AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 595

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Session 595: Asia Foreign Policy

"The North Korean Nuclear Issue: From Bush to Obama"
Anthony DiFilippo, Lincoln University, USA

"The North Korean Nuclear Issue: From Bush to Obama" Since it emerged in October 2002, there have been significant differences in the degree of tension associated with the North Korean nuclear weapons issue. Although other concerns have encroached on this enduring and serious problem, for example, the Japanese abduction issue, two important reasons account for much of the variation in tension: Pyongyang's perception of U.S. policy and Washington's claims of North Korean provocation and recalcitrance. Based partly on meetings I had with prominent North Koreans when I visited Pyongyang in January 2009, this paper will analyze the North Korean nuclear issue during the Bush and Obama administrations. The paper will be especially concerned with explaining the fluctuations in tensions between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). This paper will show that because the United States and the DPRK have very different security interests, they therefore have relied on diverse policy approaches to deal with the nuclear issue. This paper will also show that while the six-party talks between the United States, North and South Korea, China, Japan and Russia have produced some successes, bilateral dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang has been critical in minimizing tension and making progress.

What If Galtung Is Right? Structural Explanations for Okinawa’s U.S. Bases Issue
Miyuki Muramoto, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

Since the reversion of Okinawa to full Japanese sovereignty, there has been no short of popular support on the islands for a reduction in the number of U.S. military bases and their more equitable distribution around Japan. This aspiration, however, has been repeatedly frustrated since 1972, with the latest blow from former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama himself that it is “realistically impossible” to move the entire functions of the Futenma air base outside Okinawa Prefecture. While such an outcome may come as no surprise for those who conceive Okinawa as having been locked into a subordinated position dominated by both the United States and mainland Japan since 1945, the existing discussions about the setback of the anti-base movement in Okinawa tend to overemphasize structural constraints imposed upon Okinawan political economy, as if ordinary Okinawans were non-agents unable to know what is best for themselves or pursue their own destiny. This paper seeks to address such imbalance by drawing upon Johan Galtung’s Structural Theory of Imperialism, which can provide peace researchers with deeper understandings about the center-periphery relationship in the U.S. base issue, the possibility of disrupting that relationship and its limits. It makes three major claims: First, anti-base activists’ earlier trust on the DPJ government’s promise was seriously misplaced. Second, the virtual absence of alliance between anti-base groups in Okinawa and mainland Japan has undermined the movement’s strength. Finally, Galtung’s “bridgehead” metaphor points to an inconvenient reminder that some Okinawans have been complicit in their own subordination.

Paradoxical Metaphors: Staging Cambodia-China Encounters prior to the Tragedy (1945-1975)
Jiannan Sun, Independent Scholar, China

A notable feature of tracing the roots of Pol Pot’s killing fields is that China’s anodyne assistance to the Democratic Kampuchea is regarded as a crucial factor. Cambodia-China relations did play a vital role in the postcolonial history of Cambodia, while the relevant studies consistently structure it in the context of diplomatic affairs, which cannot be fully explored without persuasive diplomatic archives and other primary sources. This paper, therefore, aims to configure the interplay histories of Cambodia-China before Khmer Rouge came to power by using the new paradigm of “approaching Asia from Asian”, and utilizing the seldom-noticed Chinese newspaper printed in Cambodia during 1945-1975, as well as the diplomatic archives recently declassified by Beijing. In its attempts to decolonize “Cambodge” and modernize the nation (1945-1975), Cambodia was enmeshed in a range of overlapping discourses among historical actors through which modern rationality juggled with religious superstition, cultural nationalism overlapped with ethno-racial nationalism, capitalism competed with communism, and selfness vied with otherness. Also in this period, Cambodia encountered with the People’s Republic of China. My study aims to shed light on the images of China in Cambodia not only seeped into the discourses of intellectuals’ own uncertain visions for their new nation, but also evoked conflicting and ambivalent responses. I will deeply examine that Cambodia-China interactions mapped out a moment during which Cambodia construed, constructed, and reconstructed a “paradoxical metaphor” while imagining a nation.

India’s Use of Coercive Diplomacy During the 2001-02 Crisis with Pakistan
Patrick Bratton, Hawaii Pacific University, USA

How effective was the Indian government at sending clear coercive signals and orchestrating them into coherent messages during Operation PARAKRAM in 2001-02? This study finds that coercive diplomacy/compellence was hampered by three factors: (1) the government kept changing its demands; (2) the lack of adequate civil-military coordination; and (3) the government engaged in a dual-track policy of direct coercion of Pakistan, while simultaneously engaging the United States to also put pressure on Pakistan. Ultimately, these policy strands worked at cross purposes to each other.

Sporting Divisions: The Two Koreas and the Politics of International Sport
Brian J. E. Bridges, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Despite the ideal that ‘sport has nothing to do with politics’, there is little doubt that the two are closely linked. Governments around the world have tried to promote, manipulate or interfere in sport for a variety of political purposes. For the governments of divided nations, which by their very rationale are involved in a highly-charged competition for legitimacy with their other ‘part-nation’, international sporting events inevitably became arenas for political posturing and manoeuvring. This paper discusses the ways in which North and South Korea have utilised the major sporting events not so much for reconciliation but rather as a means to continue their rivalry found in other aspects. The Olympics and football World Cups over the past decade will be used as case studies. The actions at the sport-politics nexus of the two Koreas will also be considered in a comparative perspective with other ‘divided’ nations.

What If Galtung Is Right? Structural Explanations for Okinawa’s U.S. Bases Issue
Ching-Chang Chen, Ryukoku University, Japan