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tv   CSIS Forecast for Asia in 2019 Part 1  CSPAN  January 28, 2019 2:00am-3:07am EST

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natural rights, not going by social media. being able to express what you want to express, be what you want to be. being an american is having success rather than negativity that is going around. >> to me, being an american means i have the ability to live the life i want to live without regret or second-guessing. >> what it means to me to be an american is the free flow of ideas, the debate of ideas. differing have opinions that we all come to an decide what is best for america. discussion,te, that of free-flowing ideas and the creativity that comes with that, manifests for us to establish our laws. it makes us the greatest nation honors. >> voices from the road on
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c-span. >> now, a look at political security and economic developments across asia. first, we hear about regional alliances, followed by how asian countries interact with the u.s.. this is just over two hours. this is just over two hours. >> good morning and thank you for joining us. this is our seventh annual asia forecast event. we come together every january two draw on the regional and functional expertise we have. take a little bit of risk. predict what we think might happen in the coming year. as you know, the audience participates in this exercise. with the use of these clickers.
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we thrive like a lot of >> a coherent and cohesive picture of what is happening as a whole. couple ofne that in a ways. we have used technologies. ou may have seen >> it was highly classified and now, you can buy infrastructure. we have used surveys. we have tried different ways to add data to the historical and
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other expertise we have to map out the trends in the region. of the things we have done is this where we take nt a stab at what we think will happen in the region. panels.ree the first one i'll moderate on geopolitical questions of leadership and alignment. he second panel, bonnie will moderate, that's on security crises, hot spots and the third goodman will run on economics, stealing matt's line, e do life, liberty, and his panel is the pursuit of happiness, hopefully. you to help us vote. this year we're going to go back predictions from last year, did pretty well, not perfect, as yogi berra said, prediction is difficult, about the we'll show you some of the predictions last year in each panel and try to explain what
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and why or what did happen that we didn't see. for the most part, we and you, audience, called it pretty well. so the way the clickers work is have them on your seat. you have to turn them on, which yellow button at the top and then you have a, b, c, d, and e choices. this is anonymous. not creating social you voteores on you as like our friends in beijing. you can only vote once. this is not chicago. [laughter] click : you can frequently if it makes you feel good. you get only one vote. you find is that they move the bar graphs because people their mind as they see others, there is a lot of sorelyizing. we'll freeze ds the frame and so why don't we clicker and your
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the question we'll test is, in will asia prominent be in u.s. headlines, a, more than 2019, b, about the same and c less prominent. a bit of a self you ting audience because all care about asia. so as you can see, the answer we freeze it there, more han half of you expect more headlines on asia and what we'll do is, we'll put these questions p and turn to the panel for expert analysis and at the end f each panel, we'll leave 10 minutes or so for questions from the audience. so with that, let's start with he first panel and the first set of questions which i am going to moderate from over here. to his panel we're going take a look at the geopolitical and domestic political trends in the region. alignment, political
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fortune, who is up, who is down. nobody gets hurt on this panel. that's bonnie's panel where we talk about things that go bang. is more about politics and a group of senior scholars. right, not literally, geographically is chris johnson, china studies, many of know him about developments runs our aright who southeast asia program with experience in the pentagon, and a.i.d.tment india ssow who runs the project here and provides detailed analysis at the state and local sue mi terry.and let's get started.
