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Prospects for a Northeast Asia Security Framework

Author: Scott A. Snyder, Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy
April 2009
Korea Economic Institute

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Twenty years ago there were many reasons to expect that a regional security framework in Northeast Asia would be just around the corner. The Cold War was ending, and official proposals for new types of Asian security arrangements popped up regularly from many different sources. In a speech in Vladivostok in 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev proposed expanded regional cooperation on the model of the Council for Security Cooperation in Europe.1 In a speech to the United Nations in 1988, President Roh Tae-woo of South Korea proposed a six-party Consultative Conference for Peace in Northeast Asia. In November of 1991, former U.S. secretary of state James Baker advocated the establishment of a two-plus-four mechanism for dealing with Korean tensions. Susan Shirk established the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue in 1993 with fi nancial support from the U.S. government as a track-two process that would support the development of an offi cial regional security community. However, none of these proposals gained traction at that time as a viable official, institutionalized mechanism for multilateral management of Northeast Asia's security problems.

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