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PacNet #56A – Changing Course in Northeast Asia

No issue is more timely or more consequential for the long-term peace and security of the world than the creation of a new framework to promote regional stability in Northeast Asia. Three major wars involving the United States were fought in in the middle decades of the last century. Currently the likelihood of war in the region is very low but the peace is still conditional. Cold War structures live on in the form of the U.S.-Korea and U.S.-Japan security treaties, and these still serve important security needs. Something that might augment these arrangements, in particular, a multilateral organization for security and cooperation in Northeast Asia has been discussed for years. Both liberal and conservative administrations in South Korea have pushed the idea, seeing it as a way of forestalling a repeat of the tragedies that have afflicted the nation in centuries past when Korea became the victim of its powerful neighbors. But the dream has remained beyond their grasp.