The first ever India-Japan-ROK Trilateral Dialogue was held in New Delhi on Friday. The three sides discussed the South China Sea, stressing that all sides should focus on maritime trade, energy and economic security, putting cooperation before competition. CSIS held its South China Sea conference on June 27 and 28, and you can watch conference proceedings online here.
With a deadline looming, the Obama administration announced Thursday a last minute decision to exempt China and Singapore from Iran sanctions because both countries had significantly reduced oil imports from Tehran. The waiver for China averted potential tensions between Beijing and Washington who are both part of a group of powers negotiating with Iran on its nuclear program.
The lower house of Japan’s parliament passed a bill to double its consumption tax rate by 2015 Tuesday. While it passed with a sizable majority in favor, there are concerns that the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) could split on the issue, with one national broadcaster reported that 57 DPJ lawmakers did not support the bill. If 54 or more defect, the party will lose its majority in the lower house, and further splits could force a general election before next year.
South Korea postponed signing a groundbreaking agreement with Japan that would have allowed the sharing of classified military data due to domestic sensitivities. The pact would have been the first between Seoul and Tokyo since Japan’s occupation of Korea, and the signing was initially supposed to take place in Tokyo on Friday afternoon.
NASA canceled its plan to use Thailand’s Vietnam War-era U-Tapao airbase for a research study. Opposition concerns about sovereignty and transparency in Thailand made the government push off the issue to parliamentary debate which would have put it over a NASA deadline for project approval. Thailand’s English-language newspaper Bangkok Post called the outcome a “failure of leadership” by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.