Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

South Korea’s Geopolitics: Challenge and Strategic Choices

Policy Brief  No.127 - April, 2022

South Korea is currently facing growing rivalry between China and the United States, creating pressures which have precipitated intense debates on South Korea’s strategic positioning. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the nature of domestic debates on geopolitical challenges and strategic choice in South Korea. The first section presents a brief historical overview of geopolitical dynamics of the Korean Peninsula. The second looks into South Korea’s strategic dilemma in the face of China-U.S. hegemonic rivalry. Thirdly, the article identifies four strategic options currently being debated in South Korea and traces how they are factored in the domestic politics of the March presidential election, 2022. Finally, it suggests a transcending diplomacy as an alternative to the current strategic dilemma.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Transformation in the Strait: Prospects for Change in China-Taiwan-US Relations

Policy Brief  No.126 - March, 2022

President Xi Jinping’s warning that the US would be ‘playing with fire’ if it supported Taiwanese independence, made at the virtual summit with President Joe Biden on 15 November 2021, followed a number of moves by both the Trump and Biden administrations that appeared to increase US support for Taipei. In Taiwan, public support for independence remains high. Meanwhile both China and the US are ramping up their preparations for a possible military conflict. The February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised existing tensions in the region. What then are the prospects for averting war in the Strait? Can the underlying dispute over Taiwan be peacefully resolved? If not, can the relationships between China and Taiwan, and China and the US, be developed in such a way that their disputes can be managed in a more cooperative manner?

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Crashing Nuclear Submarines Through IAEA Safeguards

Policy Brief  No.122 - January, 2022

This Policy Brief focuses on important relevant issues and questions pertaining to the AUKUS plan to equip the Royal Australian Navy with nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). The AUKUS states apparently have initiated non-transparent and secret discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency on how best to take advantage of a “grey area” or “loophole” in IAEA comprehensive safeguards to exclude weapon-grade highly-enriched uranium from Agency safeguards. China and the Russian Federation have launched diplomatic fusillades across the bow of the IAEA’s Board of Governors criticising the AUKUS plan for providing nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. However the Agency responds, now is the time to further strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system, not to weaken it and not drive a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines through it.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

China, Cambodia and the Myanmar Crisis

Policy Brief  No.118 - November, 2021

In preparation for the Seoul Peace Initiative Conference (SPIC) on 8/9 November, this paper discusses several dilemmas faced by China in relation to the ongoing political, economic, social and health crisis in Myanmar. It concludes that China has a chance to work constructively with ASEAN under Cambodia’s chairmanship in 2022 to obtain Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, the reconstitution of the national assembly elected in 2020, and the formation of an interim coalition government until new free and fair elections can be held.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

In AUKUS We Trust: Australia’s Security Settings Return to the Future

Policy Brief  No.115 - September, 2021

On 16 September, at the end of a virtual summit by leaders of the three countries, Australia, the UK and the US announced the conclusion of the AUKUS security agreement that commits the UK and US to unprecedented technology transfer and material assistance to help Australia acquire a fleet of eight nuclear-propelled submarines. This Policy Brief unpacks the longer term national, bilateral, regional and global reverberations and ramifications of the shock announcement of the birth of AUKUS.