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the first question on this panel year, it's ao this rough year for u.s. allies everywhere. year looking at asia, which of the following alliances or partnerships is biggest be in the trouble and this is with the united states. fault, but where are we having the most friction, the difficulties, the philippines, south korea or taiwan. to ess the panel is allowed vote. ok. sue.right, [laughter] ichael: what's going on in seoul and washington or do you disagree? sue: no, i agree, this says a we feel about north korea prospect because if that the next summit is going to go well, if there is a korea, maybe th
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it's not as strong, right, ecause it's kind of interdependent, right. if it goes well, north korea deal, and there is a there would be less friction between u.s. and south korea. go well, i think there are going to be a number of challenges. north korea is going to press south korea for inter-korea things to move forward. if the united states does not a deal with north korea and llow for example, south korea to get, go to the united nations reopen the ions to complexes and all that, i think we are going to have a problem. we also have challenges that are very, very real. right now we have burden sharing no agreementere is that has fallen apart. south korea right now pays i $864 million a year, but now president trump has insisted have to pay double that, korea llion, so south
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says it's a nonstarter. gain, there are challenges, there is a burden sharing issue and if north korea deal does not o well, i can see why that is voted this way. quick follow-up questions. horse here that the president wants to withdraw from the korean peninsula, this setup? that's scenario, the extreme demands of burden sharing are the president e an excuse, combined with a summit with kim jong-un to get peninsula, do you buy into that, do you think there is something to it? the second question, if we're going to have a rough year with korea, give us some scare. compared to jimmy carter's korean to pull off the peninsula in the 1970's, how bad will be, worse, we'll manage it? sue: i don't know what butident trump is thinking,
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i think that possibility that hen he meets with kim that he might put it on the table, you rule it out considering the syria decision to pull out troops from syria without coordinating. that, u look at not only matties, like mcmaster, they're all gone. burden sharing, we can't be comfortable in saying he is not putting this on the table. that is very much a concern. i don't think it's likely. i don't think anybody else the es president trump and administration or in congress supports that. so i still like to believe it's likely, you cannot rule out that possibility, but because of congress bility, the already passed the mccain defense authorization act last say you cannot pull out troops below 22,000 unless of defense says this
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is in national security mat us is again, gone, the dynamic is different, this ent trump could put on the table. i would like to this because he does that, because there is no it, i don't think anybody in the trump administration or in seoul, support for this. ven though the public broadly supports the engagement policy with north korea, they also alliance.pport an this is sort of a nightmare koreans, evenouth if president trump does that, there will be a lot of pushback this. michael: the polling on the alliance and the u.s. presence high, the other factor the pollingank you, on the u.s. alliance is quite both.g in the other factor would be if it did have a proposal to pull out of korea, the u.s.
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apan alliance would be in bigger trouble. amy, you got second place with philippines. my: yeah, i might have put taiwan ahead of the philippines. there has been concern about the 2016 and the president has made clear that he is less favorable towards the alliance. he has talked about a separation from the united states. he called into question the value of the mutual defense long had with ve the philippines pointing to the ncident where the philippines lost control over scarborough nd the united states did not sort of intervene to prevent outcome.everse that so the president has put quite a strain on the relationship. said that, the philippine government has managed to keep strong.iance pretty
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the mill to mill cooperation has strong. there has been somewhat a with the ing momentum agreement, but other than that, we're really back to pretty much business as usual in terms of and our ises assistance. recently and i think this is why people are pointing to the philippines, there is new ofcern because the secretary defense who is a former general, very well-respected, a real states, he he united was former defense attache in he ington for a long time, is the strongest voice in the for the t speaking up philippines ter trorl claims and protecting them and he hasn't been particularly strong on that, given the other characters in the government, he voice of ongest maintaining the u.s. alliance and protecting philippine maritime claims. having him come out in december statements eries of
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continuing until last week calling for a review of the with defense treatment the united states and questioning, openly questioning relevance now and saying that the philippines should sit down with the united states, obligations eaty and that walking away from the treaty if it's no longer option in his words. so that obviously is concerning people, ised a lot of but i think if we step back, i think what this is about is a legitimate in my view concern that the philippines ave about what exactly are the commitments that the united states sees in the mutual defense treaty. successive administrations have been rather vague on that question. there is a continual invocation of the ironclad commitment to u.s.-philippine alliance. and that kind of verbiage has gotten old for the philippines they understandably want to know what will happen if they a real he is ka la
