The Northeast Asian (NEA) countries have remained unconnected for decades without having a formal multi-lateral security cooperation mechanism to pursue their common interests. One of the major reasons for why NEA cannot seem to form a unifying security system is because of the conflicting interest of each of the member countries. Each member country wants to protect their own interests and is not ready to compromise on the ground of finding a common ground to solve regional security issues.
Regional security interests of NEA member countries
China, being an emerging global power in the East Asian region wants to maintain its stable position and continuously enhances its military capacities to protrude as a strong nation. China has remained resolute in its realist ambition to reacquire Taiwan and unify it with the Mainland. To fulfill that purpose, China would not hesitate to use force on Taiwan if required, which is why China continues to expand its military capacities. Taiwan, on the other hand wants to remain an independent nation and shun away from the authoritarian government. U.S. plays a vital role in Taiwan by helping the nation retain its independence from being absorbed by China.
According to Article 9 in the constitution of Japan, the country is prohibited from the use of force or creating a military. Thus, Japan remains heavily dependent on the U.S. for its security purposes and has allowed the U.S. to set up its military base in Tokyo. How long can the U.S. continue to protect Japan considering the fact that the U.S. is currently running tremendous deficits and will no longer be able to protect a country that is rich and capable enough to protect itself?
As far as South Korea is concerned, their only interest to protect their nation from the possible nuclear attack by the North Koreans. The South Koreans would also like to form a better relationship with China. The recent bombing on South Korea has indeed proved that the North Koreans are determined to destroy the South Koreans with an excuse that the North Koreans feel ‘threatened by South Korea’. North Korea has remained in isolation for a long period now and have heavy economic sanctions imposed upon them. The North Korean desperately wants these sanctions to be removed, but at the same time they are not willing to give up their nuclear power which U.S. sees as a major threat to the world. North Korea shares a good relationship with China but even China has recently criticized the bombing attacks on South Korea.
Why a formal mechanism required and what are the pros and cons?
Although Northeast Asian countries are members of multilateral organizations such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN plus Three (China, Japan, and South Korea), they lack a formal association of their own which could unite the Northeast Asian countries under one roof. They would benefit greatly from a multilateral security system but there may also be some complications in...