3-4/2006 Content

81 (2006) 3-4: Security Threats in East Asia

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(In)Security in East Asia
Gunter Schubert


A new Pax Sinica? China’s foreign policy and security challenges in East Asia
Gudrun Wacker

China’s rise to regional and even world power status has become widely accepted due to her rapid economic development over the last 25 years and her increasingly proactive foreign policy. This rise does undoubtedly have an impact on the neighbouring states in Northeast and Southeast Asia. They hedge against the possibility of a more aggressive China in the future and cling to the U.S. as an indispensable security partner. In view of the continuing strong U.S. presence and Japan’s position in the region, a new Pax Sinica is not on the horizon.

Crisis and Identity Change – Japan’s Security Policy since 1990
Dirk Nabers

The article explores the theoretical linkage between international crises and national identity-building processes. Japan’s security policy since the beginning of the 1990s will be used as a test case. The most obvious finding is that Japan has tried to incrementally change its security posture and engage more actively in international security affairs after three such crises: the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1993, the North Korean missile test of August 1998 and the events of 11 September 2001. It becomes evident that Japan’s security policy had already changed significantly before the attacks of 9 / 11. After September 2001, it irreversibly gained a new quality. On the basis of the empirical findings presented in the article, the author is able to detect an irrefutable nexus between crises and identity change.

Security in East Asia: Escalation Potential and Conflict Prevention
Achim Maas / Sonja Schirmbeck

Despite more than twelve years of negotiations on the North Korean nuclear (weapons) program, no substantial progress has been achieved. Instead, positions became obdurate and were accompanied by implicit and explicit threats. The threat potential of the chronically unstable and erratic People’s Republic, however, exceeds its immediate actions: The continuity of the conflict may spur indirectly other present or dormant tensions in the region as well, aside from potentially escalatory developments on the Korean Peninsula itself. Such an evolution has to be counteracted, whereby regional conflict prevention comes to the front due to limited influence on Pyongyang itself.

From the Six-Party-Talks to an East Asian „OSCE“?
Thomas Cieslik

This article discusses whether the successful model of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe during the East-West-Conflict may be an option for detention and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. Because of the nuclear debate provoked by North Korea, multilateral negotiations within the Six-Party-Talks should lead to a peaceful solution. However, the blackmailing politics of the communist regime in Pyongyang, the tensions between China and Japan, the carrot- and stick-policy of the US administration and the independent foreign policy of South Korea toward the US have challenged the necessity of establishing a sustainable security regime. The article examines whether in the future the Six-Party-Talks could be transformed into such a security regime.

The Limits of Regionalism in East Asia
Kay Möller

Although there are a couple of promising, often criss-crossing arrangements to provide for sound regionalism and qualitative multilateralism firmly in place in North and Southeast Asia, this has not yet entailed strongly institutionalized structures binding the political actors involved. This is not at least true for the perspective of an East Asian Security Community. Major reasons are - apart from the Sino-Japanese competition for regional supremacy  – nationalism, ongoing reservations against sharing in or giving away state sovereignty and, closely attached, the imperatives of political power held by the different actors in the region. East Asia therefore needs a “benevolent hegemone” – a role which currently can, however, only be played by the U.S.


The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Unification and Security Strategies 1966-1989
Bernd Schäfer

During the sixties, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) pursued an increasingly militant reunification policy toward South Korea. In particular when East Asia’s predominant communist power had entangled itself in the Cultural Revolution did North Korea place its bets on revolutionary and military solutions. When those spectacularly failed, Chinese-American rapprochement offered from 1971 a peaceful option to reunify the Korean peninsula by evolutionary development. South Korean domestic policy and international disinterest prevented a serious probe during this window of opportunity. From the midst of the seventies until 1989, military deterrence and economic growth in South Korea, combined with North Korean economic shortfalls, paralyzed any offensive type of reunification policy emanating from the DPRK.