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Abstract: North Korea’s underground nuclear test on February 12, 2013, was the latest in a series of provocations that form part of a slow-motion proliferation strategy. As the UN Security Council responded with sanctions in early March, the world body again contributed to a pattern of action, reaction, trust, and mistrust with the recalcitrant state.
These are the implications of this report on the relationship between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the UN Security Council. It explores the recent history of the relationship by analyzing four similar episodes—missile firings in July 2006, a nuclear test in October 2006, a second nuclear test in May 2009, and a rocket launch in April 2012—and the Security Council’s reaction in each case.
It finds the Security Council’s approach of responding to such provocations with expanded but largely rhetorical sanctions has played further into the hands of the DPRK: the more the government is chastised and isolated, the more it can exploit its gray area in the international legal system and portray itself as the legitimate defender of the Korean people against a hostile outside world.
To avoid contributing to the DPRK’s strategic interests, the author suggests that the Security Council consider removing itself from this cycle of action and reaction. Instead, it could focus on preventive actions at the technical level of existing sanctions. This way, the council would stay one step ahead of the DPRK, diminish the state’s reliance on the proliferation narrative, and build a more sustainable foundation for moving toward lasting disarmament.
When new resolutions and statements are issued, the report further shows that a period of calm is more likely to ensue when their provisions address the strategic interests of major regional players—and not just those of the DPRK.
Abstract: Since the ascension of Kim Jong Un as the leader of the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in December 2011, there have
been no noticeable improvements in the human rights situation. The North
Korean government continues to engage in the systematic violation of
almost the entire range of human rights. The establishment of an
independent, robust Commission of Inquiry to investigate the grave,
systematic and widespread human rights violations in North Korea —
including crimes against humanity—is of the utmost need and urgency. As
the UN Human Rights Council enters its 22nd session, Amnesty International
calls on member states to support a Resolution establishing an independent
Commission of Inquiry to investigate these serious human rights violations
in North Korea.
The North Korean government has consistently failed to cooperate with UN
human rights mechanisms, including UN Treaty Bodies and Special
Procedures. Amnesty International, like other international human rights
organizations and monitors, is consistently denied access to North Korea.
In order to circumvent the unwillingness of the authorities to allow human
rights investigators access, Amnesty International and others have used
remote sensing tools to corroborate the information received by them.
Satellite imagery has provided telltale signs of serious human rights
violations in North Korea, including the use and expansion of notorious
political prison camps (kwanliso).
Amnesty International commissioned satellite imagery analysis of the
Cho’ma-Bong valley, 70km north-northeast of the North Korean capital,
Pyongyang. The analysis demonstrates increased security in the form of
controlled access points, raising of guard towers and construction of a
perimeter in the vicinity of Kwanliso 14.
Analysis of new satellite images shows the North Korean government is
blurring the lines between Kwanliso 14 and the surrounding population.
Abstract: At a time when young people worldwide are recognised for taking the lead in changing their societies, this participatory research is aimed at finding the perception and level of awareness of Kashmiri youth about their rights and duties. It also examines the social and political change they want to see, and what they need to effect this change in Kashmir.
Young Kashmiris are caught between the desire to resolve the political dispute and a pressing requirement to address everyday issues. Their need for quality education, meaningful employment, proper healthcare and recreational activities is clear, but their attainment has been made complex by the unresolved political context.
Abstract: What is strategic stability and why is it important? This edited collection offers the most current authoritative survey of this topic, which is central to U.S. strategy in the field of nuclear weapons and great power relations. A variety of authors and leading experts in the field of strategic issues and regional studies offer both theoretical and practical insights into the basic concepts associated with strategic stability, what implications these have for the United States, as well as key regions such as the Middle East, and perspectives on strategic stability in Russia and China. Readers will develop a deeper and more developed understanding of this concent from this engaging and informative work.
Abstract: This paper broadens the scope of the debate by considering the perspectives of rising powers on issues of conflict and peacebuilding. It examines the perspectives of five increasingly important countries that have not signed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States – Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey. Case studies of these five countries consider how their policy perspectives and experiences of engaging in conflict-affected contexts might shape their responses to the peace and security aspects of the post-2015 debate. For example: how would Brazil view the suggestion to address key drivers of conflict in the new global development framework? Would Turkey agree that development and security are interdependent? What could China’s views on state sovereignty mean for its approach to peace and security issues?
