The Problem of Dialogue in Northeast Asia.
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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Northeast Asia is one of the most volatile regions on the globe, yet dialogue between and among states in the region is limited by differences in culture, history, language, economic strength, political systems and military strength. This paper develops the historical explanations, looking at dialogue channels among China, Japan, the two Koreas, and the United States. As a legacy of the Cold War era and the more distant past, China is viewed with respect and suspicion as the big brother of the region, Japan is odd man out as a historically independent state and a 20th century colonial aggressor, and the two Koreas are locked in a zero-sum game of political legitimacy. More extensive multilateral and bilateral dialogues, which have the potential to lower the risk of conflict, must await the democratization of China, the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland, and the absorption of North Korea into South Korea. Even more time will have to pass before the historical memories of Japanese aggression have faded. In the meantime, the United States will remain the principal stabilizer and interlocutor in Northeast Asia, not by choice but by default.
- Government and Political Science