Unfortunately, however, the development of economic interdependence does not easily bring any meaningful spillover effect into the security area. The major limitation of Northeast Asian, or East Asian, regional security seems fairly straightforward. The differences in power among different nation-states, unresolved historical issues, the existence of largely autonomous cultures unaccustomed to long-term habits of association and interaction with their neighbors, and the extraordinarily rapid economic and social change in the recent years have all constrained the development of a more mature and stabilized regional order.
The Korean Peninsula, in particular, needs to pay greater attention to these factors than any other country in the region. Korea symbolizes the security confrontation of the Northeast Asian region in the age of globalization. Based on this background, it is important to figure out how to handle the ambivalence between the globalized interactions and legacy of the Cold War security complex. Whatever the solution, it should center not only on the security of Korea, but also on the new security arrangement of Northeast Asia. Korea is a divided nation and neighbor to one of the most bizarre and unpredictable regimes, North Korea.
Historically, Korea has often been a victim of great power politics and rivalry particularly between China and Japan. Regarding the security conditions of the Korean Peninsula, the rise of China catches our attention. China favors maintaining a peaceful security environment in order to advance its own industrialization. What efforts would each state try to pursue to secure such an order??
The United States is a regional stabilizer of geographical distance. Its security alliance with Japan has been strengthened and transformed to suit the twenty-first century international security environment. Considering the circumstantial evidence, the regional actors are more likely to pursue a balance of power approach. According to offensive realists, meaningful global hegemony cannot exist without clear superiority in military capability.
If we apply this perspective to the G2 global leadership between the United States and China, the Northeast Asian regional security could fall under Chinese regional hegemonic influence instead of under American global comprehensive influence. Different analytical perspectives, in contrast, explain that in the contemporary world of globalization, development of information technology, and prevalence of institutionalization, the influence of global and regional hegemony may not be distinctively defined.
In terms of the G2, the United States will continue her global leadership even within the Northeast Asian space, and on symbolic subjects the United States will ask for a harmonious partnership with China to maintain a more efficient leadership.
This is because the change of Sino-US power relations has centered on the developmental changes of the Northeast Asian security arrangements. More specifically, the Northeast Asian international relations underwent structural change in when China and Japan normalized relations. With the end of the Cold War, China has begun to play an active role in international society, in particular having improved relations with Korea.
US-China-Japan relations entered a new phase in this third stage. However, in these actors traditional security relations there has been no development of mutual trust. Preparing for the full-scale rise of China, the beginning of the G2 accelerates the new stage of international relations in Northeast Asia. Most importantly, Northeast Asian security structure is still characterized as a coexistence of strategic conflict and realistic cooperation as we experienced during the military tension between the ROK-US alliance and China-DPRK cooperation after the Cheonan incident in Lastly, the most salient and enduring security subject in the Northeast Asian region remains how to handle North Korea.
The past twenty years of globalization shows that the North Korean regime continues to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Both the United States and international community have moved between engagement and coercion in dealing with North Korea, leading to occasionally contradictory policies and a lack of consistency on the part of both the United States and North Korea. For the most part, two characteristics stand out. For instance, China, Japan, Russia, as well as the United States each has its own Northeast Asian interest; but in terms of national identity, it is impossible to prescribe these countries as solely Northeast Asian countries.
From this point of view Korea is the country that has the strongest Northeast Asian identity. The problem, however, is that from the beginning of the twenty-first century, Northeast Asia has taken center stage in international politics, for it is in this region where political, economic, and security issues collide most severely among the great powers.
However, this situation requires that Korea have the diplomatic power to both continuously and effectively play at the regional and global levels instead of just stagnating at the regional level. Northeast Asia is a contact point of continental powers and maritime powers where China, Russia, Japan and the United States clash and coexist at the same time. Neighboring great powers such as China, Japan, and the United States each has their own interests on the peninsula.
The United States and China are the two key actors of Northeast Asia, and they pursue their own advantages on the peninsula. Consequently, Korea will always have to have the ability to strategically analyze how the power structure between the United States and China changes, and how that change interferes with the Korean Peninsula.
A future unified North-South Korean government will have to exist on the premise of realizing such national interests. The greater the relative power of the states surrounding the Korean Peninsula, the more one must focus on universal principles of international society such as democracy, free market economy, and multiculturalism.