Abstract: To better understand the PLA’s ability to employ its developing capabilities in a variety of potential scenarios, this year’s workshop examined how the PLA learns by doing, specifically through its exercises and noncombat operations at home and overseas, and through key logistical and theoretical developments. Key findings are 1) recent PLAN exercises and operations point to an increasing interest in developing expeditionary naval capabilities and a presence in distant seas, suggesting that a move beyond the current “near seas” focus is both possible and an extension of existing efforts; 2) PLA ground force exercises—rather than aiming to intimidate others by demonstrating the ability to project power beyond China’s borders—focus on moving military power within China, both to defend China’s borders and perhaps as a prelude to military restructuring in which smaller but more mobile formations could replace larger and more static ones; 3) through its participation in international military exercises as well as peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions, the PLA is gaining greater capabilities to deploy outside of China’s borders for a a variety of missions; and 4) PLA operations are increasingly supported by a modern, civilian-integrated military logistics network, though a lack of overseas bases continues to limit the effectiveness of this network as it pertains to overseas power projection capabilities.
Abstract: China has generally pursued a protective agenda within UN human rights institutions with a sharp focus on avoiding criticisms of China by the UN and other governments. To this end, it has also sought to weaken the ability of the UN to report on states that abuse human rights.
There are strong signs, however, that China is assuming a more active role within the UN Human Rights Council. Against the backdrop of power transitions associated with the Arab Spring, it has recently emerged as a spokesperson for states seeking to affirm the paramount responsibility of the state to enforce public order.
In other ways the Arab Spring has exposed deep tensions between China’s traditional statist conception of sovereignty and its efforts to be regarded as a benign and responsible global power. These tensions are displayed by China’s oscillation between more and less permissive approaches to intervention in the context of the crises in Libya and Syria.
These issues are deeply affected by wider internal debates about whether a more assertive foreign policy is required to match China’s growing global power and whether a strong commitment to non-interference is still tenable in the light of its expanding international economic and strategic interests.
In the short term, the implications of China’s rise for the international human rights system are likely to depend heavily on the country's internal trajectory. If its leadership is able to steer it through its many domestic challenges, it is conceivable that China will begin to adopt a less defensive attitude towards human rights both at home and abroad and that new possibilities will open up for joint working with Western states on international human rights issues.
In the longer term, it seems likely that China’s increasingly complex global economic and strategic interests will further compromise its commitment to strict conceptions of state sovereignty and non-interference, as powerful business and military constituencies and nationalistic elements of the general public clamour for these interests to be protected via a more activist foreign policy befitting China’s global power.
Abstract: This DIIS/Chatham House considers the interplay between regional tensions and Pakistan's internal conflicts.
The report consists of an overview chapter focusing on the impacts of Afghanistan, China, Russia, India, Iran and Saudi Arabia on Pakistan’s major challenges: troubled borders, ethnic secessionism, the presence of foreign fighters and indigenous militancy, tensions over water and ideological battles. The subsequent chapters focus separately on selected provinces, administrative divisions and urban centres in Pakistan, namely: Balochistan, FATA, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Gilgit–Baltistan, Punjab and Sindh.
Abstract: Sept. 29 will mark 40 years of normalized diplomatic relations between China and Japan, two countries that spent much of the 20th century in mutual enmity if not at outright war. The anniversary comes at a low point in Sino-Japanese relations amid a dispute over an island chain in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and Diaoyu Islands in China.
These islands, which are little more than uninhabited rocks, are not particularly valuable on their own. However, nationalist factions in both countries have used them to enflame old animosities; in China, the government has even helped organize the protests over Japan's plan to purchase and nationalize the islands from their private owner. But China's increased assertiveness is not limited only to this issue. Beijing has undertaken a high-profile expansion and improvement of its navy as a way to help safeguard its maritime interests, which Japan -- an island nation necessarily dependent on access to sea-lanes -- naturally views as a threat. Driven by its economic and political needs, China's expanded military activity may awaken Japan from the pacifist slumber that has characterized it since the end of World War II.
