EAST ASIAN REGIONAL SECURITY
by Satoshi Morimoto
Asia is now relatively peaceful and calm, although there is a broad
consensus that the potential for uncertainty and instability is significant.
The challenges to peace and stability in the region consist of two types.
One is inherent sub-regional problems and the other comes from common regional
issues of a transnational nature. The other aspect of dynamism
in the region is the positive factors of opportunity and expectation, of
which there are three elements. Northeast Asia is the only region
in which the complexly interrelated interests of all four major powers
overlap. On the other hand, each of the bilateral relationships between
major powers has a different aspect and dimension. So far, the Korean
Peninsula issue and the security in the Taiwan Strait are the most serious
and common sub-regional concerns that involve the national interests and
security of major actors. The Japan-US relationship will play a major
role in maintaining peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The Japan-US
cooperation in the area of security must be considered not only from the
bilateral viewpoint but, from the broader perspective of security in the
Asia-Pacific region as a whole. The Japan-US Security Arrangements
remains an indispensable precondition for the security of Japan even in
the post-Cold War security environment and the range in which Japan
and the US can cooperate for the security of Asia-Pacific is expected to
SECURITY ENVIRONMENT AND REGIONAL SECURITY COOPERATION
IN EAST ASIA
Almost ten years after the end of the Cold War, the international community
has moved into the 21st century. In the past decade, the international
community has been trying to catch up with fast changes and establish a
viable theory for a new international order in the post-Cold War era.
However, drastic changes in the world have made it impossible for human
wisdom to keep up with reality. The world has seen both hegemonic
and nationalist behavior by nations to enhance their individual power and
influence, and multilateral cooperation among nations to enhance political
security and economic stability.
The East-West Cold War confrontation started when the Soviet Union sought
world hegemony on the basis of communist ideology. During the
half-century of the Cold War era, theory stayed ahead of reality.
As proposed by US diplomatic expert George Kennan, Western nations pursued
a solidarity and cooperation through the containment of the Soviet
Union to win the Cold War. For the past decade, experts have been
trying in vain to formulate a theory for a post-cold War order comparable
to Kennan's containment theory. US political scientist Samuel Huntington's
theory on "The Clash of Civilizations" attracted wide attention, but most
experts agreed that it had many logical flaws and was far from viable
On the other hand, the UN is unlikely to become the exclusive principal
base on which a new international order is established, although it is
likely to continue to undergo a reform that strengthens its role and function.
The international order that has emerged so far is built around nationals
that share common value systems, especially with the United States.
Foreign relations seem to be controlled not only by value systems, but
also by a combination of value systems and the national interests of each
Asia is now relatively peaceful and calm, although there is a broad
consensus that the potential for uncertainty and instability is significant.
There are two aspects to the region's dynamism in the post-Cold War period.
The first is the dynamism of challenge, which means destabilizing factors.
The challenges to peace and stability in the region consist of two types.
One is inherent sub-regional problems such as the situation on the Korean
Peninsula, the China-Taiwan relationship, the East Timor and Indonesia's
domestic situation in Northeast Asia, the South China Sea issue in Southeast
Asia, and the Kashmir conflict in Southwest Asia. Another type of
challenge to peace and stability comes from common regional issues of a
transnational nature. These include nationalism, the imbalance in
military modernization programs, international organized crime, terrorism,
ethnic conflict, narcotics trafficking, territorial issues among national,
the NMD-TMD issue, the proliferation of WMD (especially the development
and transfer of nuclear weapons and missiles), the international movement
of labor and refugees, instability in areas adjacent to SLOC and piracy
incidents, and the widening of the economic gap between post-modern, modern,
and pre-modern states. An energy and food crisis due to increased
population and economic growth is a potentially destabilizing factor in
The regional framework and organization for security cooperation has
not been well developed due to the diversity of the security environment,
national interests, and the policies of individual nations in Asia.
However, since the end of the Cold War, Asia has faced the potential for
instability in not only economics but also in security. Most nations
in the region share common concerns about the potential for instability
and uncertainty and seek to manage and minimize them through dialogues
and cooperation in the region. The ARF was established in 1994 in
order to improve multilateral security dialogues and cooperation among
nations and to prevent destabilizing factors from turning into armed conflict.
Multilateral security dialogues and cooperation for this purpose, such
as AFR, ASEAN+3, and ASEM, have been developing significantly in recent
years. Unfortunately, they have stalled momentum to some extent due
to the economic crisis in 1997 and the nationalistic approach of some participants.
