HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 3 no. 3 (2002)

A Southeast Asian Perspective On Northeast Asian Security

Aileen San Pablo-baviera

Discipline: Social Science



The paper looks into how Southeast Asian countries can play a role in the management of security issues in Northeast Asia. It examines the common and divergent features of the security environment of Northeast Asia as compared to that of Southeast Asia, then focuses on what interests may be at stake for the Southeast Asian countries in the resolution of the Korean Peninsula as well as the China-Taiwan conflicts. ASEAN might, however, share with Northeast Asian countries its experiences in comprehensive confidence-building, particularly the practice of frequent summitry, multilevel diplomacy, informal dialogues, and the use of functional cooperation as a building block to high-level political cooperation. In the ASEAN experience, the existence of disputes does not preclude cooperation in unrelated areas, nor are disputes allowed to disrupt the normal course of diplomatic relations. Looking at the different approaches to security building in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia, it appears the present challenge is to find complementarities in deterrence and cooperation; to tilt the balance gradually from more deterrence to more cooperation, and perhaps ultimately, but not necessarily, to gradually phase out deterrence in favor of cooperation.