The Major Powers of Northeast Asia: Seeking Peace and Security

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The Major Powers of Northeast Asia: Seeking Peace and Security

Edited by Tae-Hwan Kwak and Edward A. Olsen
Lynne Rienner, 1996
259 pp. $49.95

Perhaps the greatest immediate danger to peace and stability in East Asia is the isolated, failed, Stalinist regime of North Korea, which faces a critical food and energy shortage that might lead to its collapse and destabilize the region. The great virtue of this volume is that it focuses on the Korean problem from two vantage points -- the Korea policies of the major powers concerned, China, Japan, and the United States, and relations between the two Koreas. Unfortunately, the concluding chapter is not very strong. The author argues that peace can be brought about only if the South Korean government becomes more "creative" and the North Korean government becomes more "sincere." Given the nature of the North Korean regime and the enormous mistrust between the two governments, such a formula is unlikely to be very productive. Moreover, one of the keys to the Korean situation -- the internal setting in North Korea and the calculations of the leadership -- is left out of the equation almost entirely. Finally, the volume is egregiously overpriced.

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