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tray kind of conflict with china, what would the united scarborough is not a particularly reassuring episode u.s.-philippine alliance. o i think what he may be up to is really just trying to force a conversation that, again, revious administrations have managed to avoid to get more of sense of whatblic u.s. -- how far the u.s. really go in a potential conflict. and frankly, i think it would be trump ely easy for the administration to come up with a of ula of clarification obligations that might just sort of settle this whole thing quickly. so we'll see. dilemma so, amy, the the president by imself because they
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may convince the secretary of defense to give him more security commitment, something to closer to what we japan, successive administrations have set article 5 would apply in any scenario involving the force against japan. have never been willing to go that far with the philippines. the treaty has been written deliberately to give the u.s. more wiggle room. if the administration comes out and says we have that the factor could end up with him saying we don't need deal.'re cutting a really risky in that sense. theother dilemma is i think defense department, the armed services committees in congress a uld agree we should make more explicit statement. we have a new congress, house the how foreign affairs committee are very focused on human rights, more so predecessors were in
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the philippines and elsewhere. and it's as large a narrative as they are pushing about president being too cozy to auto crats. do you think there will be a statement, if so, what would you recommend? what kind of language would work to thread that needle i just described in me you really are forcing to go on record here. it's a tough prediction. do predict that there will be some kind of a statement coming out of the administration and also potentially congress, lthough your point about the democrats in the house is a good one. i think there will be some concern about giving too much to him at a time when there is a real concern about human rights. can peel away just the security and the alliance questions, i think there would in the of support senate and the house to come up with a sort of sense of congress that is a little more reassuring than anything they have said in the past. to give a precise
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formulation. there are several formulations. there.estions are out what is the geographic scope of maritime , are the claims that the philippines have covered in the language in the about the h talks pacific. the united states government has hedged on that question in the past. is pretty answer clear that the pacific includes the south china sea and that can clearly. much more then you get into the question far, potheticals and how obviously what the philippines would like is a clear statement hat under certain kinds of contain generals, the united states would take certain kinds of actions. that's where the united states to be understandably very, very cautious. part of the problem as you the ed to, mike, about treaty is the mutual defense philippines, e articles 4 and 5, if they apply, hey only call for consultation between the governments. so in other words for example the were to attack
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hilippine naval vessel the sierra madre, if the articles apply, all that commits the is consult s to do with the philippine government according to democratic constitutional processes which means they would have to consult congress and the rest. much of a re is not commitment there. but if you clarify that we take seriously ment very with the utmost -- it would be us in ourpriority for regional alliances and bjectives and we would take it very seriously and act quickly and that all of the articles ould apply, that would go a long way. michael: chris, i think our friends in the washington-based would be ia disappointed that taiwan didn't win this. ow do you see the coming year taipei? christopher: the defense relationship with taiwan is not in trouble.
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people are choosing taiwan because of the growing concern that maybe taiwan is a problem again in president's recent rejoinder.the heating up n is again. what i find striking is that, a, hina increasingly i think is using the sort of russia style tactics to influence what is on the island more than, say, military saber rattling. in the his a lot municipal elections that took place in november. the other, of course, once again, art is the speech basically fired, what bolstered them temporarily and helped her favorable candidate into the party she had chaired in the to step aside loss in the elections. it has boom ranged them.
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there is a lot of ebb and flow tension. is the chinese continue their slow strangle tactics. i thought there would be more if not the m, government, think tanks or rejoineder, but there really wasn't. she found, it seems, a sweet in washington. christopher: i couldn't free more. emblematic about the than r view of china taiwan. michael: keep doing allies and partners. the next is on the quad, the australia, india, that, a noun to go with the formulation framework. nd the question is what should quad focus on? you may need to turn your off er on again, it turns
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automatically if we don't like your previous answer -- i mean of battery, to save it from running out of battery. turn it on before you click. ok. that's interesting. so not a lot of faith in trade maybe because of india, rick. surprised infrastructure is that low. looking at alternatives and some cooperation with the road initiative. security do well. i'm turn to you, rick. india is a little bit behind australia which has a longer history and the alliance, the commitments behind it, what do you think? of this seems right, trade, clearly none of the members can walk in a similar more than a couple of steps. reluctant on real
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trade integration. d, the ibly surprising, fact that there is that many people all of the above, that is surprising. that does include trade. infrastructure, i agree with ou, mike, frankly on infrastructure and security, in india we have a divide right now. running a track two security program. what has been coming out from fact that they look at the endo pacific as really a drag india into the straits and get them more active in security. india's open viewpoint right now is that china has made a much play in the indian ocean region. pakistan, the deep ties they to there, recent attempts try to develop a stronger ties, india plays, hat ok, we know what the perspective of asian security issues, east asia, what does an
