Analysis & Opinions - South China Morning Post

Economic Integration Won't Shield Asia From War, But A Truly Pan-Asian Security Grouping Might

| Sep. 11, 2017

Kevin Rudd says the region badly needs a security forum that links all relevant players, to help prevent disagreements reaching a crisis point. With its broad base, the East Asia Summit can be strengthened to play this role.

Given North Korea, how can we save Asia’s “long peace”? Right now, the world is legitimately focused on the emerging North Korean nuclear crisis. This has been a crisis long in the making, beginning with the Soviet training of North Korean nuclear scientists and engineers after the second world war, the North’s expulsion of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2002, and the subsequent series of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests.

The uncomfortable truth is that, for the past quarter of a century, the international community has simply been kicking this can down the road. And now, at one minute to midnight, everyone is scrambling to do something.

There is a further, more substantial question, however, which we must equally consider. And that is Asia’s collective failure to produce a united voice on not just the North Korean threat, but the plethora of other threats confronting long-term stability, security and peace. And the equally uncomfortable truth is that there are a bucketload of them, in what has become the great “Asian Paradox”: high levels of pan-regional economic integration underpinning unprecedented levels of regional prosperity on the one hand; while on the other, a gradual exacerbation of underlying geopolitical threats to security.

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For Academic Citation: Rudd, Kevin.“Economic Integration Won't Shield Asia From War, But A Truly Pan-Asian Security Grouping Might.” South China Morning Post, September 11, 2017.