Asian Affairs

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U.S. Department of State Personnel: Background and Selected Issues for Congress

Current Context and Recent Developments

Shortly after his confirmation as Secretary of State in April 2018, Secretary Mike Pompeo lifted the hiring freeze that former Secretary Rex Tillerson left in place for over a year. Guidance issued after Secretary Pompeo’s action indicates that the department intends to increase Foreign and Civil Service personnel levels in a manner consistent with the language and funding Congress included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141). The Trump Administration has taken additional actions affecting Department of State personnel,...

Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy

As the global Internet develops and evolves, digital trade has become more prominent on the global trade and economic policy agenda. The economic impact of the Internet was estimated to be $4.2 trillion in 2016, making it the equivalent of the fifth-largest national economy. Growing faster than international trade or financial flows, the volume of global data flows grew 45-fold from 2005 to 2014.

Congress has an important role to play in shaping global digital trade policy, from oversight of agencies charged with regulating cross-border data flows to shaping and considering legislation...

CRS Products and Experts on North Korea

North Korea has posed one of the most persistent U.S. foreign policy challenges of the post-Cold War period. With recent advances in its nuclear and missile capabilities under leader Kim Jong-un, North Korea has become a grave security threat to the United States and its allies. Beginning in January 2018, North Korea launched a diplomatic campaign of engagement with South Korea, the United States, China, and other countries that produced an inter-Korean summit in late April. As of early May 2018, plans were underway for a summit between President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader...

Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations

Following a gradual improvement of bilateral ties since the mid-2000s, U.S. relations with the Kingdom of Cambodia have become strained in recent years in light of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s suppression of political opponents and growing embrace of China. The Trump Administration and Congress have imposed and considered further sanctions in order to pressure Hun Sen into restoring democracy and conducting free and fair national elections in 2018.

While the U.S. government has criticized Hun Sen’s backtracking on democracy, it also has sought to remain engaged with Cambodia. During the past...

What’s the Difference?—Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade Data

The size of the U.S. bilateral trade deficit with China has been and continues to be an important issue in bilateral trade relations. President Trump and some Members of Congress view the deficit as a sign of unfair economic policies in China. The Trump Administration has reportedly asked China to develop a plan to reduce the bilateral trade deficit by $100 billion. Legislation has been introduced in the 115th Congress, including the Balanced Trade Act of 2017 (H.R. 2766) and the Trade Enforcement and Trade Deficit Reduction Act (H.R. 2734), that would require the Trump Administration to...

China-India Great Power Competition in the Indian Ocean Region: Issues for Congress

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a key geostrategic space linking the energy-rich nations of the Middle East with economically vibrant Asia, is the site of intensifying rivalry between China and India. This rivalry has significant strategic implications for the United States. Successive U.S. administrations have enunciated the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region to U.S. security and economic strategy. The Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy of December 2017 states that “A geopolitical competition between free and repressive visions of world order is taking place in...

A Peace Treaty with North Korea?

This report explores the possiblity of concluding a peace treaty with North Korea. Also known as a peace settlement or peace mechanism. North Korea always wants bilateral negotiations with the United States, but a peace treaty would require China, the other signator of the armistice that ended the Korean War. The United Nations Command, or UNC, would also be involved in negotiations. In the Six-Party talks, this idea was explored but fell apart, as it was in Four-Party Talks. Japan and Russia would also be concerned with any peace settlement. South Korean president Moon Jae-in has...

U.S-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Key Issues in 2018

President Trump’s decision in January 2017 to withdraw the United States from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement removed a major focus of trade relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) since 2008. As a result, trade relations are likely to refocus onto various bilateral trade issues such as the rising U.S. bilateral merchandise trade deficit with Vietnam, Vietnam’s desire to be recognized as a market economy, and various elements of each nation’s trade policies and regulations. Congress may play a role in each of these trade issues.

Over the...

China-U.S. Trade Issues

U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially since China began reforming its economy and liberalizing its trade regime in the late 1970s. Total U.S.-China merchandise trade rose from $2 billion in 1979 (when China’s economic reforms began) to $636 billion in 2017. China is currently the United States’ largest merchandise trading partner, its third-largest export market, and its biggest source of imports. In 2015, sales by U.S. foreign affiliates in China totaled $482 billion. Many U.S. firms view participation in China’s market as critical to their global competitiveness. U.S....

U.S. Trade Policy Primer: Frequently Asked Questions

Congress plays a major role in U.S. trade policy through its legislative and oversight authority. Since the end of World War II, U.S. trade policy has focused on fostering an open, rules-based global trading system, liberalizing markets by reducing trade and investment barriers through negotiations and agreements, and enforcing trade commitments and related laws. International trade and investment issues can affect the overall health of the U.S. economy and specific sectors, the success of U.S. businesses, U.S. employment opportunities, and the overall standard of living of Americans. The...

Nuclear Negotiations with North Korea

This report summarizes past nuclear and missile negotiations between the United States and North Korea, also known by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and highlights some of the lessons and implications from these efforts. Some analysts have suggested that, in response to the accelerated pace of North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing programs and its continued threats against the United States and U.S. allies, the United States might engage in an aggressive negotiation strategy with Pyongyang. In March 2018, President Trump agreed to hold a summit with...

International Trade and Finance: Overview and Issues for the 115th Congress

The U.S. Constitution grants authority to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Congress exercises this authority in numerous ways, including through oversight of trade policy and consideration of legislation to implement trade agreements and authorize trade programs. Policy issues cover areas such as U.S. trade negotiations, U.S. trade and economic relations with specific regions and countries, international institutions focused on trade, tariff and nontariff barriers, worker dislocation due to trade liberalization, enforcement of trade laws and trade agreement commitments,...

China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States

Prior to the initiation of economic reforms and trade liberalization nearly 40 years ago, China maintained policies that kept the economy very poor, stagnant, centrally controlled, vastly inefficient, and relatively isolated from the global economy. Since opening up to foreign trade and investment and implementing free-market reforms in 1979, China has been among the world’s fastest-growing economies, with real annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 9.5% through 2017, a pace described by the World Bank as “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history.” Such...

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

The United States, partner countries, and the Afghan government are attempting to reverse recent gains made by the resilient Taliban-led insurgency since the December 2014 transition to a smaller international mission consisting primarily of training and advising the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). The Afghan government has come under increasing domestic criticism not only for failing to prevent insurgent gains but also for its internal divisions that have spurred the establishment of new political opposition coalitions. In September 2014, the United States...

Lebanon

Since having its boundaries drawn by France after the First World War, Lebanon has struggled to define its national identity. Unlike other countries in the region, its population included Christian, Sunni Muslim, and Shia Muslim communities of roughly comparable size, and with competing visions for the country. Seeking to avoid sectarian conflict, Lebanese leaders created a confessional system that allocated power among the country’s religious sects according to their percentage of the population. The system was based on Lebanon’s last official census, which was conducted in 1932.

As...

Australia: Background and U.S. Relations

The Commonwealth of Australia and the United States enjoy a close alliance relationship. Australia shares many cultural traditions and values with the United States and has been a treaty ally since the signing of the Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) Treaty in 1951. Australia made major contributions to the allied cause in the First and Second World Wars, and the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Australia is also a close intelligence partner through the “Five Eyes” group of nations. U.S. Marines are conducting rotational deployments in northern Australia. This...

The Rohingya Crises in Bangladesh and Burma

A series of interrelated humanitarian crises, stemming from more than 600,000 ethnic Rohingya who have fled Burma into neighboring Bangladesh in less than 10 weeks, pose challenges for the Trump Administration and Congress on how best to respond.

The flight of refugees came following attacks on security outposts in Burma’s Rakhine State, reportedly by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an armed organization claiming it is defending the rights of the region’s predominately Muslim Rohingya minority, and an allegedly excessive military response by Burma’s military. Some of the...

The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Military Options and Issues for Congress

North Korea’s apparently successful July 2017 tests of its intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, along with the possibility that North Korea (DPRK) may have successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, have led analysts and policymakers to conclude that the window for preventing the DPRK from acquiring a nuclear missile capable of reaching the United States is closing. These events appear to have fundamentally altered U.S. perceptions of the threat the Kim Jong-un regime poses to the continental United States and the international community, and escalated the standoff on the...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 114th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted by law to the President alone, or with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are some 350 full-time leadership positions in the 15 executive departments for which the Senate provides advice and consent. This report identifies all nominations submitted to the Senate during the 114th Congress for full-time positions in these 15 executive departments.

Information for each department is presented in tables. The tables include full-time positions confirmed by the Senate, pay...

Taiwan: Issues for Congress

Taiwan, which officially calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), is an island democracy of 23 million people located across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China. It is the United States’ tenth-largest trading partner. Since January 1, 1979, the U.S. relationship with Taiwan has been unofficial, a consequence of the Carter Administration’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and break formal diplomatic ties with self-ruled Taiwan, over which the PRC claims sovereignty. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA, P.L. 96-8; 22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.),...

Bangladesh and Bangladesh-U.S. Relations

Bangladesh (the former East Pakistan) is a Muslim-majority nation in South Asia, bordering India, Burma, and the Bay of Bengal. It is the world’s eighth most populous country with nearly 160 million people living in a land area about the size of Iowa. It is an economically poor nation, and it suffers from high levels of corruption. In recent years, its democratic system has faced an array of challenges, including political violence, weak governance, poverty, demographic and environmental strains, and Islamist militancy. The United States has a long-standing and supportive relationship with...

Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

Japan is a significant partner of the United States in a number of foreign policy areas, particularly in security concerns, which range from hedging against Chinese military modernization to countering threats from North Korea. The alliance facilitates the forward deployment of about 50,000 U.S. troops and other U.S. military assets based in Japan. While core elements of the alliance may endure, the overall relationship under President Donald Trump will likely differ somewhat from relations under the Obama Administration. On January 30, 2017, the United States formally withdrew as a...

State Department Special Envoy, Representative, and Coordinator Positions: Background and Congressional Actions

The 115th Congress has expressed interest in monitoring the use of special envoys, representatives, and coordinator positions by the Department of State, as well as any changes to their status. Special, temporary diplomatic appointments originated during the presidency of George Washington, and the number of special representatives has expanded and contracted since then. Tabulating the precise number of these positions is difficult, however, because some special positions have fallen into disuse over time and were never officially eliminated.

Administration Action on Special Positions

It...

Redeploying U.S. Nuclear Weapons to South Korea: Background and Implications in Brief

Recent advances in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have led to discussions, both within South Korea and, reportedly, between the United States and South Korean officials, about the possible redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. The United States deployed nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula between 1958 and 1991. Although it removed the weapons as a part of a post-Cold War change in its nuclear posture, the United States remains committed to defending South Korea under the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty and to employing nuclear weapons, if necessary, in...

U.S.-South Korea Relations

Overview

South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea or ROK) is one of the United States’ most important strategic and economic partners in Asia. Since the early 1950s, the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty commits the United States to help South Korea defend itself. Approximately 28,500 U.S. troops are based in the ROK, which is included under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.” Washington and Seoul cooperate in addressing the challenges posed by North Korea. The two countries’ economies are joined by the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). South Korea is the United States’...

