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발간자료 Promoting Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia in an Era of US-China Competition   전봉근 안보통일연구부 교수 작성일 2021-09-28 조회수 8173
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Ⅰ. Introduction
Ⅱ. Vision and Strategic Objectives of Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia
Ⅲ. Policy Environment for Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia 
Ⅳ. Tasks for Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia



Ⅰ. Introduction

Throughout pre-modern and modern history of Northeast Asia, whenever there was the emergence of a rising power, war over regional hegemony ensued. The so-called ‘Thucydides Trap’, where a rising power and a dominant power engage in a hegemonic warfare, had recurred in Northeast Asia quite predictably. In every instance of such a regional hegemonic warfare, Korea was caught between great power competition and wars, and subjected to invasion, occupation, and division. During the 20th century, Korea, falling to victim of the expansionist polices of great powers and their regional wars, was again invaded, occupied and divided. 

Recently, in Northeast Asia, on top of the multiple long-standing bilateral conflicts, regional security environment further deteriorated as North Korea acquired nuclear weapons and US-China competition intensified. Such trends thwart peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia, thus undermine South Korea's national interests.

Since the end of the Cold War, each Republic of Korea (hereafter ‘ROK’ or ‘South Korea’ or ‘Korea’) government proposed various Northeast Asia policy initiatives both to ease conflicts in the region and to promote regional security cooperation. Again in response to a mounting US-China competition and pressure to choose sides in the 2010s, the Korean government claims ‘peace and cooperation’ in Northeast Asia. At the present, Korea is in need of a creative and bold regional peace strategy to protect its national interests. So far numerous regional cooperation initiatives have been proposed by Northeast Asian states but without much success. 

Thus this report seeks to explore a realistic, implementable regional cooperation strategy with focus on the following questions. Why does Northeast Asia need regional peace and cooperation? What has obstructed the development of security cooperation mechanisms in Northeast Asia? What are the ways and means to implement ‘Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Platform’ proposed by the Korean government?

For the purpose of this report, ‘Northeast Asian regional cooperation’ must include at least the three major states in the region which are Korea, China, and Japan. This regional mechanism would be more complete if we could include North Korea, Mongolia and Russia. While the United States is not geographically a Northeast Asian country, it could be included in the scope of regional cooperation considering its diplomatic, security, economic and trade interests and military presence in the region.


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