A Security and Peace Mechanism for Northeast Asia: The Economic Dimension
Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland
This brief explores the economic dimension of multilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia, including a discussion of the purported security benefits of economic engagement with North Korea. The brief raises some cautionary questions about the scope for multilateral economic cooperation in Northeast Asia before outlining how economic cooperation can complement longer-run security and economic objectives on the peninsula, including economic reform in North Korea.

A primary, though not exclusive, objective of a Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism (NAPSM) should be the integration of North Korea into the broader regional and global economies. Such an opening is a prerequisite to the country’s economic renewal and resolution of its chronic humanitarian problems. Deepened economic interdependence would also embed North Korea in relations that could reduce the likelihood of disruptive behavior. Yet in addition to a resolution of the nuclear question, the attainment of these objectives depends crucially on the nature of the economic ties that develop.

For engagement to be fruitful and politically sustainable, it must emphasize reform in North Korea and the private sector’s involvement in the country’s economic revival. The multilateral project should not be simply a vehicle for channeling aid to North Korea; such a mechanism could even have perverse effects on the reform process.

This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.