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like ocean strategy look for japan, for australia, for the united states. kind k that's going to be of the key to whether india comes off the block and frees to on the quad, on indo pacific strategy. powerful edibly development bank, the ability to engage in projects across the australia muchf, shorter, the united states is just trying to get off the blocks right now. is an indian role on country that has greater need for infrastructure than any country we're talking about. recipient ant to be of this, strength in india, get they tructure moving so can play a bigger roll or do hey expect them to be a contributor? india, the focus is on the direct neighborhood. has increased g its ability to influence its own neighbors. neighborhood as
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a tier one priority, how does that fit in with infrastructure. the issues up there, security seemed to have the most overlap and the ability right but managing indian ocean issues that india is concerned that the east asia other members are concerned about, that's the divide we have year.rk on in the coming ichael: the quad brackets, is eant to stabilize southeast it, the e don't like opportunity? 100?mes less some degree, there is concern about the quad, they don't see much, there is not there yet. on the other hand, most southeast asians don't like the the way it's been formulated and often sort of presented by some of the members it's an it sound like
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attempt to create a framework them from the e center. hey are definitely looking for differences of centrality and in competitionbe with the institutions. some variation on vietnam would be more welcoming of the quad playing a role in other y than some of the countries including singapore and others. i would just make one final is from a regional perspective, what they would answer if you were out in is clearly ia infrastructure development. the security part makes them they don't want to feel displaced in the security.ion over there is always a demand for more infrastructure, partners and there is always, there is a lot f interest and appetite for looking for alternatives to china's belton road. with rick that
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imagine a hard to real robust role in infrastructure, the quad with the cooperation on development, hat i think would be very welcome. there was one intriguing when the nt last year prime minister stopped in jakarta and met with their there was this announcement of part of a larger that india would help develop some ports on the indonesia. that may not actually amount too much. that may be more rhetorical than substantive. does sort of point the way with india having some ambitions in that space and being welcomed by a regional neighbor. quad came up in the prime minister manifesto, the
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quad, we stood up to provide relief and very quickly, in less hours, we had the four navies operating together. it was eye opening. india jumped right in, pretty important moment. proposed a summit which was a bit too much for most of the governments to digest. four countries, the t c.s were in favor and aboutplomats were nervous china. beijing?is viewed in >> they're going to object to that looks like it's focused on them. they're not breaking a sweat on it. there are intentional complications and they are to foment that.
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michael: one more prediction, t would fit within infrastructure development. increasing ll see cooperation on telecom nfrastructure and digital reciprocity. it's already happening with the u.s. and australia. india will start to get into digital as china's belton road creates dependencies out about ries come ow beijing is using companies to enhance its information gathering and influence. think that's going to be a feature this year and maybe eaturing prominently in quad meetings as well. he indians are starting to go alarmed at a national level and more uron fire a little slowly in that complicated state. ou can see this coming as a
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common issue of concern. real quickly, korea, korea hated the quad in 2001 and seoul actually talked the bush it, istration out of doing except as an exploratory meeting. time korea is not, nobody seems to care that korea might korea is struggling this and the maritime things, korean is a peninsula, it's tore in-between. do you think the moon government is warming to this at all, adjusting, ignoring? sue: i'm not sure about warming. hyperventilating about it. they're still not going to warm because right now japan, south korea and japan lowest s are at the point, a big strain in that china-south and korea relationship is very fragile, especially after the sanctioningin china
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the south korean firms. they're recovering from that. though the chinese don't care, the south koreans are thinking they care. korea tore r south part of this. hat south korea is doing, though, because of this controversy, they understand to have to do something deal with china's unpredictability problem. hey are doing southern policy, they're focusing on keeping relationship with southeast asia. warmingstill not really up to this. one wanted to bring up other point, too. when we discuss the quad, they don't ctance, want to provoke china. the group itself right now they get to warm up and comfortable with. the idea of provoking china, etting a microphone, reminding the audience, you talk about belton road. india was theear, nly country on earth to call
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ut belton road for ulterior motives. inconclusive talks, not many countries have put against the army for years. it's not the provocation, that play, india has an election. they don't want to have an modi trying to position himself as a bit of a strong man. it is about the partnership. it will take time to build the trust there. we had to ted states build things the world had never the nuclearng apart nonproliferation and letting india in. framed s not the way we it, just to be clear. delhi warmed up to the united states. japan, the kind of infrastructure investment they put in. the grouping itself is going to take a little time to warm up to.
