Sino-US Competition and Nuclear Non-Proliferation on the Korean Peninsula
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Brendan Taylor argues that the Korean Peninsula during the decade from 2002 to 2012 provides a clear case of strategic diplomacy in practice. During this period, China and the United States undertook strategic co-operation at key junctures in order to achieve two long-term shared objectives: preventing nuclear proliferation and maintaining stability more broadly on the Korean Peninsula, which was viewed largely as a self-contained strategic system. This period of promise for strategic diplomacy ended in 2012 when developments in both the East and the South China Seas sharply diminished the appetite for Sino-US co-operation. During the period since, the connectivity between East Asia’s traditional flashpoints has begun to intensify. Unless and until this condition abates, the inability and unwillingness of Beijing and Washington to treat the Korean Peninsula in isolation from broader East Asian strategic developments, as they had largely done during the decade from 2002, will render the pursuit of mutually beneficial strategic diplomacy here more challenging. Instead, Sino-American strategic interaction regarding the Korean Peninsula is likely to become increasingly competitive.
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