Exploring Deterrence Strategy Risks in Asia
Weekly Newsletters

Exploring Deterrence Strategy Risks in Asia



2 February 2024

This week, we hosted a two-day conference in Seoul together with the European Leadership Network, to discuss how Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the UK can reduce the risks of their deterrence strategies. This was also the subject of a joint policy brief that we published this week.

We also held a private briefing for APLN members with the Director of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, Adedeji Ebo.

Recent activities from our network this week includes analysis of North Korea, Indonesia’s domestic politics, India’s foreign policy, the 2024 US presidential election, and more.

Balancing Deterrence with Assurances: Policy coordination between security partners in the Asia-Pacific

In this policy brief, Joel Petersson Ivre, Tanya Ogilvie-WhiteOliver Meier, and Rishi Paul argue that the strategic choices of Australia, Japan, and South Korea are heavily focused on strengthening deterrence against China and North Korea, which increases the risks of miscalculation.

To reduce those risks, they must balance their deterrence policies with assurances of restraint, and improve coordination between their respective deterrence policies. The UK is well-positioned and has a strategic interest facilitating such coordination.

The policy brief identifies five challenges to this endeavour: including coordination, agreement, empathy, reciprocity and trust, and complexity, where the security partners must do more work to balance deterrence with assurance.

Read the policy brief

This report is a part of the APLN Asia-Pacific Strategic Risks project in partnership with the European Leadership Network (ELN). The project convenes government officials, experts, and practitioners from South Korea, Japan, Australia, and the UK to discuss how changing threat perceptions impact proliferation challenges and what policy solutions can address them, including steps to encourage strategic restraint, greater collaboration and carefully honed nuclear risk reduction diplomacy.

Related article

Operationalising Strategic Risk Reduction in the Asia-Pacific: An Australian Perspective

Brendan Taylor, Professor at the Australian National University, argues that Australian policymakers must balance their emphasis on deterrence with greater advocacy for crisis management and avoidance mechanisms.

Balancing Deterrence with Assurances: Policy Coordination Between Security Partners in the Asia-Pacific

This week, we co-convened a two-day conference in Seoul on “Balancing Deterrence with Assurances: Policy Coordination Between Security Partners in the Asia-Pacific” with the  European Leadership Network (ELN), sponsored by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Senior experts and government officials from Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the UK exchanged views on how countries in the region can balance their deterrence-focused policies with diplomatic initiatives.

Private Briefing with Adedeji Ebo, Director and Deputy to the High-Representative for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)

Last week, we hosted a private briefing with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)’s Director & Deputy Mr. Adedeji Ebo and Chief of the WMD Branch, Chris King.

In his remarks, Ebo noted that the world is entering a new nuclear age and urged states to acknowledge the inherent danger of nuclear weapons and unite in preventing their use, testing, and proliferation, emphasising the collective interest in urgent and good faith efforts toward their eventual elimination.

APLN has over 150 members from 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific.
Each week we feature their latest contributions
to global and regional security debates.

See all member activities



Former New Zealand PM urges Australia and west to reinstate UNRWA funding to avoid ‘catastrophic’ impact on Palestinians

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former UNDP Administrator, argued that the decision to suspend aid funding was ‘completely disproportionate’ and urged Australia and other Western countries to reinstate UNRWA funding.

As North Korea’s Threat Grows, Ignoring It Is Not Working

Chung-in Moon, APLN Vice Chair, was quoted in The Washington Post, where he commented that an unintended clash has the potential to escalate into a regional war, a full-scale war, or even a nuclear war. His interview can be accessed here.

Yonsei University X James T. Laney Lecture Series Part 2

Chung-in Moon, APLN Vice Chair, discussed American foreign policy and its implication for global diplomacy with Walter Mead, Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College. This lecture series is organized by Yonsei University’s Institute for North Korean Studies.

Generals Gaining Ground: Civil-Military Relations and Democracy in Indonesia

Natalie Sambhi, Founder and Executive Director of Verve Research, argued that while Indonesia has undergone a remarkable transformation from authoritarianism to electoral democracy, several underlying currents from New Order civil-military relations have rolled back some of its liberal character.

India in the South Asian Neighbourhood: Friendship or Friction?

Rakesh Sood, former Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Afghanistan and France, wrote for Frontline on the legacy of British India and its impact on the policy that independent India adopted towards its neighbors. He highlighted that India has not put forward a coherent policy for South Asia consistently; instead, it has preferred to deal with each neighbor bilaterally.

The Contemporary Buzz Around Nuclear Energy

Manpreet Sethi, APLN Senior Research Adviser, examined how nuclear energy is faring globally, regionally and in India. She wrote about the recent trend of supporting nuclear energy, driven by the recognition of the urgent need to transition to low-carbon sources in response to concerns about climate change.

トランプ、再来? 選挙が動かす世界の戦況

Fujiwara Kiichi, Professor of International Politics at the University of Tokyo, wrote about the 2024 U.S. presidential election and its potential influence on international politics, emphasising that the return of Trump could significantly shape the trajectory of conflicts, especially in regions like Ukraine and the Middle East. [This article is in Japanese.]

India’s New Possibilities Amid China’s Relative Economic Decline

C. Raja Mohan, Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, wrote for the Indian Express and argued that China’s economic slowdown presents an opportunity for India. For India to take advantage, it must avoid the nationalist hubris that has undermined Beijing’s fortunes.

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