The other aspect of dynamism in the region is the positive factors of
opportunity and expectation, of which there are three elements. The
first element is the presence and commitment of the United Sates.
the Japan-US alliance is unquestionably critical for the peace and stability
not only of Japan, but also of the entire Asia-Pacific region. Japan
and the US have made significant efforts to maintain their alliance in
the post-Cold War period, putting priority on exploring and promoting common
national values and interests. During the cold War period, the Japan-US
alliance contributed to deterring Soviet military intervention in Asia
and to preventing the transfer of Soviet forces from the Far East Asia
to the European front. While continuing to do this, the alliance
has expanded its role to managing destabilizing factors in the Far East,
including military confrontation and confusion on the Korean Peninsula,
in the Taiwan Strait, and other incidents. Both Japan and the United
States have made serious efforts to strengthen their bilateral security
ties in the areas of Japan-US defense cooperation, the effective use of
US bases in Japan, and the BMD join research program. The Japan-US
alliance is the most significant factor for peace and stability in the
region as a whole.
The second element of opportunity is the multilateral cooperation and
exchanges among the nations in the region. This was manifested in
the dialogues and the cooperative approach that led to the steady strengthening
of APEC in matters of economic development and cooperation and of the ARF
on political and security issues. In July 2000, the ARF held the
seventh ministerial conference since its establishment in 1994, and there
have been remarkable progress in dialogues and cooperation on regional
security in the past several years. Two major factors lie behind
these developments in the security dialogue in Asia. The first is
the region's economic development and growth, which has infused its countries
with confidence and sparked moves to seek a collective identity for Asia
as a whole. The second is the growing recognition of the many potential
elements of instability that exist there and of the need to build a framework
for dialogue within the region to prevent escalation of disputes into conflicts.
An indication of this recognition was given at the second ARF conference,
where agreement was reached on a three-step approach to the pursuit of
regional stability through confidence-building measures, preventive diplomacy,
and approaches to conflict resolution. Since then, multilateral security
cooperation and dialogues have concentrated on CBM. A new focus is
now expected to be conflict prevention, or 'preventive diplomacy.'
CBM and preventive diplomacy in this region both exhibit some typically
Asian characteristics, including a realistic and gradual approach toward
consensus. Therefore, development is slow and it is still difficult
to reach agreements that include binding obligations to comply. However,
regional security cooperation through CBM and preventive diplomacy has
played a significant role in promoting mutual understanding and confidence
among national in the region. These measures contribute to peace
and stability in order to compensate, not to offset, the roles of the alliances.
Third, the improvement in the bilateral relationships among the four
major powers in the region- the US, Russia, China, and Japan - is also
a significant and positive indication. In the post-Cold War period,
the relationship among the major powers has been characterized, in general,
as a 'concert of war,' in contrast to the balance-of-power nature during
the Cold War. However, relations among the major powers still exhibit
some elements of power sharing and a nationalistic approach, as most major
actors put a higher priority on national interests than before. In
any case, China's future and the relationship among the four major powers
are still key factors in shaping the regional security structure and in
securing peace and stability.
MAJOR SECURITY AGENDA IN THE NORTH-EAST ASIA
Northeast Asia is the only region in which the complexly interrelated
interests of all four major powers overlap. On the other hand, each of
the bilateral relationships between major powers has a different aspect
and dimension. So far, the Korean Peninsula issue and the security
in the Taiwan Strait are the most serious and common sub-regional concerns
that involve the national interests and security of major actors.
The North-South Dialogues and relationship in the Korean Peninsula are
encouraging. The US, the ROK, and Japan have closely coordinated
their policies through deterrence and dialogue in order to persuade North
Korea to open to the international society. Japan-North Korea normalization
talks have been stalled due to differences between both sides. Japan
sent a half million ton of rice as food aid to North Korea, effectively
paving the way for an aide program Japan hopes will add impetus to normalization
talks. However, the situation in the Korean Peninsula continues to
be one of the most acute security problems in the region. From the
Japanese point of view, there are three challenges and potential risks
concerning North Korea. First is the nature of the North Korean leadership,
which is perceived as a military-oriented dictatorship. North Korea seems
to operate on the principle that it must threaten other countries in order
to get them to comply with its requirements and wishes. North Korea
launched ballistic missiles over Japanese territory in 1998 and sent undercover
intelligence ships into Japanese territorial waters in 1999. Japan
has clear evidence that North Korea is responsible for the abduction of
Japanese citizens and knowledge of their current whereabouts and is also
involved in drug trafficking to Japan. The reasons for these hostile
actions are not known with certainty but it is speculate that they were
intended to frighten other nationals into agreeing to North Korea's terms.
