Security in a new regional community Cooperative security
9 月 03

Northeast Asia currently maintains security against potential adversaries through a system of balance of power security on the border that divides the two Koreas. This method prevents war by the balancing of power between adversarial nations, but potentially leads to armament build-up. In East Asia, bilateral alliances were forged between the United States and countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Thailand. Currently, the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-South Korea alliances are the primary bilateral alliances in the region as a result of the gradual withdrawal of the U.S. military from Southeast Asia. Although this means that security through the balanced-power system is still functioning in this region, it is considered to be an interim system of security.

According to the pattern of how security systems evolve, collective security follows the balance of power system. Under collective security, a group of nations collectively maintain peace militarily. The concept of collective security is antithetical to individual security and applies collective sanctions to settle conflicts among concerned member countries and regional groups. A typical example is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The United States currently intends to maintain regional stability in Northeast Asia through its missile defense scheme. A number of countries are concerned that the missile defense scheme forms a counterbalance effect and could lead to new military expansion. Japan supports the missile defense scheme based on the Japan-U.S. alliance but has some apprehension, while other Northeast Asian countries wish to distance themselves from it altogether. The idea of pursuing peace through the missile defense system belongs to the “collective security system.”

While Japan maintains peace based on the Japan-U.S. alliance, when we consider that Japan is also a part of Asia, it would also be desirable to build a “soft” security system based on multilateral cooperation with other Northeast Asian countries. That would require reducing the need for missile defense by developing a mechanism to foster trust in the region with the aim of creating a Northeast Asian Symbiotic Community. Building a symbiotic community, fostering trust and promoting partnerships requires various measures including advancing economic and social infrastructure development through economic cooperation and promoting the cooperation of citizens and NGOs, as well as encouraging networks of trade, investment and industry.

While based on the Japan-U.S. alliance, Japan’s position must consider other Northeast Asian countries outside the missile defense scheme. Thus the ideal course for Japan in Northeast Asia would be to promote multi-lateral cooperation for economic development by negotiating with the U.S. to build a cooperative security system that covers the entire region. Being located in Northeast Asia, Japan needs to consider the overlapping interests of the U.S. and the region in establishing an original policy position that both the U.S. and Northeast Asia can appreciate and participate in.

The United States has so far placed its highest priority on military security and has continued with policies that do not emphasize economic cooperation. However, the U.S. announced it would increase its Official Development Assistance (ODA) at the UN Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico in March 2002, and shift its policy to eliminate poverty as the root cause of terrorism.

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