The potential for conflict in Asia Pacific lends the search for a new and more stable regional security order a continuing urgency. This annual publication monitors changing perceptions of national security environments, key defense issues, and national contributions to regional and global security. A multinational team of security experts presents 17 individual country reports – including, for the first time, one on India.
Written for the interested public and defense experts alike, the book covers such recent security-related developments as North Korea’s missile tests and the nuclear arms race in South Asia. This 1999 edition also focuses on the continuing financial crisis in Asia and the political turmoil experienced in certain countries in 1998. All countries examined are members of the ASEAN Regional Forum, an intergovernmental collaboration promoting practical dialogue among Asia Pacific countries on key security issues.
The regional overview that opens the book distills the contributors’ perceptions of Asia Pacific security issues, as gleaned from their responses to a yearly survey on regional security. The watch list issues discussed in the overview include large power relations, the Korean peninsula, territorial disputes, and weapons procurement. From the 1998 edition, the Asian financial crisis was added to the list. The 1999 edition notes that because of the severity of the continuing economic crisis, regional cooperation to deal with it has not emerged to the degree initially anticipated. The major concerns in Asia Pacific today are seen as being on the level of individual countries such as China, Indonesia, and North Korea – rather than on the level of the region as a whole.
Charles E. Morrison is president of the East-West Center, Hawaii.