In Flight Reading: President Obama attends APEC, EAS, and the G-20

Air Force One. Source: GeorgeM757's flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Air Force One. Source: GeorgeM757’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

President Obama is in Asia this week to participate in the Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC) summit in Beijing, China, the East Asia Summit in Myanmar, and the G-20 leaders meeting in Brisbane, Australia. The CSIS Asia program has prepared a number of resources and essays to aid understanding the background and potential objectives for the trip.  Our cogitASIA contributors Dr. Michael Green, Ernie Bower, and Matthew Goodman participated in a press briefing for the trip on Friday, November 7. The transcript is available here, and you can listen to the briefing here:

Simon Chair Matthew Goodman describes in the latest Global Economics Monthly how the president’s trip will serve as an opportunity to shape his foreign policy legacy in Asia. Goodman argues the trip will be both a test of substance, due to the U.S. rebalance policy, and a test of President Obama’s coalition-building style. Goodman also advocated in the Nikkei Asian Review that this is the moment for Japan and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to lead on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in order to achieve a break-through in the talks. Matthew Goodman spoke with CSIS’s Colm Quinn on a CSIS podcast about the trip and the recent mid-term elections. Listen to the audio here:

Sumitro Chair Senior Fellow and Deputy Director Murray Hiebert argued in a recent Commentary that the Brisbane G-20 summit provides an opportunity to rescue the group’s deteriorating image. Murray Hiebert and Sumitro Fellow Greg Poling made the case that the trip and summit meetings will provide President Obama a venue to address a wide variety of key regional challenges including the TPP negotiations, South China Sea territorial disputes, and the future of U.S.-Myanmar relations.

On Myanmar, CSIS Senior Vice President and Global Health Policy Center Director Stephen Morrison co-authored a new report titled Myanmar: Regressed, Stalled or Moving Forward? with Murray Hiebert, CSIS Senior Adviser Todd Summers, Thomas Cullison, and Sahil Angelo. Based on a delegation trip to Myanmar, the study evaluates the country’s progress following its opening up in three key dimensions: health and development, political reform and governance, and conflict resolution among Myanmar’s many minority groups.

CSIS Senior Adviser for Asia and cogitASIA contributor Bonnie Glaser penned a Commentary on the Obama-Xi summit, arguing that the objectives for the meeting are to assuage respective fears and expand U.S.-China cooperation where feasible. Bonnie Glaser was also quoted in the Economist print edition discussing U.S.-China relations ahead of the president’s visit to Beijing.

Lastly, CSIS President and CEO John Hamre argued on cogitASIA that enhancing transparency on maritime security issues in Asia will be critical to avoiding accidental escalation of conflict along the Indo-Pacific littoral which is the setting for numerous territorial disputes.


Japan Chair Fellow Zack Cooper has analyzed past Obama administration statements about the rebalance to Asia, focusing on the key elements in each.

Sumitro Chair and cogitASIA regular Ernie Bower advocates that President Obama make certain to use his visit to Myanmar to respectfully champion democracy and human rights for Asia’s growing and increasingly empowered middle class.

The CSIS Korea Chair’s Victor Cha and Andy Lim have a written a concise analysis of why North Korea released of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller at this time, just prior to APEC and EAS.


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