Abstract: China’s growing role in Africa has received substantial
attention, not least in Sudan and South Sudan, where
decades of conflict and instability have made it an especially
contentious context. China’s traditional foreign policy has
been tested while contradictions in its non-interference
policy, military relations and economic engagement have
been exposed. On the whole, Beijing has adopted pragmatic
responses to the realities of a complex situation, especially
with regards to the Republic of South Sudan’s independence
from Sudan in July 2011. Aside from the Chinese Government,
there are many other Chinese actors who are involved in
South Sudan, including a variety of state-owned banks,
corporations and private companies.
Abstract: The cases of successful breakthrough examined in this study are the Soviet Union in 1991 and Russia in 1993, Poland in 1989, Serbia in 2000, Ukraine in 2004, Indonesia by 1999, Chile in 1988, and South Africa by 1996. Cases of failed and then ultimately successful democratic transition are Ghana by 2000, Mexico by 2000, South Korea by 1987, and Turkey by 1983. Finally, the cases of failed transition examined are Algeria in 1991, Iran in 1979, China in 1989, and Azerbaijan in 2005.
Ten domestic influences were found to be common to each of the successful cases of democratic breakthrough examined in this study, including incremental reform victories preceding breakthrough attempts, the presence of coherent oppositions, economic distress and poor service delivery, rising expectations and increasing levels of literacy and education, mass mobilization, a growing influence of civic actors, preservation of independent information flows, reform offers by regimes that only embolden oppositions, robust “get out the vote” and “protect the vote” efforts, and breakthroughs that are largely free from violence.
Seven types of external influence were identified as influential, including passive factors, such as economic shocks, diffusion, and the influence of norms and ideas; and active factors, such as direct democracy aid, diplomatic influence, economic influence, and reputational influence.
Even though all of these domestic factors and most of the external ones featured in every successful case of breakthrough, the impact of these precipitants varied in influence from case to case.
Abstract: Transitions often present risks to authoritarian regimes,
but the succession in North Korea has apparently passed
with few problems. With no opposition from the military
and China’s clear support, there are no signs to suggest
that Kim Jŏng-ŭn, the young leader who replaced his father,
Kim Jong-il, following his death in December 2011,
is anything but in charge in his own right. Far from creating
a regency of older family members or generals, the
North Korean system has maintained its focus on a single
leader and projected an image of stability and unity as it
celebrates the centenary of the birth of its founder, Kim
Il-sung. While that image appears to be accurate, there is
nothing to suggest that the new leader is or will become
inclined to take measures that would either improve the
lot of the country’s citizens or reduce the regional frictions
that Pyongyang is at the centre of.
Most of this analysis was based on flawed assumptions
and misunderstandings of North Korean ideology and
political institutions. Only a small number of individuals
would have the capacity to conspire and execute a coup
against the Kim family. Many analysts simply assumed
the interests of the senior ruling elite and Kim Jŏng-ŭn
diverge, but there are no clear signs that they do, despite
the dismissal of Vice Marshal Ri Yŏng-ho, the former
chief of the General Staff, on 15 July 2012. Arguably, the
interests of senior party and military officials remain almost
Abstract: The South China Sea dispute between China and some of its South East Asian neighbours – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei – has reached an impasse. Increasingly assertive positions among claimants have pushed regional tensions to new heights. Driven by potential hydrocarbon reserves and declining fish stocks, Vietnam and the Philippines in particular are taking a more confrontational posture with China. All claimants are expanding their military and law enforcement capabilities, while growing nationalism at home is empowering hardliners pushing for a tougher stance on territorial claims. In addition, claimants are pursuing divergent resolution mechanisms; Beijing insists on resolving the disputes bilaterally, while Vietnam and the Philippines are actively engaging the U.S. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To counter diminishing prospects of resolution of the conflicts, the countries should strengthen efforts to promote joint development of hydrocarbon and fish resources and adopt a binding code of conduct for all parties to the dispute.
The extent and vagueness of China’s claims to the South China Sea, along with its assertive approach, have rattled other claimants. But China is not stoking tensions on its own. South East Asian claimants, with Vietnam and the Philippines in the forefront, are now more forcefully defending their claims – and enlisting outside allies – with considerable energy. Crisis Group’s first report in this two-part series, Stirring up the South China Sea (I), described how China’s internal dynamics shape its actions in the region. This second report focuses on factors in the other regional countries that are aggravating tensions.
