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Policy Papers - February 14, 2007

Asia: Towards Security Cooperation

This publication is part of the CWC Working Paper Series [read more about this publication series]

Michael Vatikiotis



From the Introduction: Asia has enjoyed a remarkable climate of peace and security in the post-Cold War era. However, there is much that could have gone wrong. Tensions on the Korean peninsula, in the Taiwan Straits, between China and India, India and Pakistan––the hot spots and fault lines of tension are well known and warily watched. Rarely has serious conflict erupted, though. The last major “conventional” conflict in Asia was the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, though smaller wars have been fought between states in Kashmir and along the Chinese border with Vietnam. The region is also wracked by protracted internal disputes that generate sustained fears for internal security and destabilized inter-state relations. All the same, for a region that lacks the kind of sophisticated collective security arrangements that have kept the northern hemisphere at peace for the past sixty years, Asia’s security environment is remarkably benign. However, Asia’s startling economic growth and development over the past three decades have unleashed new competitive forces and are in the process of creating complex problems of international and human security. These problems require more effective coping mechanisms and indicate a need for enhanced multilateral cooperation.

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