Asia & the Pacific

225 Items

Monument for victims of Chernobyl in front of covef

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Thirty-three Years Since the Catastrophe at Chernobyl: A Universal Lesson for the Global Nuclear Power Industry

| Apr. 25, 2019

The world will soberly commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant catastrophic accident on Friday, April 26, 2019.  Some may wonder why bother with a gone-by historical event that happened in a distant land — a country that no longer exists — the former Soviet Union (now Ukraine).  On the contrary, Chernobyl and its legacy, with its specters of lingering human toll, radiation contamination, and the massive new shelter ("New Safe Confinement") installed over the old sarcophagus encasing the reactor, will be with us for a long time.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India, built in collaboration with Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom (Flickr/India Water Portal).

Flickr/India Water Portal

Journal Article - Sustainability

Nonproliferation and Security Implications of the Evolving Civil Nuclear Export Market

| Mar. 27, 2019

In recent decades, the nuclear export market has observed a marked shift of demand from traditional customers in the Western world to Asia. The lack of projects in the United States, the delay in the French construction of advanced reactors, and the Fukushima accident in Japan have also led to the declining export capabilities of their companies. In contrast, Russia has gained numerous contracts, and China will likely become another major exporter. In this paper, the evolution of the market was examined from both the supply and demand sides with issues including the more concentrated and uncertain market, the lack of full participation by emerging suppliers to the nonproliferation regime, and the lesser governance capabilities of the newcomers. Addressing these issues, a range of policy suggestions was made, including the reinforcement of market shares of Western suppliers, the encouragement of newcomers to adhere to international norms, and a better safeguards contribution scheme.

The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise, in Washington, October 10, 2017

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Protecting Democracy in an Era of Cyber Information War

| February 2019

Citizens voluntarily carry Big Brother and his relatives in their pockets. Along with big data and artificial intelligence, technology has made the problem of defending democracy from information warfare far more complicated than foreseen two decades ago. And while rule of law, trust, truth and openness make democracies asymmetrically vulnerable, they are also critical values to defend.  Any policy to defend against cyber information war must start with the Hippocratic oath: first, do no harm.

Maintaining America's Edge

Aspen Strategy Group

Book Chapter - Aspen Strategy Group

Introduction: Navigating Uncharted Territory in the Technological Era

| Jan. 30, 2019

In August 2018, the nonpartisan Aspen Strategy Group (ASG) convened its thirtyfourth annual meeting in Aspen, Colorado. Over the course of three days, ASG members and invited experts from government, universities, think tanks, and the private sector debated the impact of dramatic technological change over the next decade on American national security. Our conversations covered a wide breadth of emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing, and biotechnology—and the challenges they pose to America’s military, the intelligence community, U.S. economic power, and democratic institutions. Our group grappled with the central dilemma of how the U.S. government can harness these technologies—developed primarily in the private sector and research labs—to compete with China and other adversaries in the years ahead.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Republic of Korea via Flickr

Journal Article - Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs

An Analysis of Moon Jae-in's Nuclear Phase-out Policy

| Winter 2019

Although South Korea adopted nuclear energy later than countries like the United States, Russia, or France, the country, until recently, has been considered to have one of the most successful civil nuclear power programs in the world, with a fully-devel- oped supply chain, a remarkable record in constructing and operating nuclear power plants (NPPs), and the ability to compete and win contracts to supply NPPs abroad. The fortune of South Korea’s nuclear program has seemingly come to an end, however, with the election of Moon Jae-in. The new South Korean President promised to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear energy, and has, since taking office, implemented measures to phase out this type of electricity generation.

In this paper, following a brief history of the development of nuclear energy in South Korea, the root causes that instilled public distrust of nuclear energy and Moon Jae-in’s phase-out policy are discussed. Subsequently, by analyzing the validity of Moon’s plan, I argue that this phase-out policy is not beneficial for the long-term sustainability of South Korea’s economy in general, and of the Korean nuclear industry in particular. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for a more balanced nuclear policy that can accommodate public opinion and, at the same time, ensure energy security and provide other economic and diplomatic benefits.

Visitors look at the models of oil tanker shaped floating nuclear reactors and oil rigs showcased at the display booth of China's state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation during the China International Exhibition on Nuclear Power Industry in Beijing. April 27, 2017 (Andy Wong/Associated Press).

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Journal Article - Maritime Issues

China's Planned Floating Nuclear Power Facilities in South China Sea: Technical and Political Challenges

| Nov. 21, 2018

The operation of the fleet of Chinese floating nuclear power plants in the South China Sea carries with it numerous safety and security risks that may have widespread consequences to not only China but also to Southeast Asia and beyond.

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

StockSnap/Pixabay

Analysis & Opinions - The Economist

Sovereign Venture Capitalism: At a Crossroad

| Oct. 03, 2018

What the Iron Man-like character is claiming for his futuristic automotive company is not unheard of. On a systemic basis, mammoth institutional investment—especially from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—is flowing into start-ups and technology-oriented publicly traded companies. In this case, Saudi billions would help Mr Musk escape the pressures of being publicly listed. SWFs have invested large sums into high-growth start-ups promising innovation and financial returns. In fact, just this month, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced a US$1bn investment in Tesla’s rival, Lucid, and a US$2bn stake in Tesla. The rise in SWF balance sheets and activity is having ramifications on global efforts to be more Silicon Valley-like, and on Silicon Valley itself.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at their historic U.S.-North Korea summit in July 2018

Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - Vanity Fair

“It’s the Stuff of Greek Tragedy": How Trump Could Win the Peace and Lose the War

| Sep. 20, 2018

Taking a break from the Kavanaugh confirmation battle to reprise his role as peacemaker, Donald Trump offered an unqualified endorsement on Wednesday of the “tremendous progress” being made on the Korean Peninsula following a three-day summit between North and South Korea. “We had very good news,” he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “They met, and we had some great responses.” On Twitter, Trump was even more effusive, calling the latest developments “Very exciting!”

The initial results of this week’s meeting between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in do offer hope that their two countries, which have been locked in a state of frozen conflict since 1953, will formally end the Korean War and begin a process of rapprochement. Kim reaffirmed his pledge to dismantle North Korea’s Tongchang-ri missile engine testing site and said he would consider shuttering its Yongbyon nuclear facility. Moon and Kim agreed to resume economic cooperation between the Koreas—including reconnecting rail and road links—and reached an agreement that will ease tensions on the North-South border and in the Yellow Sea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had canceled a trip to Pyongyang last month amid a breakdown in negotiations, quickly declared his intention to re-engage.