North Korean Cyber Capabilities: In Brief

As North Korea has accelerated its missile and nuclear programs in spite of international sanctions, Congress and the Trump Administration have elevated North Korea to a top U.S. foreign policy priority. Legislation such as the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-122), and international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council have focused on North Korea’s WMD and ballistic missile programs and human rights abuses. According to some experts, another threat is emerging from North Korea: an ambitious and well-resourced cyber program. North...

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process

This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the retransfer to third-party states of such military items. Under Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), Congress must be formally notified 30 calendar days before the Administration can take the final steps to conclude a government-to-government foreign military sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or...

Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy: Issues for the 115th Congress

This report examines human rights conditions in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and policy options for Congress. The PRC government under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party General Secretary and State President Xi Jinping has implemented a clampdown on political dissent, civil society, human rights activists and lawyers, and the religious, cultural, and linguistic practices of Tibetans and Uyghurs. Other major human rights violations in China include the practice of incommunicado detention, torture of persons in custody, censorship of the Internet, and restrictions on the...

India-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

India will soon be the world’s most populous country, home to about one of every six people. Many factors combine to infuse India’s government and people with “great power” aspirations: the Asian giant’s rich civilization and history, expanding strategic horizons, energetic global and international engagement, critical geography (with more than 9,000 total miles of land borders, many of them disputed) astride vital sea and energy lanes, major economy (at times the world’s fastest growing) with a rising middle class and an attendant boost in defense and power projection capabilities...

Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Policy: In Brief

With Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) in control of Burma’s Union Parliament and the government’s executive branch, prospects may have improved for ending the arrest, detention, prosecution, and imprisonment of political prisoners in Burma, a reality which has overshadowed U.S. policy toward Burma for more than 25 years. Burma’s military, or Tatmadaw, however, may not support the unconditional release of all political prisoners in Burma, and potentially has the power to block such an effort.

The 115th Congress may have an opportunity to influence Burma’s future...

East Asia’s Foreign Exchange Rate Policies

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), monetary authorities in East Asia (including Southeast Asia) have adopted a variety of foreign exchange rate policies, varying from Hong Kong’s currency board system which links the Hong Kong dollar to the U.S. dollar, to the “independently floating” exchange rates of Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea. Most Asian monetary authorities have adopted “managed floats” that allow their currency to fluctuate within a limited range over time as part of a larger economic policy. Regardless of their exchange rate policies, monetary...

U.S. Restrictions on Relations with Burma

Major changes in Burma’s political situation since 2008 have raised issues for Congress concerning the appropriateness of U.S. restrictions on relations with Burma (Myanmar). These issues include whether Congress should reexamine U.S. policy toward Burma in general, what criteria are appropriate for analyzing the current situation in Burma, and whether it should make adjustments to current U.S. restrictions on relations with Burma.

On October 7, 2016, former President Obama revoked several executive orders pertaining to sanctions on Burma, and waived restrictions required by Section 5(b)...

Malaysia: Background and U.S. Relations

Malaysia, an ethnically diverse majority Muslim nation in Southeast Asia, has long been a partner in U.S. security and economic initiatives in the region, although political sensitivities in Malaysia have constrained both sides from forging deeper ties. Bilateral relations have improved over the past decade. Prime Minister Najib Razak, who came to power in 2009, made relations with the United States a priority early in his administration. More recently he has moved to deepen trade and economic ties with China. Congress has shown interest in a variety of issues in U.S.-Malaysia relations...

U.S. Agent Orange/Dioxin Assistance to Vietnam

U.S. assistance to Vietnam for the environmental and health damage attributed to a dioxin contained in Agent Orange and other herbicides sprayed over much of the southern portion of the country during the Vietnam War remains a major bilateral issue. Between fiscal years (FY) 2007 and 2017, Congress appropriated over $192 million to address these two issues.

Most of the appropriated funds have been used by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the environmental cleanup of Danang airport, one of the major airbases used for storing and spraying the herbicides between 1961...

Terrorism in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is home to more than 625 million people and around 15% of the world’s Muslim population. The region has faced the threat of terrorism for decades, but threats in Southeast Asia have never been considered as great as threats in some other regions. However, the rise of the Islamic State poses new, heightened challenges for Southeast Asian governments and for U.S. policy towards the region.

Southeast Asia has numerous dynamic economies and three Muslim-majority states, including the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia, which also is the world’s third largest...

Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations

As part of the process of making an appointment to an advice and consent position, the President submits a nomination to the Senate. Most nominations are referred to the appropriate Senate committee or committees on the day they are received. Such referrals are guided by Senate Rule XXV, which establishes the subject matter under the purview of each committee and directs that “all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating primarily to [those] subjects” be referred to that committee. Precedents set by prior referrals, standing orders, and unanimous...

The Senkakus (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai) Dispute: U.S. Treaty Obligations

Since the mid-1990s, and particularly since 2012, tensions have spiked between Japan and China over the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai) islands in the East China Sea. These flare-ups run the risk of involving the United States in an armed conflict in the region. Japan administers the eight small, uninhabited features, the largest of which is roughly 1.5 square miles. Some geologists believe the features sit near significant oil and natural gas deposits. China, as well as Taiwan, contests Japanese claims of sovereignty over the islands, which Japan calls the Senkaku-shoto, China calls...

The Pacific Islands: Policy Issues

The Pacific Islands region, also known as the South Pacific or Southwest Pacific, presents

Congress with a diverse array of policy issues. It is a strategically important region with which the United States shares many interests with Australia and New Zealand. The region has attracted growing diplomatic and economic engagement from China, a potential competitor to the influence of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Congress plays key roles in approving and overseeing the administration of the Compacts of Free Association that govern U.S. relations with the Marshall Islands,...

Sri Lanka: Background, Reform, Reconciliation, and Geopolitical Context

Sri Lanka is a nation of geopolitical importance despite its relatively small size. Strategically positioned near key maritime sea lanes that transit the Indian Ocean and link Asia with Europe and Africa, Sri Lanka’s external orientation, in particular its ties to China, are of great interest to nearby India. Some observers view China’s involvement in the Sri Lankan port at Hanbantota to be part of Beijing’s strategy to secure sea lanes through the Indian Ocean.

United States-Sri Lanka relations are expanding significantly, creating new opportunities for Congress to play a role in shaping...

Northeast Asia and Russia’s “Turn to the East”: Implications for U.S. Interests

Since Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and its annexation of the Crimea in March 2014, Moscow’s already tense relationship with the United States and Europe has grown more fraught. After the imposition of sanctions on Russia by much of the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned to East Asia, seeking new partnerships to counter diplomatic isolation and secure new markets to help Russia’s struggling economy. His outreach to Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, and Pyongyang has met varying degrees of success. The most high-profile outreach was a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in May...

The U.S.-Japan Alliance

The U.S.-Japan alliance has long been an anchor of the U.S. security role in Asia. Forged in the U.S. occupation of Japan after its defeat in World War II, the alliance provides a platform for U.S. military readiness in the Pacific. About 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan and have the exclusive use of 85 facilities. In exchange for the use of these bases, the United States guarantees Japan’s security. Security challenges in the region, particularly nuclear and missile tests by North Korea and increased Chinese maritime activities, have reinforced U.S.-Japan cooperation in recent...

Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions

The release of all Burma’s political prisoners is one of the fundamental goals of U.S. policy towards the nation. Several of the laws imposing sanctions on Burma—including the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 (BFDA, P.L. 108-61) and the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 (JADE Act, P.L. 110-286)—require the release of all political prisoners before the sanctions contained in those laws can be terminated.

Although the outgoing President Thein Sein provided pardons or amnesty for more than 1,000 alleged political prisoners, security forces...

Singapore: Background and U.S. Relations

A former trading and military outpost of the British Empire, the tiny Republic of Singapore has transformed itself into a modern Asian nation and a major player in the global economy, though it still substantially restricts political freedoms in the name of maintaining social stability and economic growth. Singapore’s heavy dependence on international trade makes regional stability and the free flow of goods and services essential to its existence.

As a result, the island nation is a firm supporter of the U.S. security role in Asia, but it also maintains close relations with China. The...

Arbitration Case Between the Philippines and China Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

On July 12, 2016, an arbitral tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is expected to issue a ruling in a case between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China). The Philippines, a U.S. ally, initiated the case in January 2013 under the convention’s compulsory dispute settlement provisions, seeking primarily to clarify the two countries’ potential maritime rights in the South China Sea. The Philippines and China are both parties to UNCLOS. The United States has a policy of operating consistent with the convention, but...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Key Provisions and Issues for Congress

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, with both economic and strategic significance for the United States. The proposed agreement is perhaps the most ambitious FTA undertaken by the United States in terms of its size, the breadth and depth of its commitments, its potential evolution, and its geo-political significance. Signed on February 4, 2016, after several years of negotiations, if implemented, TPP would be the largest FTA in which the United States participates, and would eliminate trade barriers and establish new...

U.S.-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Issues for the 114th Congress

The year 2015 was a memorable year in U.S.-Vietnam relations, marking the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, the 20th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, the first U.S. visit by a Chairman of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) (in July), and the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations (in October). This year also will be marked with historical events, including the 15th anniversary of the United States granting Vietnam permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), the February signing of the TPP, and President Obama’s first...

China’s Natural Gas: Uncertainty for Markets

China could potentially be a much larger producer and consumer of natural gas than it is now. Despite China’s pollution problems and international environmental commitments, the role of natural gas in China’s energy mix remains relatively low, particularly compared to the United States. China has announced big plans for its natural gas development and use, but the changes will require significant investment in exploration, production, infrastructure, and consumption. With a slowing economy, China may not be in a position in the short-term to undertake these investments.

China’s natural gas...

Burma’s 2015 Parliamentary Elections: Issues for Congress

The landslide victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma’s November 2015 parliamentary elections may prove to be a major step in the nation’s potential transition to a more democratic government. Having won nearly 80% of the contested seats in the election, the NLD has a majority in both chambers of the Union Parliament, which gave it the ability to select the President-elect, as well as control of most of the nation’s Regional and State Parliaments.

Burma’s 2008 constitution, however, grants the Burmese military, or Tatmadaw, widespread powers in the...

U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions

Congress plays a major role in U.S. trade policy through its legislative and oversight authority. There are a number of major trade issues that are currently the focus of Congress. For example, bills were introduced in the 113th Congress to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and legislative action on these issues could be forthcoming in the 114th Congress. Additionally, Congress has been involved with proposed free trade agreements (FTAs), including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) involving the...

The Chinese Military: Overview and Issues for Congress

China is building a modern and regionally powerful military with a limited but growing capability for conducting operations away from China’s immediate periphery. The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort is a central issue in U.S. defense planning and foreign policy. Congress’s decisions on this issue could affect U.S. defense strategy, budgets, plans, and programs, and the U.S. defense industrial base.

China has engaged in a sustained and broad effort over more than 25 years to transform its military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA),...

