Home Contact Us  
   

India & the World - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4818, 21 January 2015
 

East Asia Compass

IPCS Forecast: East Asia in 2015
Sandip Kumar Mishra
Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Delhi University
 

This edition of the IPCS Column, 'East Asia Compass', is the precis of a larger document titled 'East Asia in 2015', published under the IPCS Forecast 2015 series. 
The future political landscape of Asia-Pacific would largely be decided, arguably, by happenings in the East Asian region. It is so because in East Asia, the interests of three important players of world politics - the US, China and Japan - come in direct contact with one another. In the last few years, these key players along with South Korea and North Korea have been trying to review and realign their foreign policies according to the ‘changing realities’ of the region. These ‘changing realities’ are not routine and they have potential to fundamentally change the nature of inter-State relations in East Asia as well as in the whole Asia-Pacific region.
 
US and China
The first and foremost bilateral equation that is going to be important for the region is between the US and China. The course of contest, cooperation, coexistence or containment between them is going to be played primarily in the East Asian region. In 2015, it would be interesting to see whether an ‘assertive China’ competes with the US’ ‘Asian pivot’ or whether both countries chart out a cooperative course for bilateral relations in the framework of the G-2, in spite of their several disagreements. In the past, the policies and behaviour of both have been to evaluate the extreme options and many more in-betweens.

However, in 2015, both of them would be pressed to take a clearer stand on their bilateral relations. There could be several possibilities between the two countries and it would be premature to say that any possible future is a given. Nothing is perordained and both the US and China are going to shape each other’s choices, preferences and postures, and more importantly, the process is going to be a non-linear and comlicated  one.

China and Japan
The next important determinant for the East Asia region would be the trajectory of relations between China and Japan in 2015, the second and third biggest economies of the world. If they cooperate, they could create a huge positive thrust for the East Asian region and beyond. But if they opt for military containment or confrontation with each other, it would be a huge disaster for the region. From recent Chinese and Japanese behaviour, it seems that they are finding it uncomfortable to co-exist with each other as both look at regional politics in a zero-sum game model. In 2015, China and Japan need to make peace with the existing realities, and the recent meeting between Shinzo Abe and Xi Jinping may have begun the process of mutual accommodation.

Japan, in the process, would have to re-think its quest to become a ‘normal’ State and its recent ultra-nationalist rhetoric over history, territoriality and other issues. Similarly, China also needs to re-adjust the course of its ‘peaceful rise’, which for a majority of neighbouring countries is not seen as ‘peaceful’ anymore. In 2015, if China does not review its behaviour, such as its stand on the disputes in the South China Sea, East China Sea and so on, it could propel many of the neighbouring countries to work overtly to counter-balance China.

Inter-Korea Relations
In 2015, relations between North and South Korea would also be of significance. The Korean Peninsula is rightly identified as one of the flashpoints in East Asia and uneasy inter-Korea relations constitute the core of it. In the first two years of her rule, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been unable to begin a meaningful dialogue and exchanges with North Korea. However, if she is able to make it happen in 2015, it will be a welcome sign for regional politics.

For almost four to five years, North Korea has been going through a phase of succession, and after so much animosity, Kim Jong-un’s regime might realise that the same tactics may not work each time, which could lead to another phase of engagement with the international community. Inter-Korea relations are important because it brings in the US, China, Japan and even Russia into the process. The political game that would be played out between these big players, if the Korean Peninsula is weak and unstable, would undoubtedly destabilise the region and perhaps even the entire Asia-Pacific. Thus, a bilateral or multilateral mechanism to bring about a breakthrough in the inter-State impasse is required in 2015.

East Asia: A Strategy for India
For many decades, India has seemingly considered East Asia too far away geographically and has therefore lacked an integrated policy towards the region. India has been satisfied in maintaining bilateral relations with North Korea, South Korea, Japan and China separately and has tried to keep itself away from their bilateral rivalry in region. The Indian approach has been based on the consideration that India neither has interests nor the capacity to pursue them in the region. However, in the changing Asia-Pacific dynamics as well as with India’s growing economic and political stature, it has become unavoidable for India to articulate a coordinated policy for the East Asia region. India has not been able to keep itself aloof from the contest between China and the US or China and Japan. Similarly, it would insufficient to say that India would be able to maintain good relations with both Japan and South Korea without taking a stand on their bilateral disagreements. 

India, which is an emerging power in the Asia-Pacific, must realise that the churning and transformation in East Asia is going to shape the politics of the Asia-Pacific in an important way. Thus, it is not only appropriate but also incumbent upon India to be a part of this process of changing regional politics. The new course of Indian foreign policy towards East Asia must be initiated in 2015 knowing well that the process would be difficult and time-consuming. It may bring both displeasure and support from various quarters, but a principled, consistent, transparent, and cooperative approach would ultimately be able to overcome it.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Aparupa Bhattacherjee,
"IPCS Forecast: Myanmar in 2015," 21 January 2015
Sushant Sareen,
"IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015," 19 January 2015
Shankari Sundararaman,
"IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015," 19 January 2015
Bibhu Prasad Routray,
"IPCS Forecast: Left-wing Extremism in 2015," 19 January 2015
Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy,
"IPCS Forecast: Islamic State in 2015," 19 January 2015
Ruhee Neog,
"IPCS Forecast: Towards a Nuclear Deal with Iran in 2015," 19 January 2015
Salma Malik,
"IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015," 17 January 2015
Pramod Jaiswal,
"IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015," 14 January 2015
Amita Batra,
"IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration," 12 January 2015

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Trump's Visit to East Asia

Shinzo Abe’s North Korea Strategy

North Korea: Testing the Limits of US-South Korea Relations

The US' Acrobatic Responses to the North Korean Riddle

Japan’s ‘New Approach’ to Russia: Is it Moving Forward?

India and the Koreas: Promises and Follow-ups

South Korea-North Korea: A New Version of Engagement

Trump’s North Korea Policy: Regional Implications

Park Geun-hye's Impeachment and South Korean Foreign Policy

US Tactical Nukes in the Korean Peninsula?

Forecast 2017: East Asia

Japan-China Contestation in 2017

Donald Trump and East Asia

PM Modi’s Visit to Japan: Prospects and Prudence

Future of the TPP and the US' Pivot to Asia

Russia’s Overtures in East Asia

China’s Game on North Korea

Six-Party Talks 2.0: Not for Denuclearisation but for Peace

Deadlock at Shangri-La: Is There a Way Forward?

North Korea’s 7th Party Congress: Context and Content

Japan’s New Security Laws: Context and Implications

What is the Efficacy of Sanctions on North Korea?

‘Brilliant’ Comrade: The Design in North Korean Madness

Forecast 2016: East Asia on the Cusp

Japan-South Korea: Resolving the Comfort Women Issue

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.