Strategic Risks in the Asia-Pacific
Weekly Newsletters

Strategic Risks in the Asia-Pacific



23 June 2023

This week, we publish a new report assessing strategic risks in the Asia-Pacific with the European Leadership Network, welcome Van Jackson as a new Senior Research Adviser, and honour the legacy of distinguished Sri Lankan diplomat, and APLN member, Jayantha Dhanapala.

We also share activities from our network, including views on recent US-China diplomacy, nuclear disarmament, South Korean diplomacy, and more.

Strategic risks in the Asia-Pacific:
Examining Australian, British, Japanese, and South Korean perspectives

A new joint report examines Australian, Japanese, South Korean, and British perspectives of strategic risks in the Asia-Pacific, including North Korea’s nuclear posture, China’s assertive behaviour, and the effects of US alliance politics in the region. The report highlights the weakening of the global non-proliferation regime as a major risk and provides policy measures for reducing that risk.

The report is part of a joint APLN-ELN project on Asia-Pacific Strategic Risks and is based on interviews, papers, and consultations with officials, APLN members, and experts in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the UK.

Read the special report

Discuss the report on Twitter Discuss the report on Twitter

APLN warmly welcomes Prof. Van Jackson as a new Senior Research Adviser. Prof. Jackson is an American political scientist specialising in Asian security and the politics of US foreign policy. He is a professor of international relations at Victoria University of Wellington, and a Senior Research Scholar at Security in Context, where he is also Co-Director of the “Multipolarity, Great-power Competition, and the Global South” project.

In his new role, Professor Jackson will lead the joint project between APLN, Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, and the Nautilus Institute on reducing the risk of nuclear weapon use in Northeast Asia.

Read more by Van Jackson:
Varieties of nuclear thought & their implications for Northeast Asia


Van Jackson evaluates the impact of four influential groups on US nuclear thinking and their potential effects on nuclear use in Northeast Asia. He suggests that the extent of US nuclear weapon deployment and the likelihood of actions that provoke adversaries’ nuclear concerns vary based on the prevailing logic and preferences of these groups over time and during critical situations.

In Memoriam: Jayantha Dhanapala

APLN remembers Jayantha Dhanapala, a distinguished Sri Lankan diplomat and international civil servant, who left behind a vast legacy, particularly in the field of nuclear diplomacy, serving as an inspiration for responsible and conscientious global citizenship in addressing global challenges.

This obituary was written by Malinda Meegoda, former Research Fellow at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategies in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Read the obituary

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APLN has over 130 members from 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific.
Each week we feature their latest contributions
to global and regional security debates.

See all member activities



President Yoon to Travel to France and Vietnam

Eunjung Lim, Associate Professor at the Division of International Studies at Kongju National University, discussed South Korea’s diplomatic relations with France and Vietnam, shared insights on South Korea’s successful bid for a seat on the UN Security Council for 2024-2025, and highlighted the potential diplomatic benefits of hosting the 2030 World Expo for South Korea in an interview with Arirang News. 

Four Nuclear Myths

Ramesh Thakur, Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the Australian National University, emphasizes that the hubris and arrogance of nuclear-armed states expose the world to the risk of sleepwalking into a nuclear disaster. The argument for nuclear weapons is based on a superstitious belief in magical realism that places unwarranted faith in their utility and the theory of deterrence.

Global Implications of Erdogan’s Historic Win

Rakesh Sood, former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Nepal, and France, highlights how Turkish President Erdogan managed to secure a victory despite challenges such as a weak economy, a disastrous earthquake, and the presence of a united opposition candidate, attributing his success to his polarizing combination of Islamism, populism, and nationalism.

Blinken Wants to ‘Stablise’ Relations With China

John McCarthy, former Australian career diplomat, spoke about US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s visit to China in an interview with BBC World. He pointed out that the recent meetings between Anthony Blinken and senior Chinese officials suggest a willingness to ease tensions, although substantive progress remains uncertain.

Blinken, Once Seen as a Headache in China, Could Be a Remedy

Shen Dingli, Professor at the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, was quoted in the Washington Post, where he commented on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing. He pointed out that Blinken’s visit is beneficial for China’s international image and has served as a remedy, alleviating some of the tensions in the bilateral relationship.

China Eyes Blinken’s Imminent Visit With Deep Distrust and Low Expectations

Tong Zhao, Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said to CNN that China has adopted “a brinkmanship policy” to highlight the risk of military confrontation to the United States.

Mobilise G20 to Propel Long-Delayed UN Reform

Shyam Saran, Former Indian Foreign Secretary, writes about how New Delhi can navigate global contradictions and advocate for a reformed international order within the context of the G20.

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