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doesn't want to provoke china like they have taken big steps in other forms. michael: let's look at some of states ers in the major faring.and how they're last year, a slightly different we predicted that abe would have the best year found by xi, tremble, that one turned out to if you follow australian politics. such all as it's called, tame work for a knife fight. jokowi may have not got another attention. a pretty good year. bit in the dipped a olls, holding steady, complicated with donald trump as well, improved relations to china. let's get predictions on some of
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these leaders and how they will fare in the year ahead, so much in this region is a function of leadership or leadership. xi has had such an impact on the of the region. we have to look at what leaders well.urvive and do the next slide. and, thanks, matt, turn on your clicker again. this best year in 2019, is like watching japan and china development assistance in africa. ne goes up, the other goes up, pretty close. take that! let's freeze it right there, perfect. [laughter] first, is you can go
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xi jinping having a good year? it's interesting of the two of them having a good year. it has to do with their relationship is getting better. improvement which should be a little concern to us. y sense, i'm a bit struck by this answer in part because the theme of last year, he was under pressure and there was of t of criticism and all that. i'm somewhat surprised to see this. people are thinking about maybe have some kind of trade clause than deal on march 1. that is giving folks some encouragement. it depends how you define the year. , and the best year everything he is doing is not particularly helpful to us. that angle a little bit. i think the main thing here is reflects a ind, it
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recognition in our audience that despite all of the noise last him struggling politically, the signal is very clear, which is his continued system and side the we saw that reflected again on monday. have to ing he doesn't face that the others have to ase regionally or nationally an election, abe is in pretty good shape. longest ng to be the serving prime minister in post-war japan. he has a mission. he has a strategy. and the government gets it. it's a little more confused on side, but foreign policy and defense it's pretty clear. the business community does not to go.m the bureaucracy does not want him to go. are still e people suffering hangover from the of japan years, hich was chaotic with japan's place in asia. it is possible that abe will ave had the worst year because
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of the upper house election this summer in japan. when he was prime minister last a decade ago, it was ultimately losing control of the upper house that created the the twisted diet thathe impasse in politics drove him out. would bet the opponents would win that. election, at one point all of these people showed if all of the opposition parties together, they might have lost. in fact, some polls said they would have lost. fickle. are i think abe has become quite the rful at dividing opposition, a key to politics. is that article nine in part is on the table because abe wants to do it and supporters wants to do it. it's designed to mix up and divide up opposition.
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in the lower house election, prevailed, the l.d.p. because tokyo had the leader of whoever isn't in favor of constitution isn't welcome, the socialists, as long debating the constitution, it's hard for the badly divided opposition to come together. you can't rule out that abe gets in trouble. moon, his polls are what do you ut think? sue: he was polling at 80% a year ago. below 50%.ed one criticism for president moon put all his eggs on north korea basket. it really hinges on how it goes. he meets with trump and give up, president moon's popularity will go very high. thinks it won't
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happen, showing it will be quite low. problem.s kind of the economically, domestically, unhappy.ere there is a sluggish growth in korea, people are unhappy domestically, everybody is looking at what is going to with north korea. we talk about it in the second going but what's probably to happen, even if it's an agreement, it's a very modest agreement. it's not a big deal between the two. t's right because we're not going to able to really, make front, s on north korean prettyoing to move along sluggishly. 50-50 chance of think?g this, what do you rick: in a historical election the years ago, his party,
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b.j.p. had never had a single history.ority in the as dominant as an election as it ago, he ive years crossed the goal of single party dozen seats or so. we saw that b.j.p. has done oorly, even in states where they have incumbent governments, loses the tion is he second party majority and has to ely on coalition partners, analysts say is the most likely condition there. not so bad for relations. they would have to partner with in a coalition government, they tend to the right of the spectrum. the further right you go, the supportive that you see in some ways or ambivalent of u.s. partner. we remember coalitions when the ess was running government, they were aligning to the left, the further left knee jerk more
