Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia

Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia

By Yong-Shik Lee

Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia examines the causes of lasting and complex tensions in the region and explores possible solutions to build lasting peace here.

PDF, 324 Pages


September 2023

£25.00, $35.00

EPUB, 324 Pages


September 2023

£25.00, $35.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

Northeast Asia, a major region in Asia covering China, Korea (South and North Korea), Japan, Mongolia, and the Southeast corner of Russia, is economically one of the most vibrant areas in the world, with a rich array of economic opportunities. Yet, it is simultaneously one of the world’s most politically and militarily unstable regions, creating a global security risk. This risk was made apparent by North Korea’s nuclear crisis, which was followed by a series of its nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches from 2016 to 2017. Although the worst-case scenario may have been avoided by a summit meeting between the heads of South and North Korea on April 27, 2018, and another summit between the United States and North Korea on June 12, 2018, substantial uncertainty and the risk of a major military conflict remains.


Although less dramatic and visible to the outside world, other political and military tensions among constituent countries in Northeast Asia, with their deep historical origins dating back centuries, are also significant. These tensions have been demonstrated by persistent territorial disputes, lack of reconciliation on the question of war crimes during World War II, increasing disparities in political influence and military power among Northeast Asian countries as a result of China's ascension, and increasing uncertainty in the region due to the potential instability of North Korea. These problems create a risk of destabilizing Northeast Asia with a substantial global impact.


Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia examines the causes of these complex tensions in Northeast Asia and their underlying political, historic, military, and economic developments. It further discusses their political-economic implications for the world and explores possible solutions to build lasting peace in the region. This book offers a unique approach to these important issues by examining the perspectives of each constituent country in Northeast Asia: China, South and North Korea, Japan, and Mongolia, and their respective roles in the region. Major global powers, such as the United States and Russia, have also closely engaged in the political and economic affairs of the region through a network of alliances, diplomacy, trade, and investment. The book discusses the influence of these external powers, their political and economic objectives in the region, their strategies, and the dynamics that their engagement has brought to the region. Both South Korea and North Korea have sought reunification of the Korean peninsula, which will have a substantial impact on the region. The book examines its justification, feasibility and effects for the region. The book also discusses the role of Mongolia in the context of the power dynamics in Northeast Asia. A relatively small country, in terms of its population, Mongolia has rarely been examined in this context; Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia makes a fresh assessment on its potential role.


Lee’s prognosis is cautious. He explores several alternatives to reduce confrontations (including a union of the Koreas and Mongolia), yet argues that for a long-term solution, 'trust is key'. Historical coverage is brief but offers a good treatment of current issues (including Russia’s war in Ukraine)— Choice

“The security environment in Northeast Asia in notoriously complex, but Y.S. Lee weaves a compelling introduction to it. A distinctive feature of the approach is to work through the perspectives of each of the relevant players, with a particular bonus in considering Mongolia’s contributions. Professor Lee sees a long-term solution as requiring an institutional component; some kind of regional integration effort that would pull North Korea into the Asia-Pacific success story. He argues that building a rules-based order will hinge on where China’s domestic politics is headed, but the US must also take diplomatic risks and lead on the economic issues. A useful introduction for both insiders to the region and those seeking an entry point.” — Dr. Stephan Haggard, Lawrence and Sallye Krause Distinguished Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California at San Diego

“Lee’s volume is a balanced, penetrating, and up-to-date analysis of political, historical, military, and economic dynamics in Northeast Asia. It is comprehensive in scope, innovative in analytical orientation, rigorous in empirical investigation, and rich in policy implications. Departing from the traditional great power determinism, he adopts an ‘inside-out’ approach focusing on six individual countries (North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and Mongolia). Lee skillfully unravels hidden codes of regional dynamics and generates powerful policy implications for sustainable peace in Northeast Asia. Strongly recommended for scholars, policy-makers, and laymen who are interested in conflicts and peace in contemporary Northeast Asia.” —Dr. Chung-in Moon, Professor Emeritus, Yonsei University

“Professor Lee’s book includes a chapter on Japan which comprehensively, accurately, and concisely describes Japan's political and economic history, its tense relationship with neighboring countries, and ways to resolve them. It is a must-read for researchers and students studying the subject. This book is an excellent introduction and a practical prescription for achieving peace in East Asia.”—Dr. Hiroyuki Hoshiro, Professor, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo

