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U.S. policy and East Asian security: Challenge and response

Description This book examines the changing national identities that are transforming East Asia - pushing China and Taiwan apart and toward a showdown, while propping up a weakened North Korea. Accomplished contributors analyze the dynamics and the U. Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions x x Illustrations note XII, p. Horowitz , U. Policy towards China and Taiwan; S. Redd Rising China vs. Estranged Taiwan; S. Woo U.

Books Korean Security in a Changing East Asia

Strategy in the Korean Conflict; M. In foreign relations, Japan set out to learn the norms of Western diplomacy and use them to clarify a number of border relationships: with Russia in the north, Korea in the west, and China in the south—through a complex intermediate zone that included the Ryukyu archipelago and Taiwan. Although it involved no clash with Chinese forces, the Taiwan Expedition was the earliest of these armed conflicts. Fast forward to the present, and we see that some of the issues that clouded the future of East Asia in the second half of the nineteenth century have contemporary analogues, although the geopolitical context has changed dramatically in the last years.

The biggest difference in the geopolitical context, of course, is that all the states in the region, with the possible exception of North Korea, are committed to operating within the international system and they have developed a measure of economic interdependence.


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These factors will mitigate the possibility of armed conflict in the future. Against this geopolitical backdrop, three contemporary strategic conflicts stand out as particularly troublesome. The first and most dangerous conflict concerns the long-term fate of North Korea. To be sure, the Korean Peninsula has been a perennial strategic concern in East Asia for well over a century and echoes of past conflicts loom over the fraught six-party negotiations that are primarily a legacy of the Cold War. The islands importance lies in the fact that, under international law, they can be used to defend or refute competing claims to natural resources and sovereignty over large areas of the surrounding seas.

In other respects, however, the conflict reprises debates from the late nineteenth century over the boundary between China and Japan. In effect these historical arguments anachronistically project modern notions of national sovereignty back into a past time when such notions held no significance.

The third strategic conflict in the region concerns the long-term fate of Taiwan. Here too, dubious historical claims to sovereignty inform the debate. The history of the Taiwan Expedition may shed light on these debates because the expedition illuminates the historical roots of this contemporary conflict. Indeed, many of the questions about sovereignty in Taiwan—as construed under international law—were first raised in the diplomatic sparring related to the expedition. Taiwanese identity, according to such arguments, is necessarily post-colonial and thus distinct from mainland Chinese identity.

The contemporary strategic conflict over Taiwan thus involves thorny questions of sovereignty, national identity, and the legacy of Japanese imperialism.

The commemoration of the Taiwan Expedition that Nishida describes is particularly interesting because all of these questions are so clearly woven into it. To begin with, the commemoration that Nishida describes enacts a postwar Japanese ritual that makes a gesture toward atoning for past Japanese aggression in East Asia.

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I have sought to stress this link in my own work, but until recently most Japanese scholarship has ignored it. A willingness to cast more light on the early origins of Japanese imperialism may help set the stage for a more thorough public examination of the history of the Japanese empire, including its dissolution at the end of World War II.

At the same time, the commemoration relies on a thoroughly contradictory appreciation of frames of national identity. Ultimately the frames affirm national identity and draw attention away from potentially uncomfortable questions about the history of identity in Taiwan. This is problematic for two reasons.

And second, because it flattens distinctions between the aborigine and Han Chinese populations of Taiwan.

Taking Pictures of Strangers in Seoul, South Korea (한국어 자막 korean + eng sub)

The commemoration therefore ends up framing Japanese atonement in terms of both a uniform aborigine identity that, historically, was imposed through colonial rule and a uniform national identity that ignores crucial ethnic differences.