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Asia

Over the last decade, the global economic and strategic balance has been shifting eastwards. Asia is the largest and the most populous continent, with China and India alone already accounting for one-third of the global population. Asia is home to some of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing economies, but also to some most complex security hotspots. From tensions on the Korean Peninsula to maritime territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, there are a number of issues which have the potential to spark more serious conflict. The rise of China is affecting the balance of power in the region, and has resulted in increased competition with the US for influence. This is also increasingly visible in the Indian Ocean, which has become a new theatre of strategic competition between China and India. While there are various multilateral cooperative mechanisms in the region, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) or the East Asia Summit, their capacity to address such security issues remains limited.

As a key trading partner of many Asian economies, the EU has a major stake in regional stability, as well as in the security of its Sea Lanes of Communication. Since announcing its ‘pivot to Asia’ in 2012, Brussels has been trying to step up its security role in Asia by boosting cooperation with its various Strategic Partners, as well as through existing multilateral fora. The EUISS has been working to support these efforts by providing relevant expertise and analysis and conducting research in domains that have the potential to enhance regional stability and raise the EU’s security profile. Key areas of focus are maritime security and governance, preventive diplomacy, confidence and capacity building, crisis prevention, multilateralism, regional integration and institution building.

For the recent EUISS mini podcast series on China, click here.

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  • 20November 2015

    The CSCAP EU Committee held its third annual meeting in Brussels on Friday 20 November. The meeting was also included as part of the expert outreach and consultation process for the preparation of the EU Global Strategy on foreign and security policy.

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    07October 2015

    This Alert examines China’s elaborate celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of its victory in the Pacific War. What do they reveal about Beijing’s military priorities? And perhaps more importantly, what do they indicate about the country’s domestic politics?

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    24July 2015

    Beijing's foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific is based on the firm belief that its economic weight will eventually convert into political and strategic clout. This Alert examines how the creation of regional and global institutions has become a key objective to support this strategy.

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    09July 2015

    Since Modi took office last year, India has embarked on a number of measures to encourage the development of the country’s economy and the streamlining of its indigenous defence capabilities. Is there a role for the EU in this process?

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    09July 2015

    Rising powers can play a pivotal role in enhancing the multilateral sanctions regime against Iran. But their readiness to support the endeavours of the major sanctioning actors is not a given.

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    09July 2015

    The sanctions against North Korea have been costly and technically difficult to implement. And since Pyongyang deems its nuclear programme to be essential for its national security (and therefore non-negotiable), their effectiveness in terms of non-proliferation has been limited.

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    26June 2015

    Much like the European Union, several ASEAN countries are now facing a migrant boat crisis. But mindsets and attitudes towards the issue differ markedly. What are the root causes of the plight of the Rohingya? And what obstacles are there to addressing their suffering in a comprehensive manner at a regional level?

  • 18June 2015

    Jointly organised with the Korean National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA), and supported by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EEAS, the second conference on the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI) and the European experience took place on 18-19 June in Brussels.

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    05June 2015

    This Brief explains how the shifting geo-strategic environment in Central Asia – marked by growing Chinese and Russian engagement, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and concerns over the rise of Islamic extremism – is also causing the EU and its member states to (re)assess both bilateral and regional relationships.

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    05June 2015

    With the five BRICS countries continuing to expand and institutionalise their cooperation on key international issues in an attempt to further increase their global clout, this Brief takes a look at the EU’s response to their rise. Should the BRICS be treated individually or as a group by the Union?

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    19September 2014

    This Alert examines the outcome of the BRICS summit that took place in July, as well as the reluctance of individual BRICS to criticise Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Does the establishment of the New Development Bank herald an age of opposition to Western-dominated institutions and policies?

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    11July 2014

    This Alert seeks to highlight how the current political crisis has the potential to poison the legacy of the international community in the country, as well as undermine future international commitments.

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    20June 2014

    With the need for security and stability in North-East Asia rarely having been more pressing than now, this Brief explores those initiatives – such as the NAPCI – that seek to overcome (or just manage and contain) regional divisions. Can the EU help close the "Pandora’s box" before it is too late?

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    20June 2014

    As skirmishes over sovereignty and boundary delimitations in the South China Sea continue, its rich marine natural environment and resources are suffering. This Alert stresses the need for good governance and cooperation at sea, highlighting the direct link between negative socio-economic impacts of environmental degradation, domestic stability and regional security.

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    16May 2014

    This Brief examines China’s attempts to recreate the ancient trade route and the rationale(s) behind the project. Is it simply a move to counter Russian influence or does Beijing also have real and tangible interests to defend in Central Asia?

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    11April 2014

    The last in the series of EUISS alerts focusing on Afghanistan, this alert offers an assessment of the state of US-Afghan relations just after the first round of presidential elections. Given the continued uncertainty concerning the signing of Bilateral Security Agreement and the changing strategic priorities of the US, what form will future relations between the two countries take?

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    04April 2014

    The visit last week of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Brussels was a clear recognition of the Union’s growing political importance for Asian power. This alert explores the complexities of the EU-China political partnership, and shows how the relationship has developed well beyond its economic foundations.

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    28March 2014

    This Alert assesses Iran’s strategic aims in Afghanistan, highlighting how – despite Tehran’s primary goal of achieving stability in the country based on economic development – Iran often acts as a spoiler in the pursuit of protecting its own security interests in its immediate neighbourhood.

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    28March 2014

    Following the rise of China’s economy and subsequent discussions on the efficient use of resources, this Brief examines how China is seeking to manage its growing import dependency through diversification. With the EU and China becoming the world’s two most important energy importers, what effect will this have on the global energy markets?

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    21March 2014

    At a time of heightened tensions in East Asia – largely the result of competing territorial claims – this Alert seeks to highlight the importance of multilateral platforms and various informal mechanisms (‘track-two’ diplomacy) in maintaining stability and managing potential crises in the region.

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