Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Understanding China: Myths and Realities

Summary Report  No.186 - March, 2024 • By Hugh Miall

This is a Summary Report of discussion at an international study group hosted by Toda Peace Institute in November 2023. The meeting brought together Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Mongolian and international scholars and diplomats, to discuss the prospects for stable peace in Northeast Asia. There is a sense that the world is at an inflection point and Northeast Asia is a site where these choices are particularly stark. There are large potential gains from cooperation and very large potential losses from conflict. The Toda Peace Institute convened this meeting with the aim of exploring ways to avoid violent conflict between China and the US and its allies and to advance cooperation in the region.

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

A New Korean War Is Not Imminent - Accidental Escalation Might Be

Policy Brief  No.185 - February, 2024 • By Chung-in Moon

This Policy Brief discusses the security situation in the Korean peninsula which is going from bad to worse. However, despite bellicose words, changes in military doctrine and posture, and harsh verbal exchanges, “war by a premeditated plan” is not imminent. What is troubling is the potential for accidental military clashes between the two Koreas and the escalation into a limited or full-blown conflict involving nuclear weapons. A sequence of accidental clashes, crisis escalation, and war might appear rational at each incremental step until the conflict spirals entirely out of control. Such a sequence must be avoided at any cost. What measures are needed?

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Asia-Pacific vs. Indo-Pacific: Paradigm Shift or False Choice?

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.

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Fixing the Deadlock in North Korean Denuclearisation

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. 

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

South Korea’s Geopolitics: Challenge and Strategic Choices

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.