Preisdent and CEO Randy Schriver speaks at FPI Hill Briefing: New Leaders, Old Problems: U.S. Policy Toward Asia

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 by Project2049Institute

On 15 February 2013, P2049 President and CEO Randy Schriver spoke at the Foreign Policy Initiative's Hill Briefing on "New Leaders, Old Problems: U.S. Policy Toward Asia." His remarks are available in the videos below:

Who will be in the Next Central Financial and Economic Leading Small Group?

Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013 by Project2049Institute

By L.C. Russell Hsiao and Mark Stokes

We may be going out on a limb here – but what the heck. With the annual session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) less than two weeks away (on March 5), the China-watching community has been buzzing about who will assume future government leadership posts in the People's Republic of China. 

The upcoming NPC meeting(s) – separated by four frantic months of speculation for China watchers – dovetails the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 18th Party Congress in November 2012 that handed the dragon head baton for the top Party leadership posts to its Fifth-generation leaders. The carefully sequenced and orchestrated Party-State leadership transitions continue to underscore the Party’s dominant role in the Chinese political system (arguably from which everything else follows). 

This annual conclave stands out also because it will reveal a new cabinet, including the premier (which is a gimme), vice-premiers, state councilors, and ministers. More importantly, the turnover will mark the official handover of administrative control of the State from Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to Xi Jinping’s and Li Keqiang’s administration. However, with all the fuss about who’s going to have what portfolio in the Politburo, little attention has been paid to memberships in a key body called the “Central Financial and Economic Leading Small Group” [中共中央财经领导小组] [1], which advises the Party Politburo on economic policy and coordinate implementation of policy decisions. 

Now, let’s get something straight: Only the most senior party members and some party elders in Zhongnanhai are privy to know and decide who will actually [emp. added] be the next heads of these coveted top-level government posts included in this small group and others like it. For instance, the story about whether or not PBoC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan will step down as the head changed several times in just the past month, with the latest report indicating that the Party elders agreed to have him stay for another year or maybe two.[2] As our exercise suggests, and given the central authorities dogmatic pursuit for stability, precedents also seems to have a role and do matter in Chinese politics.

So assuming as premise that precedents do matter: Incoming premier and second-in-command within the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee, Li Keqiang – who will control domestic policy including economic policy – will therefore take over the position as the director of the leading group. The new executive vice premier will take the position as the deputy director. The secretary-general will likely be the vice premier with the portfolio for finance and economic development. All four vice premiers (including the executive vice premier) will be represented in the group. Other members will include the chairman as well as vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, and the State Councilor who will likely be serving as the secretary-general at the State Council, including the heads of the Ministry of Finance, People’s Bank of China, and four regulatory bodies: SASAC, SFC, SRC, and IRC.

We know that our line-up is one of many possible scenarios that may result in this key body (and may resemble a game of musical chair) – but what's work if you can't have a little fun? [3]

L.C. Russell Hsiao is Senior Research Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute. Mark Stokes is the Executive Director of the Institute.

[Note: We feel it necessary to pay our respects to the giants in the field of future leadership analysis, such as Alice Miller, Barry Naughton, Cheng Li, Bo Zhiyue, Willy Lam, and James Mulvenon, among others, whose seminal works helped informed our guestimate – we are solely responsible for its inaccuracies.]


1. The current members in the Small Leading Group include Wen Jiabao, who serves as the group’s director, and Li Keqiang as the deputy director. Members of the Small Leading Group included Hui Liangyu, Zhang Dejiang, Wang Qishan as the secretary-general, and Ma Kai, Zhang Ping, Xie Xuren, Zhou Xiaochuan, Wang Yong, Guo Shuqing, Shang Fulin, Xiang Junbo, and Zhu Zhixin as the deputy secretary-general.
2. Given age limitations, at least five members of the SLG likely will retire after the 19th Party Congress in 2017 (e.g., Liu Yandong, Ma Kai, Xie Zhenhua, and Zhou Xiaochuan).
3. Please feel free to send us an e-mail at [email protected] to tell us why you think we are right or wrong!

Under the Radar 2.19.13

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by Henna Sharif

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • The UN Security Council met in an emergency session to discuss the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) last Tuesday. The desire by many Security Council members is to impose even harsher sanctions on North Korea, which could include banning specific, high-tech items used in the nuclear program, like epoxy paste for centrifuges, limiting or outlawing some banking transactions, and a far more stringent inspection of ships bound to and from North Korea.

  • South Korea's military deployed cruise missiles capable of striking the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and accelerating the development of ballistic missiles. Under a deal revised last year with the United States, South Korea is allowed to develop ballistic missiles with a range of up to 800 kilometers, more than double the previous limit. The announcement came a day after the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test in defiance of UN resolutions.

  • Last month the U.S. announced that a second resolution on Sri Lanka would be presented at the UNHRC sessions that start from February 25, saying the Sri Lankan government had failed to implement key reconciliation and human rights measures since the end of the war in 2009. Sri Lanka will continue to oppose the U.S.-backed resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) later this month but would accept assistance to address specific post-war reconciliation issues.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the United States this week from February 21 to 24. The postponed U.S. trip by Abe aims at restoring and enhancing the Japan-U.S. alliance, which the prime minister called as the core of Japan's foreign policies.

