Shifting Paradigms in US, China and Taiwan Relations
Edited by Peter C.Y. Chow
Chapter 11: US Leadership in Asia in the Second Term of the Bush Administration and the Challenge of China’s Rise
Robert Sutter RECENT CONTROVERSIES The overall Bush administration’s record in Asia and the outlook for US policy over the next few years have been matters of debate among specialists (Hathaway and Lee, 2003, 2005). Many have particularly criticized the Bush government for mishandling Korean issues, for issuing unilateralist policy declarations adding to tension in the region, and for a lack of attention to economic, environmental and multilateral measures seen as important to long-range Asian stability and smooth US–Asian relations. North Korea has taken a series of provocative actions since late 2002, breaking declared non-proliferation commitments, reactivating nuclear facilities frozen under the 1994 US–North Korea Agreed Framework accord, and developing nuclear weapons. This has posed a major challenge for US policy that was not well anticipated by the Bush government. The Bush administration’s reaction has been complicated by deep division within the administration over how to handle North Korea, and by strong diﬀerences in US–South Korean policy toward North Korea and broader alliance relations. Tensions in US–South Korean alliance relations and anti-American sentiment in South Korea rose markedly during the Bush administration, and were important factors in the election of South Korea’s new President in December 2002. US and South Korean eﬀorts to ease tensions, bridge diﬀerences and solidify relations remained awkward in following years, and added to the arguments of those claiming that the US–South Korean alliance was in crisis and poised for a major change in the next few years (Cha,...
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