One concern about the increased Chinese business presence in Africa is that it is forcing opportunities away from U.S. businesses.  Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, explained to The Cipher Brief that there are opportunities for both, but that U.S. businesses have a lot to ...

Chinese and Western interests in Africa—in other words, what these countries want from Africa rather than what they can do for Africa—are surprisingly similar.  They all want access to African raw materials, the political support in international fora of as many as possible of Africa’s 54 countries, and the ability ...

On the heels of his tour of the western world, Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou for 20 minutes this Saturday in Singapore. Despite the short length, it’s groundbreaking - this will be the first time the leaders of these two governments have met since ...

South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s statements continue to confuse observers.  She has said that she is most interested in building trust with the North, but she has brought back ideas and government policies from the authoritarian past.  She suggests she is interested in peaceful reunification, but she does not talk ...

Twice last month, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea asked the United States of America to begin discussions on a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War. The problem, as Korea watcher Andrei Lankov has noted, is that Pyongyang does not want to include South Korea in the talks ...

Amid all the uncertainties about North Korea’s unpredictable young leader, Kim Jong Un, one thing is clear: he has an unrelenting focus on security – his own personal security and the authoritarian regime’s security from external pressure. For personal security and to consolidate his hold on power, Kim – in power ...

While the end of the Cold War brought the reunification of East and West Germany, the Korean Peninsula has remained divided over the ensuing quarter century. For much of that time, Korean unification has been viewed through the lens of the economic costs of German unification, but in 2014, South ...

When leaders of Japan, South Korea, and China gather in Seoul this weekend, it may be best to paraphrase Sigmund Freud: Sometimes, a meeting is just a meeting. The Seoul confab will be the first trilateral meeting of Northeast Asia’s main powers since May 2012. This time, however, a new ...

Narushige Michishita, an Asian security expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center, discusses Japan’s new national security law and how it could affect Japan’s ability to work with other countries in East Asia. He also addressed the potential impact this expansion of the Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) will have on ...

Jim Schoff is a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Asia Program.  Schoff spoke with The Cipher Brief about Japan’s new national security law and its implications within East Asia. He says that with the expansion of the Japanese Self Defense Forces, military planning and cooperation in East Asia is likely ...

In late September, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled his “three new arrows” of economic reform, indicating that the first phase of what is referred to as Abenomics was almost over. By ending the chronic deflationary trend, Abe is now expanding his focus beyond economic growth and addressing demographic issues ...

Thomas Cynkin spoke with The Cipher Brief about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent economic reforms. Dr. Cynkin discussed potential sectors of the Japanese economy that may prove lucrative for western investors as well as explained the benefits in investing in Japan over other East Asian countries. Dr. Cynkin is ...

One country’s patrol is another’s provocation. Chinese state-run media has reacted with outrage to a U.S. Navy destroyer sailing within the 12 nautical mile claim Beijing asserts over five Chinese made, artificial islands.  On Monday, the U.S.S. Lassen, sailed off the coast of Subi Reef, where the Chinese People’s Liberation ...

As President Xi Jinping tours the western world advocating Chinese businesses, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues incrementally asserting dominance over territory in the South China Sea. Territorial claims in the South China Sea have been contentious for centuries, but recent land reclamation attempts by China have made it a ...

Republican Congressman Randy Forbes believes China’s assertive behavior in Asia is destabilizing the region. Forbes explained why he takes this position in an interview with The Cipher Brief. The Cipher Brief: How would you assess the current state of the U.S.-China relationship, especially following President Xi Jinping’s visit?  Rep. Randy ...

The South China Sea is rapidly becoming one of the most dangerous places on earth. Beijing has long claimed most of the sea as its sovereign territory, although neighbors Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Taiwan have rival claims. Since late 2013, China has sought to consolidate its control over the ...

As some Asia energy experts have noted, the South China Sea (SCS) is like a thin donut with a very large hole: all of the hydrocarbons in oil and gas form are located along the periphery, while the large hole in the center, which includes the bulk of islands contested ...

To ask about the state of democracy in Hong Kong is asking the wrong question. The irony is that Hong Kong residents arguably have more voting rights today than for most of the time that Hong Kong was a Crown Colony, which the British ruled with an iron fist, and ...

