Director: Sheila A. Smith
Last Updated: January 14, 2010
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This project has been made possible by grants from the Robina Foundation, the United States-Japan Foundation, and the Korea Foundation, and by support from the International Institutions and Global Governance program.
The Council on Foreign Relations New Regional Security Architecture for Asia Program explores the prospects and potential for a new regional architecture in Northeast Asia. At the core of this project is a trans-Pacific dialogue that will culminate in a set of concrete proposals about what types of institutions are necessary to meet the strategic challenges of the region during the twenty-first century.
Workshop Number One: Tokyo, Japan (November 14, 2007)
The first meeting on a shared security vision for Northeast Asia was held in Tokyo on November 14, 2007. Dr. Smith, with Gary Samore, CFR vice president and director of Studies, led a group of strategic thinkers with regional experts from Korea, Japan and China. The day long seminar was cosponsored with the Japan Institute for International Affairs and hosted by its president Ambassador Satoh Yukio examined four critical issues: the security dynamics of Northeast Asia, the impact of domestic political change on regional diplomacy, the progress and prospects of the six-party talks, and the future directions of regional security cooperation.
Workshop Number Two: Washington, DC (March 7, 2008)
The second meeting was held in Washington, DC on March 7, 2008 at the Council on Foreign Relations. Building on the conversations held in Tokyo, the second workshop focused on the regional implications of domestic political change, as well as the progress and impact of the six-party talks. The debate over U.S. engagement in Northeast Asia community building, and the more specific question of whether a new architecture was needed was also examined.
Workshop Number Three: Seoul, South Korea (July 1, 2008)
Picking up where the previous discussions left off, the third meeting was held in Seoul, South Korea on July 1, 2008. This workshop was cosponsored by Asan Institute for Policy Studies and hosted by its president, Ambassador Han Sung-joo. In contrast to the idea of an institutionalized security mechanism, other ideas such as a new trilateral dialogue between the U.S., Japan and China as a complement to the six-party process, emerged. The complementarity of trailateral efforts as a key to forging stronger ties and greater security confidence-building in Northeast Asia was discussed.
Workshop Number Four: Beijing, China (October 13, 2008)
The fourth and final in-country meeting, cosponsored by the China Reform Forum, and hosted by its vice chairman, Mr. Xue Fukang, was held in Beijing, China on October 13, 2008. This workshop brought together our multinational team for our last discussion of the prospects for a new security architecture in Northeast Asia. The workshop concluded with a shared understanding that while there may be a common desire among diplomats and regional experts to move the agenda of security cooperation forward in Northeast Asia, the reality of domestic sensitivities and leadership challenges emanating from within made this agenda difficult. Yet, there was a common sense that the desire for a community-building agenda, even including the difficult issues related to each nation's security, was a shared desire among the societies that live in this region, and a need for the United States to demonstrate its commitment to working with the countries of the region to achieve this goal.
Bringing Regional Expertise to the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate
Workshop: Washington, DC (May 4, 2009)
Moving into the final phase, Dr. Sheila Smith convened a group of leading regional experts to discuss the prospects of cooperation. The meeting focused on the impact of domestic political change on the regional diplomatic agenda, and the place accorded to multilateralism in each nation’s foreign policy.
Roundtable: The North Korean Missile Launch and Its Aftermath: Is a Regional Approach Still Viable? (May 5, 2009)
North Korea’s recent missile launch and subsequent threat to walk away from the Six-Party Talks calls into question the future of regional cooperation in dealing with nuclear proliferation and brings with it the attendant risk of greater instability on the Korean Peninsula. Dr. Smith presided over a panel of leading regional experts from Japan, South Korea, and the United States to discuss the impact of North Korea’s behavior and their perspectives on the difficult diplomatic road ahead.
Workshop: Tokyo, Japan (October 13, 2009)
The final workshop, held in Tokyo in collaboration with the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), continued the dialogue begun in May. The discussions were lively and timely given the transitional phase of Japan's new government. This workshop marks the conclusion of the project workshops.
Roundtable: The Future of the North Korea Question and Prospects for Regional Security (October 14, 2009)
Cosponsored by the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) and hosted by its president, Mr. Tadashi Yamamoto, Dr. Smith presided over a roundtable discussion on the short-term challenges of forging regional cooperation in dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue, as well as the longer-term prospects for the development of regional community and a Northeast Asia security architecture.
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