Strategic Diplomacy in Northeast Asia

Global Asia- Winter 2016

Author/s (editor/s):

Jochen Prantl, Evelyn Goh

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

With the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, the world is now awash in uncertainty. For those preoccupied with international relations, the uncertainty is particularly acute, as so little is known about Trump’s views on foreign affairs or how his idiosyncratic approach to politics and public discourse will play out on a global stage. For Asia, Trump’s brief but unprecedented phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on December 2 may be a harbinger of upheavals to come. As leaders around the world brace themselves to deal with Trump, the role of diplomacy is set to become more important than ever. In the cover package for this issue of Global Asia, guest editors Jochen Prantl and Evelyn Goh at the Australian National University (ANU) have assembled a series of essays around the concept of “strategic diplomacy” in Northeast Asia - a new approach that they define as “the process by which state and non-state actors socially construct and frame their view of the world; set their agendas; and communicate, contest and negotiate diverging core interests and goals.” Unlike traditional international relations, focused on bilateral and multilateral diplomatic relationships among states, strategic diplomacy is “an analytical framework to study the systemic implications of diplomacy in order to understand and explain what makes the region hang together.” Included are an analysis of China’s approach to relations with the US, by Huang Jing at the National University of Singapore; a call to use strategic diplomacy to break the nuclear deadlock with North Korea, by Bong-Geun Jun at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA); an examination of the role of US-China rivalry in the effort to denuclearize North Korea, by Brendan Taylor at ANU; an exploration of German reunification’s lessons for Korea, by Jochen Prantl and Hyun-Wook Kim at KNDA; a look at the complexities of Taiwan’s diplomacy in the context of Asia’s history contests, by Amy King at ANU; an analysis of what Trump might mean for the Northeast Asian security order; by Bruce J. Jentleson at Duke University; and an argument by Evelyn Goh for a new grand bargain between China and the US.

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