New Publication: Building a Quad-South Korea Partnership for Climate Action

I’m happy to announce that my new edited volume Building a Quad-South Korea Partnership for Climate Action has been published. The seven contributions to this volume explore the gains that could be achieved from integrating South Korea into Quad climate initiatives, and in doing so they offer lessons for how minilateral initiatives can be expanded into broader coalitions of partners. In my introduction to the volume, I discuss its four overarching findings:

Minilateral cooperation has the potential to serve as a building block for broader regional and global initiatives. Although climate change cannot be solved by the efforts of five countries acting in isolation, minilateral efforts can be helpful in aligning national interests and policies in preparation for pursuing expanded initiatives with additional countries. The clearest example of this is the potential for the Quad countries and South Korea to form a “climate cooperation club” by creating a voluntary carbon market mechanism under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. In this way, these five countries could enable each other to meet or even exceed their national goals for carbon reduction in a manner that fully supports their international commitments.6  Once positions are aligned among a small group of countries, this creates opportunities to coordinate their positions within other regional or international organizations to amplify and support parallel efforts to address climate change.

Sharing knowledge and best practices can promote policy effectiveness, innovation, and harmonization. There are no easy answers to the problems posed by climate change. On a fundamental level, regional and global climate information sharing about disasters and hazards needs to be improved to enable effective climate-change mitigation and adaptation. In terms of domestic policy, the governments, companies, and citizenry of these five countries have sought ways to pursue decarbonization and to integrate climate action into their broader economic and social activities. For example, the Quad countries may be able to learn from South Korea’s experience with its Green New Deal and its domestic implementation of green growth principles.7  The industries of these countries could benefit from knowledge transfer in relevant industries such as electric vehicles and renewables.8  Their local governments could also usefully consult with one another on bottom-up policies to promote decarbonization.9  By sharing knowledge, practices, and lessons learned, successful models can be emulated elsewhere and common pitfalls can be avoided.

Climate change is closely interconnected with other economic and security issues, so climate must be considered at a broad strategic level in order to effectively address problems. Climate change cannot be solved in isolation from other issues. It is already causing major cascading consequences around the globe.10  The contributions to this volume demonstrate the broad relevance and impact of climate change for a wide range of policies related to sustainable economic development, low-carbon marine and road transportation, green hydrogen and ammonia, forestry and land use, infrastructure, investment, finance, energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, climate information, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, food security, population displacement, and regional and global institutions. Addressing climate change effectively will require a holistic strategic view of climate as it relates to other substantive issues and a whole-of-society approach to finding solutions. Governments such as the Biden administration in the United States have already begun to embed climate change in their broader regional strategies in reflection of this realization.11

It is not necessary for South Korea or other potential partners to join the Quad to achieve gains from cooperation. None of the initiatives or proposals discussed in this volume require South Korea to join the Quad; nor would other potential partner countries need to do so in order to engage in joint climate action. Instead, flexible consultation, coordination, and cooperation between these countries can be used to achieve meaningful progress in addressing issues related to climate change. Moreover, non-member countries around the world will benefit from the gains realized from climate cooperation within groupings such as the Quad since their initiatives will generate non-excludable positive externalities such as reduced carbon generation.

At a time when the international system is shifting away from global multilateral institutions and entering an era of minilateralism, countries are placing their hopes in groupings like the Quad to play a role in addressing pressing problems such as climate change. The true test of these small-scale initiatives, however, will be their ability to build coalitions with external partners to achieve their ambitious goals. This volume offers some insights into the complexity of this process, as well as concrete recommendations for moving forward.

Download the edited volume

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New Publication: Japan’s Defense Policy Faces a Critical Juncture

2022 was expected to be a defining year for Japanese security policy even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Public debates and internal negotiations have been ongoing for months over the country’s forthcoming National Security Strategy, National Defence Program Guidelines and Medium-Term Defence Force Program. But the Ukraine war could set the scene for a ‘critical juncture’ in Japanese defence policy making, providing the government an opportunity to enact major changes that may not have been possible before.

I have a new article out in East Asia Forum discussing how the war in Ukraine has given new resonance to calls for an increase in Japanese defense spending.

Read the article

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New Publication: The Future of the Quad and the Emerging Architecture in the Indo-Pacific

In a new policy paper, Garima Mohan and I analyze the Quadrilateral grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States (the Quad), which has come a long way from its origins, establishing itself as a crucial pillar of the Indo-Pacific regional architecture and significantly shifting in tone and focus from its early iterations. Since its revival in 2017, the Quad has been elevated to a leader-level dialogue, it has begun issuing joint statements, and it has developed a new working-group structure to facilitate cooperation. It has also significantly broadened and deepened its agenda to include vaccines, climate change, critical and emerging technologies, infrastructure, cyber, and space. 

