Policy Brief No.173 - October, 2023 • By Chung-in Moon
This Policy Brief examines an anomaly taking place in international politics: the rise of Indo-Pacific geopolitical thinking, abruptly replacing the discourse constructed around the concept of the Asia-Pacific that has persisted for years. As the United States and Japan have initiated the Indo-Pacific strategy, policymakers and scholars in India, South Korea, Australia and most European countries have uncritically accepted the transition to an Indo-Pacific era without any substantial debate about its appropriateness. In the sense of what the philosopher and historian Thomas Kuhn called a paradigm shift, it is quite incomprehensible, because the Asia-Pacific paradigm is still alive and well.
Policy Brief No.146 - December, 2022 • By Chung-in Moon
This Policy Brief, first published in the East Asia Forum, summarises the history and reviews the current position of the countries which took part in the Six-Party Talks. It concludes with the presentation of a possible way forward and an assessment of the cooperation necessary for progress to be made. Denuclearising North Korea is a perilous odyssey. Pragmatic attitudes coupled with multilateral arrangements can serve as a useful guide to navigating that odyssey.
Policy Brief No.127 - April, 2022 • By Chung-in Moon and Sung-won Lee
This Policy Brief seeks to elucidate the nature of domestic debates on geopolitical challenges and strategic choice in South Korea. 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 first section of the Policy Brief 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.
Policy Brief No.126 - March, 2022 • By Hugh Miall
This Policy Brief examines the prospects for averting war in the Taiwan Strait. 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. 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?
Policy Brief No.122 - January, 2022 • By Tariq Rauf
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.