Professor Ming Sing of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology discussed with The Cipher Brief Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement and its impact on the former British colony’s relationship with Mainland China. Sing determines the success of Beijing’s economic reforms will play a crucial role in its relationship with Hong ...

The democracy movement in Hong Kong is still alive, but the energy that brought almost one hundred thousand people to the streets last year has fizzled dramatically. At last week’s anniversary of the 79-day protest only about one thousand activists were present, armed with the yellow umbrellas that defined their ...

On September 28, protesters marked the anniversary of the start of last year’s Umbrella Revolution, in which 200,000 Hong Kongers took to the streets to demand genuine democracy for their city. The demonstrations ended after over two months of occupation, with the protesters failing to achieve their ends. Although the ...

Just one year ago, in the midst of the “Umbrella Protest Movement,” it seemed that Hong Kong’s position as the most business-friendly place in Asia might be threatened.  But, for the moment at least, the “Pearl of the Orient” seems still on track. Since China began its opening to the ...

Latin America and the Caribbean's (LAC) relationship with China has passed through many stages in the last few decades. It is only after the 1990s that this relationship has entered a new stage: China has recently become LAC's second largest trading partner and its second major source of foreign direct ...

China’s rise has exerted a well-documented economic impact in Latin America. South American economists worry about the loss of value-adding industries as raw materials like iron ore, copper, oil, and soybeans come to dominate their exports to China (currently more than 90 percent).  The region’s economies, say the critics, are ...

In an interview with The Cipher Brief, Boston University Professor Kevin Gallagher sees Chinese and American interests in Latin America as complementary. The Cipher Brief:  Broadly speaking, how do you view China’s increased involvement in Latin America?  Is it a good thing for Latin America? The U.S.? Kevin Gallagher: China's ...

The Cipher Brief spoke to R. Evan Ellis, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, who said that while China does not directly challenge U.S. interests in Latin America, it in essence underwrites rogue regimes in the region that are opposed to U.S. policies. The Cipher Brief: What are ...

China’s exploitation of national security concerns to shield its technology companies from foreign competition has shifted the global competitive landscape. American companies, hindered by China’s Great Firewall and restrictive trade policies, are limited in their ability to compete fairly in the market. Behind this protection, Chinese Internet and technology giants ...

This weekend, Japan’s legislature passed a new National Security Law that allows the Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) to use military action in foreign conflicts for the first time since World War II. The lower house of the Japanese Diet passed the bill in mid-July.   The vote was a ...

After three decades of unprecedented economic growth, China must manage a volatile stock market, a slowing economy, and increasing criticism both at home and abroad at its handling of the economic crisis.  Here are the four things you need to know about the current situation: 1. The slowdown in China’s ...

Until recently, the widely accepted international narrative about China was that it was a country on a roll  - characterized by years of remarkable economic growth, increasing global clout, and a leadership with a deft touch in managing both a booming economy and the country’s international rise. Events of the ...

Going into the third year at the helm of the world’s second biggest economy, Chinese leader Xi Jinping faces perhaps the most daunting task of any world leader, aggravated by the recent downturn in the economy. Markets and many foreign observers have been extraordinarily slow in picking up the fact ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Rodney Faraon, a partner at Crumpton Group, to get his thoughts on China’s recent corruption crackdown. The former CIA analyst weighed in on President Xi Jinping’s efforts to rid the Community Party of corruption and discussed the implications for Western companies in China.  TCB: ...

Under President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, China is engaged in either a multi-year campaign to reduce corruption, or a purge of Xi’s political opponents, or both. While the goals of the campaign are unclear, the intensity is not – very senior Party cadres have been targeted. As ...

President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign is roiling China.  Here are the top five things you need to know: 1.  It’s Not an Anti-Corruption Campaign Xi Jinping has vowed to end corruption and jail both high- and low-level officials, “tigers” and “flies” in Communist Party lingo.  That, however is not what he ...

What we know: At 11:30 GMT Wednesday night in Tianjin, the Rui Hai International Logistics Co. exploded. More than 100 people have been confirmed dead, dozens are missing and the death toll is only expected to rise. Information released by the Chinese municipal government has been extremely limited and unreliable. ...