Burma's Union Parliament Selects New President

This report discusses implications of the Union Parliament's selection of Htin Kyaw, childhood friend and close advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi, to serve as the nation's first President since 1962 who has not served in the military.

International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 114th Congress, 2nd Session

The U.S. Constitution grants authority to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Congress exercises this authority in numerous ways, including through oversight of trade policy and consideration of legislation to approve trade agreements and authorize trade programs. Policy issues cover such areas as U.S. trade negotiations, U.S. trade and economic relations with specific regions and countries, international institutions focused on trade, tariff and nontariff barriers, worker dislocation due to trade liberalization, trade remedy laws, import and export policies, international...

The Shutdown of the Joint North/South Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex

This report briefly discusses the South Korean government's decision to shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), which is an 11-year-old industrial park located in North Korea just across the demilitarized zone where more than 120 South Korean manufacturers employed over 50,000 North Korean workers.

Aung San Suu Kyi's Party Takes Control of Parliament in Burma

This report discusses politics and government in Burma following elections in November 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) has now assumed control of Burma's Union Parliament. The lower chamber (People's Assembly) and the upper chamber (National Assembly) took office on February 1 and 3, 2016, respectively.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Strategic Implications

On February 4, 2016, Ministers of the 12 countries participating in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations signed the proposed free trade agreement (FTA). TPP is one of the Obama Administration’s signature trade policy initiatives, an effort to reduce and eliminate trade and investment barriers and establish new rules and disciplines to govern trade and investment among the 12 countries. TPP proponents, including Administration officials, argue that the proposed TPP would have substantial strategic benefits for the United States in addition to its direct economic impact. They...

The U.S. Military Presence in Okinawa and the Futenma Base Controversy

Although the U.S.-Japan alliance is often labeled as “the cornerstone” of security in the Asia Pacific region, local concerns about the U.S. military presence on the Japanese island of Okinawa have challenged the management of the alliance for decades. The Japanese archipelago serves as the most significant forward-operating platform for the U.S. military in the region; approximately 53,000 military personnel (39,000 onshore and 14,000 afloat in nearby waters), 43,000 dependents, and 5,000 Department of Defense civilian employees live in Japan. With the United States rebalancing its...

North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation

North Korea has presented one of the most vexing and persistent problems in U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. The United States has never had formal diplomatic relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the official name for North Korea), although since 2000 contact at a lower level has ebbed and flowed. Negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have occupied the past three U.S. administrations, even as some analysts anticipated a collapse of the isolated authoritarian regime. North Korea has been the recipient of over $1 billion in U.S. aid...

Taiwan's January 2016 Elections: A Preview

This report briefly provides context for the January 16, 2016 presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan. The elections may determine whether an eight-year period of relative calm in relations between Taiwan (whose formal name is the Republic of China or ROC) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) continues, or comes to an end.

U.S. Assistance Programs in China

This report examines U.S. foreign assistance activities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), undertaken by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The report also discusses related foreign operations appropriations, policy history, and legislative background. International programs supported by U.S. departments and agencies other than the Department of State and USAID, as well as Department of State public diplomacy programs, are not covered in this report.

U.S. foreign assistance efforts in the PRC aim to promote democracy, human rights, and...

Nepal: Political Developments and U.S. Relations

Nepal is a poor country of an estimated 31 million people that has undergone a radical political transformation since 2006, when a 10-year armed struggle by Maoist insurgents, which claimed at least 13,000 lives, officially came to an end. The country’s king stepped down in 2006, and two years later Nepal declared itself a republic, electing a Constituent Assembly (CA) in 2008 to write a new constitution. A second CA elected in 2013 reached agreement on a new constitution in September 2015. Though the process of democratization begun in 2006 has had setbacks and has been marked by...

U.S.-China Cyber Agreement

During the state visit on September 24-25, 2015, President Xi Jinping of China and President Barack Obama reached a Cyber Agreement. This report briefly discusses that agreement.

Less-than-Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement Signed in Burma

Eight ethnic groups and representatives of Burma's government signed a ceasefire agreement on October 15, possibly moving the country one step closer to ending its six decade long civil war. This report briefly discusses the process that lead to the agreement and its implications.

Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy: Issues for the 114th Congress

This report examines human rights issues in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including ongoing rights abuses, and legal developments. Major events of the past two years include a clampdown on political dissent and civil society and an escalation of violence in Xinjiang, which many experts attribute at least in part to repressive government policies. Some observers view the closing of the “Re-education Through Labor” penal system as a potentially positive development, although many PRC citizens still are subject to various forms of extra-legal detention. Other, ongoing human rights...

Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations

Thailand is a long-time military ally and a significant trade and economic partner for the United States. For many years, Thailand was seen as a model democracy in Southeast Asia, although this image, along with U.S.-Thai relations, has been complicated by deep political and economic instability in the wake of two military coups in the past nine years. The first, in 2006, displaced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a popular but polarizing figure who is currently living in exile. The second, in 2014, deposed an acting prime minister after Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was ousted...

Cyber Intrusion into U.S. Office of Personnel Management: In Brief

On June 4, 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) revealed that a cyber intrusion had impacted its information technology systems and data, potentially compromising the personal information of about 4.2 million former and current federal employees. Later that month, OPM reported a separate cyber incident targeting OPM’s databases housing background investigation records. This breach is estimated to have compromised sensitive information of 21.5 million individuals.

Amid criticisms of how the agency managed its response to the intrusions and secured its information systems,...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 113th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted by law to the President alone, or with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are some 351 full-time leadership positions in the 15 executive departments for which the Senate provides advice and consent. This report identifies all nominations submitted to the Senate during the 113th Congress for full-time positions in these 15 executive departments.

Information for each department is presented in tables. The tables include full-time positions confirmed by the Senate, pay...

The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002: Background and Implementation

The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA) is a core legislative measure guiding U.S. policy toward Tibet. Its stated purpose is “to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity.” Among other provisions, the TPA establishes in statute the State Department position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and defines the Special Coordinator’s “central objective” as being “to promote substantive dialogue” between the government of the People’s Republic of China and Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, or his representatives. The Special...

Burma's Parliament Defeats Constitutional Amendments

This report discusses the recent defeat of 5 proposed constitutional amendments in Burma that arguably could have advanced democratic reforms in which Congress has shown an interest.

International Trade: Rules of Origin

Determining the country of origin of an imported product is important for properly assessing tariffs, enforcing trade remedies (such as antidumping and countervailing duties) or quantitative restrictions (tariff quotas), and statistical purposes. Other commercial trade policies are also linked with country of origin determinations, such as labeling and government procurement regulations.

Rules of origin (ROO), the methodology used to prove country of origin, can be very straightforward—as long as the parts of a product are manufactured and assembled in one country. However, when a finished...

Hong Kong's Legislative Council Votes Down Chief Executive Election Reform

This report briefly discusses Hong Kong's Legislative Council (Legco), and the recent defeat of a proposal to reform the city's Chief Executive (CE) selection method.

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses

The global illegal drug trade represents a multi-dimensional challenge that has implications for U.S. national interests as well as the international community. Common illegal drugs trafficked internationally include cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. According to the U.S. intelligence community, international drug trafficking can undermine political and regional stability and bolster the role and capabilities of transnational criminal organizations in the drug trade. Key regions of concern include Latin America and Afghanistan, which are focal points in U.S. efforts to combat the...

The Attack Against the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

This report briefly discusses the March 5 knife attack on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert.

China's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)

In November 2013, the People’s Republic of China (PRC, or China) announced that it would establish an “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ),” covering a large swath of airspace over the East China Sea, including over small islands that are the subject of a territorial dispute among Japan, the PRC, and Taiwan. Beijing did not formally consult with other countries prior to the announcement, and its initial statement seemed to warn that China might use force against aircraft that did not follow its ADIZ guidelines. Senior officials from the United States and East Asian...

Morocco: Current Issues

Successive U.S. Administrations have viewed Morocco as an important regional ally, a partner in counterterrorism, and a free trade counterpart. Morocco receives substantial U.S. development aid, and bilateral trade and investment have increased following a 2006 Free Trade Agreement. Morocco also benefits from U.S. security assistance and military cooperation, and is a purchaser of U.S. defense articles, including F-16 jets. Some observers have placed greater emphasis on the U.S.-Morocco relationship amid regional turmoil and terrorist threats emanating from neighboring states in North...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 112th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted to the President alone or with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are some 349 full-time leadership positions in the 15 executive departments for which the Senate provides advice and consent. This report identifies all nominations submitted to the Senate during the 112th Congress for full-time positions in these 15 executive departments.

Information for each department is presented in tables. The tables include full-time positions confirmed by the Senate, pay levels...

U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues

This CRS Report, updated through the 113th Congress, provides an overview with analysis of the major issues in U.S. policy on Taiwan. Taiwan formally calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), tracing its political lineage to the ROC set up after the revolution in 1911 in China. The ROC government retreated to Taipei in 1949. The United States recognized the ROC until the end of 1978 and has maintained a non-diplomatic relationship with Taiwan after recognition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1979. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979, P.L. 96-8, has governed policy in...

China/Taiwan: Evolution of the “One China” Policy—Key Statements from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei

Despite broadly consistent statements, the U.S. “one China” policy concerning Taiwan remains somewhat ambiguous and subject to different interpretations. Apart from questions about what the policy entails, issues have arisen about whether U.S. Presidents have stated clear positions and have changed or should change policy, affecting U.S. interests in security and democracy. This CRS Report, updated through the 113th Congress, analyzes the “one China” policy since U.S. Presidents began in 1971 to reach understandings with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Taiwan calls itself the...

China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues

Congress has long been concerned about whether policy advances the U.S. interest in reducing the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles that could deliver them. Recipients of PRC technology included Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran. This CRS Report, updated through the 113th Congress, discusses the security problem of China’s role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. and other foreign concerns about its role in...

Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990

This report, updated through the 113th Congress, discusses U.S. security assistance to Taiwan (calling itself Republic of China (ROC)), including policy issues for Congress and legislation. Congress has oversight of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), P.L. 96-8, which has governed arms sales to Taiwan since 1979, when the United States recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) instead of the ROC. The U.S.-ROC Mutual Defense Treaty terminated in 1979. Two other relevant parts of the “one China” policy are the August 17, 1982, U.S.-PRC Joint Communique and the “Six Assurances” to Taiwan....

President Obama's November 2014 Visit to China: The Bilateral Agreements

This report discusses President Obama's visit to China, in November-10-12. The purpose of the visit was focused on increasing cooperation on global and regional challenges such as climate change, global economic governance, non-proliferation, and pandemic diseases like Ebola; improving the military-to-military relationship; and expanding business and people-to-people ties.

India-U.S. Economic Relations: In Brief

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R43741 Summary As the world’s 3rd largest economy, India is an important trade and economic partner for the United States. The upcoming September 29-30 visit by recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his first to Washington, DC, has heightened congressional interest in the current status of the relationship. Modi’s visit provides the Obama Administration with an opportunity to advance the U.S.-India strategic partnership, including by discussing ways to foster greater trade and investment between the two nations. May 2014...

