Washington, D.C. – In the past three months, the Asia-Pacific region has witnessed two methods of strategic dialogue: the late-May Shangri-La dialogue, a normally cordial Asian Security Summit that took a decidedly more tense and frank air than usual, and the recently completed ASEAN Regional Forum, which showcased the traditional convivial manner in which disagreements are aired. The Shangri-La Dialogue’s candid and heated conversations over the future of the region’s security architecture have resulted in three differing visions for keeping peace and order in a region currently at odds over economic and territorial disputes. The Center for American Progress released an analysis, written by Rudy deLeon and Blair Vorsatz, of the Shangri-La Dialogue and the competing models put forth by the three major players in the region: The United States, China, and Japan.
“The 2014 Shangri-La Dialogue may be the Asia-Pacific region’s first ‘perceived crisis’—a sign that regional tensions are not de-escalating despite efforts by all parties,” deLeon and Vorsatz wrote in the brief. “The American, Japanese, and Chinese visions for the future of Asian security cannot all be realized. These three great powers, in particular, need to articulate a common vision if a robust system of Asian regional security is to ever be established.”
Nations in the Asia-Pacific region make up some of the United States’ most important trading partners and allies. It is also the home of serious economic competition and entrenched territorial disputes between its two major players, Japan and China. The brief emphasizes that regional stability is critical for U.S. foreign policy and that the United States envisions playing the major role in maintaining a stable and rules-based order. Similarly, Japan envisions joint responsibility for the on-going security of the region conducted by Japan and the United States. However, China seeks to use its current term as the chair of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, or CICA, to create a new regional security cooperation architecture with China at the center.