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anti-american, domestic securitize. in modi with ult the coalition, not as bad as a coalition, a lot of people set in stone, two terms, easy, no problems. have a strange way of throwing up results we didn't expect these days. see.l should we expect the election should be in april, but they haven't announced the dates yet. of surprised to see him last on this list. big re-election campaign coming up in april for a second five-year term. rematch from the election f five years ago where he ran against the strong man, the general. he comes from outside of the elite. he has been successful at
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and keeping his coalition balanced and growth, g on economic below indonesia's potential, but overall doing a decent job. ahead in the polls more of it looks like it's his election to lose. predict, i would likely to be a big political winner this year. there is stillt, some uncertainty about april is several months away. there are a couple of things that people are concerned about could crop up. economic turmoil, the slide last ed a big october in global emerging market kind of turbulence. could be another currency hit which ask lead to inflation
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the prices that could knock he is really hat delivering economically. the other concern continues to there could be a real tactic deployed to try to muslim e him on his credentials the way that the jakarta governor was taken down in an election under attack by muslim fundamentalist. coming sn't seem to be into play, he has tried to guard a flank by nominating conservative, very controversial muslim cleric as his running mate. up yet.t cropped there is a concern that could be a factor coming into play. there is a broader concern about this growing trend in indonesian tiization of lam
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politics. it would be good news for ndonesia, a further consl days of indonesian democracy. being outside the traditional on a families running platform of delivering economic goods and infrastructure and for the people that he has modestly delivered on. i would not n, expect a huge change in foreign policy or domestic policy. he is likely to focus on really issues and he has shown very little interest and very affairs little interest in exercising traditional role as the real leader and the leader asean. it would be a reassuring sign for indonesia's democracy. michael: the common denominator, even if there is of elections or
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economic orcause of political factors, the general trajectory in each case is not to change that much. or example, india you asked would relations likely or not trajectory. not changing the strategies specifically. you can pick a couple candidates, it won't change with the u.s. or the quad or the pacific strategy. fair to say, the biggest effect with change in these countries, is governance and olicy are going to be more dysfunctional and less effective. do you think that's right, rick? i do think we may suffer if modi loses, he has pressing the gas pedal effectively, new agreements that solidified our military
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partnership or however you want to term it. don't think you will see a regression, you may not see as much progress on the regular congress comes to power. they want to build relations of players instead of making bets on individual countries. a we are at a bit of standstill, meaning that the things that we got in motion, the types of security of ngements, the types exercises, if those things, even if they continue with the current base, it's going to feel like we're sort of falling behind. the rest of asia is making moves on a regular basis. expect a backwards step. it will feel like it if we are progress continued forward. michael: let's do the next slide. which of we asked these countries is most likely to tilt toward china. caveat this by saying a u.s. foreign power strategy that based on countries not tilting to china is bound to ail if that is how we define
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success. we have to actually build a case or the rules-based open order that we have invested in with our allies for so long. to have a zero sum approach. let me caveat that by saying that. everyone is very interested in the relative battle power and influence in asia. a factor. last year -- by the way, i have been saying we. it's you. these are the poll numbers from the audience. we're clean, we're good. audience got it completely wrong in my view that e the country probably tilted the most to philippines, nd, but could arguably be japan. you can measure that in the in the fallcame out when people were asked around the world what leader do you thing.o do the right xi jinping plummeted everywhere in japan, there was increased confidence. the numbers went up from single to low double digits.