The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implementation

President Obama signed the legislation implementing the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) on October 21, 2011 (P.L. 112-41), and the Korean National Assembly passed the agreement on November 22, 2011. The KORUS FTA entered into force on March 15, 2012.

With the KORUS FTA now in force for over two years, focus has shifted from the debate over its passage to its implementation, economic impact, and effect on future U.S. FTAs. Some U.S. companies have argued that certain aspects of the KORUS agreement are not being implemented appropriately, citing issues related to rules of...

China's Leaders Quash Hong Kong's Hopes for Democratic Election Reforms

This report briefly discusses a recent decision by China's National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) that places strict conditions on any possible electoral reforms in Hong Kong. The report covers the decision, Hong Kong's response, and options for Congress.

Algeria: Current Issues

U.S.-Algeria ties are highly focused on counterterrorism cooperation and U.S. interest in Algeria’s oil and gas production. The Obama Administration has indicated a desire to deepen and broaden bilateral relations, including security assistance, while periodically urging greater political and economic openness. While both governments express appreciation for bilateral cooperation, U.S. officials may lack well-developed levers of influence in Algiers due to Algeria’s economic self-reliance and ties to non-Western strategic players such as Russia, along with Algerian leaders’ storied...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 111th Congress, 2009-2010

This report explains the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (also referred to as PAS positions). It also identifies, for the 111th Congress, all nominations to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation in the 15 executive departments. It excludes appointments to regulatory boards and commissions and independent and other agencies, which are covered in other CRS reports.

The appointment process for advice and consent positions consists of three main stages. The first stage is selection, clearance, and...

U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2014: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

After communist North Vietnam’s victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, the United States and Vietnam had minimal relations until the mid-1990s. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, overlapping security and economic interests have led the two sides to expand relations across a wide range of sectors. In 2013, President Obama and his Vietnamese counterpart announced a “comprehensive partnership” that is to provide a framework for moving the relationship to a “new phase.” A key factor driving the two countries together is a shared concern about China’s increased...

Iraq Crisis: CRS Experts

The table below provides names and contact information for CRS experts on various policy concerns of interest to Congress relating to the ongoing crisis in Iraq. Policy areas identified include the conflict in Iraq, al Qaeda affiliates, embassy security, military operations, war powers, sanctions, energy security, humanitarian issues and displaced persons, issues in the Middle East region, the United Nations, and other international actors.

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of contemporary international criminal activity and is of significant interest to the United States and the international community as a serious human rights concern. TIP is both an international and a domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards, and criminal law.

In general, the trafficking business feeds on conditions of vulnerability, such as youth, gender, poverty, ignorance, social exclusion, political instability, and ongoing...

Lebanon: Background and U.S. Policy

Lebanons small geographic size and population belie the important role it has long played in the security, stability, and economy of the Levant and the broader Middle East. Congress and the executive branch have recognized Lebanons status as a venue for regional strategic competition and have engaged diplomatically, financially, and at times, militarily to influence events there. For most of its independent existence, Lebanon has been torn by periodic civil conflict and political battles between rival religious sects and ideological groups. External military intervention, occupation, and...

Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests

This report discusses the current status of Central Asian states and U.S. policy, which has been aimed at facilitating their cooperation with U.S. and NATO stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and their efforts to combat terrorism, proliferation, and trafficking in arms, drugs, and persons.

Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2015

This report provides data regarding the direct overt U.S. aid appropriations and military reimbursements to Pakistan.

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): U.S. and International Response to Philippines Disaster

This report examines the impact of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which struck the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, and the U.S. and international response. Haiyan was one of the strongest typhoons to strike land on record. Over a 16 hour period, the “super typhoon,” with a force equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane and sustained winds of up to 195 mph, directly swept through six provinces in the central Philippines. The disaster quickly created a humanitarian crisis. In some of the hardest hit areas, particularly in coastal communities in Leyte province and the southern tip of Eastern...

International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 113th Congress, Second Session

The U.S. Constitution grants authority over the regulation of foreign commerce to Congress, which it exercises through oversight of trade policy, including the consideration of legislation to approve trade agreements and authorize trade programs. Policy issues cover such areas as: U.S. trade negotiations; tariff and nontariff barriers; worker dislocation from trade liberalization, trade remedy laws; import and export policies; international investment, economic sanctions; and trade policy functions of the federal government. Congress also has an important role in international finance. It...

Turkmenistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

When Turkmenistan gained independence with the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, the former republic’s president and head of the Turkmen Communist Party, Saparamurad Niyazov, retained power. He was reelected president in another uncontested race in 1992, and a referendum in 1994 extended his term until 2002. Before facing reelection, however, constitutional amendments approved in 1999 proclaimed him president for life. The country’s May 1992 constitution granted Niyazov overwhelming powers to rule by decree as head of state and government. According to several...

China’s Political Institutions and Leaders in Charts

This report provides a snapshot of China’s leading political institutions and current leaders in the form of nine organization charts and three tables. The report is a companion to CRS Report R41007, Understanding China’s Political System, by Susan V. Lawrence and Michael F. Martin, which provides a detailed explanation of China’s political system. This chart-based report is intended to assist Members and their staffs seeking to understand where political institutions and individuals fit within the broader Chinese political system and to identify which Chinese officials are responsible for...

Tajikistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Tajikistan is a significant country in Central Asia by virtue of its geographic location bordering China and Afghanistan and its ample water and other resources, but it faces ethnic and clan schisms, deep poverty, poor governance, and other severe challenges. Tajikistan was one of the poorest of the new states that gained independence at the end of 1991 after the break-up of the former Soviet Union. The new country was soon plunged into a devastating civil conflict between competing regional and other interests that lasted until a peace settlement in 1997. Former state farm chairman...

Chemical Weapons: A Summary Report of Characteristics and Effects

The potential for terrorist use of chemical agents is a noted concern highlighted by the Tokyo sarin gas attacks of 1995. The events of September 11, 2001, increased congressional attention towards reducing the vulnerability of the United States to such unconventional attacks. The possibility that terrorist groups might obtain insecure chemical weapons led to increased scrutiny of declared Libyan chemical weapon stockpiles following the fall of the Qadhafi regime. Experts have expressed similar concerns regarding the security and use of Syrian chemical weapons, reportedly including stocks...

Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress

Reports of a mass casualty chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus are reshaping the long-running and contentious debate over possible U.S. intervention in Syria’s bloody civil war. Obama Administration officials and some foreign governments report that on August 21, 2013, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Asad attacked opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs of the capital with chemical weapons, killing hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The Syrian government has denied the accusations categorically and blames the opposition for the attack. United...

Sri Lanka: Background and U.S. Relations

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is a constitutional democracy with a relatively high level of development. For two and a half decades, political, social, and economic development was seriously constrained by years of ethnic conflict and war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers. After a violent end to the civil war in May 2009, in which authorities crushed LTTE forces and precipitated a humanitarian emergency in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated north, attention has turned to...

Kyrgyzstan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Kyrgyzstan is a small and poor Central Asian country that gained independence in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union. The United States has been interested in helping Kyrgyzstan to enhance its sovereignty and territorial integrity, bolster economic reform and development, strengthen human rights, prevent weapons proliferation, and more effectively combat transnational terrorism and trafficking in persons and narcotics. Special attention long has been placed on bolstering civil society and democratization in what has appeared to be the most receptive—but still challenging—political...

Possible Intervention in Syria: CRS Experts

The table below provides names and contact information for CRS experts on various policy concerns of interest to Congress relating to the prospect of international military responses to the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria. Policy areas identified include the conflict in Syria, chemical weapons, military operations, intelligence issues, war powers, the humanitarian response, issues in the Middle East region, the United Nations, other international actors, and other foreign policy instruments.

Uzbekistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Uzbekistan gained independence at the end of 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union. The landlocked country is a potential Central Asian regional power by virtue of its population, the largest in the region, its substantial energy and other resources, and its location at the heart of regional trade and transport networks. The existing president, Islam Karimov, retained his post following the country’s independence, and was reelected in 2000 and 2007. He has pursued a policy of caution in economic and political reforms, and many observers have criticized Uzbekistan’s human rights...

Kazakhstan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Kazakhstan is an important power in Central Asia by virtue of its geographic location, large territory, ample natural resources, and economic growth, but it faces ethnic, political, and other challenges to stability. Kazakhstan gained independence at the end of 1991 after the break-up of the former Soviet Union. Kazakhstan’s president at the time, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was one of the top leaders of the former Soviet Union and was instrumental in forming the successor Commonwealth of Independent States. He has been reelected president of Kazakhstan several times and in June 2010 was...

Human Rights, Civil Unrest, and Political Reform in Burma in 2013

Report that examines the current situation in Burma from the implicit perspective shaped by U.S. policy decisions.

Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy: Issues for the 113th Congress

This report examines human rights issues in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including ongoing rights abuses, legal reforms, and the development of civil society. Major events of the past year include the PRC leadership transition, the Wukan protests over land expropriation, the negotiations that allowed legal advocate Chen Guangcheng to leave China, and the Tibetan self-immolations. Ongoing human rights problems include excessive use of force by public security forces, unlawful detention, torture of detainees, arbitrary use of state security laws against political dissidents and...

Nuclear Weapons R&D Organizations in Nine Nations

Seven nations—China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—possess nuclear weapons. North Korea tested a nuclear explosive device in 2006, and announced that it had conducted a test in 2009 and another in 2013. Israel is widely thought to have nuclear weapons. As an aid to Congress in understanding nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, and arms control matters, this report describes which agency is responsible for research and development (R&D) of nuclear weapons (i.e., nuclear explosive devices, as distinct from the bombers and missiles that deliver...

International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 113th Congress

This report discusses a variety of issues faced by the 113th Congress. Topics include trade negotiations with China, export controls and sanctions, import policies, intellectual property rights, international investments and international financial institutions.

Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001

A brief listing of major arms sales and grants made to Pakistan since 2001.

India-U.S. Security Relations: Current Engagement

U.S.-India engagement on shared security interests is a topic of interest to the U.S. Congress, where there is considerable support for a deepened U.S. partnership with the world’s largest democracy. Congressional advocacy of closer relations with India is generally bipartisan and widespread; House and Senate caucuses on India and Indian-Americans are the largest of their kind. Caucus leaders have encouraged the Obama Administration to work toward improving the compatibility of the U.S. and Indian defense acquisitions systems, as well as to seek potential opportunities for co-development...

Recent Protests in Muslim Countries: Background and Issues for Congress

Muslims in a number of countries have responded in recent days with anger at the United States that many observers describe as a response to a privately produced film circulating on the Internet that denigrates Islam and the prophet Mohammed. In some cases, this outrage has taken the form of public expressions by relatively small groups of demonstrators, and in other countries the demonstrations have been larger. In the most extreme cases, such demonstrations have been accompanied by violent attacks against U.S. diplomatic personnel and diplomatic facilities. Pre-existing anti-U.S....

Potential Trade Effects of Adding Vietnam to the Generalized System of Preferences Program

Report that looks at the effects of adding Vietnam to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) as a "developing country."

