Political Crises in Northeast Asia: An Anatomy of the Taiwan and Korean Crises

IR Working Paper 2001/02

Author/s (editor/s):

Stuart Harris

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 2001/2 (PDF, 132KB)

Stuart Harris, ‘Political Crises in Northeast Asia: An Anatomy of the Taiwan and Korean Crises’, IR Working Paper 2001/02, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, June 2001.

This paper looks at two recent international crises in Northeast Asia: that across the Taiwan Strait in 1995–96 involving China, Taiwan and the US; and the nuclear missile crisis involving North Korea and the US (and largely indirectly, South Korea). Its objective is to analyse to what extent these situations were crises in the sense of posing a high risk of military conflict and a threat to the basic values of the countries involved. The paper argues that the crisis aspects of the two events were exaggerated to a degree and there was a substantial element of theatre in both cases. There are consequently specific lessons to be learnt from the management of these crises that are relevant to what in both cases are likely to remain problematic relationships. The paper also seeks to draw some more general conclusions relevant to the handling of other crisis events.

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