Otherwise, North Korea would have explained these actions and apologized
for them. Japanese society stands adamantly against its government's
allocating funds to provide large amounts of food aide to North Korea,
whose illegal activities have terrified them.
The second challenge North Korea poses for Japan is its nuclear development
program. The background and intention of North Korea's nuclear development
program is not clear. So far, the program has been frozen by the
implementation of the US-North Korea Agreed Framework. There is serious
concern that if North Korea successfully produces nuclear weapons and mounts
them on medium and long-range ballistic missiles, the security environment
in Asia will absolutely change. In this sense, the KEDO project is
critically important not only for maintaing the freeze on North Korea's
nuclear development program, but also in keeping open the channels of dialogue
with North Korea.
The third challenge is North Korea's missile-development program.
While its nuclear weapons program has been frozen for the time being in
accordance with the US-North Korea agreement, the progress that North Korea
has achieved in missile development is more worrisome, as it is thought
to be tied to the country's nuclear weapons program. To date, North
Korea has deployed more than 100 No-Dong missile on its own soil, but it
is speculated that the number will reach almost 200 in three years.
North Korea has a history of selling ballistic missiles and missile-related
technology to countries in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and South
Asia for hard currency. The No-Dong and Taepo-dong ballistic missiles
can be armed with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads. North
Korea already possesses an adequate arsenal of chemical and biological
weapons, and the possibility that these missile could, in the future, be
tipped with nuclear warheads is a serious threat. It is clear that
North Korean missiles are able to strike anywhere in Japanese territory.
While the US is concerned with the proliferation and development of the
Taepo-dong missiles, Japan is concerned about the deployment of the No-dong
missiles. So far, an agreement between the US and North Korea has
put a moratorium on North Korea's launching of ballistic missiles.
However North Korea has to develop these missiles to earn foreign exchange
from their sale ant to demonstrate its political leadership. In any
event, the development of ballistic missiles by North Korea cold decisively
upset the military balance in Northeast Asia, and the combination of North
Korea's missile development and nuclear weapons programs has very serious
implications for the security of Northeast Asia.
Japan wishes to take a flexible and positive approach to negotiations
with North Korea by offering economic assistance settlement for the property
claim issues in return for the resolution of the abduction, missile development,
launching and deployment, and drug smuggling issues. So far, the
standpoints of both sides are quite different and it seems be difficult
to work out a compromise.
Japanese negotiators are facing pressure not only from the positive
developments between North and South and the US-North Korea relationship,
but also from domestic politics. Japan intends to provide economic
assistance through a social infrastructure program, which the ROK plans
to manage, making its economic aide available through Japan-North Korea
normalization talks. On the other hand, North Korea's approach seems
to be to de-link with Japan, the US, and the ROK in order to pressure Japan
to accept its claims for war reparations. Japan thinks the time has
come for its side and that it should adopt a realistic approach to seeking
its national interests.
In this context, Japan, the US, and the ROK have closely coordinated
their policies and approaches toward North Korea through deterrence based
on trilateral security and defense cooperation and through dialogues with
North Korea in order to open it up to the international society and to
get it to accept economic reform. North Korea's missile deployment,
launching and development is a more serious threat to Japan's national
security than the kidnapping issue. However it is not reasonable
to criticize North Korea on this missile issue because there is no legal
framework banning the testing, deployment, and development of ballistic
missiles except the START agreement between the US and Russia and the MTCR.
However, the development of ballistic missiles pose a very serious threat
to peace and stability in the region. Japan expects to explore the
possibility of missile arms control initiatives to restrain the launching,
testing, deployment, proliferation, and development of ballistic missiles
to manage North Korean missile development within this framework, if possible.
In this sense, Japan can use the TMD program as a leverage against North
Korea's missile development program.
The security of the Taiwan Strait relies on the movement and direction
of politics in China (especially the relationship between the PLA and the
political leadership of China), Taiwan's approach to Mainland China, domestic
politics in Taiwan, and US engagement policy and its reaction to the bilateral
relationship between Taiwan and China. People in China have been
frustrated due to the bad shape of their economy and some anti-American,
nationalistic sentiment has emerged since the mishap of the NATO attack
on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. The PLA has the strong support
of the people in China to take action against Taiwan if necessary.