China, Internet Freedom, and U.S. Policy

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has the world’s largest number of Internet users, estimated at 500 million people. Despite government efforts to limit the flow of online news, Chinese Internet users are able to access unprecedented amounts of information, and political activists have utilized the web as a vital communications tool. In recent years, Twitter-like microblogging has surged, resulting in dramatic cases of dissident communication and public comment on sensitive political issues. However, the web has proven to be less of a democratic catalyst in China than many observers had...

The Republic of the Philippines and U.S. Interests

The United States and the Republic of the Philippines maintain close ties stemming from the U.S. colonial period, the bilateral security alliance, extensive military cooperation, and common strategic and economic interests. Although the United States closed its military bases in the Philippines in 1992, the two treaty allies have continued joint military activities related to counterterrorism and maritime security. This report looks at the U.S. foreign policy towards the Philippines.

Pivot to the Pacific? The Obama Administration’s “Rebalancing” Toward Asia

In the fall of 2011, the Obama Administration issued a series of announcements indicating that the United States would be expanding and intensifying its already significant role in the Asia-Pacific, particularly in the southern part of the region. The fundamental goal underpinning the shift is to devote more effort to influencing the development of the Asia-Pacific’s norms and rules, particularly as China emerges as an ever-more influential regional power. Given that one purpose of the “pivot” or “rebalancing” toward the Asia-Pacific is to deepen U.S. credibility in the region at a time of...

India: Domestic Issues, Strategic Dynamics, and U.S. Relations

South Asia emerged in the 21st century as increasingly vital to core U.S. foreign policy interests. India, the region’s dominant actor with more than 1 billion citizens, is often characterized as a nascent great power and “indispensable partner” of the United States, one that many analysts view as a potential counterweight to China’s growing clout. Since 2004, Washington and New Delhi have been pursuing a “strategic partnership” based on shared values and apparently convergent geopolitical interests. Numerous economic, security, and global initiatives, including plans for civilian nuclear...

Imports from North Korea: Existing Rules, Implications of the KORUS FTA, and the Kaesong Industrial Complex

In early 2011, many Members of Congress focused their attention on U.S. rules and practices governing the importation of products and components from North Korea. Their interest was stimulated by debate over the proposed South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) and the question of whether the agreement could lead to increased imports from North Korea. Some observers, particularly many opposed to the agreement, have argued that the KORUS FTA could increase imports from North Korea if South Korean firms re-export items made in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), a seven-year-old...

Osama bin Laden’s Death: Implications and Considerations

The May 1, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden (OBL) by U.S. forces in Pakistan has led to a range of views about near- and long-term security and foreign policy implications for the United States. Experts have a range of views about the killing of OBL. Some consider his death to be a largely symbolic event, while others believe it marks a significant achievement in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Individuals suggesting that his death lacks great significance argue that U.S. and allied actions had eroded OBL’s ability to provide direction and support to Al Qaeda (AQ). For these analysts, OBL’s...

Japan 2011 Disaster: CRS Experts

Non-Governmental Organizations Activities in North Korea

A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—non-profit, charitable institutions—have been active in North Korea since the mid-1990s. Although their work is relatively limited in scope, it is of interest to U.S. policy-makers because of the deep isolation of the regime in Pyongyang. Several American and international NGOs have provided assistance to North Korea in humanitarian relief, development, health, informal diplomacy, science, communication and education. A relatively recent trend is that a growing number of NGOs, particularly in South Korea, are run by or have North Korean...

Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Al Qaeda (AQ) has evolved into a significantly different terrorist organization than the one that perpetrated the September 11, 2001, attacks. At the time, Al Qaeda was composed mostly of a core cadre of veterans of the Afghan insurgency against the Soviet Union, with a centralized leadership structure made up mostly of Egyptians. Most of the organization’s plots either emanated from the top or were approved by the leadership. Some analysts describe pre-9/11 Al Qaeda as akin to a corporation, with Osama Bin Laden acting as an agile chief executive officer issuing orders and soliciting...

Economics and National Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

As the world begins the second decade of the twenty-first century, the United States holds what should be a winning hand of a preeminent military, large economy, strong alliances, and democratic values. The nation’s security should be secure. Yet the debate over national security seems to be both intensifying and broadening. The problem appears not only in the difficulty of finding a winning strategy in the long war against acts of terrorism but having to face economic constraints that loom large in the public debate. In addition, the global financial crisis and recession have highlighted...

U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology

Modern means of communications, led by the Internet, provide a relatively inexpensive, open, easy-entry means of sharing ideas, information, pictures, and text around the world. In a political and human rights context, in closed societies when the more established, formal news media is denied access to or does not report on specified news events, the Internet has become an alternative source of media, and sometimes a means to organize politically.

The openness and the freedom of expression allowed through blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other tools of today’s...

Hezbollah: Background and Issues for Congress

Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist militia, political party, social welfare organization, and U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization. Its armed element receives support from Iran and Syria and possesses significant paramilitary and unconventional warfare capabilities. In the wake of the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah and an armed domestic confrontation between Hezbollah and rival Lebanese groups in May 2008, Lebanon’s political process is now intensely focused on Hezbollah’s future role in the country. Lebanese factions are working to define Hezbollah’s...

The United Arab Emirates Nuclear Program and Proposed U.S. Nuclear Cooperation

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has embarked on a program to build civilian nuclear power plants and is seeking cooperation and technical assistance from the United States and others. The 111th Congress approved a U.S.-UAE bilateral agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation pursuant to Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed the proposed agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation with the UAE January 15, 2009. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg signed a new version of the agreement May 21, 2009; the Obama Administration...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 110th Congress, 2007-2008

The appointment process for advice and consent positions consists of three main stages. The first stage is selection, clearance, and nomination by the President. This step includes preliminary vetting, background checks, and ethics checks of potential nominees. At this stage, the president may also consult with Senators who are from the same party if the position is located in a state. The second stage of the process is consideration of the nomination in the Senate, most of which takes place in committee. Finally, if a nomination is approved by the full Senate, the nominee is given a...

Flooding in Pakistan: Overview and Issues for Congress

Pakistan experienced a catastrophic natural disaster that has precipitated a humanitarian crisis of major proportions. Widespread flooding affected about 20 million Pakistanis and inundated an area the size of Florida within the country. Congressional interest in the flooding stems from the significant humanitarian and economic implications for the country, and the security implications for U.S. interests in the region. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank have estimated that the flooding has caused $9.7 billion in damages. While this figure might still be preliminary, it is almost...

Afghanistan: U.S. Rule of Law and Justice Sector Assistance

Developing effective Afghan justice sector institutions is considered by many observers to be essential in winning the support of the Afghan population, improving the Afghan government’s credibility and legitimacy, and reducing support for insurgent factions. Such sentiments are reinforced in the face of growing awareness of the pervasiveness of Afghan corruption. To this end, establishing the rule of law (ROL) in Afghanistan has become a priority in U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and an issue of interest to Congress. Numerous U.S. programs to promote ROL are in various stages of...

Burma's 2010 Election Campaign: Issues for Congress

Burma is to hold its first parliamentary elections in 20 years on November 7, 2010. The polls raise questions about U.S. policy towards the Burmese regime, coming in the context of two decades of largely isolationist U.S. policy towards Burma. Some argue that these elections, even if far from free and fair, offer a limited opportunity for political change, even if evolutionary. Others believe that the ruling junta's restrictions on electoral activity thus far demonstrate that it has little interest in democracy or in loosening its repressive policies. These considerations weigh deeply in...

U.S.-China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States faced a challenge in enlisting the full support of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the counterterrorism fight against Al Qaeda. This effort raised short-term policy issues about how to elicit cooperation and how to address PRC concerns about the U.S.-led war (Operation Enduring Freedom). Longer-term issues have concerned whether counterterrorism has strategically transformed bilateral ties and whether China’s support was valuable and not obtained at the expense of other U.S. interests.

The extent of U.S.-China...

North Korea: Back on the Terrorism List?

Whether North Korea should be included on the U.S. list of terrorism-supporting countries has been a major issue in U.S.-North Korean diplomacy since 2000, particularly in connection with negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program. North Korea demanded that the Clinton and Bush Administrations remove it from the terrorism support list. On October 11, 2008, the Bush Administration removed North Korea from the terrorism list.

This move was one of the measures the Bush Administration took to implement a nuclear agreement that it negotiated with North Korea in September 2007 and...

Health-Related Issues in Russia and Eurasia: Context and Issues for Congress

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, all the newly independent Eurasian states faced economic dislocations, conflicts and population shifts, and more porous borders that contributed to rising communicable and non-communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and drug addiction. At the same time, the inherited healthcare systems were obsolete and unable to cope with existing health problems, let alone new challenges.

Even before the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States provided it with some health assistance to address urgent needs, including vaccines for children. Since then,...

North Korea’s Second Nuclear Test: Implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Res. 1874 on June 12, 2009, in response to North Korea’s second nuclear test. The resolution puts in place a series of sanctions on North Korea’s arms sales, luxury goods, and financial transactions related to its weapons programs, and calls upon states to inspect North Korean vessels suspected of carrying such shipments. The resolution does allow for shipments of food and nonmilitary goods. As was the case with an earlier U.N. resolution, 1718, that was passed in October 2006 after North Korea’s first nuclear test, Resolution 1874...

Russian Energy Policy Toward Neighboring Countries

The Russian oil and natural gas industries are key players in the global energy market, particularly in Europe and Eurasia. Another trend has been the concentration of these industries in the hands of the Russian government. This latter phenomenon has been accompanied by an authoritarian political system, in which former intelligence officers play key roles.

Russian firms have tried to purchase a controlling stake in pipelines, ports, storage facilities, and other key energy assets of European countries. They need these assets to transport energy supplies to lucrative western European...

United States Relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is Southeast Asia’s primary multilateral organization. Established in 1967, it has grown into one of the world’s largest regional fora, representing a strategically important group of 10 nations that spans critical sea lanes and accounts for 5% of U.S. trade. This report discusses U.S. diplomatic, security, trade, and aid ties with ASEAN, analyzes major issues affecting Southeast Asian countries and U.S.-ASEAN relations, and examines ASEAN’s relations with other regional powers. Much U.S. engagement with the region occurs at the bilateral...

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Security Issues and Implications for U.S. Interests

The South Caucasus region has been the most unstable in the former Soviet Union in terms of the number, intensity, and length of ethnic and civil conflicts. Other emerging or full-blown security problems include crime, corruption, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and narcotics trafficking. The regional governments have worked to bolster their security by combating terrorism, limiting political dissent they view as threatening, revamping their armed forces, and seeking outside assistance and allies.

The roles of neighbors Iran, Russia, and Turkey have been of...

Central Asia’s Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Interests

The Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) face common security challenges from crime, corruption, terrorism, and faltering commitments to economic and democratic reforms. However, cooperation among them remains halting, so security in the region is likely in the near term to vary by country. Kyrgyzstan’s and Tajikistan’s futures are most clouded by ethnic and territorial tensions, and corruption in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan could spoil benefits from the development of their ample energy resources. Authoritarianism and poverty in...