Abstract: More than 350,000 people identified as drug users are held in compulsory drug "treatment" centers in China and Southeast Asia. Detainees are held without due process for periods of months or years and may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse, torture, and forced labor. International donors and UN agencies have supported and funded drug detention centers, while centers have systematically denied detainees access to evidence-based drug dependency treatment and HIV prevention services. "Torture in the Name of Treatment," summarizes Human Rights Watch’s findings over five years of research in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Lao PDR.
Abstract: In July 2012, the 5th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Ministerial Conference will be held in Beijing. These high-level meetings, which occur every three years, facilitate cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, development, health, education, environment, people-to-people exchanges and various other issues. One important issue is peace and security. Addressing the last FOCAC meeting in 2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made clear that “China is willing to increase involvement in the settlement of issues concerning peace and security in Africa."
Abstract: As this Arab Spring of revolution becomes a long summer of transitions, we take the opportunity to review some of the historic developments in the region over the last few months. In doing so we throw the spotlight on the drivers of these popular uprisings, and the difficulties they present for the rest of the world in dealing with this strategically crucial region.
Kicking us off, Gilles Kepel brings his considerable experience to bear in discussing the revolutions in macro-context, before in our feature article Luca Tardelli analyses the inherent difficulties in Western intervention that are now once again playing out in Libya, a point picked up by Felix Berenskoetter in his discussion of how Western division on Libya played out at the Security Council. Turning to Yemen, Tobias Thiel considers how the particular politics of coalition in that country may allow it to move beyond the surely-now-terminal Presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh.
International politics doesn’t stop when crises occur, and the world faces a great many challenges at this time. China’s rise seems perpetually on the agenda, and Marco Wyss provides a new take on the drivers of that power transition in his analysis of US arms sales to China. Meanwhile, as American hegemony in Latin America seems increasingly up for question, Carlos Solis-Tejada assesses the prospects for Cuba, that most dysfunctional of American relationships, in the wake of the sixth party congress.
Abstract: China and Russia are the most influential external actors in Central Asia, while the EU has substantially increased its activity and presence in the region since 2007. The security and development interests of these three actors are sometimes at odds but can also overlap. The three actors are usually perceived in terms of different stereotypes. Whereas the EU is known for its emphasis on democratic values and human rights, Russia is seen as the main security actor [not including the United States and its actions in Afghanistan] and China as the main investor in infrastructure and importer of energy. How do these stereotypes compare in regard to security and development interests? Is there any scope for cooperation and coordination or can policies be boiled down to zero-sum geo-political competition?
Abstract: This 68-page report describes how at least 7,000 to 10,000 ethnic Kachin refugees have fled war and abuses in Burma since June 2011, seeking refuge in southwestern China. The report is based on more than 100 interviews with refugees, displaced persons in Burma, victims of abuses, relief workers, and others.
Abstract: This 76-page report documents abuses by the chengguan Urban Management Law Enforcement (城管执法) forces, including assaults on suspected administrative law violators, some of which lead to serious injury or death, illegal detention, and unlawful forceful confiscation of property.
Abstract: Through examining four notable foreign policy crises with the United States since the end of the Cold War: the 1993 Yinhe ship inspection incident, the 1995-6 Taiwan Strait crisis, the 1999 embassy bombing incident, and the 2001 EP-3 midair collision, I introduce a prospect theory-based model to systematically explain China’s foreign policy crisis behavior after the cold war. I suggest that Chinese crisis behavior is shaped by three factors that frame the domain of actions of Chinese decision makers during crises: the severity of crisis, leaders’ domestic authority, and international pressure. When Chinese leaders are framed in a domain of losses, e.g., under a condition of high severity of crisis, low leadership authority, and high international pressure, a risk-acceptant behavior, either military coercion or diplomatic coercion, is more likely to be adopted. When Chinese leaders are framed in a domain of gains, e.g., under a condition of low severity of the crisis, high leadership authority, and low international pressure, a risk-averse behavior, either conditional accommodation or full accommodation, is more likely to be chosen. China’s leadership transition might increase the possibility for China to choose risk-acceptant policies during future foreign policy crises. Other countries, especially the United States, should pay more attention to shape Chinese leaders’ domain of actions to a constructive direction through both people-to-people and state-to-state channels.
Abstract: With China entering the stage, the riparian countries in the Nile Basin face new challenges,
risks and opportunities. The presence of this external actor might affect the cooperation and
efforts to agree on a fair distribution and use of the Nile Waters. China’s massive investments
in infrastructure are much needed for the development of the region, while the effects on the
economic and geopolitical balance are yet premature to predict.
