Governance and security in Northeast Asia Essay
Global governance concept is arguably well established in the field of global politics and international organizations.
Although still vague in definition, global governance was ‘officially’ conceptualized by the United Nations: the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is “a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operative action may be taken.” Such definition is not much different from what was observed by James N. Rosenau: integration and fragmentation.1Domestically, the robust government system of long history is losing ground to the governance concept of recent vintage.
Government is not the only entity that can manage and solve important domestic problems. Regarding corporate governance, managers came under tight ‘surveillance’ by activist shareholders in many nations. South Korea also experienced diffusion of corporate authority after it went through bottom-up restructuring after the 1997-98 financial crisis that had swept East Asia.In fact, in such issue areas as environment, human rights and humanitarian intervention, domestic or international, governance concept has taken deep root. Particularly in international affairs, major actors have been diversified to include international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
They are not less significant than state actors.With regard to security governance, however, very little progress has been made even since the demise of the Cold War in the 1990s. Security issue may be the last realm state actors have superiority to other non-state actors. That is why many of scholars in the academia of international security are so reluctant to employ governance concept as an analytical tool.2However, in the post-Cold War era, more and more actors other than states are voicing over traditional security issues in narrow sense as well as in broad sense. Although state actors are still dominating national and international security affairs, they no longer seem to be in a monopolistic position keeping out non-state actors.
The purpose of this paper is to reveal new phenomena in security issue pertaining to the region of Northeast Asia, which relates to integration and fragmentation in Rosenau’s terms. Integration will be focused on state-level while fragmentation will center on diffusion of actors in security governance. Although being trapped in the Cold War structure, new signs of international institutionalization and super/sub-national governance are witnessed. Such observation leads to the argument that post-Cold war concept of global governance is instrumental in understating Northeast Asia, the last region of Cord War structure in the post-Cold War era.Regional Security in Northeast Asia: Lack of InstitutionsGeographically Northeast Asia includes North and South Koreas, China, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, and Mongol.
Five out of them are participating in Six-Party Talks, a denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and peace-building negotiation process in Northeast Asia. Although controversial, the United States of America is a non-resident member state in Northeast Asia. It is the most influential actor that dominates security order in the region.Northeast Asia is a sub-region of the East Asia that includes Southeast Asia. However, security governance in Northeast Asia is relatively independent from that of Southeast Asia although comprehensive consideration is necessary in a broader perspective that encompasses the whole East Asia.
For the present, lack of institutions and governance may be the most accurate description of regional security in Northeast Asia. The U.S. and North Korea are still technically at war even after the armistice in 1953 that ended a hot war on the Korean Peninsula.
In conservative perspective, neo-realism among major state actors prevails and there is very little room for security cooperation across the region other than alliances.The lack of security institution and governance is continuous closely with the U.S. strategy in the region. It has long been based upon bilateral alliances with South Korea and Japan, a quasi-trilateral-alliance.
Such U.S. hegemonic strategy shows hub-and-spoke pattern in the region rather than multilateral security cooperation.In May 1994, South Korea proposed official level form of Northeast Asian Security Dialogue (NEASED). Such an overture was a remarkable one under the security regime in Northeast Asia but is still in the air.
The prospects for realizing the NEASED-like institution depends on the successful outcome of the Six Party process that is to be discussed in detail.In the absence of security institutions, Northeast Asian countries availed themselves of the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum). It is the only security forum that involves the whole East Asia, from south to north. The 23-member ARF, which was established in 1994 as an outgrowth of ASEAN (Association of East Asian Nations), was the most prominent official effort, serving as cooperative security network that extended to East Asia.North and South Korea, Japan and the U.
S. are member states of the forum, although they don’t belong to ASEAN itself. North Korea has actively participated in the annual ARF conference since 2000. North Korea’s participation in the ARF process was a “significant step in the rapid evolution of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and thus in the security environment of the Asia-Pacific region.
“3 North Korea’s ARF-membership often brought chances to have bilateral talks with the U.S. and South Korea on the sideline of plenary sessions.ARF is, however, under criticism for its lack of willingness and capability to articulate its views over sensitive security issues in the region.
It is generally defined as a forum for very low level of multilateral security cooperation or regional security governance. Its contribution to Northeast Asian regional security was not considerable enough to be decisive.Lack of robust institution in security affairs across the region is more discouraging against the backdrop of viable economic cooperation among East Asian countries since the financial crisis in later 1990s which swept both Southeast and Northeast Asia. Japan’s proposal to establish the Asian Monetary Fund (AMF) was recorded as one of the most ambitious initiative in institutionalization process in East Asia, although it was confronted with and frustrated by the opposition of the U.
S. and the International Monetary Fund, it. Such an overture later led to Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) and Asian Bond Market Initiative (ABMI) that may develop as a super-national regional governance structure.