The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

The world appears to be recovering from the global recession that has caused widespread business contraction, increases in unemployment, and shrinking government revenues. Although the industrialized economies have stopped contracting, for many, unemployment is still rising. The United States likely hit bottom in June 2009, but numerous small banks and households still face huge problems in restoring their balance sheets, and unemployment has combined with sub-prime loans to keep home foreclosures at a high rate. Nearly all industrialized countries and many emerging and developing nations...

Israel and the Palestinians: Prospects for a Two-State Solution

Following leadership changes in the United States and Israel in early 2009 and the Israel-Hamas Gaza conflict in December 2008-January 2009, the inconclusive final-status peace negotiations that took place between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the final year of the Bush Administration have not resumed. Nevertheless, President Barack Obama showed his commitment to a negotiated “two-state solution” just days after his January 2009 inauguration by appointing former Senator George Mitchell as his Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. In September 2009, Obama...

Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai, India, and Implications for U.S. Interests

U.S. Public Diplomacy: Background and Current Issues

Public diplomacy is defined in different ways, but broadly it is a term used to describe a government’s efforts to conduct foreign policy and promote national interests through direct outreach and communication with the population of a foreign country. Public diplomacy activities include providing information to foreign publics through broadcast and Internet media and at libraries and other outreach facilities in foreign countries; conducting cultural diplomacy, such as art exhibits and music performances; and administering international educational and professional exchange programs. The...

Pakistan—Internal Stability and U.S. Response: CRS Experts

China-U.S. Relations: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is vitally important, touching on a wide range of areas including, among others, economic policy, security, foreign relations, and human rights. U.S. interests with China are bound together much more closely now than even a few years ago. These extensive inter-linkages have made it increasingly difficult for either government to take unilateral actions without inviting far-reaching, unintended consequences. The Administration of President Barack Obama has inherited from the George W. Bush Administration...

Taiwan-U.S. Relations: Developments and Policy Implications

U.S. policy toward Taiwan is unique. Since both the Chinese governments on Taiwan and on mainland China held that they alone were China’s legitimate ruling government, U.S. diplomatic relations with Taiwan had to be severed in 1979 when the United States recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government as China’s sole legitimate government. While maintaining diplomatic relations with the PRC, the United States maintains extensive but unofficial relations with Taiwan based on the framework of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA—P.L. 96-8) and shaped by three U.S.-PRC communiqués....

Terrorism in Southeast Asia

Since September 2001, the United States has increased focus on radical Islamist and terrorist groups in Southeast Asia, particularly those in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. Southeast Asia has been a base for terrorist operations. Al Qaeda penetrated the region by establishing local cells, training Southeast Asians in its camps in Afghanistan, and by financing and cooperating with indigenous radical Islamist groups. Indonesia and the southern Philippines have been particularly vulnerable to penetration by Islamic terrorist groups.

Members of one indigenous...

South Korea: Its Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy Outlook

South Korea’s maturing democracy and rapid economic development have had a significant impact on its external relations, including the strategic and economic relationship with the United States. After decades of close strategic alignment with the United States under authoritarian governments, the past several democratically elected leaders in Seoul have sought their own brand of foreign policy and relations with the United States. Now the 13th largest global economy, South Korea is a major U.S. trade partner and host to some 37,000 forward deployed U.S. troops.

President Lee Myung-bak...

Burma: Economic Sanctions

This report provides background information on existing economic sanctions against Burma and possible options to expand sanctions.

FY2009 Spring Supplemental Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations

On June 11, 2009, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees announced a conference agreement on H.R. 2346, a bill providing supplemental appropriations for the remainder of FY2009. The House passed the conference report (226 to 202) on June 16; the Senate passed it (91 to 5) on June 18. President Obama signed it into law (P.L. 111-32) on June 24.

On key issues, the agreement includes: $5 billion, as in the Senate bill, to support U.S. loans to the International Monetary Fund, does not include a Senate provision allowing the Secretary of Defense to exempt photos of military detainees...

Pakistan-U.S. Relations

Selected Federal Compensation Programs for Physical Injury or Death

Congress has established a number of programs to compensate or assist victims of certain specific circumstances, including negligence, terrorism, and “acts of God.” Federal compensation programs can be described by certain common attributes. These include aspects of program administration; requirements for and determination of individual eligibility; eligibility of health care providers; types of benefits provided; whether certain diseases are presumed to be eligible for compensation; and the means by which the program is financed.

Though federal compensation programs display considerable...

The Global Financial Crisis: Foreign and Trade Policy Effects

The global financial and economic crisis affects all three of the essential national interests of the United States: national security, economic well being, and value projection. Only occasionally does an event of this magnitude occur that generates such daunting challenges yet also opportunities for U.S. policy. The effects of the crisis on foreign policy, trade, and security are so diverse and widespread that, out of necessity, policy responses must range from the highly specific to the broad and ethereal.

This report provides an overview of the major non-financial effects of the global...

Russia-Georgia Conflict in August 2008: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests

In the early 1990s, Georgia and its breakaway South Ossetia region had agreed to a Russian-mediated ceasefire that provided for Russian “peacekeepers” to be stationed in the region. Moscow extended citizenship and passports to most ethnic Ossetians. Simmering long-time tensions escalated on the evening of August 7, 2008, when South Ossetia and Georgia accused each other of launching intense artillery barrages against each other. Georgia claims that South Ossetian forces did not respond to a ceasefire appeal but intensified their shelling, “forcing” Georgia to send in troops. On August 8,...

China's Foreign Aid Activities in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia

This report examines China's economic impact in three regions -- Africa, Latin America (Western Hemisphere), and Southeast Asia -- with an emphasis on bilateral foreign assistance. In the past several years, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has bolstered its diplomatic presence and garnered international goodwill through its financing of infrastructure and natural resource development projects, assistance in the carrying out of such projects, and large economic investments in many developing countries

China-U.S. Relations in the 110th Congress: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

This report deals with U.S.-China relations during the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and with a number of key events involving China during the two-year period. These events included: China’s anti-satellite weapon test (January 2007); the 17th Party Congress (October 2007); a crackdown against demonstrations in Tibet (March 2008); the election of a new, pro-engagement government in Taiwan (March 2008); the massive Sichuan earthquake (May 2008); and Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Olympics (August 2008).

U.S.-China relations were remarkably smooth for much of the 110th, although there were...

Taiwan-U.S. Relations: Recent Developments and Their Policy Implications

This report focuses on current developments in Taiwan, analyzing how those developments are affecting choices the United States makes about its policy toward Taiwan specifically and toward the People's Republic of China (PRC) more broadly.

U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2008: Background and Issues for Congress

After communist North Vietnam’s victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, U.S.-Vietnam relations remained essentially frozen until the mid-1990s. Since then, bilateral ties have expanded remarkably, to the point where the relationship has been virtually normalized. Indeed, since 2002, overlapping strategic and economic interests have compelled the United States and Vietnam to improve relations across a wide spectrum of issues. Congress played a significant role in the normalization process and continues to influence the state of bilateral relations. Voices favoring improved relations...

Sino-Japanese Relations: Issues for U.S. Policy

After a period of diplomatic rancor earlier this decade, Japan and China have demonstrably improved their bilateral relationship. The emerging détente includes breakthrough agreements on territorial disputes, various high-level exchanges, and reciprocal port calls by naval vessels. Over the past ten years, China-Japan economic interdependence has grown as trade and investment flows have surged. China -Japan economic ties serve as an anchor for the overall bilateral relationship and have become the center of a robust East Asian trade and investment network. On the other hand, military...

Taiwan: Overall Developments and Policy Issues in the 109th Congress

This report discusses the U.S. relations with Taiwan as especially troubled during the 109th Congress in 2005-2006. Two developments concerning Taiwan were particularly nettlesome to U.S. policymakers in 2005-2006.

Comparing Global Influence: China’s and U.S. Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Trade, and Investment in the Developing World

This report compares the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) and U.S. projections of global influence, with an emphasis on non-coercive means or “soft power,” and suggests ways to think about U.S. foreign policy options in light of China’s emergence. Part One discusses U.S. foreign policy interests, China’s rising influence, and its implications for the United States. Part Two compares the global public images of the two countries and describes PRC and U.S. uses of soft power tools, such as public diplomacy, state diplomacy, and foreign assistance. It also examines other forms of soft power...

Presidential Appointments to Full-time Positions in Executive Departments During the 109th Congress, 2005-2006

During the 109th Congress, the President submitted to the Senate 283 nominations to executive department full-time positions. Of these 283 nominations, 233 were confirmed; nine were withdrawn; and 41 were returned to him in accordance with Senate rules. For those nominations that were confirmed, an average of 75 days elapsed between nomination and confirmation. The median number of days elapsed was 57. These statistics do not include the days during which the Senate was adjourned for its summer recesses and between sessions of Congress.

President George W. Bush made a total of 13 recess...

Burma-U.S. Relations

On May 2-3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy delta and the Rangoon area of Burma. Estimates of the number of people who died was 135,000 as of early June 2008. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and sources of livelihood. Foreign governments and relief organizations sought to bring in massive aid, but the Burmese government (SPDC) restricted the volume of goods that came in and access of disaster experts and relief workers to the affected areas. In the meantime, the SPDC proceeded to hold a referendum on a new constitution in areas not affected by the cyclone. It...

Bangladesh: Political Turmoil and Transition

Bangladesh (the former East Pakistan) gained its independence in 1971, following India’s intervention in a rebellion against West Pakistan (currently called Pakistan). The Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which led the ruling coalition of the previous government, and the leading opposition party, the Awami League (AL), traditionally have dominated Bangladeshi politics. The BNP has been led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia; the AL has been led by Sheikh Hasina. In the years since independence, Bangladesh has established a reputation as a largely moderate and democratic majority Muslim...

Taiwan’s 2008 Presidential Election

Taiwan’s Legislative Elections, January 2008: Implications for U.S. Policy

This report discusses Taiwan’s legislative elections of January 2008, and the implication of results for U.S. policy.

North Korean Refugees in China and Human Rights Issues: International Response and U.S. Policy Options

North Koreans have been crossing the border into China, many in search of refuge, since the height of North Korea’s famine in the 1990s. The State Department estimates that 30,000-50,000 North Korean refugees currently live in China (some non-governmental organizations estimate the number is closer to 300,000) and believes those who are repatriated may face punishment ranging from a few months of “labor correction” to execution. A number of reports also document the difficult conditions faced by North Koreans who remain in China. The plight of the North Koreans focuses attention not only...

Bangladesh: Background and U.S. Relations

Bangladesh (the former East Pakistan) gained its independence in 1971, following India’s intervention in a rebellion against West Pakistan (currently called Pakistan). Democratic elections in 1991 ended two decades of authoritarian rule in Dhaka. The Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which led the ruling coalition of the previous government, and the leading opposition party, the Awami League (AL), traditionally have dominated Bangladeshi politics. The BNP is led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia while the AL is led by Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh has been a largely moderate and democratic...

