Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report


Robert A. Manning
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2014
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 32
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. [iv]-[iv])
    Frederick Kempe

    Featuring a $20 trillion economy and military spending that now surpasses that of Europe, the Asia-Pacific region is a priority in US foreign policy. Yet the region is filled with more uncertainty than at any time since the Vietnam War, with strident nationalism on the rise, unresolved historical grievances, competing territorial claims, and new military capabilities that could alter the strategic stability of the region. Much of this is driven by concerns about the trajectory and intentions of a reemergent China.

    All this underscores the importance of American leadership and US extended deterrence in East Asia, the linchpin of regional...

  2. (pp. 1-4)

    The cornerstone of stability in East Asia is increasingly endangered. For nearly seven decades, US security assurances, marked by a firm commitment and a credible presence, have underpinned stability in East Asia. That stability has helped enable a nearly twenty-fold rise in the region’s GDP since 1950. As of 2014, East Asia’s GDP stood at approximately $20 trillion as the region has become the fulcrum of the world economy. Extended deterrence remains a cornerstone of regional stability, but accumulating pressures put it in jeopardy.

    US extended deterrence in Asia, involving the full spectrum from nuclear to conventional capabilities, faces an...

  3. (pp. 5-10)

    The challenges to extended deterrence in Asia arise from a complicated security predicament in which deterrence of particular threats (e.g., North Korea and China) are conflated and impact the security perceptions of US allies which, though overlapping, are distinct. The ROK is principally concerned about North Korea, is wary of Japan’s intentions, and ambivalent toward China. Japan sees North Korea as a near-term threat, but is increasingly concerned about China.

    One major reason why there is renewed focus on the viability of extended deterrence is that the security environment in East Asia is more uncertain and more volatile than at...

  4. (pp. 11-12)

    Japan is undergoing a historic transformation of its national security, its defense posture, and its role both in the region and as a more equal partner within the framework of a reinvigorated US-Japan alliance. The administration of Shinzo Abe has created a National Security Council (NSC) modeled on the US NSC, and has published new five-year National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), an official secrets act, and Japan’s first-ever National Security Strategy. It is in the process of reinterpreting its constitution to allow Tokyo to exercise its UN Article 51 rights to collective defense, which previous Japanese governments have abstained from...

  5. (pp. 13-15)

    Strengthening the architecture of deterrence on the Korean Peninsula over the coming decade also requires not only factoring in changes in the threat environment, but also determining how the nonnuclear components of deterrence are best utilized and integrated into the structure and content of deterrence. One challenge to US extended deterrence is how the ROK and Japan perceive and prioritize threats differently. For the ROK, China is a secondary consideration, tangential to its security calculus that is centrally focused on North Korea; for Japan, the North Korean threat is also immediate, but distinct from the threat posed by China.


  6. (pp. 16-18)

    The new global commons of space and cyber are transformational domains that have become essential (and interactive) enablers of the information-age global economy as well as for military operations, and thus, for extended deterrence. While there are similarities in terms of the respective roles and vulnerabilities of space and cyber, there are also significant differences. The United States is still the predominant space power: of some 1,000 satellites orbiting around the earth, roughly 45 percent are US-owned. However, China now has more satellites in orbit than Russia and is launching more each year than the United States. Asia is becoming...