A New Forum for Peace

A proposal for transforming the six-party talks on North Korea into a security system for northeast Asia.

Issue: Winter 2005-2006

NORTHEAST ASIA now faces a series of critical security challenges. China's remarkable 25-year economic-reform effort has profoundly increased Beijing's economic, political and military influence in the region. Some fear that in response Japan will more aggressively assert its regional interests. At the same time, South Korea is now formulating a foreign policy that moves the country beyond its traditional role as a compliant U.S. ally, a change that could bring Seoul into diplomatic conflict with both Washington and Tokyo.

Finally, North Korea remains a dangerous, isolated and unpredictable country, as the six-party talks continue to fluctuate between hope and confusion. And looming over the region is the flashpoint of energy: The increasing demand in all of the countries of northeast Asia, particularly China, for secure supplies of energy heightens political tensions, sharpens unresolved territorial disputes, and creates fertile ground for misunderstanding and conflict.

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