Asia’s economic rise and security frailties matter to the world. The global economy is increasingly dependent on Asia’s robust economic performance. But the world also has a massive stake in Asian peace and stability, not least because - in addition to the general global tension they would cause - maritime disputes in the region could disrupt crucial international trading routes and global supply chains.
Much of the news and most commentaries and interpretation of many recent events in Asia are disquieting. Headlines incessantly blare about worsening intra-regional relations, the impact on neighbours of China’s rise, Beijing’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea as well as Sino-American competition for influence in the region. In addition, Asia is vulnerable to many non-traditional security threats including climate change, illegal immigration and food, water and energy security.
Significantly, however, Asian leaders are also engaged in potentially transformational and forward-looking moves which, if sustained, could ease the current obsessive focus on history and help ease new rivalries. Recent bilateral and trilateral meetings between the Chinese, Japanese and Korean leaders in Seoul, historic talks in Singapore between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s leader Ma Yingjiu as well as the announcement of a Chinese-ASEAN agreement to hold joint drills in the South China Sea indicate another, more positive trajectory which, if maintained, has the potential to transform Asia’s prevailing “cold peace” and ASEAN-driven informal security frameworks into a more solid, long-term, stable and predictable security environment, leading possibly to a new and effective multilateral Asian security architecture.
Read the full op-ed here.
This op-ed has been released ahead of the 'ASIAN PARADOX – Rising wealth, lingering tensions' conference, 10 November 2015.
Additional research by Jamie Parker / Research Assistant at Friends of Europe
1 South Asia is not covered in this policy briefing or in our Asian Paradox conference. It will be the subject of other publications and events.