Four important developments in Asia from this week and one key event to keep an eye out for next week.
1. Canada and Mexico were both invited to take part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. With the addition of the two countries, the TPP comprises eleven countries, 658 million people and $20.5 trillion in combined GDP. However, the agreement still does not include economies from Northeast Asia, and some worry that it is an attempt to contain China. For China’s take on the TPP, read this latest post on cogitASIA.
2. The United States, Japan and South Korea held two-day exercises in international waters south of Jeju island. North Korean media said the drills threatened to bring a “new cloud of war” to the region. The exercises come after the US and South Korea held high level “2 plus 2” talks in Washington last week. For CSIS Korea Chair Victor Cha’s take on these developments, read this piece.
3. India’s economic woes continued as the rupee fell to a record nine-month low on fears that flagging economic growth would decrease capital inflows. Fitch Ratings joined Standard & Poor’s in indicating that India’s rating risks being demoted to junk status. For an analysis of future India-U.S. economic cooperation required to counter this trend, read Ambassador Karl Inderfurth & CSIS Scholl Chair Meredith Broadbent’s commentary here.
4. The Philippines announced over the weekend that it would withdraw from the contested Scarborough Shoal due to bad weather after months of saber-rattling with China. But Philippine President Benigno Aquino also clarified on Wednesday that he would also order vessels back into the waters once the weather clears if Chinese ships had not left the area by then. The CSIS Southeast Asia Program will host a South China Sea conference next week, which you can register for here.
5. The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold hearings next week to examine the nomination of Derek Mitchell to be ambassador to Burma. Mitchell previously served as special envoy to Burma and was also at CSIS before joining the Obama administration, where he was the founding director of the Southeast Asia Initiative, the precursor to the Southeast Asia Program. More details can be found here.