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Research Report

Asia:: Towards Security Cooperation

Michael Vatikiotis
Copyright Date: Feb. 1, 2007
Pages: 21

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. None)
  3. (pp. i-ii)
    Terje Rød-Larsen

    The International Peace Academy (IPA) is pleased to introduce a new series of Working Papers within the program Coping with Crisis, Conflict, and Change:The United Nations and Evolving Capacities for Managing Global Crises, a four-year research and policy-facilitation program designed to generate fresh thinking about global crises and capacities for effective prevention and response.

    In this series of Working Papers, IPA has asked leading experts to undertake a mapping exercise, presenting an assessment of critical challenges to human and international security. A first group of papers provides a horizontal perspective, examining the intersection of multiple challenges in specific regions of...

  4. (pp. 1-1)

    Asia has enjoyed a remarkable climate of peace and security in the post-Cold War era. However, there is much that could have gone wrong. Tensions on the Korean peninsula, in the Taiwan Straits, between China and India, India and Pakistan – the hot spots and fault lines of tension are well known and warily watched. Rarely has serious conflict erupted, though. The last major ‘conventional’ conflict in Asia was the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, though smaller wars have been fought between states in Kashmir and along the Chinese border with Vietnam. The region is also wracked by protracted internal...

  5. (pp. 1-6)

    The big elephant in the room whenever traditional security is discussed in Asia these days is China. China has the world’s third-largest defense budget, after the United States and Russia, ranging from $70 billion to $90 billion per year. Although hard to truly estimate what this means because of a lack of transparency, what is clear is that China’s military expansion plans are among the world’s biggest, with more than a decade of double-digit increases in military spending. But does this make China a threat to regional security?

    On a purely military level, most analysts believe that it will take...

  6. (pp. 7-8)

    The first decade of the 21st century has seen India emerge as a major player in the global economy. But unlike the rise of China, which has benefited from relative peace and the absence of conflict, India’s rise is dogged by the persistence of conflict within and alongside its borders. Considering the unresolved state of conflict between India and Pakistan, the confrontation in Kashmir which both countries claim, and the fact that both sides possess nuclear weapons outside any non-proliferation or test ban regime, South Asia could be regarded as the biggest challenge to Asian security in terms of the...

  7. (pp. 8-11)

    The Asian Financial Crisis alerted the world to structural deficiencies in the way that Southeast Asian nations were governed, as well as the challenge of income inequality in the region. And yet the speed with which the region recovered its economic footing offered evidence of a heartening resilience and fundamental stability. Recent political events in Thailand and the Philippines would suggest that political stability cannot be taken for granted. Both countries continue to wrestle with unruly and corrupt political elites and a failure to institutionalize a reliable form of democracy. Yet even as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the Philippines...

  8. (pp. 11-11)

    The December 2004 Tsunami that killed more than 270,000 people across the coastlines of Sumatra, Thailand, Southern India and the Maldives brought home to the region its vulnerability to natural disaster and the fragility of the coastal environment. Yet a bigger fear in the region was that man-made, rather than natural, disasters would be the real killer. According to United Nations estimates the number of people at risk of dying from a global pandemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza is between 5 and 150 million. The loss of GDP from such a pandemic, for which there is as yet no...

  9. (pp. 11-13)

    Although Asia has been remarkably stable given the lack of an overarching multilateral framework for security, the persistence of traditional patterns of conflict in a new geopolitical context begs the question whether such a framework is now necessary to assure continued peace and prosperity.

    The changing balance of geopolitical power suggests this is the case. For the past sixty years the United States has guaranteed security in Asia, but today the power of the United States is being challenged both by the modern complexity of security issues and the new rise of old Asian powers like China and India. Arguably,...

  10. (pp. 13-13)

    A catastrophic worst case scenario for the Asian region in traditional security terms would stem from conflict between the region’s current and future nuclear powers. In Northeast Asia this would involve China and Japan, or somehow Taiwan. Mirroring such a conflict scenario in Northeast Asia is the threat of a confrontation between India and Pakistan. Catastrophe in terms of human security could ensue from a serious pandemic of avian influenza, which would hit Asia’s poor hardest because of under-funded health and welfare safety nets.

    In all these cases the old twentieth century reliance on Western-led intervention is no longer tenable....

  11. (pp. 14-15)
  12. (pp. 16-16)