Abstract: The conflicting mandates and lack of coordination among Chinese government agencies, many of which strive to increase their power and budget, have stoked tensions in the South China Sea. Repeated proposals to establish a more centralised mechanism have foundered while the only agency with a coordinating mandate, the foreign ministry, does not have the authority or resources to manage other actors. The Chinese navy’s use of maritime tensions to justify its modernisation, and nationalist sentiment around territorial claims, further compound the problem. But more immediate conflict risks lie in the growing number of law enforcement and paramilitary vessels playing an increasing role in disputed territories without a clear legal framework. They have been involved in most of the recent incidents, including the prolonged standoff between China and the Philippines in April 2012 in Scarborough Reef. Any future solution to the South China Sea disputes will require a consistent policy from China executed uniformly throughout the different levels of government along with the authority to enforce it.
China’s maritime policy circles use the term “Nine dragons stirring up the sea” to describe the lack of coordination among the various government agencies involved in the South China Sea. Most of them have traditionally been domestic policy actors with little experience in foreign affairs. While some agencies act aggressively to compete with one another for greater portions of the budget pie, others (primarily local governments) attempt to expand their economic activities in disputed areas due to their single-minded focus on economic growth. Yet despite the domestic nature of their motivations, the implications of their activities are increasingly international. Other factors – both internal and external to China – have also been responsible for increasing tensions, but they are beyond the scope of this study. Regional dynamics, including arms build-ups, competition for resources and increasing nationalist sentiment in other claimant countries are the subject of a separate report.
Effective coordination of actors is also hampered by a lack of clarity over precisely what is supposed to be defended. China has yet to publicly clarify the legal status of the so-called nine-dashed line that appears on most Chinese maps, encompassing most of the South China Sea. While the foreign ministry has taken steps to try to reassure its neighbours that Beijing does not claim the entire South China Sea and has at least partially justified its claims on the basis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the government cannot easily back down from claims to significant portions of the sea that are based on historical presence in the region. Local government agencies take advantage of this lack of legal clarity when engaging in activities in disputed areas.
Abstract: The risk of conflict in the South China Sea is significant. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei,
and the Philippines have competing territorial and jurisdictional claims, particularly over rights to
exploit the region’s possibly extensive reserves of oil and gas. Freedom of navigation in the region is
also a contentious issue, especially between the United States and China over the right of U.S. military
vessels to operate in China’s two-hundred-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). These tensions
are shaping—and being shaped by—rising apprehensions about the growth of China’s military power
and its regional intentions. China has embarked on a substantial modernization of its maritime
paramilitary forces as well as naval capabilities to enforce its sovereignty and jurisdiction claims by
force if necessary. At the same time, it is developing capabilities that would put U.S. forces in the region
at risk in a conflict, thus potentially denying access to the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific.
Given the growing importance of the U.S.-China relationship, and the Asia-Pacific region more
generally, to the global economy, the United States has a major interest in preventing any one of the
various disputes in the South China Sea from escalating militarily.
Abstract: This is a summary of an event held at Chatham House on 22 February 2012.
Dr Chaloka Benyani, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, reflected on the evolution of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and the progress and achievements at the international and regional levels to strengthen the protection of IDPs.
Abstract: While India has long been one of the most important contributors to UN missions, other emerging powers such as China, Brazil, and South Africa have recently become key players of UN peacekeeping operations.
The increasing role of emerging powers in peacekeeping raises the question of the posture they will adopt. Will they buy into the existing rules? Will they significantly shape them? Or will they contest them as they become real stakeholders in the Western-dominated liberal peacekeeping-peacebuilding realm?
So far, the normative clash between two conceptions of handling crises through UN peace missions has not taken place. While challenging the existing practices would require a degree of convergence among emerging powers, such cohesion has not tangibly materialized and disparities among emerging countries abound.
In the peacekeeping field, emerging powers present very different profiles that make any generalization difficult. Similarly, their increasing contribution to peacekeeping has not been matched by parallel efforts in the peacebuilding
Furthermore, a greater involvement of emerging powers in peace missions may impact their own conceptions of crisis management, and may induce pragmatism that would bring them closer to the current philosophy and practice.
Finally, the peacekeeping-peacebuilding field may not be worth the fight that normative divergences can entail.