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ut in relative terms, japan in this series of summits that began in the 40th anniversary of japan-china treaty have marginally improved. i don't think it's a tilt away u.s.the the media i think gets that wrong when they describe abe's with putin and xi jinping of hedging over trump, i don't think that's quite right. japan might win on this one. et's go to thailand and the philippines, amy, because it's a little more complicated in the those two countries and they're relationship with china u.s. and others. we click for the future. let's clear this and we'll click redictions for the same countries for 2019. same one. clickers on and
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we're re-voting. the question is going to be which of these countries is most likely to tilt toward china in 2019, a year ahead and looking at the same countries to see, i can do this, we're automobile here. philippines see the as more likely, amy, what do you think? my: i don't know i have much to add to my earlier comments. there is some noise in the relationship around these in reviewing the mutual defense treaty and so -- i don't him making any strong moves where he is o already tilted the philippines china, a closer to china engagement kind of predecessor.n his i don't see real further momentum in that direction necessarily. to work out have
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with the philippines this conversation over security the defense nder treaty. and in fact sadly, obviously would be more incentive towards china. fair to south is korea? opting out of the quad are not the same as talking to south korea there is growing concern about beijing, but on the other hand, talking a year ahead, this future.ove right to the sue: last year was 35 and this year is 25%. is right.aid i don't think we should underestimate the impact of the controversy. when you talk to the south koreans now, obviously china is ery important to south korea, number one trading partner. than ade volume is double that of south korea u.s. combined. to h korea needs china
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resolve the north korean issue. china is important. not fair to say they're tilting. the impact of the controversy, bit have woke up a little and they're trying to sort of -- they're trying to hedge and with china. i would not call it tilting. talked about this earlier, looking for other ways like investing in southeast asia and ways to lessen china and economically dependent on other trying to find venues. ichael: we have a bonafide australian on the next panel. we have the papers and the birth whole bit., the [laughter] michael: you'll tell from the the objescure cricket references.
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i think australia is, at least he government is alert to the challenges that china is posing. and it's an important question, bipartisan because australia has an election, too. could have a labor government, i think most people will bet you will have an a.l.p. victory. if you listen to others, there disagreement on the questions of chinese foreign australian in politics, the importance of the australia u.s. alliance. the last time in 20004, it didn't do well. get e other hand, when you outside of can berra, the bubble of government and national views,y, there are mixed a lot of debate. i think that is probably about right. thing, i would just say, well abe and xi in ing were meeting november, the china p.l.a. air force was forcing japans
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scramble at twice the normal rate and the u.s. japanese maritime efense forces did one of the biggest exercises. they were reminding each other, we actually don't love you. pragmatic reason for relations, ilize chris, china needs the investment, a bit of hedging on uncertain about the trade war with the u.s. japanese businesses needs a more stable environment in china and sees some opportunities at the huge because of the difficulties in u.s.-china. it's an adjustment, putting a floor under the relationship as they do every 10-year anniversary of the 1978 treaty. it's a hedge or tilt away from the u.s. referring to the current government. we're going to open up now to questions from the audience. want to add something? we'll put that up we'll have to be quick. one, the last xt
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is tion that we have which which outheast asia and way southeast asia is going to moving for relations. don't forget to turn your clicker on. u.n.?he [laughter] good luck with that. go ahead, amy. china is time when clearly still on the rise and some ited states is to degree in retreat regionally and one might expect that china would be the answer and certainly a lot of people in the audience think so.
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i really think this year, we're not going to see any major overall tween alignments because china is sort of on its pack heels right now. there is a lot of skepticism about belton road initiative. we have seen some changes in asian countries, notably malaysia, trying to projects with the china and saying some things about china that are pointing to ome of the china's more assertive behavior. i think the united states to some degree, we might sort of a leveling off this year because even though there is a in the region that the indo pacific strategy is more there c than substance, is still not that much flesh on the bones. the united states to some degree from china's own mistakes, its own behavior that is sometimes very visible. that with the
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vice presidents trip out to the region. i don't think he brought a huge in his f goodies deliverables bag, but he really tried to paint a contrast and en the united states china. by chinary much helped itself. the region really did notice that. select here would if it was going to be one of the powers is japan. engaged inready very southeast asia economically and increasingly on the security side. continues to poll xtremely highly in the region among strategic elites in its role in the region and sought power. done a lot to step up cooperation, his quality initiative, putting more into japan's infrastructure projects. if southeast asians were drawn country, it might be
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japan. having said that, southeast asia to be want the area dominated by any one country. they're happy to keep it balanced the way it is. you made thatglad is t about japan, this measuring the sort of temperature, but when you look some specifics, for example, it's hard to quantify this but i suspect that abe himself has the best with everylationship leader of every world leader, more than xi jinping or our president or the minister, he ime has the best relationship i would say with every single power in the major world which counts for something. he that's certainly true, has a very good relationship two especially and many southeast asian leaders.