Underlying Strains in Taiwan-U.S. Political Relations

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

North Korean Actions, 1950 - 2007: Controversy and Issues

This selective list of events provides information on instances of North Korean provocative actions between June 1950 and 2007. The purpose of this report is to place current provocations in the context of past actions to better judge their significance and to determine changes in trends. The term “provocation” is defined to include armed invasion; border violations; infiltration of armed saboteurs and spies; hijacking; kidnapping; terrorism (including assassination and bombing); threats/intimidation against political leaders, media personnel, and institutions; incitement aimed at the...

Pakistan and Terrorism: A Summary

This report provides a summary review of issues related to Pakistan and terrorism, especially in the context of U.S. interests, policy goals, and relevant assistance. The outcomes of U.S. policies toward Pakistan since 9/11, while not devoid of meaningful successes, have neither neutralized anti-Western militants and reduced religious extremism in that country nor contributed sufficiently to the stabilization of neighboring Afghanistan. Many observers thus urge a broad re-evaluation of such policies. Sources for this report include, among other things, the U.S. Departments of State and...

Laos: Background and U.S. Relations

Presidential Appointments to Full-time Positions in Executive Departments During the 108th Congress, 2003-2004

During the 108th Congress, the President submitted to the Senate 166 nominations to executive department full-time positions. Of these 166 nominations, 120 were confirmed; eight were withdrawn; one was returned to the President at the end of the first session; and 37 were returned to him at the end of the second session of the 108th Congress. For those nominations that were confirmed, an average of 98 days elapsed between the time of the nomination and the nomination’s receipt and confirmation. The median number of days elapsed was 83. These statistics do not include the days during which...

China-U.S. Relations in the 109th Congress

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 110th Congress

The 110th Congress will face a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues in the opening days of its tenure. This report identifies major issues most likely to be on the legislative agenda, discusses critical policy choices at stake, and summarizes some of the major alternatives that Congress may consider. The report lists Congressional Research Service reports that address these issues, and it identifies key analysts and their areas of responsibility.

A major issue confronting the new Congress is what to do in Iraq. The Baker/Hamilton-led Iraq Study Group recommended...

9/11 Commission Recommendations: Implementation Status

This report provides a review of the 9/11 Commission recommendations and the status of their implementation at the end of the 109th Congress. The discussions herein are organized on the basis of policy themes that are at the core of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, rather than through a review of each numbered item set out in the Commission’s final report. The analysis was produced by a large team of CRS Specialists, analysts, and attorneys who are responsible for the wide variety of policy areas covered by the 9/11 Commission in its work. The authors of the varied segments of this...

International Efforts to Control the Spread of the Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus: Affected Countries’ Responses

A strain of the avian influenza virus known as H5N1 threatens to develop into a human pandemic. First appearing in birds and humans in Hong Kong in 1997, the virus re-surfaced in late 2003 and since has spread throughout Asia, causing over 100 reported human deaths from Vietnam to Turkey and appearing in birds in Africa and Europe. The strain is considered particularly dangerous because of its human fatality rate to date of over 50% and because of the risk that the virus may develop the ability to pass efficiently between humans.

This report focuses on the efforts of overseas governments...

The Earthquake in South Asia: Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Operations

On October 8, 2005, a powerful earthquake struck northern Pakistan and India, killing at least 74,000 people and injuring over 70,000 more. The earthquake damaged the homes of millions of people, forcing more than 2.8 million to search for alternative means of shelter. The full extent of the destruction is now being revealed as government authorities and relief organizations are able to access some of the remote locations. The United States government (USG) has pledged $510 million toward the relief effort, almost all of it to assisting Pakistan, which remains a key U.S. ally in the war...

East Asian Summit: Issues for Congress

Terrorism in South Asia

This report reviews the recent incidence of terrorism in South Asia, concentrating on Pakistan and India, but also including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The existence of international terrorist groups and their supporters in South Asia is identified as a threat to both regional stability and to the attainment of central U.S. policy goals. Al Qaeda forces that fled from Afghanistan with their Taliban supporters remain active on Pakistani territory, and Al Qaeda is believed to have links with indigenous Pakistani terrorist groups that have conducted anti-Western attacks...

Republic of the Marshall Islands Changed Circumstances Petition to Congress

In September 2000, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) government submitted to the United States Congress a Changed Circumstances Petition related to U.S. nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands atolls of Bikini and Enewetak during the 1940s and 1950s. The Petition requests additional compensation for personal injuries and property damages and restoration costs, medical care programs, health services infrastructure and training, and radiological monitoring. According to various estimates, between 1954 and 2004, the United States spent over $500 million on nuclear test compensation...

China and Sub-Saharan Africa

Foreign Assistance to North Korea

Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami: Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Operations

On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, unleashed a tsunami that affected more than 12 countries throughout south and southeast Asia and stretched as far as the northeastern African coast. Current official estimates indicate that more than 250,000 people are dead or missing and millions of others are affected, including those injured or displaced, making this the deadliest tsunami on record. Sections of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand have suffered the worst devastation. In response, the United Nations, the...

Removing Terrorist Sanctuaries: The 9/11 Commission Recommendations and U.S. Policy

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) issued its final report on July 19, 2004. A major recommendation in the report was that the U.S. government should identify and prioritize actual or potential terrorist sanctuaries and, for each, to employ a realistic strategy to keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national power. U.S. strategy to combat global terrorism, even prior to 9/11, included efforts to deny sanctuary to terrorist groups by isolating and applying pressure on states that sponsor or...

China and “Falun Gong”

North Korea: A Chronology of Events, October 2002-December 2004

This report provides a chronology of events relevant to U.S. relations with North Korea from October 2002 through December 31, 2004. The chronology includes significant meetings, events, and statements that shed light on the issues surrounding North Korea's nuclear weapons program. An introductory analysis provides background on U.S. policy preceding October 2002 as well as an overview of developments and dynamics among the major players in the North Korea nuclear dispute: South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States. Particular attention is paid to the demise of the Agreed...

China-U.S. Relations During the 108th Congress

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 109th Congress

The 109th Congress will likely address a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense and trade issues. This report identifies the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, and provides information and analysis to support Congress in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues. The report also provides lists of selected CRS products that provide more detailed analysis. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has increasingly been confronted with issues relating to the war on terrorism and homeland security. Congress will likely be particularly interested in...

H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (October 8, 2004) and Senate (October 6, 2004) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill, because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process to date. For purposes of clarity, we refer to the House-passed bill as...

Australia, the Southwest Pacific, and United States Interests

The major U.S. interests in the Southwest Pacific are preventing the rise of terrorist threats, working with and maintaining the region's U.S. territories, commonwealths, and military bases (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Reagan Missile Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands), and enhancing U.S.-Australian cooperation in pursuing mutual political, economic, and strategic objectives in the area. The United States and Australia share common interests in countering transnational crime and preventing the infiltration of terrorist organizations in the...

International Terrorism in South Asia

Pakistan's Domestic Political Developments: Issues for Congress

The Vietnam-U.S. Textile Agreement

In December 2001, the United States granted Vietnam most-favored-nation status, a key condition of the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) that was approved by Congress and signed by President Bush earlier in the year. Since the BTA went into effect, U.S. imports from Vietnam have more than doubled. Most of this increase is due to the sharp rise in clothing imports, which increased to almost $900 million in 2002, nearly twenty times the $45-$50 million range that Vietnam had recorded in 2000 and 2001. By dollar value, clothing is now the largest import item from Vietnam. In 2002,...

Enron: A Select Chronology of Congressional, Corporate, and Government Activities

This report presents basic background information on the collapse of the Enron Corporation, identifying public policy issues in financial market oversight. This report briefly summarizes some federal laws carrying criminal penalties which may be implicated in the events surrounding the collapse of the Enron Corp. This report compares the auditing and accounting reform measures passed by the House (H.R. 3763) and reported by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. This report compares the major provisions of three auditor and accounting reform proposals: H.R. 3763, S....

Iraq: The Debate Over U.S. Policy

The passage of H.J.Res. 114 ( P.L. 107-243 ) in both the House and Senate on October 11, 2002, appeared to reflect a consensus on giving the President the authority, subject to several important conditions, to use United States' Armed Forces to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD). At the same time, the debate over the Iraq war resolution also reflected continuing divisions in Congress regarding how to deal with the challenge posed by Saddam Hussein's WMD programs and capabilities, and the Administration's handling of this issue. These divisions continue and in some ways...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 107th Congress, 2001-2002

During the 107th Congress, 354 nominations to executive department full-time positions were submitted to the Senate. Of these nominations, seven were submitted by President Clinton before he left office and were withdrawn by President Bush on March 19, 2001. President Bush submitted 347 nominations, of which 297 were confirmed, two were withdrawn, 35 were returned to him at the August 2001 recess, one was returned to him at the adjournment of the first session, and 12 were returned to him at the end of the 107th Congress. President Clinton made eight recess appointments during the...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 108th Congress

The 108th Congress will be faced early on with a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues. This report provides background information on the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, analyzes the congressional role in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues, and lists CRS products that provide more detailed discussion and analysis. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon dramatically altered the U.S. political environment, pushing issues of war and homeland security to the top of the policy agenda. Of particular concern to...

Elections in Kashmir

The United States welcomed the successful October conclusion of 2002 elections in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, where nearly half of the electorate cast ballots. The elections resulted in the ousting of the long-dominant National Conference party, allies of the national coalition-leading Bharatiya Janata Party, thus bolstering the credibility of the process and dampening criticism from some quarters that the elections were flawed or "farcical." The opposition Indian National Congress and the regional People's Democratic Party (PDP) won a combined 36 seats in the state...

U.S.-India Security Relations

Sino-U.S. Summit, October 2002

China's Relations with Central Asian States and Problems with Terrorism

This report provides an overview of the Muslim separatist movement in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China’s attempts to stifle activities which it considers terrorism, and implications for U.S. policy. Some analysts suggest that the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism may make it difficult to pressure the Chinese government on human rights and religious freedoms, particularly as they relate to Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Political Succession and Leadership Issues in China: Implications for U.S. Policy

In 2002 and 2003, the People's Republic of China (PRC) will be making key leadership changes within the government and the Communist Party. A number of current senior leaders, including Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, and National Peoples' Congress Chairman Li Peng, are scheduled to be stepping down from their posts, and it is not yet clear who will be assuming these positions from among the younger generation of leaders -- the so-called "fourth generation," comprised of those born in the 1940s and early 1950s. It is expected that new leaders will be ascending to positions...

Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations

Taiwan’s December 2001 Elections

Vietnam’s Labor Rights Regime: An Assessment

Congress is currently considering the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement (BTA). Under the agreement, which was signed in July 2000 and requires Congressional approval, the United States pledged to extend conditional normal trade relations status to Vietnam, thereby significantly lowering tariffs on imports from Vietnam, in return for Hanoi’s agreement to enact a wide range of market-oriented reforms. Congressional discussion over the BTA is expected to highlight Vietnam’s labor rights situation, a topic that has become a contentious part of the trade debate in recent years. The BTA...

