Courtesy Reuters

DANGER ON THE PACIFIC RIM

Despite the end of the Cold War--perhaps because of it--the nations of East and Southeast Asia are engaged in accelerating arms races with significant implications for regional and international security. The recent sale of American F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan and Russian Su-27 fighter jets to China are part of a larger arms acquisition effort as both countries also upgrade their own military production capabilities. Other countries in the region--Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the two Koreas--are also involved in major arms acquisition programs and the development of high-tech military industries. Although these nations have generally managed to avoid direct combat with one another since the Vietnam War (the short border conflict between China and Vietnam in 1979 being the sole exception), continuing tension in Korea and a number of territorial disputes in the South China Sea area could provide the sparks to ignite a

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