  • Last week Pakistan conducted a successful test fire of a short range Surface to Surface Missile Hatf IX (NASR), which can carry nuclear warheads. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne witnessed the test and stated that the Pakistan's Armed Forces was fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan's security against all kinds of aggression.

  • The Chinese government went public with a comment on Japan’s protest over a Chinese navy missile frigate that twice beamed its targeting radar on a Japanese helicopter and a Japanese destroyer last month. Chinese officials blamed Japan for increasing tension between the two countries over disputed islands in the East China Sea. “The Japanese are deliberately ratcheting up the crisis, creating tensions and tarnishing China’s image,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. “What the Japanese are doing is on the opposite track of making efforts to improve our bilateral relationship.”
  • Under the Radar 2.11.13

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 by Henna Sharif

    A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • Former vice president Annette Lu of Taiwan proposed an initiative to demilitarize the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (known as Senkaku in Japan) and turn them into a protected marine zone. The former vice president stated that her initiative – contrary to President Ma’s call for joint development – advocate the “joint non-development” of the area’s resources by all claimants.

  • The U.S. pivot to Asia will not mean any new bases in the region, but existing alliances will be strengthened and modernized. Adm. Samuel Locklear, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), said “the U.S. has no intention of establishing more bases” in Asia, but “what we hope to do with our partners . . . is to continue to operate closely.”

  • China is North Korea’s sole remaining major diplomatic and economic benefactor but has been showing signs of exasperation with its isolated neighbor. Beijing expressed serious concern after Pyongyang stepped up its bellicose rhetoric and threatened to conduct a third nuclear test in response to what it sees as "hostile" sanctions imposed after a December rocket launch.

  • ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh and the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN agreed to further strengthen coordination and cooperation between member states and the secretariat in order to effectively implement the goals and objectives of the association. "There is a need for the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Member States to improve our coordination, cooperation and communication as well as among the ASEAN sectoral bodies in implementing the three ASEAN Community Blueprints” he said in the meeting last week.

  • In efforts to boost bilateral cooperation, Thailand and France have signed five accords and memorandums of understanding during French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Thailand last week. These five agreements cover cooperation in defense, production of four vaccines, research and development in agronomics, vocational curriculum development, and education under which a number of French teaching volunteers will come to teach in various schools in Thailand between June and September 2013.

  • China continues to crackdown on self-immolations in the Tibetan region. In the past few months, the government has begun a new tactic to discourage the protests, detaining and jailing people it deems to have incited the burnings. The latest detentions took place in the northwestern province of Qinghai, where police detained 70 "criminal suspects", 12 of whom were formally arrested, meaning they will be charged.

  • As North Korea prepares a third nuclear test, South Korean soldiers on the world's most heavily armed border now have orders to shoot back immediately if they come under attack, a move that risks escalating any small-scale conflict. "We will respond immediately to any enemy provocation," said Captain Kim Sang-min, a 29-year old company commander at the "Invincible Typhoon" unit that is stationed just 800 meters from the demarcation line that separates the two countries which remain technically at war.

  • The Maldivian Elections Commission said that presidential elections in the island will be held on September 7. This will be the first presidential polls held in the nation after President Mohamed Waheed replaced former president Mohamed Nasheed in February last year.
  • Under the Radar 2.6.13

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 by Henna Sharif

    A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • Taiwan urged the United States on to honor an agreement to supply submarines to replace its current elderly fleet, as a U.S. congressional group visited the island to evaluate defense needs. President Ma Ying-jeou voiced the desire while meeting the group led by Edward Royce, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

  • A group of technicians from China’s premier missile manufacturer that was previously sanctioned by the U.S. government for illicit arms transfers are working in Egypt with North Koreans to modernize Cairo’s Scud missile force. According to U.S. intelligence officials cited by a news article, reports of the missile technicians from the Beijing-based China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC) are raising new concerns about U.S. plans to sell arms to the government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

  • China appointed a new governor for remote and restive Tibet on Tuesday, naming a hard-line ethnic Tibetan in a signal that the government has no plans to ease up on its tight control on the Himalayan region. Losang Gyaltsen, 55, was elected at the end of the annual meeting of Tibet's largely rubber stamp regional assembly, and replaces previous governor Padma Choling.

  • South Korea succeeded in thrusting a satellite into orbit for the first time on Wednesday, joining an elite club of space technology leaders. The successful launching comes at a delicate time on the Korean Peninsula, as North Korea, stung by new international sanctions over its own rocket launching, has promised a nuclear test.

  • The Japan-Australia Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) took effect last week. The agreement will promote cooperation between the two strategic partners in security areas and will contribute to the international cooperation of both countries. The pact will enable Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the Australian forces to share food, fuel and other supplies during their missions, such as UN peacekeeping and overseas disaster relief operations.

  • The Central Peace Making Work Committee of the Myanmar (Burma) government is coordinating with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to resume peace talks. The government holds that genuine peace could only be achieved through dialogue.

  • Pakistan handed management control of the port at Gwadar from Port of Singapore Authority to China Overseas Port Holdings in a move that had been anticipated for some time. “We hope that the Chinese company will invest to make the port operational,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said.
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