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Northeast Asia

The Northeast Asia Project at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP) launched in 2007 and the project has been among our highest priorities. The project has conducted a number of research projects focusing on the issues of conflict, international relations and regional cooperation among countries in Northeast Asia. The projects include specific issues of interest, such as the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Straits and contemporary issues relating to military development, the economy, energy, environment, and human security of the Northeast Asian region.

Since 2007, the project on Northeast Asia has strengthened cooperation and expanded its contact network in the region and the long-term objective is to enhance and develop intra- and inter-regional contacts between the European institutes, and Europe and Northeast Asia. Our excellent contacts with some of the more influential think-tanks in Chinese politics today give a unique insight into the Chinese policy of tomorrow. Together with CICIR we will continue cooperation on Chinese foreign policy and conflict management through holding conferences and seminars as well as exchanging guest researchers, dealing with China's relations with its near abroad, Russia, Europe, USA, Japan, and Africa. Regarding Keio University in Japan and ISDP, the cooperation through joint events will continue with the next major conferences related to Sino-Japanese relations. Meanwhile, our contacts with some of the more influential think-tanks both in North and South Korea give a unique position in fulfilling an academic research, as well as political role. ISDP has agreements about academic exchange with the Institute for Disarmament and Peace (IDP) in Pyongyang, DPRK, Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) in South Korea, and with the Center for EU Studies at Seoul National University.

Korean Peninsula Newsletter

As part of the Asia Program, the ISDP also publishes a free weekly newsletter, focusing on the latest development on the Korean Peninsula. If you would like to subscribe, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Between Evolution and Devolution: The Transformation of Japanese Politics Print Email
Asia Program - Projects

Japan's domestic political system is a child of the early Cold War period. In the wake of its defeat in the Second World War, the East-West political and ideological confrontation was internalized into Japan's post-war political system that took shape during the Occupation years (1945-52). The end of the Cold War was bound to have an impact on Japanese domestic politics, and since the 1990s the parameters of its political system are changing.

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Confidence Building and Unification on the Korean Peninsula Print Email
Asia Program - Projects

The Korean Peninsula remains one of the main concerns of the international community and poses a potential threat to regional security with problems relating to North Korea's nuclear issue. Moreover, the situation in the relations between North and South has worsened considerably during the recent years, basically, due to the lack of trust and confidence, as well as the contrasting ideas on the ways of reaching a solution on the nuclear issue. The relations between North and South Korea have always been characterized by official declarations about a mutual wish to achieve reunification of the two parts of Korea. However, the almost half a century of the division of the Korean Peninsula cannot be overcome only by burning national sentiment. Unification of the divided nation remains the dream of all Koreans. It may have been expected that some readjustment would be necessary.

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Cross-Strait Relations Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

A potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait could serve to critically undermine the stability of the region. The People´s Republic of China approximately has 900 to 1,000 missiles on alert within striking distance of Taiwan. Taiwan has continued its military build-up against China's military threat and request US arms sale to Taiwan.

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ISDP-IDP Joint Project on Crisis Management Print Email
Asia Program - Projects

Owing to both its own tradition of isolationism and to the international sanctions regime, the DPRK has had very limited contact with the policy community in the wider world. Our project seeks to push co-operation with the DPRK and necessary activities to allow North Korea to engage, in more a productive manner, with international actors. This will encourage our effort on the side of developing policy. In an effort to engage the country, ISDP has initiated a co-operative project on crisis management with the Institute for Disarmament and Peace (IDP), a think-tank under the DPRK Ministry of Foreign affairs that rotates its staff with the diplomatic service. The first step in this project was the visit of a high-level delegation from IDP to Stockholm in May 2012 for the purposes of joint research and in-depth discussion of crisis management.