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japan benefits in a sense from very, a certain kind of foreign policy where it does not overly privilege human rights. hen it comes to countries like thailand or myanmar, they stay engaged at a time when the and u.s. congress are quite upset and want to step away. thailand's ense, if elections keep sliding this year, for example, i think japan understanding than other countries. and the final thing to say is on vietnam has now the ed into force with tpp11 along with six other t.p.p. members. is very likely to ratify it this year. more closely to japan economically at a time urging, n is very much accede ing thailand to
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linkages between japan and each country. keepel: the data point to in mind, it's still larger than japan-china combined. despite our floor foibles these days. in also fair to say that terms of draw closer doesn't mean like. n a balance, there is a sense that chinese power is growing and that the u.s. and japan may trustworthy, but that is a trend that they are having to comingth and will in the year. let's open it up for questions turnthe audience before we it over to the crisis one. right here in the middle. have mics for you, if you can wait for those. thank you, i'm tom with the foreign policy discussion group and the malaysia america society
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and i'm so glad that amy malaysia because the most extraordinary surprise in last year was the election malaysia and coming back to power. the question is, do you think he able to solidify his control and will he in a year or turn over the reins? amy: i'm being asked to go on record on some really difficult questions here. recording this, mike -- michael: we'll click a question on whether people think you'll be fired. that's a really difficult to make. elected in a victory that no one called. pledged within two years to
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hand over the reins of power to sitting in jail, he worked to get him pardoned. seat in parliament. an old prime minister. is he going to consolidate his power and make moves to hand off power to on mark green? that's a very difficult question to answer. there are a lot of coalition dynamics within the coalition that are tricky. he has to focus on that. whether he's prepared to hand off the rains is a question that completely divides malaysia scholars. i do not know how to predict that one. it's something to really watch this year. >> the front. second row. over there. bill?
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question for chris. what we mean vague by a leader having the best year ever. the meeting you referred to on monday was a rather extraordinary one. what's the issue? managing risk that the party perceives on the economy and mismanagement of the relations, isn't that a big risk? >> it's a huge risk. the most striking feature of his under the overall umbrella of the three tough battles that they identified last year, he's expanded dramatically the third tough battle. previously, it was restricted to financial risk. now it's smt risk. external environment risk. party building risk. there's a lot of risk. there's a corresponding linkage between that long list of risks he identifies and his order to
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the party to prepare for struggle. at best, it's a very freighted dog whistle inside their system. at worst, reminds a lot of people about the cultural revolution. in terms of power dynamics. call aain his ability to meeting and jawbone and tell them, i understand all the noise. i'm swimming in one direction. if you're not on board, you're out of step with the party line. that to me reflect strength, not weakness. >> we will go way over in the back. >> you mention several high-profile elections coming up this year in india and indonesia. is there any indication of china malign influence in these elections?
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sometimes targeted videos dropped into specific communities are you can trigger unrest and violence. we've seen thing in the past, not even always during electric cycles. more driven by pakistan than china. we will see if this time starts to build up a little bit more. so far, they haven't been talking about the outside influence. >> i haven't seen any indication that they are trying to play a major role in the indonesian elections. i'm not sure if they would try to pick a side. y open has been relativel to engaging with them. but not overly close to beijing. i'm not sure if they would have a strong preference when way or another.
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indonesia is more distant from from some oflly the other southeast asian countries. in australia, there's a broad and bipartisan recognition that china had undue influence in the past. campaign laws allowed significant amounts of cash to go directly from china to members of both political parties. the australia government is cleaning that up. determined not to have interference in the next election. there are still questions about chinese linkage media and other things. partiesissue where both appear to be united around preserving the integrity of their own reputations the same is true in new zealand. they probably don't have an election this year. we are going to wrap up. i want to thank you all very
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much. we are going to turn now to even scarier stuff. bonnie, you have the con. let's thank our panel for their predictions. >> we are going to move right


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