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Reviews the dominant features of the APR (Asia-Pacific region). "The major strategic issue is still the USSR. It is unclear how the United States should cope with the remaining, and in some respects growing, Soviet military capability in the Asian-Pacific area"; it therefore behoves the USA to maintain its strong naval presence in the APR, while exploring naval arms reduction with the Soviets. In addition, the USA should preserve its commitment to South Korea (while encouraging rapprochement between North and South Korea), and retain close security ties with Japan. Regional security co-operation should be encouraged in SE Asia, though not over-optimistically: "Southeast Asians are likely to favor a US presence for some time to come". As for the unpredictable regional policy of China, the US objective should be to promote political and economic links which maximize China's co-operation with its neighbours, as well as with the USA.
Prospects for a peaceful transition to democracy in the ROK, and the limits of US power to assist the process.
Over two decades, Americans have come to expect dynamic economic growth and relative political stability in East Asia. Until recently, China was the perennial exception, and the Soviets had no regional role to speak of. Today, these judgments are being reexamined. The region is not necessarily in trouble, but it is in ferment, and the future is less sure--for itself and for American interests--than it seemed even a short while ago. Furthermore, the economic and political stirrings are not of a short-term nature; they involve generational and systemic transitions within the region and shifting roles for external actors, including the United States and, now, the Soviet Union.