These recent changes to the Quad raise several questions about its future trajectory. What are the drivers of engagement, the domestic support, and the bureaucratic capacity in the four countries to continue investing in the Quad?  How well does the Quad’s new working-group structure function, and will the working groups be able to deliver tangible results? How has the Quad’s agenda evolved, and will it return to its initial focus on security challenges? Are the Quad countries open to cooperation with additional countries and, if so, what form will this take? 

This paper analyzes these questions drawing on recent publications, official statements, and interviews with key experts and policymakers in the four countries. In doing so, it offers five key takeaways into the Quad as an evolving part of the Indo-Pacific architecture, as well as a vehicle for achieving the goals of its four member countries.

Download the full paper here

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New Publication: Expanding Engagement among South Korea and the Quad Countries in the Indo-Pacific

In a new policy paper, Garima Mohan, Bonnie Glaser, and I offer insights on how the Quad countries and South Korea can expand their engagement in the Indo-Pacific in eight areas: critical and emerging technologies, infrastructure, health, climate change, education and people-to-people exchange, maritime safety and security, cybersecurity, and outer space.

Download the full report here

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New Publication: How to Mend the Rift Between Japan and South Korea

In our new Foreign Affairs article out today. Bonnie Glaser and I argue that with a new government now in office in Seoul, Japan and South Korea have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. Still, although conditions are ripe for Japan and South Korea to finally move past their current stalemate, rapprochement will not be easy.

Read the full article

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Talk: What Does the Russo-Ukrainian War Mean for Indo-Pacific Security?

I was delighted to be invited to speak at the University of Sydney’s Center for International Security Studies Global Forum on April 26, 2022. The session explored the implications of the Russo-Ukrainian war for Indo-Pacific security. I was joined on the panel by Justin Hastings (University of Sydney), Jingdong Yuan (University of Sydney) and Tong Zhao (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). My comments focused on the conflict’s impact on Japanese foreign policy and broader regional political dynamics.

Watch the webinar on YouTube

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Talk: Decoding Indo-Pacific Strategies of Canada, Japan, the USA, and Europe

On March 21, the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto organized a webinar on the theme of “Convergence or Divergence? Decoding the Indo-Pacific Strategies of Canada, Japan, the USA, and Europe.” I was honored to speak about the US Indo-Pacific strategy on a distinguished panel with Jonathan Fried (Bennett Jones, LLP), Akiko Fukushima (Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research), Nicols Veron (Bruegel), Deanna Horton (University of Toronto), and Yves Tiberghien (University of British Columbia).

Watch a recording of the session on YouTube

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New Publication: US Supply Chain Strategy in the Indo-Pacific

“To facilitate selective decoupling with China in such areas, the Biden administration is pursuing supply chain resilience through a two-pronged strategy of domestic and foreign policy initiatives: attempting to revitalize U.S. industry through onshoring while also promoting ally-shoring or friend-shoring abroad.

I was delighted that the Italian Institution for International Political Studies (ISPI) invited me to speak at their Asia & Europe Initiative workshop on “Stability and Security in the Indo-Pacific” on March 8. I spoke about US supply chain strategy on a panel about “Securing the Supply Chain Along the Indo-Pacific” with Shino Watanabe (Sophia University), Françoise Nicolas (French Institute of International Relations), Jagannath Panda (Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm), and Alessia Amighini (University of Piemonte Orientale and ISPI).

After the workshop, my paper on “Seeking Resilience and Revitalization: US Supply Chain Strategy in the Indo-Pacific” was published by ISPI as part of an edited volume. It argues that the Biden administration is pursuing supply chain resilience through a two-pronged strategy of domestic and foreign policy initiatives, but that it remains to be seen whether the American aims of resilience and revitalization will be truly complementary or whether the drive toward revitalization will lead to pitfalls of protectionism and inefficiency.

Read the article online

Download the edited volume in pdf format

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New Publication: Ukraine: A Turning Point for Japanese Foreign Policy?

For Pacific Forum’s PacNet series, I wrote about what’s driving Japan’s tough stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and what this might mean for Japanese foreign policy in the future. Read it on the Pacific Forum website or download a PDF copy.

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Talk: Enhancing Economic Security in Northeast Asia

On March 3, I spoke at a webinar on “Enhancing Economic Security in Northeast Asia: Japan’s Approach and Opportunities for U.S.-Japan Economic Alignment,” part of the Mansfield Foundation’s Capitol Hill Asia Policy Dialogue series. The webinar looked at Japan’s approach to improving economic security vis-à-vis China and the opportunities for U.S.-Japan economic security alignment and cooperation. I was joined by Shihoko Goto (Wilson Center) and the session was moderated by Frank Jannuzi (Mansfield Foundation).

Watch a recording of the session on YouTube

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