So far, no serious tension has been arose since the presidential election
in March 2000. It is expected that US engagement policy encourages
China to take peaceful settlement of Taiwan issue. However, the possibility
of tension turning into conflict between Taiwan and mainland China cannot
JAPAN'S SECURITY POLICY IN THE POST-COLD WAR PERIOD AND EAST ASIA
Japan's security policy consists of three pillars including (a) sustaining
the credible Japan-US Security Arrangement (b) Maintenance of efficient
and effective defense capability (c) Making diplomatic efforts for the
peace and stability of the international society and Asia Pacific region.
The Japan-US Security Arrangements remains an indispensable precondition
for the security of Japan even in the post-Cold War security environment.
What is more, the range of field in which Japan and the US can cooperate
for the security of Asia-Pacific is expected to widen.
In other words, the Japan-US relationship of cooperation in the area
of security must be considered not only from the bilateral viewpoint but,
from the broader perspective of security in the Asia-Pacific region as
a whole. In order to promote the Japan-US security Arrangement, both
nations reviewed and re-defined the rationale of the alliance in the post-cold
War period and issued the Joint Declaration of Security in April 1996.
In the Join Declaration, Japan and the US reaffirmed that the Japan-US
Security Treaty would remain the cornerstone for maintaining a stable and
prosperous environment for the Asia-Pacific region in the 21st century.
It also states that Japan would continue to make appropriate contributions
to the maintenance of US Forces in Japan by providing them with facilities
and areas as well as host nation support, and also to review the Guidelines
for the Japan-US Defense Cooperation, which concluded the new Guidelines
in September 1997 and to promote the BMD joint research program since FY
1999. Since then, Japan made a significant political effort to pass
the declaration through the domestic legislation in order to implement
the Japan-US Defense cooperation Guidelines. The legislation for
the situation in areas surrounding Japan passed the Diet in May 1999.
Now, Japan is studying and rafting another legislation in the case of contingency
of the nation. Both Japan and the US governments have also tried
to solve the US base issue in Okinawa for the last few decades in order
to improve the reliable use of the areas and facilities for US forces in
Japan's defense policy has many conditions. However, Japan has
been making efforts on its own initiative to build a modest defense capability
under the Constitution in accordance with the fundamental principles of
maintaining an exclusively defense-oriented policy and of not becoming
a military power that might pose a threat to other countries, while adhering
to the principle of civilian control of the military and observing the
Three Non-Nuclear Principles, together with firmly maintaining the Japan-US
security arrangements under the "Basic Policy for National Defense."
Japan, which has been enunciating these policies at home and abroad during
several occasions in the past, is currently availing itself of various
opportunities to have the nation's defense policy understood by neighboring
Japan adopted the National Defense Program Outline in 1976. Japan
reviewed it after the end of the Cold War and revised it into the National
Defense Program Outline in and after FY1996. Now, it is the time
to make a second Mid-Term Defense Program after FY 2001. The major
agenda now for Mid-Term Defense Program is the roles and structures of
the Self Defense Maritime Forces. Japan's Self Defense Forces are
effectively and efficiently capable. However, it has many legal and
political conditions to exercise and carry out its own roles and missions.
Japan has expanded its contributions to UN PKO operation after the Gulf
War and has sent the Self Defense units for PKO operations in Cambodia,
Mozambique and the Golan Heights.
In the Asia-Pacific region, multilateral security cooperation and dialogues
have concentrated on CBM. Japan has been participating actively on
these security dialogues and cooperation concentrated on ARF and any other
Track-1 and Track-II forums. Japan also took several initiatives
to host ISG meetings of CBM, PKO seminar, Asia's Piracy conference, CSCAP
WG meetings, and so on.
Japan also expands security and defense dialogues and exchanges with
other Asia-Pacific nations including Russia, ASEAN, Australia, ROK, China,
and NATO countries. Japan intends to enhance its contributions to
the multilateral cooperation for conflict prevention.
Japan wishes to set up a six nation talk framework in Northeast Asia
to discuss economic and political cooperation and a trilateral summit meeting
among the political leaders of China, South Korea, and Japan. Japan
also wants to promote multilateral security cooperation among Northeast
Asian nations to improve joint patrol operation in the high seas and search
and rescue operations, natural disaster relief operations and PKO activities
in East Asia.