Japan to court, either the ICJ or the International Tribunal...

The Copenhagen process is multilateral, focused on reaching global agreements. But to get to a strong and truly effective global climate regime, bold bilateral initiatives may be needed. The conditions are propitious for a deal between China and the US, the world’s largest and second largest emitters, but that will call for imaginative and committed leadership on both sides as...

The WSJ has a very important (and certain to be much debated) story today on the front page, "A Global Surge in Tiny Loans Spurs Credit Bubble in a Slum," WSJ, A1, Thursday August 13, 2009. Also see the follow on stories, "Group borrowing leads to pressure," which is about the problem that when you use 'peer pressure' rather than...

Rather than comment on the refreshingly tough realism or seriously imprudent bear-baiting of Vice-President Biden's recent remarks on Russia ("Russia will bend to the US"), or whether there is an important and dangerous gap between short-term and long-term in the collapse of an imperial nuclear power even if the long-run claim is true, etc., let me instead offer a background...

Well, that's exactly what the Obama Administration did this past Wednesday.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the 1976 ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) on behalf of the United States with the intention that her signature serve as the requisite act of accession, bringing the treaty immediately into force for the United States.  Now, the treaty does not commit the United States...

In 1949, a land that had for hundreds of years been home to Muslim peoples was forcibly seized by outsiders. They implemented a policy of ethnic dislocation and colonization. While some of the Muslims, chafing under the occupation, turned to terrorism,  the recalcitrant state refused to budge even until today. And the occupied country is