Dispute Resolution and Cross-border Cooperation in Northeast Asia: Reflections on the Nordic Experience

Asia Paper June 1, 2011, pp. 39

This paper examines cases of dispute resolution and cross-border cooperation
in two regions: the Nordic region and Northeast Asia. The two regions
are markedly different. The Nordic region is often described as an area
where stable peace has been successfully consolidated, and where borders
serve as positive interfaces for cooperation rather than as obstacles. The
Norway–Iceland fishery dispute, Hässelö Island, Åland Island, Morokulien
Peace Park, Haparanda–Tornio EuroCity, and Oulanka/Paanajärvi national
park are examples in this context of peaceful resolution of territorial disputes
and/or enhancing cross-border cooperation. In stark contrast, the
countries of Northeast Asia continue to be locked in seemingly intractable
territorial and maritime disputes that have defied resolution.
The aim of this paper is to reflect upon the Nordic experience of dispute
resolution and cross-border cooperation and to focus attention on how
similar mechanisms could potentially be applied in the case of different territorial
disputes or points of tension in Northeast Asia: Dokdo/Takeshima,
the Kuril Islands, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, as well as the Demilitarized
Zone and the Yellow Sea on the Korean Peninsula. In sum, in spite of significant
limitations and differences, it is hoped that this paper may show how
the Nordic countries and its experiences can prove both instructive and,
above all, motivational in generating ideas for setting up similarly inspired
regimes of peaceful resolution and cooperation in Northeast Asia in the

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