Why is there no Northeast Asian security architecture? – Assessing the strategic impediments to a stable East Asia

Dong Wang*, Friso M.S. Stevens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Exploring the ‘organization gap’ that exists in Northeast Asia, this article seeks to explain why there is no such minimal, Deutschian security community and discerns four impediments: played up islands disputes as a symptom of deep resentment shaped by histories of war and animosity; the rise of a fervent form of nationalism related to collective memories and projected at ‘the other;’ the American alliance system and China-US strategic distrust and rivalry; and the nuclear weapons pursuit of North Korea. Contrasting the fatalist logic of the dominant neorealist paradigm, the article goes into the deeper underlying and interconnected obstacles that sustain opposing blocs in Northeast Asia in a spiral of mistrust and arming. Arriving at the ‘Concert,’ or ‘Community’ proposed by White and Kissinger means that the structural, power aspect as well as the domestic socio-historic dynamics particular to Northeast Asia should be examined first. In doing so, the article puts forth conditions under which a process of ‘desecuritisation’ can lead to a viable community in Northeast Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-604
Number of pages28
JournalPacific Review
Issue number4
Early online date3 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Beijing Outstanding Young Scientist Program (BJJWZYJH01201910001007).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • desecuritisation
  • nationalism
  • Northeast Asia
  • security community
  • security dilemma
  • territorial disputes
  • US-China relations


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