“Dr. Yong-Shik Lee’s new book “Sustainable Peace In Northeast Asia” suggests innovative, in-depth and comprehensive analysis on the continuing geopolitical tension in Northeast Asia. His careful and thorough data-backed examination of the repercussions of the Korean unification to Northeast Asia gave me valuable academic insight for actual policy making in the Foreign Affair & Unification Committee. I am also truly inspired by Dr. Lee’s anatomy of the influence of the external powers over the crisis, their political and economic objectives, their strategies and the dynamics that their engagement has created within Northeast Asia. This volume should be widely read not only among academics but policymakers as well.”— Hon. Yongho Tae, Vice Chair of the Foreign Affair & Unification Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Former Deputy Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Kingdom

“Dr. Lee’s new book “Sustainable Peace In Northeast Asia” is an interesting, innovative and multidisciplinary project. Cultural, historical, political economy, and geopolitical factors are closely integrated into the development of the book. The book is worth reading by scholars and students in international relationships, government officials focusing on Northeast Asia, and readers interested in politics and peace in this important and dynamic region.”— Dr. Guanghua Yu, Professor of Law, University of Hong Kong

“Dr. Yong-Shik Lee’s book “Sustainable Peace In Northeast Asia” presents a new approach to the security issues in Northeast Asia. Many of us address these issues from a traditional perspective, focusing on current geo-political and military affairs. In contrast, Dr. Lee’s book moves beyond the narrow confines of this traditional approach and performs a broader analysis of historical, political, economic, cultural and other factors that affect sustainable peace in the region. This innovative approach makes Dr. Lee’s book a unique scholarly contribution and a must read for policymakers, academics, students, and all others sharing interests in the important question of sustaining peace in Northeast Asia.”— Dr. Bayasgalan Sanallkhundev, Associate Professor of International Relations and Public Administration, National University of Mongolia

“Dr. Yong-Shik Lee is uniquely situated to engage in a thorough treatment of Northeast Asia as a legal academic, law and development expert, international law authority, law and economics specialist, diplomat, and multi-continent academic. The breadth and depth of his experience and knowledge provide insights that make “Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia” a must read for students, scholars, decisionmakers, and policymakers. International relations literature tends to be dominated with large global theories and area specialists often focus on one country as it relates to neighbors or on very specific issues. Dr. Lee is able to add a new perspective by examining China, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, and Japan from a regional and nation specific perspective. Including the impacts of major global powers in regional alliances, diplomacy, trade, and investment provides a deeper understanding of the importance of Northeast Asia in the larger global landscape. By delivering a strong historical approach to situate modern positions, Dr. Lee allows a context rich understanding of Northeast Asia that is not available elsewhere. The solid foundation makes his approach to potential solutions and strategies particularly helpful. Dr. Lee covers complex dynamics in an engaging and thought-provoking manner making “Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia” appealing read. “Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia” is a must read and essential tool for anyone interested in Northeast Asia and larger global issues.”— Dr. John Parsi, College of Law, University of Nebraska

Author Information

Professor Lee is a lawyer, economist, international relations expert, and former diplomat. He is currently the Director and Professorial Fellow of the Law and Development Institute. He has taught and conducted academic research at leading universities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia for over twenty years, including Cornell University, New York University, Emory University, Tulane University, University of Manchester, and the University of Sydney. He graduated with a degree in economics with distinction from the University of California at Berkeley and received degrees in law with honors from the University of Cambridge (B.A., M.A., Ph.D.).

Professor Lee has over 120 academic publications. He has frequently spoken on international relations through over 70speech engagements at prominent forums such as Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and the World Bank.


No series for this title.

Table of Contents

Figures; Tables; List of Abbreviations; Foreword; Preface; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 2. The Heritage from the Cold War—North Korea and the Nuclear Crisis; 3. The New Asian Paradigm or Return to the Old Asia—Rise of China and Its Role in the Region; 4. A New Balancer in the Region? South Korea at the Crossroads; 5. A Power with Rising Concerns: Escalation of Tensions between Japan and Its Neighbors; 6. Insiders from the Outside: The United States and Russia; 7. A Hidden Player: Mongolia and Its Role in the Power Dynamics of Northeast Asia; 8. Pathway to Peace and Stability in Northeast Asia; Notes; Bibliography; Index


No Podcasts for this title.
Comodo SSL