As Korea lags behind China and Japan in terms of physical power such as military or economic power , and as North Korea continues to pursue an irrational diplomatic strategy by defying the international community, Korea must establish a democracy and a market economy to a level that can be respected by international society. Only through such efforts will Korea be able to maintain its integrity at the peninsular level and guarantee a relative superiority above neighboring states.
This is something Korea must be proud of when compared to China, a socialist state, or Japan, where a single party has been monopolizing power. In addition, as the North Korean nuclear crisis continues, making it difficult for a peaceful relationship to be nurtured between the DPRK and ROK, Korea must try even harder to clearly build the identity of a future unified Korea.
Compared to the level of institutionalization in Europe, institutionalization in East Asia is underdeveloped. However, compared with China and Japan, Korea is in an advantageous position to lead regional institutionalization, as the historical animosity between China and Japan makes Korea better suited to play the role of diplomatic mediator.
In terms of regional interest, the Korea-US alliance still remains a valuable diplomatic asset. If in case the conflict between China and Japan becomes severe even to the level of military conflict Korea can request the help of a non-regional superpower, the United States.
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As well, in pre-modern times, Korea and China had maintained an alliance relationship for thousands of years, and such alliance was formed on the basis of unequal relations between the two countries. It is also crucial to pursue universal and not simply regional interests. Militarily, Korea should dispatch peacekeeping troops to conflict areas, work to free itself from its current image as a separated country, and likewise assume a positive image as a contributor to world peace.
Economically, by expanding various levels of economic exchanges, Korea must learn and apply a developed economic system, scientific technology, and developed economic strategies. Culturally, it must show that Korean cultural aspects can be endorsed globally by creating a means of cultural diplomacy more expansive than the current Korean Wave i.
Lastly, official development assistance ODA , which the Korean government has been giving a lot of lately, is a desirable national strategy. Korea is a prime example of a country which received international support and was able to transform itself into a strong economic power. Thus, by assuming this into its own national diplomatic strategy, Korea must create a national image of itself as a positive contributor to international peace.
Therefore, Korea must strategically manage key security issues in accordance with global and regional security environments. In this section, the issues of the North Korea problem, the ROK-US alliance, and the building of a regional multilateral security framework shall be discussed. Interestingly, North Korea emphasizes two facts.
One is that no nuclear capability, substance, or equipment has left the Korean Peninsula.
The other is that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was the dying wish of its former leader Kim Il-sung. In other words, North Korea is, on its own, trying to soft-pedal the significance of its nuclear program to the Northeast Asian region. North Korea is aware that the moment that its nuclear diplomacy exceeds the Northeast Asian region, it will be prone to severe criticism from the international society, which will jeopardize the survival of the incumbent regime.
In short, in character, the North Korean nuclear issue is highly a security concern of Northeast Asia, and it deeply involves the national interests of the United States, China, and Japan. The precarious situation inside North Korea i. In the same vein, it is strategically important to identify that the North Korean nuclear issue is different in one aspect from many of the other international security crises. Unlike in the cases of Iran or Iraq or that of other rogue regimes, for that matter the United States has agreed multiple times on the basic outlines for resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.
The basic agreement was first laid out in the Geneva Agreed Framework and later reiterated in the 19 September Joint Statement and once again in the 13 February agreement on the initial actions for the implementation of the joint statement. All of the documents on those agreements contain the core aspects of the deal: North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program, and the United States will normalize relations with North Korea and develop further diplomatic and economic relations with the DPRK.
Unfortunately, while trying to figure out how to implement the agreement, the two sides have shown serious mistrust. Despite the concern of South Korea and the international community, North Korea twice conducted nuclear tests including an underground nuclear explosion on May 25, , and also test-fired several ground-to-air and ground-to-ship ballistic missiles. Living under this nuclear threat has become a part of daily life for many South Koreans.
As the problem continues to go unresolved, more of the general public and policymakers in South Korea and the United States are beginning to reach the pessimistic idea that North Korea might never give up its reckless pursuit of becoming a nuclear state. If the DPRK is indeed determined to be a nuclear state, then there is not much the international community can do.
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