The observation of a rising Asia and of rapidly growing economic powerhouses in the region has become a truism. Nonetheless, the impressive economic development stories in the region provide the backbone for the growing political strength and assertiveness of Asian countries. Asia’s economic prowess is rapidly being transferred onto the diplomatic stage. In light of these larger developments, the authors of this volume investigate the regional and international implications of a rising Asia and problematize critical developments. The first set of chapters targets an ongoing concern among statesmen and regional experts alike: the lack of a proper regional security community in Asia.
Much attention is given to the question of widely shared values across the region. A second group of authors picks up on this and problematizes the usefulness of ‘Asia’ as a catch-all for very distinct sub-regions. While not denying the utility of conceptualizing Asia as one region, the chapters all strongly indicate the need to maintain in parallel a clear focus on issues, approaches, and characteristics that are unique to sub-regions within Asia. The task for diplomats then is to customize solutions and avoid the adoption of ready-made, extra-regional solutions. A third group of authors then probes the regional foreign policies of key players in the region. Three authors explore the security strategies and diplomacies of major regional actors and point towards areas of possible conflict and cooperation.
Matthias Maass is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul/Korea. He publishes on Northeast Asian security issues, International Law, and small states. He recently published on North Korea in Korean Journal of Defense Analysis and in Issues & Studies.