Tibet, China, and the 107th Congress: Issues for U.S. Policy

Appropriations for FY2002: Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs

The annual Foreign Operations appropriations bill is the primary legislative vehicle through which Congress reviews the U.S. foreign aid budget and influences executive branch foreign policy making generally. It contains the largest share -- over two-thirds -- of total U.S. international affairs spending. President Bush requested $15.167 billion for FY2002 Foreign Operations, an amount 1.5% higher than enacted FY2001 appropriations. By comparison, foreign policy resources proposed for State Department, U.N. contributions, and other non-foreign aid activities would increase by 13.2% from...

China: Labor Conditions and Unrest

China's labor conditions have become a key variable affecting its domestic politics and economic policies, U.S. human rights policies toward China, and U.S.-China trade. Deepening economic reforms in the People's Republic of China (PRC) since the early 1990s have imposed hardships upon many urban industrial workers, who were once among the most economically-privileged social classes in the country. While raising living standards for many Chinese, the reforms have eroded the material well-being and job security of many workers in state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Bankruptcies of many SOEs...

China-U.S. Aircraft Collision Incident of April 2001: Assessments and Policy Implications

The serious incident of April 2001 between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) involved a collision over the South China Sea between a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane and a People's Liberation Army (PLA) naval F-8 fighter that crashed. After surviving the near-fatal accident, the U.S. crew made an emergency landing of their damaged plane onto the PLA's Lingshui airfield on Hainan Island, and the PRC detained the 24 crew members for 11 days. Washington and Beijing disagreed over the cause of the accident, the release of the crew and plane, whether Washington...

Nuclear Sanctions: Section 102(b) of the Arms Export Control Act and Its Application to India and Pakistan

Section 102(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) requires the President to impose sanctions on any country that he has determined is a "non-nuclear-weapon state" and has received or detonated a "nuclear explosive device." Sanctions include prohibitions on foreign assistance; munitions sales and licenses; foreign military financing; government credits, guarantees, and financial assistance; U.S. support for multilateral financial assistance; private bank lending to the affected government; and exports of certain specific controlled goods and technology. Specific exceptions exist...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 106th Congress, 1999-2000

This report focuses on presidential nominations and Senate confirmations to the 330 full-time positions in the 14 executive departments to which the President makes appointments, with the advice and consent of the Senate. During the 106th Congress, President Clinton submitted 136 nominations and made 18 recess appointments to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate confirmed 108 nominations and returned 24; the President withdrew four nominations. On average, the Senate took 105 days (three and a half months) to confirm a nomination. Sixty-eight nominations (63%)...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Policy: Key Issues in the 107th Congress

Among the 107th Congress' first orders of business will be dealing with the initiatives--both domestic and foreign policy--proposed by President Bush throughout his presidential campaign. The 2000 congressional campaigns suggested that the agenda of the 107th Congress will be largely domestic: Social Security, health care, education, taxes, and military pay were prominent in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, many issues discussed in this report will be affected by the resolution of a contentious battle for the presidency. In the Congress, the 50-50...

Fiji Islands Political Crisis: Background, Analysis, and Chronology

On May 19, 2000, Fijian businessman George Speight and his followers took Prime Minister Mehendra Chaudhry, an ethnic Indian Fijian, and 30 government and parliamentary officials hostage in an attempt to return the political system to indigenous Fijian dominance. The Fiji military appointed an interim civilian government, negotiated the release of the hostages on July 14, 2000, and then arrested Speight on July 26, 2000. Although the interim civilian government expressed disapproval of Speight's actions, it also indicated plans to create a new Constitution that bars Indo-Fijians from the...

Philippine-U.S. Security Relations

In 1999, the Philippines and the United States reached agreements to revive the security relationship, which had declined following the U.S. withdrawal from military bases in 1992. The two governments concluded a Visiting Forces Agreement that will allow U.S. military personnel to enter the Philippines for joint training and other cooperative activities. The two governments also agreed to formulate a new U.S. military support program for the Philippines. The future of the security relationship will be affected by several issues such as the Philippine-China dispute in the South China Sea,...

China: The National People’s Congress

The National People’s Congress (NPC), a unicameral legislature, is the People’s Republic of China (PRC)'s counterpart to the U.S. Congress. In recent years, there has been increasing interaction between the two legislatures. This report briefly considers recent developments in the NPC, describes how the NPC works, and discusses exchanges between the two congresses.

China's Internet Industry

The Chinese Internet industry is one of the fastest growing in the world; the number of users is expected to grow from 9 million to nearly 20 million in 2000 alone. Chinese scientific research institutes, the Chinese government, and Chinese high tech entrepreneurs, many of them backed by American venture capital, have forged the development of the Internet in China. Upon its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), China has promised to open its telecommunications sector and Internet industry to much greater foreign investment and trade. The government of the PRC (People's...

Nuclear Weapons and Ballistic Missile Proliferation in India and Pakistan: Issues for Congress

The Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests of May 1998 ended South Asia's condition of "existential" deterrence. Both countries now have overt nuclear postures, and U.S. concerns in the region have focused on preservation of global nonproliferation regimes and related efforts, prevention of an arms race in South Asia, and movement toward reconciliation between India and Pakistan, especially on their mutual differences over the area of Kashmir. The "benchmarks" which provide a framework for U.S. policy in this area encompass key aspects of nonproliferation efforts. Progress toward stated...

China's Automobile Industry and WTO Accession

Within the next ten years, China (PRC) is expected to have a significant market for passenger cars. China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status would promise to open this market to foreign trade and investment. However, American automobile and parts manufacturers face several obstacles in their efforts to gain market share in China. First, American companies in China, such as General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, face stiff competition from German, Japanese, and Korean producers. Second, although the PRC pledges to reduce or...

Asian Financial Crisis and Recovery: Status and Implications for U.S. Interests

In terms of broad economic measurements, the Asian financial crisis largely has ended, but the surprisingly swift recovery has left lingering economic and political problems that still could have negative effects on U.S. interests. The economies that suffered most from the crisis that began with the collapse of the Thai baht in July 1997 have regained positive economic growth, bolstered their trade positions, sharply reduced interest rates, and rebuilt their international financial reserves. At the same time, the recovery has been uneven and most of the IMF-assisted...

Japan-South Korea Relations: Converging Interests and Implications for the United States

Since South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung's historic October 1998 visit to Japan, relations between Seoul and Tokyo have improved dramatically, to a point where arguably the two countries are at their closest ever. The improvement in bilateral ties has been accompanied by an unprecedented degree of trilateral coordination among the United States, Japan, and South Korea on policy toward North Korea. In the short term, the impetus for better relations has come from two regional crises: North Korea's August 1998 launch of the Taepodong medium-range missile over Japan and the near-collapse of...

East Timor Crisis: U.S. Policy and Options

East Timorese voters rejected an Indonesian plan for autonomy in a referendum of August 30, 1999, thus expressing a preference for independence. Since the announcement of the results of the referendum, East Timorese para-military groups, backed by the Indonesian military, have instituted widespread violence and terror. A United Nations-sponsored international peace-keeping force entered East Timor in late September 1999 led by Australian forces. The United States, including the Congress, has been involved in the issue of East Timor for many years. The Clinton Administration has acted in...

Foreign and Defense Policy: Key Issues in the 106th Congress

When the 106th Congress comes to work in January, its first order of business will be to deal with the impeachment of the President of the United States. The 1998 congressional campaigns and elections suggested that the agenda of the 106th Congress also will be largely domestic in its focus: Social Security, health care, and education were the order of the day in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, of the issues discussed in this report, only increased defense spending to address military readiness and retention of trained military personnel has been...

India-Pakistan Nuclear Tests and U.S. Response

On May 11 and 13, 1998, India conducted a total of five underground nuclear tests, breaking a 24-year self-imposed moratorium on nuclear testing. Pakistan followed claiming 5 tests on May 28, 1998, and an additional test on May 30. The Indian tests, which appear to have completely surprised the U.S. intelligence and policy community set off a world-wide storm of criticism. President Clinton announced, on May 13, 1998, that he was imposing economic and military sanctions mandated by Sec. 102 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA.) The Administration applied the same sanctions to Pakistan on...

Indonesia: U.S. Relations With the Indonesian Military

Differences between the U.S. executive branch and Congress over U.S. policies toward the Indonesian military have persisted since the early 1960s. In the early 1960s, Indonesian policies under President Sukarno, including aggression against neighboring countries and a political alliance with the Indonesian Communist Party, led Congress to cut military and economic aid to Indonesia. The Kennedy Administration opposed this action. In the late 1970s, the policies of the Indonesian military in East Timor drew criticism from U.S. human rights groups and Members of Congress, who accused the...

Taiwan: Texts of the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. - China Communiques, and the "Six Assurances"

This report discusses the U.S. policy on Taiwan, which is governed by the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the 3 U.S. joint communiqués with China, and the so-called "Six Assurances" on Taiwan.

China: Pending Legislation in the 105th Congress

The 105 Congress has been active on issues involving China. This report, which will be updated as developments occur, tracks pending human rights legislation, including bills concerning: prison conditions and prison labor exports; coercive abortion practices; China’s policies toward religion; and more general human rights issues.

China: Pending Legislation in the 105th Congress

This report tracks pending human rights legislation, including bills concerning: prison conditions and prison labor exports (H.R. 2195, H.R. 2358); coercive abortion practices (H.R. 2570); China’s policies toward religion (H.R. 967, H.R. 2431); and more general human rights issues (H.R. 2095). Other bills concern Taiwan — in particular, Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization (H.Res. 190) and the U.S. role in helping Taiwan with a theater missile defense system (H.R. 2386). Also, legislation is pending on China’s missile proliferation activities (H.Res. 188), Radio Free Asia...

South Asia Crisis: Effects on the Middle East

The May 1998 nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have raised concerns that these countries, particularly Pakistan, might transfer nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction technology to Iran or other Middle Eastern states. Iran has developed military ties to both India and Pakistan, and has tried to acquire advanced technology from Pakistan, but political and other differences have limited these relationships. There is little evidence that other Middle Eastern countries have tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction technology from India or Pakistan. This paper will not be updated.

Asian Financial Crisis: An Analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy Interests and Options

The principal focus of this report is on the foreign policy ramifications of the Asian financial crisis and U.S. options for addressing them. This report tracks and analyzes the efforts of the most seriously affected Asian countries to deal with their economic and financial problems, and their interaction with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United States, and other major sources of financial support and policy advice. It also addresses the implications of the crisis for such U.S. interests as regional stability and the prevention of conflict, trade liberalization, and U.S....

China-U.S. Summit, October 1.997

Increased U.S. Military Sales to China: Arguments and Alternatives

The report examines the current debate in the United States over proposals for increased U.S. military sales to China. The study first examines the background of U.S.-China security ties since the Nixon Administration, and then sets forth the parameters of the current debate by noting a number of issues concerning U.S. military transfers to China on which all sides generally agree. It shows that Americans familiar with the issue tend to identify with different groups of opinion or "schools of thought" on the question of U.S. military transfers to China, and provides a detailed...