What’s Holding Up the Korean Peace Process?
Weekly Newsletters

What’s Holding Up the Korean Peace Process?



7 September 2023

This week, Gabriela Bernal shares how countries can move past their differences to pursue peace on the Korean Peninsula and end the 70-year armistice; we publish a video on understanding nuclear justice initiatives in the Pacific Islands; and we revisit a report by Collin Koh on the China-ASEAN code of conduct as ASEAN leaders meet in Indonesia for the biannual summit.

We also share the latest activities from our network, including analysis on China-India relations following Xi Jinping’s decision to not attend the G20 summit, discussions on the Fukushima water release, India’s expansion of its nuclear arsenals, and more. 

70 Years and Counting:
The Path to Peace on the Korean Peninsula

This July marked 70 years since the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, but the Korean Peninsula remains in a state of war. With hostilities increasing and political will diminishing, the peninsula is moving further away from a peace agreement.

What is standing in the way of declaring an end to the Korean War and what will it take for states to finally move towards a peace agreement? In a new policy brief, Gabriela Bernal identifies the national interests of each of the concerned parties – the United States, South Korea, North Korea, and China – and where they conflict to create friction on pursuing a peace agreement. From there, she makes recommendations on where each country can compromise in order to get onto what Bernal calls “the pathway to peace.” 

Read the report

Understanding Nuclear Justice for the Pacific

“Nuclear justice is not just about those who are negatively affected by nuclear testing…it concerns every citizen who is potentially in the theatre of a potential great power conflict.” 
Throughout the 20th century, nuclear weapon states like the United States routinely used the Pacific Islands as testing grounds for their weapons. The citizens of these islands were dismissed as collateral damage. Even today, little consideration has been given for the harm inflicted on them by nuclear weapons. Many in the Pacific Islands have long advocated for nuclear justice and reparations, but progress has been slow.

As part of our Voices from Pacific Islands Countries project, APLN asked experts Patrick Kaiku, Maima Koro, and Milla Vaha to share their insights on nuclear justice: what justice looks like to Pacific Islanders, what nuclear justice initiatives are already underway, and where we go from here. 

Watch the video

APLN reports by these experts

Patrick Kaiku argues that the international community, particularly the United States, must recognise the perverse impact that nuclear weapons have had on the Pacific region and make nuclear justice a regional agenda for all Pacific Islands.

Maima Koro argues for the importance of “relational security” and the need for great powers to consult Pacific people as equal partners. She also highlights the complex ethical considerations that arise due to different understandings of security and power in the context of strategic competition.

Milla Vaha maps out some consequences of atomic testing in the Pacific region and their relationship to climate change threats. She argues that by seeking global recognition for both nuclear and climatic existential threats, the Pacific Island Countries make a strong case for the compensation owed to them by the international community.

Confidence and Security Building Measures in Southeast Asia’s Maritime Domain

The ASEAN Summit kicked off in Indonesia this week and it is no surprise that the issue of China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea is high on the agenda. Despite issuing a statement earlier this year that China and ASEAN will complete negotiations on their code of conduct by 2026, the two parties seem more at-odds than ever.

In a recent report, maritime expert Collin Koh discussed how confidence and security building measures, like codes of conduct, can help encourage good behaviour in the Southeast Asian maritime domain. He  analysed the effectiveness of three major CSBMs in the region, one of them being the proposed Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. 

Read the report

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







America: The Biggest Danger to the Security of the World?

Chung-in Moon, APLN Vice Chair, published his regular column in Hankyoreh, where he questioned whether it is wise for South Korea to place its fate in the hands of the United States, considering the risks in America’s domestic politics.

No Biden, No Problem: ASEAN Just Has to Forge Its Own Path

Elina Noor, Senior Fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment, writes on U.S. President Joe Biden’s absence from the ASEAN Summit. She points out that this should not discourage the bloc; rather, ASEAN should double down on its integration efforts.

Dissecting the Idea of ‘Limited’ Nuclear War

Manpreet Sethi, APLN Senior Research Adviser, published an article in CAPS India’s NuClearly Put challenging the belief that a limited nuclear war could be militarily and geographically contained and hence be more morally and legally defensible.

India-China Ties and the G20 Summit

C. Uday Bhaskar, Director of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS), New Delhi, commented on India-China relations for The Tribune India. He argued that China has bruised India’s core national interests since the 1950s, and he believed that this will continue to fester well after the curtains come down on the G20 summit.

Review: Inheriting the bomb: the collapse of the USSR and the nuclear disarmament of Ukraine 

Rabia Akhtar, founding Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research at the University of Lahore, wrote a review for Mariana Budjeryn’s new book, “Inheriting the bomb: the Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine.” The review was published in Chatham House’s International Affairs journal. 

China’s Disinformation Fuels Anger Over Fukushima Water Release

Tong Zhao, Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was quoted in the New York Times, where he commented on China’s disinformation about the safety of the Fukushima water release. He expressed concern that the widening perception gap may lead China to feel more justified in explicitly challenging existing international narratives, institutions, and orders.

Nuclear Arsenals Are Being Expanded, Modernised, Proliferation Is A Concern

Manpreet Sethi, APLN Senior Research Adviser, sat down with Surya Gangadharan and StratNews Global to discuss India’s nuclear strategy, the lack of progress in the NPT Review Conference, President Putin’s past nuclear threats, and the ongoing modernization of nuclear weapons and arsenals.

Australia, France and Finding Equilibrium in Southeast Asia

Natalie Sambhi, Founder and Executive Director of Verve Research, co-wrote an article with Hugh Piper where she outlined some pathways for how France and Australia can enhance coordination in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Indonesia in particular.

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