Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally announced that Japan plans to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, after months of debate in Japan and diplomatic consultations with existing TPP partners. CSIS scholars Mike Green and Matt Goodman were on the case earlier this week for why Tokyo should join, explaining how it will benefit regional economic integration and the U.S. position in Asia.
In Beijing, Xi Jinping formally took up his position as president of the People’s Republic of China at the 12th National People’s Congress on March 14. This marked another highpoint for the now state leader and party chief, following his initial formal party appointments at the 18th Party Congress in fall 2012. President Xi received a phone call from President Obama to offer congratulations and discuss bi-lateral relations. Readers can see Xi’s emergence in the Freeman Chair in China Studies 2012 Year in Review presentation here.
Her Excellency Nirupama Rao, India’s new ambassador to the United States spoke at a CSIS Statesman’s Forum on Friday, providing an optimistic outlook but emphasizing much work is still be done to solidify economic ties between the United States and India.
Aung San Suu Kyi led a review commission on the Letpadaung coppermine crackdown in Myanmar which reported its findings this week. The commission criticized police forces for using smoke bombs during the crackdown yet the Chinese backed mine project will stay open for now.
Thailand’s stock index, the SEI, hit a 19 year high on Friday, as growth in certain aspects of the Southeast Asian economies continued at a substantial pace.