As the March 31st deadline closely approached, the negotiators of the Iranian nuclear talks decided to extend the talks by another day. (The New York Times 3/31/2015) There have been many reports on the contents and progress of the negotiations, but due to the dynamic nature of the negotiation itself, it would be best not to speculate until the final outcome of the negotiation is reached.

There have been many opponents of the appeared trajectory of the negotiation, including the Prime Minister of Israel (The New York Times 3/3/2015) and Republicans in the US Congress (The New York Times 3/9/2015). The main criticism distills to the fact that the International Community is being too lenient to Iran without Iran categorically giving up its Nuclear weapons. In a sense, whatever the outcome of the negotiations might be, the talks are pointless.

Even if, regardless of the outcome, the Iranian nuclear talks might be pointless for US and its allies’ interests, there is a reputation cost for pulling out of the talks prematurely, until all options appeared to have been explored diplomatically.

If the US pulls out of the talks with the international public perception that not all diplomatic route has been explored, then it would make future participation of any critical multilateral negotiations by the US more difficult. Other major powers would question the US commitment in engaging future multilateral negotiations given that the US might pull out of the engagement prematurely out of self interest.

Why would the foreign ministers from other countries spend weeks of intensive talks in a multilateral setting if the US might ruin the negotiation by leaving early? It would be a waste of everyone’s time, given the amount of time invested by all members in the negotiations with little to no result in the talks.

This might explain the commitment of full participation of all party members in the Iranian nuclear talks. If any member leaves prematurely, that member would incur a reputation cost and might be shutout of other critical multilateral talks in the future. Specifically with the US, there are still the possibility of the six party talks reigniting with North Korea. If the US pulls out of the current multilateral talks with Iran, then they might be shut off of the potential multilateral talks with North Korea.

With or without palpable result in the end, the US and other nations have a key interest to explore all diplomatic possibilities in order to make future multilateral negotiations possible.

The development of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) reveals several movements within the International Politics despite the new international institution being designed as “an inter-governmental regional development institution” (Xinhua 10/24/2014). While China wants the AIIB to primarily facilitate regional developments in the Asian region, there is the inevitable political implication of the growing Chinese influence in the international stage.

The first immediate political impact has been the appearance of the shrinking American influence not only in Asia but also in Europe. Not only Australia but South Korea and Turkey are in the process of joining (New York Times 3/28/2015) the new Chinese led institution. Other existing international financial institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank, are held closely to Western interests with the President of World Bank being American and the Managing Director of the IMF being European.

With the World Bank and the IMF are openly welcoming the establishment of the AIIB (Reuters/New York Times 3/22/2015), the US government, which previously warned against the new institution, was forced to reassess the situation (Reuters 3/26/2015) as increasing number of US allies joined AIIB.

In the long run, the area of regional developments would be impacted positively by the addition of AIIB’s efforts in conjunction with other international institutions. However, this currently marks the time of another sign of the decreasing American influence in world politics.

But in another news, North Korea’s failed attempt to join the AIIB shows the continuous strained ties between China and North Korea. It has been reported that North Korea has asked China to join the new international institution, which was quickly rebuked by the reasons of North Korea’s failure of providing “‘proper snapshot of North Korea’s finances’, including all economic activity broken down by industry, and the state of the country’s public finances, including its tax base.” (Emerging Markets 3/28/2015)

The Chinese refusal to admit North Korea to the AIIB reveals two points. First, North Korea either cannot or will not share basic financial data with the country’s closest ally, China. Perhaps the true financial information might reveal layers of economic corruption that North Korea does not want China to see, but given that China is North Korea’s closest ally, it is quite unusual for North Korea to not share its financial information.

Second, China’s refusal signifies that the country is prioritizing its international legitimacy by denying favorable treatment to North Korea. Refusing North Korea to join the AIIB under the circumstance signals to other potential members that China is ready to abandon political favoritism in favor of acting as a global player to focus on development projects for Asia as a whole.

Being just recently established, AIIB’s potential impact on development in the Asian region is still too early to judge. However, the organization has already made significant changes to the political landscape in the global arena. China’s expanding global influence is a huge anticipation for years to come.

In the first week of July, there has been significant political developments in East Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has successfully pushed for the reinterpretation of the Article 9 of Japan's Constitution, moving the pacifist nation into an era of newly possible military participation. This has angered both South Korea and China as the reinterpretation is seen as destroying the pacifist spirit of Japan's constitution.

Meanwhile, Abe also moved to relax Japan's economic sanctions against North Korea in exchange of North Korea's cooperation on investigating Japanese kidnapping incidents after the Korean War. The lifting of sanctions shows a potential of undermining the international effort to de-nuclearize Korea.

While Japan is undergoing significant developments in both domestic and international affairs, South Korean President Park Geun-hye warmly welcomed China's President Xi Jinping. Both leaders discussed strengthening ties between both countries, including pledging to finish a free-trade agreement , and jointly announcing to oppose the development of nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula.

While there are still significant differences between both leaders, the visit was seen as a warm, cultural exchange. The warm gestures and the joint statement about nuclear weapons (China did not mention North Korea specifically due to political sensitivity) can be seen as a step towards progress on East Asia's stability while slowly tackling the problem of North Korea.

The developments in East Asia during the first week of July is significant diplomatically. Japan's Abe decides to increase flexibility on it's self defense force while making diplomatic gains with North Korea. On the other hand, China, North Korea's number one ally, made history with the warm cultural and diplomatic visit in South Korea that included an indirect condemnation on North Korea's nuclear weapon developments.

So what is missing? United States. The US continuous faltering of international diplomacy has consequentially lead to significant developments in East Asia without US being a major player. With regards to North Korea, this is the perfect time for the international community to pressure North Korea from abandoning nuclear weapon development as China, North Korea's primary ally, has finally publicly shown that even it had enough.

There are a lot of diplomatic developments in other parts of the world that the US is currently occupied to. However, losing focus on East Asia's development even for a moment can lead to unanticipated consequences to the US's absence of leadership in the region.

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