Insights and Analysis

From Nuclear Talks to Regional Institutions: Challenges and Prospects for Security Multilateralism in Northeast Asia

June 24, 2009

By Scott Snyder

North Korea’s nuclear aspirations have served as the driving force for the development of ad hoc security multilateralism in Northeast Asia. This development has occurred in stages, with each successive phase in responding to the North Korean crisis resulting in strengthened regional cooperation, despite persisting underlying strategic mistrust among the parties. This presentation will briefly evaluate the significance and contributions of three stages in the development of ad hoc security multilateralism in Northeast Asia: KEDO, the Four-Party Talks/establishment of the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG), and the Six Party Talks. Then, the author will offer a critical evaluation of prospects for Six Party Talks and analyze whether the six party process might develop into a permanent feature of the security architecture in Northeast Asia or whether a fourth stage might be necessary to achieve a lasting security framework for the region. The author will also evaluate the extent to which the North Korean nuclear issue and the U.S.-led bilateral alliance system, respectively, may be both a catalyst and an obstacle to the establishment of an effective Northeast Asian regional security framework.

Read the full paper.

Scott Snyder directs The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy. He recently presented a paper at a conference called “Nuclear Politics, North Korea and the Political Economy of Northeast Asia in the Wake of the World Economic Crisis” at the University of Washington. Download the paper here. Also, an English-language version of Scott’s blog piece “Is North Korea Playing a New Game?” first posted on Chosun Ilbo, is featured on GlobalSecurity. He can be reached at [email protected].

Related locations: Korea
Related topics: North Korea


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