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Sino-Japanese Relations Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

Throughout history, the relationship between China and Japan has more often than not been marked by mistrust and animosity, or even violent conflict. Despite three decades of normalized bilateral relations, several past and present issues serve to complicate the relation between the two states. Since a positive and functioning relationship between China and Japan, the two great powers in Northeast Asia, in many ways is a prerequisite for peace and stability in the region, a souring bilateral relationship is not only problematic for the states involved, but has implications for neighboring states and the international community at large. Against this background, it has become increasingly important to understand, identify and implement measures that can prevent and manage conflicts and disputes between these two states.

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Swedish-North Korean Dialogue Print Email
Asia Program - Projects

ISDP has since 2005 arranged yearly dialogs together with the Institute for Disarmament and Peace (IDP) to increase the understanding of European policy in DPRK and DPRK policy in Europe. The focus has been on confidence building and regional security issues but also broader issues that are of importance for the parties involved. Moreover, ISDP and IDP have increased its bilateral contacts within both academic and policy research. This has resulted in increased exchanges of staff and research. In 2012 the project will focus on not only regional security but also the issues of economic, environment and EU-DPRK relations with conducting joint research, publications and seminar between ISDP and IDP.

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The Transformation of Japan’s Foreign Policy Print Email
Asia Program - Projects

In the mid-19th century, Japan reappeared on the international stage after a two-century long seclusion during the Tokugawa period. Due to its victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1905), Japan was recognized as a great power, and has been an important international actor ever since. The only exception is a brief period following its defeat in the Second World War, which ended its status as a great power in military terms. Already at the end of the 1960s, it had regained its status as a great power economically, but not militarily, as it had been in the pre-war era.

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Publications on Northeast Asia

Sangsoo Lee
Carving up the Skies: China's New Air Defense Zone
POLICY BRIEF, No. 140, January 14, 2014 Webpage Link
Niklas Swanström
Dangers in North Korean dual-track strategy
ARTICLE, Asia Times Online, September 27, 2013 Webpage Link
Sangsoo Lee, Silvia Pastorelli
Promoting Northeast Asian Environmental Cooperation: Reflections from the EU
COMMENTARY, e-International Relations, June 30, 2013 Webpage Link
Niklas Swanström
Battle of Wills: China’s Relations with Japan
COMMENTARY, Japan Today, November 06, 2012 Webpage Link
Sangsoo Lee, Stefano Facchinetti
North Korean Economic Reform: New Changes or Old, Empty Promises?
POLICY BRIEF, No. 103, October 25, 2012 Webpage Link
Niklas Swanström, Ryosei Kokubun (ed.)
Sino-Japanese Relations: Rivals or Partners in Regional Cooperation?
BOOK, August 28, 2012, pp. 250 Webpage Link
Bert Edström
Japan’s ODA Still Going Strong
POLICY BRIEF, No. 95, May 23, 2012 Webpage Link
Elliot Brennan, Jeremy Arthur
The End of Japan’s Nuclear Renaissance? Not Just Yet.
POLICY BRIEF, No. 94, May 16, 2012 Webpage Link
Bert Edström
Testing Times: Yoshihiko Noda As Japan’s New Prime Minister
ISDP POLICY BRIEF, No. 73, September 09, 2011 Webpage Link
Sangsoo Lee, Alexandre Autrand
Japanese-Korean Relations: A Failure Of Tsunami Diplomacy
ISDP POLICY BRIEF, No. 68, May 24, 2011 Webpage Link
Christopher Len
Rethinking Nuclear Power in Asia after Fukushima
COMMENTARY, East Asia Forum, March 25, 2011 Webpage Link
Niklas Swanström, Sofia Ledberg
Images of Conflict Prevention and Management in Northeast Asia
BOOK CHAPTER, in Conflict Prevention and Management in Northeast Asia: The Korean Peninsula and Taiwan Strait in Comparison, May 2010 Webpage Link
Bert Edström
Japan and the Myanmar Conundrum
ASIA PAPER, October 2009 Webpage Link

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