Event ReportsPublished on Sep 28, 2010
There is a need for a new regional security architecture that reflects the changed geopolitical realities of the region. This suggestion was made during an interaction between senior Japanese and South Korean journalists and Indian scholars at ORF.
Need for a New Security Architecture in Asia, say East Asian journalists
There is a need for a new regional security architecture that reflects the changed geopolitical realities of the region. This suggestion was made during an interaction between five senior Japanese and South Korean journalists and Indian scholars at ORF on 28 September. It was pointed out that it is only in East Asia that the Cold War border still exists and that there was a need to mend ties. Today, there are several regional forums including the ARF, ASEAN+3, APEC, ASEAN+6, etc, where regional security issues are discussed. It was noted that a new regional forum which is accommodative, inclusive and provide space for all without being dominated by one country is needed to address the emerging regional security issues. Japan’s “dilemma” The Japanese journalists noted that Japan is today at a loss to adjust itself to the new emerging geopolitics of the region. They also pointed out that Japan’s strategic value declined in the post-Cold War period and with new economic centres shifting to China, ASEAN, South Korea and India, the country has been undergoing a difficult time to cope with the emerging strategic environment. They noted that Japan is in a dilemma as to whether it wants to be a “normal” power/state or to continue to remain under the US nuclear umbrella. They also pointed out that Japan today looks for a new model such as Switzerland. An Indian participant pointed out that Japan is faced with a dilemma on its security role in the region. However, Japan has been underestimating itself. Furthermore, while its security concerns have been on the rise in the recent years, the restrictions it has imposed upon itself do not allow it to play a more active role. Japan is denying itself the prospects of huge markets in the field of defence. China’s increasing aggressiveness  In the backdrop of the recent tension between Japan and China as a result of the arrest and subsequent release of the Chinese captain of a fishing boat by Japan and the increasing aggressive behaviour of China in the region, the Japanese journalists pointed out that Sino-Japanese relations are today driven by economic interdependence and that Japan has been playing a balancing act with China and the US. The Korean journalists pointed out that their country has been closely watching developments in China and noted that the Korean peninsula is increasingly becoming insecure. They also pointed out that the signals that they were reading of China from the recent developments suggest a potential threat from China. North Korea’s regime change The question of regime change in North Korea and the likely consequences both for that country and the region were also discussed in the context of the recent report of Kim Jong-il’s appointment of his son as a general. The Korean journalists were of the view that while a regime change will have it own repercussions, they pointed out that it was difficult to forecast what sort of consequences such a change would have for the region. On the question of the challenge posed by North Korea, an Indian participant pointed out that the North Korea’s challenge will not last long and that the challenge has been primarily because of China’s support to the North Korean regime. Cooperation with India The participants noted that India’s economic cooperation with both Japan and South Korea has made impressive progress in the recent past and pointed out that there is huge potential to further expand cooperation in the economic field. The Japanese journalists pointed out that India enjoys a very good image in Japan. In the context of the Indian Prime Minister visiting both Japan and South Korea next month, the Japanese journalists expressed the view that India and Japan may be able to sign a cooperation agreement in trade and expressed the hope that the two countries may reach a conclusion on the civil nuclear cooperation. Japan has adopted the South Korean model in entering into the Indian market and the rethink on the Japanese part has been a success, the discussion noted. This interactive session covered a wide range of issues on current political and economic issues related to Asia. The Japanese journalists included Mr. Satoshi Fukui, Editor in Chief, Mainichi Daily News (English); Mr. Keiichi Hirose, Senior Editor, Asia News Office, Kyodo News and the Korean journalists included Mr. Jong-myoung Limb, Editor for Special Edition, Diplomacy (English Monthly Magazine); Mr. Park Sang Hyun, Senior Editor, Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) Television; and Mr. Son, Hyun-Duck, Political Editor, Mail Business Newspaper. The Indian participants included Prof. KV Kesavan, Amb. Dilip Lahiri, Mr. Vikram Sood, Amb. Arjun Asrani, Amb. HHS Viswanathan, Mr. Wilson John, among others. (This report has been prepared by K. Yhome, Associate Fellow, ORF)
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