A Security and Peace Mechanism for Northeast Asia: The Economic Dimension

Stephan Haggard (PIIE) and Marcus Noland (PIIE)
Policy Brief
08-4
April 2008

The creation of an enduring multilateral security and peace mechanism for Northeast Asia and the furthering of regional economic cooperation have been identified as components of a final resolution of the North Korean nuclear controversy in the Six Party Talks among the United States, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea. Haggard and Noland argue that a central objective should be North Korea's integration into the world economy, encouraging its economic revival and the resolution of its chronic humanitarian problems, as well as embedding it in relations that could reduce the likelihood of future disruptive behavior. Reform and the international private sector's involvement in the country's economic renewal are key. Yet the North Korean tail should not wag the dog: To be fruitful and politically sustainable, the agenda must engage the interests of all six parties, not just those of North Korea. With progress stalled on more legalistic forms of regional integration, the authors suggest that the Economy and Energy Cooperation Working Group, created by the six parties in February 2007, could become the locus for wider economic cooperation and thus complement the security agenda for Northeast Asia.