Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar: Accounting for the Western Pacific's long peace: Will it continue to hold?

Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar: Accounting for the Western Pacific's long peace: Will it continue to hold?
Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar: Accounting for the Western Pacific's long peace: Will it continue to hold?

Principal speaker

Dr Euan Graham, Director, International Security Program, Lowy Institute

Fortunately for Australia and its surrounding region, peace has held among the major powers across the Western Pacific for over a generation, enabling economic development on a scale that is the envy of the rest of the world. If conflict were to break out, it has the potential to dwarf the conflagrations of the Middle East. The less-asked corollary to the question of the moment, "how likely is conflict in the region?" is "why has peace endured so long?"

The nature of this longstanding peace is somewhat paradoxical against a backdrop of serious and recurrent tensions that characterise the region, especially Northeast Asia. Security analysts tend to focus on the potential drivers and enablers of conflict: territorial disputes, nationalist and historical enmities and military modernization to name but three. This reinforces a focus on “flashpoints”, including the South and East China Seas, the Taiwan Strait and the Korean Peninsula, and the potential for armed conflict involving China and North Korea. In Southeast Asia the dynamics of state security are more diffuse and transnational, although geopolitical tensions with China have loomed large in recent years.

This presentation will attempt to unpick the paradox of East Asia's long peace, and consider how much longer it will hold.

Dr Euan Graham is Director, International Security Program at the Lowy Institute.

Euan has been a close observer of East Asian security affairs for more than twenty years, in academia, the private sector, and for the British Government. Euan joined the Institute from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore where he was a Senior Fellow specialising in maritime issues. Prior to this he was a research analyst in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and served as Chargé d'Affaires at the British Embassy in Pyongyang.

Euan's research interests include Australian defence policy, maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas, nuclear proliferation, the US rebalance to Asia and defence diplomacy. His book Japan's Sea Lane Security 1940-2004: A Matter of Life and Death? (Routledge) was the first comprehensive English-language analysis on this subject. Euan obtained his PhD from the Australian National University in 2003. He remains an Associate Fellow at the UK Royal United Services Institute.


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